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THE journal of Archdeacon Henry Williams is one of the source books of New Zealand history, particularly for those dimly-lit years which preceded the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. In this book is published the available journal entries up to that date. Up to now the journal has been accessible to students, in part, in Carleton's biography, now long out of print; in microfilm at the Turnbull Library, and in typescripts in the main libraries in New Zealand. The extracts in Carleton are interesting, but are not always accurate; the typescripts are very inaccurate, and, like the microfilm, are available only to those who are able to examine them in the libraries which house them. The original manuscripts are held by the Church Missionary Society in England, whose property they are.
The journal was not written for publication, but was largely a day-to-day report on his work written in the course of a very busy life. The report was meant for the Church Missionary Society in London to keep the members aware of the progress of the mission. The journal bears the mark of hurried writing against the pressure of time. Unfortunately some parts of it are missing, but enough remains to make its publication useful. This begins in December 1826, and ends in January 1840, and in that period the entries from 3 April 1835 to 30 September 1839 are lost.
The journal gives the reader the inside story of those primitive years as seen through the eyes of the most dominant personality of the period. It reveals much of the everyday life of these early pioneers--their dangers and discomforts, their fears and problems, their disappointments and achievements. It tells the story of success over tremendous odds, and of the exploration of a primitive country in days when the only law was the whim of a local chief, and when savage tribal war and cannibalism were features of daily life. There are no false heroics, and there is no endeavour to paint a picture. Not that the story lacks light and shade--on the contrary, there is drama here, rich and authentic, told by one of the main characters, a writer who never embroidered a tale. Henry
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Williams was a dogmatic man, and his strong character speaks emphatically in his journal.
The purpose of publishing the journal is to make as accurate a copy as possible available to historians, and especially to that important although less-known group of students of New Zealand history who of necessity have to pursue their studies far from the main libraries. It is also offered as a memorial to Archdeacon Henry Williams and his talented and courageous wife, to both of whom New Zealand owes an immeasurable debt.
In editing the journal I have refrained from any corrections of spelling or slips of the pen. As far as possible I have kept to the original punctuation, although this has not been as simple as it might appear to those who have not seen the original manuscript. I cannot claim that the transcription will be perfectly accurate, but only that, within the limits of the printed page, I have tried to make it so. The transcription has been made from a microfilm of the originals. The notes are for the most part based on original research, although in some cases secondary sources have had to be leaned upon.
I owe much to the help of many people, and take the opportunity of expressing to them all my sincerest thanks. Among these are the Church Missionary Society, London, which gave permission to publish the journal; the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, and especially its chief librarian, Mr. C. R. H. Taylor, for his generous co-operation; the Hocken Library, Dunedin, and the Auckland Institute and Museum Library, the staffs of which have been most helpful; Mr. L. W. Melvin of Tauranga, whose unexcelled knowledge of the history of Tauranga has always been at my disposal; Mr. Ronald W. Melvin, who so skilfully prepared the maps; my son, Mr. R. L. Rogers, who gave me much help at a critical moment; and, not least, my thanks to Mrs. Douglas Smith of Whakatane for very much practical assistance. Mrs. Freda Dodghsun of Gisborne has given much help in collecting records, and Mr. R. G. Gerard, M. P., gave material assistance in procuring copies of the journals in London.
I owe a great debt to Mr. Algar Williams, a grandson of Archdeacon Henry Williams, who has for many years gathered a vast amount of material concerning the life of his grandfather, and who has with devoted and scholarly care collated and annotated those papers. His specialized knowledge has always been at my service. Mr. A. B. Williams of Puketiti, Te Puia Springs, although a descendant of the collateral branch of the family, has given me much encouragement and financial assistance in the project.
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Finally, sincere thanks are given to those descendants of Archdeacon Henry Williams whose financial help has made possible the publication of these journals.
While thanks are due to the Church Missionary Society for allowing publication of the existent journals of Henry Williams it is to be hoped that when the Society sees what can be done it will permit other such documents to be sent out of England for publication in their country of origin. Photostat copies have been suggested but this is a costly process and only a second-best alternative. These old papers, so rightly cherished, are every year becoming more fragile. It would seem better to lend the originals, so that they may be published with care and respect, than to allow them to disintegrate gradually in the Society's archives and the valuable information they contain lost for ever.
In conclusion, I express the hope that the journals of the other missionaries of the pre-Waitangi period, which now lie in libraries or in private possession, may soon be published. In them lies much of the material with which historical studies are built. Not only should they be available to all interested in New Zealand's history, but they would also be saved from possible destruction. Far too many early journals have already been lost.
LAWRENCE M. ROGERS
Te Wananga a Rangi
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I. DECEMBER 1826 to DECEMBER 1827 ......... 31
Brig captured by convicts -- Wesleyans abandon Whangaroa -- Hongi wounded -- Problems with girls and ships -- Threats of muru -- Marsden arrives -- N. Z. Colony in N. S. W. -- Herald leaves for Sydney -- Translation work -- Peacemaking parleys.
II. JANUARY to NOVEMBER 1828 ......... 96
Problems of food --Interview between Ngapuhi and Kawakawa -- Hongi's death -- Whareumu killed -- Peace expedition to Hokianga -- Arranging escape for Rotorua party -- Voyage to Whakatane, Opotiki, Tauranga -- Rangituke killed -- Litany read in Maori -- Peacemaking at Waitangi.
III. APRIL to MAY 1829 ................ 150
"Stripping" party from Rangihoua -- Hahunga of Hongi's bones at Whangaroa.
IV. MARCH to DECEMBER 1830 .......... 155
"Girls' War" -- Marsden arrives -- Fighting at Thames -- School examinations.
V. JANUARY to DECEMBER 1831 ............. 168
Peace parleys at Hokianga, Mangakahia, &c. -- War party to Tauranga -- Karere launched -- Trouble with Rotorua Maoris -- Journey to Rotorua -- More peacemaking.
VI. JANUARY to DECEMBER 1832 .............. 211
War party to Tauranga -- Peace parleys -- Pomare plans attack on Waikato -- Land troubles -- Ceremonial with heads.
VII. JANUARY to DECEMBER 1833 .............. 272
Peace parleys -- Voyage to Tauranga and Maketu -- East Cape Maoris captured by Captain Black -- Busby arrives -- Rotorua asks for missionaries -- Ploughs used at Waimate -- Death of Tohitapu -- Journey to Thames and Waikato -- Te Waharoa -- Journey to Whangaroa.
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VIII. JANUARY to DECEMBER 1834 ............... 356
Te Waharoa's patu delivered -- Voyage to Kaitaia -- Attack on Busby -- Missionaries leave for Waikato -- Trouble with Wesleyans -- Fighting at Kororareka.
IX. JANUARY to DECEMBER 1835 ........... 405
A. N. Brown leaves for Waikato -- Peace parleys -- Journey to Thames and Waikato.
X. 1836 to 1839 .............. 433
Tribal wars in Waikato -- Journey to Waikato -- Tribal wars in Bay of Islands -- Bishop Pompallier arrives -- Mission established in Poverty Bay.
XI. OCTOBER 1839 to JANUARY 1840 ........... 445
Voyage to Port Nicholson -- Hadfield established at Otaki -- Wanganui visited -- Overland journey to Taupo, Rotorua and Tauranga -- Meets Captain Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor.
I The Family of Henry Williams ......... 479
II Maori Orthography ................... 480
III Land Purchases ..................... 484
IV The Herald ................... 487
V C. M. S. Vindication of Henry Williams .. 491
Glossary of Maori Words ........... 493
Bibliography ...................... 495
Index .............................. 507
Hokianga--Bay of Islands area ............................ 26-7
Bay of Plenty, Rotorua & Waikato journeys, 1828-36 ... 28
The journey to Port Nicholson, 1839-40 ................... 29
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HENRY WILLIAMS ............................................. frontispiece
From a daguerrotype, probably in the 1860s. (Auckland Institute & Museum) ..
THE BEEHIVE, PAIHIA ............................................96
From a sketch by Henry Williams, about 1823. (Auckland Institute & Museum)
"PASSING THROUGH A SWAMP IN NEW ZEALAND" ........................96
From a sketch found among Henry Williams's papers. (Auckland Institute & Museum)
THE FIRST CHURCH AT PAIHIA ......................................97
From a sketch by Dr J. Kinder. (Colonists Museum, Auckland)
LITTLE OMAHA ......................................112
From a sketch by Henry Williams, 1831. (Auckland Institute & Museum)
PAIHIA IN THE 1830S ......................................112
From W. Williams's Christianity Among the New Zealanders, 1867.
THE LAUNCHING OF THE HERALD ......................................113
From a sketch by Mrs Henry Williams, January 1826.
WAR CANOES AND MISSION BOAT ......................................113
From a sketch by Henry Williams reproduced in Carleton's Life.
From a sketch by Henry Williams, 1832.
HENRY WILLIAMS ......................................192
Two sketches by T. B. Hutton, about 1846. (Rev. W. C. Cotton, journal, Mitchel Library, Sydney)
A PAGE FROM THE JOURNAL ......................................193
6 January 1832.
HENRY WILLIAMS'S HOUSE AT PAIHIA ......................................208
From a sketch by Henry Williams. (Auckland Institute & Museum)
MRS HENRY WILLIAMS ......................................208
From a daguerrotype, probably in the 1860s. (Auckland Institute & Museum)
WILLIAM WILLIAMS ......................................209
(The Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt. Rev. A. K. Warren)
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C. M. S. ---- The Church Missionary Society
Carleton ---- H. Carleton: The Life of Archdeacon Henry Williams
G. B. P. P. ---- Great Britain Parliamentary Papers
H. R. A. ---- Historical Records of Australia H. W. The Rev. Henry Williams
H. R. N. Z. ---- Historical Records of New Zealand (McNab)
J. P. S. ---- Journal of the Polynesian Society
Marsden L. & J. ---- The Letters and Journals of Samuel Marsden (Elder)
O. L. C. ---- Old Land Claims, New Zealand National Archives
Record ---- The Missionary Record
Trans. N. Z. Inst. ---- Transactions of the New Zealand Institute
W. W. ---- The Rev. William Williams
The printed text of the journal follows the microfilm copy of the manuscript in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. No corrections of spelling or slips of the pen have been made. The only alterations have been some few additions in punctuation and the adoption of a uniform style for the dates of the journal entries. It will be noticed that the dates are sometimes confusing. These are as written. But a few obvious errors in the sequence of days have been corrected. The reader is referred to the index as a key to all Maori names with variant spellings.
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"New Zealand's greatest pioneer" was the description of Henry Williams made by one who was well qualified to judge. 1 Missionary, peacemaker, pioneer, explorer, adviser to two governors, Williams made his mark on New Zealand in a period of great significance. He came as the superintending missionary of the Church Missionary Society when its New Zealand mission was at its lowest ebb, and seemed about to collapse. The master plan of Samuel Marsden had failed completely, partly because many of the men appointed to implement it were not of the necessary calibre. Henry Williams gave the mission a new beginning and a new emphasis, and by his vision, energy and courage transformed failure into success.
Marsden's plan was that the New Zealand mission should be established by artisan missionaries. He expounded this idea in 1808 in a letter to the C. M. S. 2: "Since nothing, in my opinion, can pave the way for the introduction of the Gospel but civilization, and that can only be accomplished among the heathen by arts, I would recommend that three mechanics be appointed to make the first attempt, should the Society come to the determination to form an establishment in New Zealand. One of these men should be a carpenter, another a smith, and a third a twinespinner.... Though the missionaries might employ a certain portion of their time, according to local circumstances, in manual labour, this neither would nor ought to prevent them from constantly endeavouring to instruct the natives in the great doctrine of the Gospel, and fully discharging the duties of catechists. The attention of the heathen can be gained, and their vagrant habits corrected, only by the arts. Till their attention is gained, and moral and industrious habits are induced, little or no progress can be made in teaching them the Gospel."
The Committee of the C. M. S. agreed to these proposals, and in 1814 Marsden arrived in New Zealand accompanied by William Hall a shipwright, John King a rope-maker, and Thomas Kendall a schoolmaster. Later James Kemp a blacksmith, George Clarke
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an agriculturalist, William T. Fairburn a carpenter, and other "mechanics" were sent. Kendall, because of his better education and his age--he was in middle-age when he came--became the leader, and for some time made a real contribution to the development of the mission and the civilization of the Maori. In due course, however, he fell victim to the temptations of his isolation and situation, and had to be dismissed. Marsden then appointed the Rev. J. Butler as superintendent of the mission, but Butler proved temperamentally unfitted for the position, and he too was dismissed.
Idealistic as it was, Marsden's plan had no real chance of success. For his purpose he needed men of education and self-discipline who had the courage and the ability to win the respect of the Maori chiefs. The "mechanics" appointed were good men in their way, but they were unfitted either by education or native ability to fulfil their real task as Christian missionaries. Without strong leadership they were bound to fail, and neither Kendall nor Butler supplied that leadership. The result was dismal failure.
It was at this moment of despair that Henry Williams arrived on the scene. His training as an officer in the Royal Navy had given him habits of courage and discipline, his training in the theology of his time gave him reason for his strong Christian faith, and his strength of character fitted him to meet unfalteringly the tests and temptations of the task. He took hold of the situation with energy and enthusiasm and rapidly became the dominating figure. He won the admiration and the affection of many of the leading chiefs and their people, and, at first slowly but with increasing momentum, his mana was greatly responsible for making Christianity a real force amongst them. When Henry Williams arrived in 1823 there were but two mission stations in the Bay of Islands; by 1840 he had been mainly responsible for increasing the number to more than twenty, distributed throughout the whole of the North Island. Many other missions were started by Maori converts who had received their training under the Bay of Islands missionaries.
Historians of the period are agreed that the coming of Henry Williams changed the whole character of the mission, and that he was a force to be reckoned with. What is not always recognized is that the impact he had upon the warlike Maori, and the great influence he achieved in their councils, made possible the establishment of New Zealand as a British colony. Had he not thrown his weight behind the Treaty of Waitangi, it most certainly would never have been signed by the principal Maori chiefs. The opposition was strong, even although there had been a measure of preparation for British rule among the chiefs of the Bay of Islands and Hokianga.
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Not that there had been deliberate preparations for the Treaty itself, but the appeal to William IV in 1831 by many of the Northland chiefs, and Busby's Confederation of the Tribes in 1835 were steps in that direction. What really laid the ground for the acceptance of British rule was the conversion of many of the leading chiefs to Christianity, and their consequent desire for a rule which would bring peace. Men like Tamati Waaka Nene and Rawiri Taiwhanga, great and famous warriors of their time, had become devout Christians, and added their considerable mana to that of the missionaries. It has become the fashion in some quarters to belittle this aspect and to claim that the signing of the Treaty was done by illiterate, uncivilized savages who signed in order to get the blankets which they regarded as payment for their signatures. Such a point of view is quite ridiculous. Many of the Maori chiefs concerned were neither illiterate nor unintelligent, as Hone Heke proved later in his clashes with British authority. Moreover, every clause in the Treaty was carefully explained and expounded by men whose first thought was always the well-being of the native people. Other writers have claimed that it was purely a commercial motive, the desire for trade, which underlay the willingness to sign. This was partly true, but it does not explain many factors in the situation, in particular the initial opposition of many of the chiefs and the antagonism and opposition to British rule by many of the traders. It is quite plain that had the missionaries not used their influence there would have been very great difficulty in securing the agreement of the chiefs to British rule.
Henry Williams was not, of course, the only missionary concerned. Others played their part. Nevertheless, it is true to say that he was the dominant figure, and above all others the pakeha respected by the Maori people of the North Island. Not even Governor Grey, who later tried very hard to break that influence, could achieve his purpose.
In view of the primitive conditions in New Zealand in those early years, it was inevitable that such a man as Henry Williams would create enemies. He was a stern, disciplined, courageous man with very strictly defined views about what was right and what was wrong. For him there were only two roads, the high way and the low way, and he divided men, as well as customs, into two mutually exclusive groups--good or bad. When he saw the right way, he followed that way, whatever the cost to himself. Where he considered duty or honour was at stake, he feared no man, and crossed swords with some redoubtable opponents, not the least being Governor Grey. The dissolute lives of many of the sea captains and traders who frequented the Bay of Islands roused him to strong
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protests and action, and this made enemies of such men as Chevalier Peter Dillon and Augustus Earle, both of whom attacked him and the C. M. S. missionaries in books published in England.
Yet it was this same intransigency and courage which won the respect of the Maori chiefs. When Tohitapu, a tohunga famous alike for his ability in the arts of black magic and for his skill as a warrior, threatened him with witchcraft and haka, Henry Williams budged not an inch, and won the respect of all the Maori witnesses, who no doubt spread the story with embellishments. This was a typical incident in the life of a man, whose natural courage had been strengthened and disciplined as an officer in the Royal Navy. The pakeha riff-raff of Kororareka and the Maori chiefs corrupted by them could sneer, but they could neither ignore nor despise him. Not the least result of this prestige was the record Henry Williams achieved as a peacemaker. Again and again his courageous interventions, often at the risk of his own life, brought peace to warring tribes. He was not always successful, but the successes were many and often significant.
It was this courage, too, which made him a vigorous explorer. In the interests of the mission, he explored the whole of the North Island, travelling its coasts in frail vessels ill-fitted for such stormy seas, and probing its interior on foot through swamp and jungle to meet fierce and cannibal warrior chiefs in order to convert them to peace and to Christianity. His long, arduous and dangerous journeys are even greater achievements when it is remembered that he always suffered from the wound received on active service with the Royal Navy.
Henry Williams was born in Nottingham, England, on 9 February 1792, the third son of Thomas Williams. From early boyhood he dreamed of entering the Royal Navy, and this he achieved at the age of fourteen, when he joined the Barfleur under Sir Joseph Yorke, a friend of the family. He served in several ships-of-war, and in 1807 was in action at Copenhagen, in 1810 in an action when the boats of Christian VII attacked nine French gunboats in the Basque Roads, and in 1811 in the engagement off Tamateve between three British frigates and three French vessels of superior force. In this last engagement he was wounded, and the effect of the wound remained with him all his life. The last engagement in which he took part was between the Endymion and the United States frigate, President, and he was one of the prize crew commanded to take the captured President to Bermuda.
This was the last engagement of the war, and when peace came, Henry Williams retired on half pay. When he became a missionary,
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he refused to accept any salary from the Church Missionary Society, but subsisted on his half pay until it ceased in 1827.
His first impulse to missionary service came during the war, and developed in strength on his return to England. In 1818 he married Marianne Coldham, whose courage and devotion served him for fifty years. His brother-in-law, the Rev. Edward Garrard Marsh, was a member of the Church Missionary Society, and he drew the young officer into the work of the Society and interested him in the needs of distant New Zealand.
Delayed for some time because of troubles between the Maori tribes and the early missionaries, which gave the C. M. S. cause for seriously considering the abandonment of the mission, Henry Williams redeemed the time by making more thorough preparations for his future work. He studied surgery and medicine, as well as acquiring general knowledge of boat-building and such other skills as would be of practical use in an uncivilized country.
He was ordained as deacon and then priest in 1822, and on 15 September of that year he sailed with his wife and three children for Australia on the convict ship Lord Sidmouth. It was, to say the least, an uncomfortable voyage on a vessel containing 270 female convicts, including 100 free women on their way to join their convict husbands. They arrived in Australia on 10 February 1823, and were taken to Parramatta, the home of the Rev. Samuel Marsden, where they remained for five months before securing a passage to New Zealand. The presence of two young Maoris at Parramatta gave them the opportunity of studying the language.
With the Rev. Samuel Marsden, Mr. and Mrs. Williams and their family left Sydney on board the Brampton on 21 July 1823 and arrived in the Bay of Islands on 3 August. Also on board were Mr. and Mrs. Fairburn of the C. M. S. as well as Mr. and Mrs. Turner and Mr. Hobbs of the Wesleyan mission.
As Whangaroa had been occupied by the Wesleyans, Paihia was chosen for the new mission station, and here, with the help of Fairburn, a raupo house and a chapel were quickly built and Mr. and Mrs. Williams settled down to begin their life's work.
Many difficulties had to be faced and overcome. The language had to be learned and mastered, Maori customs had to be learned, understood and in some cases overcome, and food was scarce since their Maori neighbours refused to part with anything except in exchange for muskets and powder, articles of trade which Henry Williams was determined not to condone. Nevertheless, before the year was out, day schools and Sunday schools were established and church services and pastoral visiting were commenced.
Much time had to be spent on practical things. Houses had to be
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built, gardens laid out, chimneys erected. Food shortages and the need for transport made necessary the building of a small ship of fifty-five tons, the Herald. Because the situation demanded it, much of this work was done by Henry Williams.
In 1826 the effectiveness of the mission was increased by the arrival of the Rev. William Williams and his wife, who were to prove most welcome assistants. The two brothers and their wives made a fine team. Henry was the aggressive leader, full of energy and determination, a man of action. William Williams was more the scholar, yet in his own quieter way as courageous and active as his brother. How much New Zealand owes to these two men it would be difficult to exaggerate. With different abilities they worked together in close harmony, and laid a foundation of organization, understanding and learning which is still affecting the relationship of pakeha and Maori.
Life was never free from danger, and evidence of this came in 1827 when a party of Hongi's warriors sacked the Wesleyan mission station at Kaeo and drove the missionaries out. For a time it appeared that a general attack on all mission stations was possible, but the threat was never fulfilled. At the same time another problem was presented by the arrival in the Bay of the brig, Wellington, which had been captured by convicts and had now to be retaken by force. Altogether the year was a very troubled one, with many rumours of the death of Hongi, who had been wounded at Whangaroa, and consequent threats of muru.
The next year opened with news of the death of Hongi, but this was another false alarm, and the great chief did not die until 10 March. When this news reached Paihia, it was further complicated by word from Hokianga that Pomare's son and Whareumu had been killed at Hokianga, and war parties immediately assembled for revenge. Henry Williams, with a party of C. M. S. missionaries, went with the taua, and by his intervention peace was made. This was his first great success in preventing tribal warfare, and was to set the pattern for much future enterprise. Ten days after his return from this expedition, Henry Williams again intervened in native affairs, this time to save a party of Rotorua people from the vengeful spirit of the Ngapuhi by taking them secretly in the Herald to Tauranga.
The years passed with this kind of excitement being part of ordinary experience. Much time was given to pastoral and evangelizing work, as well as domestic tasks beyond the normal experience of most men. Schools were organized, and one of the great days of 1829 was the first school examination, which was held
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in an atmosphere of pageantry. At first, converts to Christianity were slow in coming, but this was due mainly to the insistence of Henry Williams on very long periods of probation before admission to the Church by public baptism was permitted.
What is known as the "Girls' War" at Kororareka made 1830 memorable. Two women of rank had quarrelled over their affection for the captain of a whaler, and war resulted. After much fighting had occurred Henry Williams again secured peace, this time with the help of Marsden, who arrived in time to take part in the peace negotiations. Unfortunately, however, although peace was established at Kororareka, the death of Hengi led to war expeditions which carried on for some years.
In 1831 Henry Williams and Thomas Chapman sailed in the cutter, Karere, for Maketu and from thence travelled overland to Rotorua to arrange for the establishing of a mission station there. But this adventurous journey was eclipsed in the next year when Henry Williams accompanied a large fighting force to Tauranga, again with the sole purpose of securing peace, although this time without avail. Two years later he again went down to Maketu to intervene between the Ngapuhi and the Ngai-te-Rangi of Tauranga, but was again unsuccessful.
Much hope for the future was expected in 1833 when James Busby arrived as British Resident, but the hope was premature. The same year was marked by the first exploratory journey to the Waikato, when Henry Williams discussed the establishment of a mission station with the great chief, Te Waharoa. On the return journey he explored the volcanic island of Rangitoto. The mission station at Puriri was established in the next year, when Henry Williams settled Wilson and Fairburn and their families there.
The Puriri mission seemed to have become well established when in 1835 news of tribal wars brought Henry Williams again to the Waikato, where he obtained assurances of peace from Te Waharoa, and then passed on to the station at Mangapouri. Visiting Te Horo, the seat of the fighting, he persuaded Te Kanawa and Kauwai to make peace. He next went on to Ngaruawahia, where he interviewed Te Wherowhero, and secured his agreement for peace with the people of the Thames and for the establishing of a mission station at Manakau. Four months later, he again sailed to Waikato, this time with the Rev. Robert Maunsell, and settled a fresh dispute between the Waikato and the Thames tribes. But disappointment followed success, for Rotorua Maoris had killed and eaten Hunga, a cousin of Te Waharoa. The result was war, and the destruction and temporary abandonment of the southern missionary stations.
Despite all this movement and counter movement, work was still
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being carried on in the mission stations in the Bay of Islands. Trouble was caused by the lawless pakeha settlers in Kororareka, and Henry Williams was anxious for action by Great Britain, either by the strengthening of the hands of the British Resident, or by the establishment of British government. 3 Among the Maori tribes of the Bay of Islands peace had been the rule for some considerable time, but in 1837 this was broken by a tribal war between the people of Titore and those of Pomare. Again Henry Williams secured a settlement, but not before some of the leading chiefs had been killed.
In 1838 troubles and successes vied with one another. The establishment of a Roman Catholic mission in New Zealand was a great trial to Williams, confusing, as it did, the appeal of Christianity to the Maori. In April, the arrival of a French man-o'-war caused some concern as to its purpose. But progress in the mission was shown when, in October, Henry Williams sailed with six Maori converts who had volunteered to go as missionaries to the East Cape and Turanga. 4
The following year gave evidence of even greater advance. Responding to the request of Te Rauparaha, Henry Williams set out with the Rev. Octavius Hadfield to establish a mission station at Otaki. They travelled by ship to Port Nicholson, and, after settling Hadfield at Otaki and achieving another settlement of peace between warring tribes, Henry Williams returned through Wanganui, up the Wanganui River, overland round Tongariro by a route near to what is now known as the Desert Road to Taupo, Rotorua and Tauranga. This journey on foot of 330 miles through rugged, uncharted country was an amazing feat. It was while at Port Nicholson on this occasion that by defending the Maori he incurred the anger of the representatives of the New Zealand Company, and received much undeserved abuse.
With the arrival of Captain Hobson in January 1840 a new era began for New Zealand, and Henry Williams found himself involved as political adviser to the Crown. He threw all his powerful influence behind the Treaty of Waitangi, and, when it was taken throughout New Zealand to secure the consent of the leading chiefs, he chose for himself the most difficult area, that of Cook Strait, where against the opposition of the New Zealand Company's servants, he secured the signatures of many of the chiefs. Although he had wished to devote himself entirely to missionary work, his knowledge and
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prestige were indispensable to Hobson and Fitzroy, and involved him in problems which he would gladly have avoided.
The coming of Bishop Selwyn in 1842 relieved him from some responsibilities, but both men were too strong-minded to work in complete harmony, and, to complicate matters, they belonged to different schools of theological thought. In 1844 Henry Williams was made Archdeacon of Waimate.
From this time troubles came thick and fast. Stirred by disgruntled American whalers, and by loss of personal revenue, Hone Heke and Kawiti broke into rebellion, and at first soundly defeated the British forces. In the passions aroused by war, Henry Williams was attacked as a traitor--an accusation which aroused his strong indignation. What troubled him even more, however, was the revival of pagan religion which began to undermine the mission's achievements.
His real troubles began with the coming of Captain George Grey, who replaced Fitzroy as governor. Grey was a very able man, but he was determined to be the despotic ruler of New Zealand and to crush those who stood in his way. Chief amongst these obstacles to his personal success was the power of the missionaries, and especially that of Henry Williams. Competent historians are now agreed that Grey was ruthless and unscrupulous. 5 His first attack seized the rumour of Williams being a traitor, and in a public statement he insinuated that Williams had written treasonable letters to the rebel chief, Kawiti. When this attack failed, he tried other methods. The fact that Williams had bought considerable lands 6 seemed made-to-order for a charge against him, especially as many pakeha settlers looked with envious eyes upon those lands. Grey first tried to undermine his influence with the Maori chiefs by accusing Williams of taking their lands, but this failed completely. Neither then or later were there any complaints on this issue from the Maori chiefs concerned; they were quite happy to know that "Te Wiremu" shared their lands with them.
Grey then turned to a new attack. He had failed with the Maori, perhaps he would have more success by an accusation against Williams to the British Government. He did not, however, make a personal attack, but phrased his accusation against all the missionaries who owned lands. In 1846 Grey wrote a secret dispatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 7 accusing the missionaries
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of possessing land which could not be secured for them, "without a large expenditure of British blood and treasure". This dispatch was later made public, and it was on the basis of this preposterous charge that a situation developed which caused the Church Missionary Society in 1849 to dismiss their veteran missionary from their service.
This is not the place to defend Williams, or to examine fully the charges against him. It is sufficient to point out that in 1854 the Church Missionary Society reinstated him, and in so doing admitted that they had been in the wrong. 8 This resulted from a request from Bishop Selwyn, 9 which was supported by a submission from Grey. The Society's resolution reads: "That adverting to the confidence which this Committee has ever felt and expressed in Archdeacon Henry Williams as a Christian Missionary, and their regret at his disconnexion with the Society which they understand may now be regarded as having passed away, rejoice to believe that every obstacle is providentially removed against the return of Archdeacon Henry Williams into full connexion with the Society, as one of its missionaries, and they therefore gladly dismiss from their recollection all past events, and will rejoice to hear that Archdeacon Henry Williams, receiving this resolution in the same spirit in which it is adopted, consents to return, and that all personal questions on every side, are merged in one common object, of strengthening the cause of Christ in the Church of New Zealand." 10
Henry Williams and his family had lived in Paihia for twenty-seven years. When they arrived the New Zealand mission was in a parlous state and had almost been abandoned. By 1840 the work had grown so much that he was able to claim that, "the natives assembling every Lord's day under our missionaries and native teachers are not less than 35 to 40,000". Not all of these, of course, were stable converts, and, when a reaction against the infiltration of the pakeha began, those without deep convictions returned to their pagan religions. Nevertheless large numbers still remained Christians and withstood the patriotic claim to apostatize.
When dismissal came, Henry Williams removed with his family to Pakaraka, and there built a church which was opened and dedicated in 1851. Although deeply hurt by the Society's action, he was not bitter. Still a clergyman of the Church of England, he carried on the duties of a minister of that Church without stipend
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or vicarage until his reinstatement. In some ways the change was a blessing in disguise. For years he had been diverted from his real work by politics, war and personal problems. Now he could begin his real work again. As before, he sailed up and down the coast in his cutter, the Rainbow, and by his influence restored much lost ground and made many converts.
His last years were darkened by the Maori wars which began in 1860, and which constituted Maori protest against European infiltration. As in the Bay of Islands, so in this new war the spirit of nationalism expressed itself in a revival of pagan religion, this time under the name of Pai Marire, generally known as Hauhauism. In 1865 the Hauhaus drove William Williams and his family out from Poverty Bay, and they had to take refuge with his brother at Pakaraka. It was a sad day for those two men.
On 16 July 1867, Henry Williams died. But even his death proclaimed the message of his life. A few miles from Pakaraka, a tribal war had broken out; blood had been shed and passions were high. Edward Williams, emulating his father, had striven for peace without success. The eve of the appointed day of battle had come, when suddenly the news arrived that Te Wiremu was dead. The antagonists were so shocked by the news that, making common cause, they went to mourn the man who in his lifetime had been called the "Peacemaker". So in his death peace came again to the people whom he had given his life to serve.
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THE HOKIANGA - BAY OF ISLANDS AREA
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PRINCIPAL PLACES VISITED BY HENRY WILLIAMS ON HIS JOURNEYS TO THE BAY OF PLENTY, ROTORUA AND WAIKATO 1828-36
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PRINCIPAL PLACES VISITED BY HENRY WILLIAMS ON HIS JOURNEY TO PORT NICHOLSON 1839-40
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