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RECOLLECTIONS OF A WAIKATO MISSIONARY.
I MADE my first visit to the Waikato and Waipa rivers in February, 1839, on my way overland to Tauranga. At that period there was a large population on both rivers--the Ngatitipa residing at Waikato Heads, with their old cannibal chief Kukutai; Ngatipou, the largest tribe on the river, at Tarahanga, four miles below Rangiriri; the Ngatimahuta, at the coal mines and Wahi; and parties of various Waikato tribes at the Kumera grounds, at Taupiri. Ngaruawahia was not occupied. The Waipa and Horotiu rivers, including the settlements at Whatawhata, Te Rore, Kopua, Otawhao, Rangiaohia (now military posts), were thickly populated by the Ngatiruru, Ngatimahuta, Ngatinaho, Ngatihinetu, and other tribes on the Waipa river; and the Ngatihaua, Ngatikoroki, on the river Horotiu. The character of the natives on the rivers was bad; infanticide and suicide were not unfrequent; murder for witchcraft was common; captives taken in war were killed and eaten.
I will now mention some of the principal chiefs in the Waikato district. Te Wherowhero Potatau, chief of Ngatimahuta (afterwards Maori King); Te Waharoa, father of the late William Thompson, chief of Ngatihaua; Kukutai, of Ngatitipa, Waikato Heads; Uira, of Ngatipou, Whangape Lake; Mokorou, of Ngatiruru, Whatawhata; Puata, of Otawhao; Pungarehu, of Rangiaohia. At this period the war was being carried on by Waharoa, who led the Ngatihaua and Waikato against Rotorua.
On the 14th February, 1839, I left Manukau, via the Awaroa, in a canoe with four natives. On the 16th we reached Tarahanga, a large pa below Rangiriri. We found a large number of natives, among whom there were a few catechumens. We received a hearty welcome, and stayed for the night. The usual plan I adopted was, when I landed, to cause a bell to be rung; this induced the natives to assemble. I then made known to them the Gospel at once, endeavouring to convince them of sin and to lead them to a Saviour. After speaking on the one great theme, the love of Christ, I invariably catechised them to see how much they understood; they became interested, followed me to my tent, and the whole of the night till day-dawn has often been spent in answering questions on the all-important subject of man's salvation. No village was passed by without reminding them of their disease and the remedy, viz., man a sinner, and Christ the Saviour.
After visiting all the villages on the Waipa and Otawhao, I started inland via Matamata for Tauranga. At the former place, Tarapipipi, the late William Thompson, son of Te Waharoa, joined me as a guide, for a war party of 300 Ngatihaua were assembled at the Wairere waterfall, the commencement of the Tauranga ranges. On our arrival, their old chief Ponui said he was going with his party to attack Maketu, and that I must not proceed with them to Tauranga; if I attempted to go forward they
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would strip me. I said, 'E pai ana,' 'It is good; we will sit together, eat together, sleep together, and worship together.' This pleased them much; they said, 'We will come and hear what you have to say about this new religion.' In the evening all assembled, and I spoke to them from the words, "Whose feet are swift to shed blood;" they all listened attentively. At the close of the service, I went to Ponui the chief and said, 'You have now heard the Gospel; if you will go on with the war, it is possible you may be the first to fall.' Strange to say, he was the first man who was killed in attacking Maketu. When Tarapipipi (who was then a candidate for baptism) heard it, he said, 'When I am baptized I will never again engage in war.' He was baptized soon after, and he faithfully kept his promises, although invited by friends and relatives to join in the feuds of Waikato, Whaingaroa, and other places. It was not till the Waikato war that he said 'If the soldiers cross Maungatawhiri, I am absolved from my promise, for I shall then consider it a defensive war.' This fact alone shows the power of Christianity in curbing the unruly passions of man. There is no reason why William Thompson should not have been as great a warrior as his father, the dreaded Waharoa.
On my return to the Waipa river from Tauranga, I found that the natives had taken my canoe. After much trouble in procuring another, we pulled down the river, and about a mile below Te Rore we discovered our lost canoe on the bank, and the man who had taken it, with his companions, were inland eating their dinner. I said, 'Why have you taken my canoe?' He made no reply. I then told one of my crew, a young chief, to get into the canoe; I accompanied him, and we pulled off. The man in the meantime loaded his musket, and called upon us to bring the canoe back or he would fire. We pulled on with all speed; a bullet was sent after us, which whizzed close past our heads; he loaded again and fired--that bullet also came very near us; he loaded a third time and fired, but as we were a long way down the stream the bullet did not come near us.
When near Tuakau I met a canoe of natives from the Manukau; they told me that my house was burnt down, and they did not know if my family had escaped. I was stunned at the news; but after a few questions I found it was not the house, but a store. Next day I reached home and found all well as regarded my family, but that the store, containing part of my property had been burnt, having been set on fire by a spark from a pipe, which a careless native let fall during a gale.
Thus ended my first visit to the Waikato.
In June we removed from Moeatoa, on the Manukau, to Maraetai, Waikato Heads. I arrived on the 13th of June, and the Rev. R. Maunsell on the 20th, and thus the Church Mission Station at Waikato Heads was formed. The great hindrance at this time to the reception of the Gospel was the tapu of the great chiefs. Sometimes the chief was made sacred and could not be approached; or perhaps a road was made tapu and must be avoided; at other times the river, and no canoe dare leave the banks. Then Wahi tapu (sacred places) were very numerous, and if a horse, cow, or any other animal strayed upon them, a payment was demanded. Other hindrances were then frequent--quarrels respecting land, eel fisheries, the betrothment of their women, infringement of the tapu, &c. Yet in spite of all these and other obstacles, Christianity progressed. Those parts of the New
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Testament which had been translated were eagerly sought for; reading and Bible classes were attended; and there were candidates for baptism in almost every village. One of the most pleasing features at this time was the anxiety which many of the natives (chiefs and slaves) manifested to learn to read. Our early morning school was well attended, and it was encouraging to see (as in some cases) boys of thirteen or fourteen teaching their fathers, at their own homes, to read the Scriptures. Our congregations at Waikato Heads averaged from three to four hundred every Sunday.
On July 26, 1839, I again started for another missionary visit to Otawhao, 130 miles from our station at Waikato Heads. At every village on the Waikato or Waipa rivers the cry was for books. I found the greatest tohunga (i. e., native priest) living at Rangiriri being taught to read by his son, a lad of twelve years of age. After two years of constant perseverance he learned to read the New Testament fluently.
This popular old priest, named Te Paki (the putea korero, or bag of talk, from his eloquence), was afterwards baptized. I shall have more to say about him in a future letter. At this, time there were a few in every village who assembled daily for prayer morning and evening. It is true there was much ignorance. Many were feeling their way to the Truth, and it was an unspeakable pleasure and great privilege to point to "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."
On my arrival at Otawhao, I found Ngatiruru, with their chiefs Puata and Mokoro, had just returned from attacking Rotorua; they had been victorious, and were carrying baskets of human flesh to cook. Not less than sixty back loads were brought into the pa at Otawhao. The next day, July 30, 1839, was a great feast of human flesh, I quitted the pa in disgust, and I said to the Whare Kura--i. e., those natives disposed to Christianity-- 'Come, let us leave this pa and build a pa for Christ.' This they assented to readily, and more than 200 left. A site was chosen on the Awamutu (where the barrack and large bridge now stand), and a pa was built; and, at the request of the Whare Kura, I drew up laws and regulations for them. Theft, adultery, war, or a recurrence to heathen customs, was followed by a request to the offender to leave the pa; he was not suffered to remain; and all who joined the Whare Kura assented to keep the regulations of the new pa. Daily worship, school, and Sabbath services were established. I spoke to all the heathen chiefs residing at Otawhao and Rangiaohia, and they assured me that the Whare Kura, the natives living in the new pa, should not be molested, as they were all related to them.
I now proceeded to Rarowere, a large pa a mile from Rangiaohia, now a militia post. The natives here were very rough, and were then, in the full tenor of the word, savages: they had been partakers, a few days since, in the cannibal feast at Otawhao. I found amongst them seven natives disposed to Christianity, and one who could read; he being a moral character, I gave him a New Testament, and, as far as finished, the Prayer-book. I told him how to calculate for the Sabbath; to do no work on that day, to read the New Testament, pointed out, and the prayers, &c. I then preached in a small raupo house, and called it a chapel. After commending this little community to the consideration of the chiefs, for the most part heathen, I left them. Although sometimes threatened by the heathen, they persevered; and, on my next visit, a few months afterwards, they had increased to fifteen, and in twelve months they numbered twenty-nine, two of whom were baptized.
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On my return to Otawhao, I found Mokoro trying to get another war party to go to Rotorua; this I opposed with all my might. I induced Broughton, a cousin of the late William Thompson, to help me; and by the blessing of God on Christian principles, which were silently but effectually working, the old chief did not succeed. No war party could be got together. I now returned to the Waipa villages, and proceeded down the Waikato, calling at each pa, and I trust, praising God for the progress of the Gospel.
After a few weeks at home, I again started on a long missionary journey to Taupo, with four natives, more than 200 miles from the station. I called at each village on the Waikato and Waipa rivers, held Bible classes, and examined candidates for baptism. On the 13th I reached Te Awamutu. The Whare Kura, the name given to those natives who were well disposed to Christianity, many of whom were catechumens, readily agreed to accompany me to Taupo. After visiting several villages, the third day we reached Te Kainga Roa, i. e., the Taupo plain, a dreary wilderness, without tree, bird, beast, or human being. We altogether lose the fern here; and naked rocks with white spear-like grass is the character of the scenery for several days' journey. We generally walked from twenty to thirty miles each day. On November 1 we reached the first Taupo village, and we were well received by these poor heathen, for they had only heard of Christianity from a few strangers who passed through their village. Their hospitality was very great: they killed two pigs, --supplying our party, about thirty in number, with plenty of food. I remained two days with them, and made known to them man a sinner, Christ the Saviour, and they soon became greatly interested. There is nothing arrests their attention like the one great subject, the love of Christ. I proceeded from this village to Tutakamoana, where I spent the Sabbath. A large number of natives attend these services.
Here we had a most beautiful view of the snow-capped mountain Tongariro, an active volcano. Clouds of smoke were ascending from its crater. The next day I felt so unwell, being over-tired, that I could not walk to the next village on the banks of the lake. A party of natives immediately volunteered to carry me in an amo (i. e., a contrivance something like a stretcher, of poles and canvas: you lie down, and the poles are tied together and placed on men's shoulders). As I had no payment to give them, I felt pleased and gratified at this mark of kindness from my uncivilised brethren. We then crossed Lake Taupo, On our arrival at Rotongaio, the cry was-- 'We want book.' I had only a few Psalters left, which I gave them. One young chief said, 'I have one great want; it is not blankets, tobacco, or money; only give me the Maori New Testament.' I said, 'I have none left. Come with me to the Waikato and you shall have one.' He replied, 'It is good: I will.' He accompanied me a journey of 200 miles to obtain a Testament; remained twelve months; was baptized with his wife; returned to Taupo as a teacher; lived a consistent life; and died a happy death. I now went round the lake, calling at each village, and was everywhere well received. Natives assembled to hear of the new tikanga (religion), and the simple truth, Christ died for all, arrested the attention of all, touched the hearts of some and was no doubt made effectual to the salvation of those who received it
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in truth and sincerity. I think I am not mistaken in saying that my aged brother the Rev. T. Chapman, or Archdeacon H. Williams, was the first to visit Taupo and make known the Gospel. I paid the third missionary visit in 1839, and there was not then a baptized native on the lake; heathen darkness prevailed, heathen abominations were practised, but still a faint streak of light had penetrated; the name of Christ was known; books and teachers were desired. Numbers were anxious to learn to read, yet not to the same extent as on the Waikato and the Waipa rivers.
When we reached the Rapa, where Te Heuheu, the heathen chief of Taupo, was living, our welcome was most enthusiastic; we were most hospitably entertained, and, above all, our message was listened to. A large number assembled to hear the same glorious truth, the Saviour's love. Although there were some inquirers, I am afraid this fine old chief was too wedded to his native superstitions ever to think seriously of the truths he had heard. After the service, he said in a most courteous way, 'I will consider what you have been saying.' He then began to ask questions respecting Te Wherowhero Potatau, and other Waikato chiefs. I should say that this old chief was idolized by his people, and his influence over them very great. Perhaps it will be well to mention his end.
In the month of June, 1845, Captains Nugent and Wilmot reached the Rapa (Heuheu's pa), on the Lake Taupo, situated at the foot of hills 2,000 feet high, abounding with hot springs. It had been raining heavily for some days, and the above-mentioned officers were urged to remain until the rain had abated. They refused. The invitation was repeated and most earnestly pressed, but they still refused and left the pa in pouring rain, and slept a few miles distant at a small village on the banks of the lake. The rain continued in torrents; the hot springs at the back of the Rapa were so swollen, that in the night of the very day they had left a deluge of boiling mud descended as an avalanche, and buried Te Heuheu and forty natives, entirely destroying the village. The two officers called at my station at Taupiri and told me of their providential escape. Many of the natives looked upon it as a judgment for the obstinate adherence of Te Heuheu and his party to heathenism; and numbers joined the Whare Kura. But it was left for the Rev. T. Grace, than whom a more indefatigable missionary could not be mentioned, to carry on the work which had been begun. As a proof, to provide stores for his family, he has often accompanied his natives several day's journey to the coast, and returned with them, carrying aback load himself, 70 lb. in weight. 'In season, and out of season,' he was at work, teaching and preaching in his large district. Few English clergymen would or could endure the hardship or privation which my Christian brother willingly and cheerfully underwent for the sake of the Gospel.
We returned via Waipa and Waikato; and thus ended my third visit.
At the beginning of the year 1840 we paid the Waipa and Otawhao another visit. I found the Gospel everywhere progressing.
The method we pursued with our catechumens before they received baptism, was this: Most of the candidates were kept for one year's probation, others two years or even longer. They must all possess a correct knowledge of the essential doctrines of the Gospel; they must be moral in conduct; renounce all heathen superstitions and customs; if polygamists,
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put away all their wives excepting one, and be faithful to her. The one retained was generally a catechumen, and the mother of the children. I have known chiefs put away as many as eight wives. Makoro, of Whatawhata, is an instance. The forsaken women were at liberty to marry, and many did so; they knew the rule, and did not consider it a hardship. We never departed from this rule, as we believed it to be the Gospel plan, and a sure test of sincerity. On my return from the Waipa river and Otawhao, I found a large assembly of natives at Waikato Heads, about twelve hundred, to witness the baptism of 127 natives by the Rev. R. Maunsell. On March 20, they were received into the Church by baptism. It was a joyful day for the Missionaries. I may say that we had for months and weeks been engaged in preparing these candidates, by Bible classes, involving numerous journeys, and, above all, by the deep searching catechizing they underwent from the Rev. R. Maunsell, who took this duty in addition to his daily translational labours, for he was then engaged in translating the Old Testament, the New having been finished.
I think we may humbly say that it was an endeavour to receive into the Church only those who had been duly prepared and had given evidence that they were under religious impressions. God only knows the heart. If some proved unfaithful, many lived consistent lives and died happy deaths.
The power of the Gospel was now telling upon the whole population. Infanticide and suicide were now rarely perpetrated. No instance occurred of cannibalism at this time on the Waikato. Wars were prevented; all the natives were now clothed, even children; cleanliness was more apparent (it was on the decline of Christianity many years afterwards that they became less cleanly). Our congregation continued to increase; the Sabbath was respected; reading classes well attended; our native monitors were zealous and good men, many quite an example to their countrymen; and I think I may say that, amidst many trials, the hearts of the Missionaries were lifted up in thankfulness and praise for the wonders God had wrought. This was a time of rejoicing for all. Oh, that a gracious God may indeed baptize them with His Holy Spirit, the only effectual baptism that will avail for salvation.
June 15, I again visited Otawhao and other places, and returned home more and more encouraged, for some of the chiefs and native priests now came forward as candidates for baptism. There was still much to hinder the progress of the Gospel; the chiefs feared witchcraft and the power of the native priests. The tapu was still all-powerful, and the betrothing of children the source of much trouble.
In August, I paid another visit to Otawhao and found the Whare Kura, at the Awamutu pa, had been threatened by the heathen chiefs with vengeance; I succeeded in pacifying them. Several candidates for baptism had arrived at Mokau, which induced me to visit that district via Otawhao, Hangatiki, and Rangitoto, in December; thus the leaven of the Gospel was gradually spreading. To God be the glory.
In the beginning of the year 1841, the Ngatitipa, at Waikato Heads, proposed that I should go as their missionary to Wellington, as there happened to be a schooner in the harbour. They subscribed £10 to pay my passage, proposing that I should return on foot by the coast, calling at every pa on my way. We left Waikato Heads in February, and after a passage of eight days reached Wellington. I there found a native catechist, Richard Davis, who could speak English fluently, diligently
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labouring among the natives of Port Nicholson, Porirua, and other places. This native was greatly respected; his wife and children were patterns of cleanliness and neatness, and his house was well furnished. Richard Davis had been threatened by the heathen chiefs: if he continued to teach Christianity, they said they would make him a slave and take his wife from him; but he quietly persevered, and God blessed his labours. I visited several of the congregations he had collected from among ths heathen. This lamented teacher was drowned whilst crossing the harbour to minister to some of the congregations. He was universally respected in the then small town of Wellington. At the beginning of March I left Wellington for Porirua and Waikanae. At the latter place I found the Rev. O. Hadfield labouring by himself in that large pa, containing eight or ten hundred natives. It was a thrilling sight to see collected on the Sunday morning for service more than seven hundred, all attentive and orderly; and in the afternoon more than five hundred remained for Sunday School. The progress of the Gospel has been wonderful; wars have been prevented and their heathen customs forsaken, through the blessing of God upon the labours of this indefatigable and zealous missionary.
My Christian brother accompanied me two days along the coast. I visited on my journey homeward thirty-two pas, and I found in each either a Church of England or a Wesleyan teacher, Prayer-books, and portions of the Testament; there was only one exception, that was a pa near Patea. I everywhere received a hearty welcome excepting at Rangitikei. After three weeks' travelling along the coast, I reached Waikato Heads, having walked about four hundred miles. The incidents of this journey were numerous and interesting, but they would take too long to narrate. I only profess to give a cursory view of the progress of Christianity in the Waikato district. I reached home in safety April 3. I found an assembly of two thousand natives at the station, the account of which I must defer till my next.
On reaching Waikato Heads on the 3rd, I found a large assembly of natives, upwards of 2,000, who had arrived to be present at the baptism of 200 catechumens. Every night we had reading-classes for all who could read, and hundreds came to hear the catechising on the Scriptures, which we considered, next to the preaching of the Gospel, the most important part of our work.
We were favoured with distinguished visitors at the station. Lady Franklyn and suite were guests at the Rev. R. Maunsell's. Dr Diffenbach, Mr Bagot (son of the Bishop of Oxford), and Captain Symonds, were our guests. All seemed surprised at the order and decorum of the Maories at our religious services and Bible classes. Another fact also surprised them, that numbers should come for the sake of public worship, and to see their friends baptized. It was not pot-houses or races that then attracted them, but simply the power of the Gospel. And that two thousand natives should assemble without quarrelling or disturbance, did seem astonishing to our English guests; especially when it was considered of what this heterogeneous mass was composed--old chiefs, who had been warriors and cannibals, slaves, native priests, women and children, now more or less well disposed to Christianity. Many of the women, now catechumens, had destroyed five, six, seven, and even more of their female children. I knew one woman who had destroyed ten. It was cheering to see the ameliorating
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and softening influence of Christianity pervading nearly the whole population of Waikato. It is true, there were many drawbacks to our joy at such seasons, lest the seed should be sown among thorns. We felt our responsibility to be great.
We also had other trials: among these I well remember the anxiety and fear my beloved wife and myself endured from the misconduct of one of our girls. She was the second wife of a Ngatihaua chief. Her husband had allowed her to join us on our return from Otawhao. She had been with us for about two years when she took a fancy to a young chief at Taupiri. I heard of it, wrote to her husband to fetch her, and I informed her brother also, who came and was her protector till her husband came. I placed her in a room and locked the door, but forgot to fasten the window. At night she opened it, and away she went. Her brother and myself searched for her in vain. Her husband heard of it; came in a great rage to me, demanded my horse as a payment, and threatened to burn the house down, till his tribe (the Ngatihaua) interfered, saying, 'Do not molest our father; he is our missionary; it was not his fault.' I remained firm, I would not give him my horse or anything as a payment. At last he cooled down and said 'it was only mouth; that he was very dark; would it not be well to make him a present of a double blanket, and that would be all about it.' This I did. The tribe of the young chief consented to fill their canoes with presents if they would leave the lady. This they did. Some time after they were both baptized and married; and their consistent conduct, especially that of the young chief, is such, that he has gained the respect of natives and Europeans. I should say the husband is now a minister of the Church of England. I mention this circumstance to show some of the trials which Missionaries had to put up with.
Infringement of the tapu, inadvertently, would sometimes cause a fight to be brought to the house. There were also numerous other annoyances to which we were constantly exposed; but a uniform kind, firm, and judicious conduct, with the blessing of God, generally succeeded in overcoming every obstacle. But our greatest trials were in times of sickness, to have no medical advice; not knowing what to do while we saw a beloved wife or child gradually declining in health. One dose of tartar emetic might, humanly speaking, have saved a sweet flaxen-haired, blue-eyed girl, aged four years, but there was none at the station. I sent a messenger to procure the medicine: when he returned she had been dead about an hour. Yet, amidst greater or lesser trials, our mercies abounded. We saw the work of God prospering in our hands, and this compensated for all. It was remarkable the way in which it pleased God to lessen the influence of the tapu. There was staying with me a young chief of Ngatipou, of great rank, the son of Uira, the great chief; his name was Taratiki, and he was with me when we were fired upon on the Waipa, as related in a former letter. Soon after his return, he and his companions were seized with an attack of typhoid fever; his companions died, but Taratiki was spared. I then took him with me to Tarahanga near Whangape, two days' pull up the river Waikato. I immediately went to his father, the old chief, whom I found to be tapu. No native but the tohunga (priest) was allowed to approach him. I, being an English Missionary, could do so with impunity. The old chief was sitting on a beautiful mat with his hands behind him, and numerous natives at a distance were watching him. I went to him and said, 'Your son has recovered and is here.' He replied, 'Do not let him
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come, I am tapu (sacred).' I then reminded him that satan is a hard master; he destroys natural affections. 'Your heart is crying from love to your son, and yet you will not see him.' Whilst talking his son came and sat down at a considerable distance, but so that his father could see him. The old chief motioned him to go away. I went to him and said, 'Now, Taratiki, you and I will remain quietly here.' By this time his tribe had formed a circle round the old chief and his son, although at a good distance. We had not to wait long, for the feelings of nature were too strong even for the tapu; the old man forgot his tapu, got up, ran to his son, put his arms round him, and began to weep; the deep sobs showed how keenly he felt; I could not help weeping too, and the whole tribe set up one continued tangi (wail). The news was spread that the tapu had been infringed, but no one noticed it. This considerably lessened the influence of the tapu. Thus does God, in his own way, break the bonds of Satan and set his people free.
At the beginning of the year 1843 the Church Missionary Station at Otawhao was formed by the late Rev. J. Morgan; and this earnest and zealous missionary soon caused a visible change in that district, both as regards the number of Christians, and civilisation. Through his influence, wheat was grown, flour mills were erected, bridges built, roads made, ploughs and carts introduced, and above all, two large weather-board churches were built, with fine spires--one at Otawhao and the other at Rangiaohia. I now discontinued my Missionary visits to Otawhao and Te Awamutu; and, at the request of my brethren, visited the western bank of the Thames. In February, I visited with my wife the villages on that bank. We were much pleased at the state of the small pa at Orere, and delighted to find a good girls' school under a native teacher named Martha. She had been taught at a neighbouring Mission Station, and her perseverance and energy in teaching the women and girls had been most successful. An air of comfort and civilisation pervaded this beautiful village, arising from their constant attention to religious duties. After spending a day with them, we took advantage of a lull in the strong westerly wind which had been blowing, and prepared to cross to Waiheke in our boat and canoe; the former, a small four-oared gig, in which I was with my wife and child, and a crew of four natives; the latter, a large canoe with our tent, bedding, and food, --which was pulled by two native men and four native girls, our domestics. We were about a mile and a half from the shore, when a strong south-easterly wind arose; the night was dark, and we were in great jeopardy, as the crew did not know much about boating. Providentially we saw a light on the opposite coast, for which we steered. We lost sight of the canoe, and feared she was swamped; our anxiety was indeed great when we arrived at the village at 11.30 p. m. Our first inquiry was, 'Has the canoe arrived?' The reply was, 'No.' We were much distressed, and felt sure that an accident had happened, as they had started some time before us from Orere. Our crew went to search, and, although suffering greatly from fatigue, anxiety prevented our sleeping. Towards morning we heard the joyful cry, ' E mata, e mata, e ora ana koutou, ka hari matou.' (O mother, are you indeed alive! Oh that is indeed joyful! ) I shall not easily forget the joy of that moment; we all knelt down on the sand and thanked God for His mercies.
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Our service, school, and reading-classes were well attended, and proved that Christianity was progressing. In September of this year I said farewell to my much-esteemed Christian brother at Waikato Heads, and proceeded with my family to form the Church Mission Station at Taupiri. Over-exertion caused a serious illness to my beloved wife; I expected her death every moment. We were alone in the house when our little daughter was born, our nearest English friends being 60 miles distant! It is at such moments as these that the Missionary realises the truth and power of the words of his Saviour, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." God was indeed better to us than our fears, and exceeded our hopes.
My district now comprised the Waikato as far as Port Russell, including Whangamarino, and extending to Whatawhata, on the Waipa, Kirikiriroa (i. e., Hamilton and Tamahere), in extent about 70 miles, and containing about thirty villages, in all of which there were daily morning and evening services, reading-classes, morning school, and Sunday services. Heathenism was fast disappearing; most of the natives made a nominal profession of Christianity, although the majority were unbaptised; our catechumens increased, and with many the root of the matter was in them. At the close of the year the Right Rev. Dr Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand, paid us his first visit, on his way to the various stations. He was accompanied by the Chief justice, Sir W. Martin. This encouraged us in our work. On their way down the river the Bishop had a conversation with Te Wherowhero Potatau, urging him to abandon his proposed expedition to Whangape Lake; a quarrel having arisen between two parties respecting an eel fishery. At the close of the year, William Naylor (Te Awaitaia), who had been baptized by the Wesleyans, called upon me and gave me his history as follows:- - 'Some years since, I met Archdeacon Williams, and accompanied him to Paihia (Bay of Islands). He told me I had a Father in heaven, and all the native gods were false; he also gave me some bread. I ate the bread and thought it good; I heard the words and thought them good. The next Sabbath I went to prayers and wondered at the words. Soon after, I went to the Manukau, and I told the chiefs that the Missionaries had said that all their atua (native gods) were false, and that their Father was in heaven. I now heard that a native at Waipa had a book that could speak, and I determined to see this wonderful thing. I got the book, but it would not talk, and I was very angry. I gave it to the owner who could read, and then was I surprised at the speaking book, and thought the words very good. Soon after, I went to Kawhia and told the natives that our Father was in heaven. I could never get the words out of my mind; but I went on in my old course, fighting, killing and eating my enemies, and drinking their blood, &c. After a time, I met a native teacher who confirmed the word I had heard at Paihia, and he gave me some books and slates. A Wesleyan Missionary next found me preparing to revenge the death of my father, who had been cut off at Ahuriri. He told me that the dead would rise again, and that at the day of judgment he would see all his relations, and that God would take vengeance on the wicked. I thought, if God will revenge my father's death I need not. I therefore abandoned my intention, and then joined the believing party. Soon after, I heard that the new doctrine was false and that the Missionaries' were deceiving them. I put my books and slates into a box till I should hear more about them. I soon after met another Missionary, who confirmed the truth of what I had
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previously heard. I now resolved to abandon my old courses and be steadfast to Christ. As a decisive step, I cut off my hair and threw it into the fire which was cooking food for my slaves. The chiefs of the Waikato, hearing of this profane act, brought a fight to kill my slaves. The prophets prophesied that I would die. I said, 'Well, if I die, call my new religion false; but if I live, true.' The fight remained several weeks, and, finding I did not die, they returned without killing my slaves.' I felt much interest in this account. Poor William, I fear, died under a cloud, but we are not his judges.
In March, a quarrel respecting an eel pa on the Whangape Lake, called Kororipo, threatened to involve the whole of Waikato in a war. I will give particulars of this disturbance, as it will show the power of the Gospel in curbing the unruly wills and affections of man.
This fishery, extending nearly across the lake, was claimed by the Ngatipou, who were residing on the spot with Uira their chief. Their claim was disputed by the Ngatimahuta, by Kepa, Te Wherowhero's brother. He founded his title to the fishery on his tupanas (forefathers) having received some of the produce of the fishery, not as a present, but, as he said, as a right. Ngatipou, there is not the least doubt, had the best claim. Great excitement prevailed in Waikato. The tribes proposed to take their respective sides. For six months I went constantly to both parties, begging them to settle the matter peaceably. Several Christian and neutral chiefs accompanied me, but to no purpose; they would not listen to anything we could say, and the tribes of Waikato were looking on to see who would shed the first blood, and then they would take their respective sides. The eventful day came when Kepa was determined to go and reside near the disputed fishery. In the meantime, Ngatipou had built a pa opposite the disputed spot, so situated that it was impossible for Ngatimahuta to get near the eel fishery without passing this pa, which was bounded on one side by a swamp and on the other by the lake; the beach on which the pa was built being so narrow, only a few yards across to the swamp, that the Ngatimahuta could not pass.
In the night we heard that Kepa and his party, 300 armed men, had arrived on the banks of the lake. Uira, the chief of Ngatipou, a good old man, anxious for peace, asked me to go to the hostile camp and endeavour to persuade them to sit quiet, about a quarter of a mile from the Ngatipou's pa. This they refused to do, and they were only waiting for daylight to advance. I mentioned this to the Ngatipou. They said, 'Well, it cannot be helped. We have done all we can to prevent bloodshed.' A little before daylight, Uira the chief asked me again to beg Kepa not to advance. I went; but all my persuasions were to no purpose. Kepa said he would come, but he would not fire the first shot. I returned, greatly cast down. Morning came; I had prayers with Ngatipou, who also said they would not fire the first shot, although the stronger party. They now loaded their muskets, and waited in silence for the advance of the enemy. I saw them coming and rushed out to meet them. When within a few yards of the pa, I caught hold of Kepa by the shoulders and said, 'You are a Christian; I beg of you, for Christ's sake, sit down.' To my astonishment he did sit down, and all his party with him. I went to Ngatipou and said, 'They have listened, now let your talk be good.' Ngatipou said, 'We will have
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our war dance, but no evil will result from it.' I tried to dissuade them from it; but they said, 'No. We will draw a boundary line, and you shall stand upon it, and we will not pass you.' The Ngatimahuta also agreed to the plan. I stood on the line; both parties rushed towards me; I thought they would have swept me away, they came running with such force. Both parties, as soon as they approached me, threw themselves on one knee, crossed their muskets, and continued in that state, looking very fierce at each other, for about a quarter of an hour, when one of the monitors got up and repeated, 'O sing unto the Lord a new song, for He hath done marvellous thing.' They replied altogether, 'With His own right hand, and with His holy arm hath He gotten Himself the victory,' and so on, till the whole psalm had been repeated, and then the Gloria Patri. After this a chief got up and said, 'It is the Gospel that has saved us. But for the Gospel we should have been shedding one another's blood,' &c. Other speeches were made by the chiefs of both parties. They then went to the pa all together, and had a good feast of potatoes and eels. In the evening they all assembled for service and a reading class. No more was said about the disputed fishery. Both parties worked amicably at it, and the point has not been settled from that day to this--to whom the eel fishery belongs. This will show the influence the Gospel had in those times in preventing bloodshed.
On August 1, news arrived that Dr Maunsell's house at Waikato Heads had been burnt down. I started on the 2nd for his station and found the report too true. This happened soon after the birth of one of his children, Mrs Maunsell being then very ill. Not only was his property. consumed, but he himself was severely burnt. No lives were lost, thank God; but my Christian brother suffered severely, as the manuscripts of his translational labours, the work of years, were all destroyed. I can hardly imagine a greater trial, but all was borne in a submissive spirit, and he again began the work, knowing that "all things work together for good to them that fear God." The fire was caused by a burning log rolling from the kitchen fire-place in the night. The howling of a dog (afterwards burned to death) saved the family. I will mention an instance to show the sympathy of the natives. Among the things burnt were all Dr Maunsell's provisions, bags of flour, &c. When one of his native young men heard of it, he mounted a horse and rode 35 miles to Awhitu, Manukau Heads (Rev. Mr Hamlin's station), and brought thence a bag of flour. When asked at the Manukau to take some refreshment, he said, 'No, I will not take anything till my matuas (missionaries) are supplied with food.' He rode there and back, 70 miles in all, without tasting food.
I forgot to mention that the Bishop of New Zealand held a confirmation at Matamata, at the end of the year 1843. Many were confirmed. Whilst there, I met a fearful character, Paul Toaroto. For seven years he appeared to be a Christian, but fell into the sin of adultery and became an abandoned character, licentious and dangerous in the extreme, so that his tribe wished to put him to death, as he threatened to murder some of his relatives. He had also three or four wives. His appearance was most repulsive: with bloodshot, starting eyes, bull-dog lips, and the whole countenance brutal and sensual. He was a desperate character, and seemed to be past hope; but God's ways are not as man's ways, nor His thoughts as our thoughts.
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The man's subsequent history displays the mercy of God, even to the most hardened. Whilst crossing Hauraki (i. e., the Thames Bay), in a canoe, he was upset and clung to the bottom of the canoe, and drifted out to sea. Whilst in this condition he thought of his sins and prayed for mercy. God heard his bitter cries, and the flowing tide drifted him back to Cape Colville, Thus he was saved. He now forsook many of his evil ways. Shortly after this merciful deliverance I met and conversed with him. I cannot say that I was satisfied as to the repentance; there was still much pride, and, I fear, an unhumbled spirit. He became outwardly moral, had now one wife, and attended religious services.
Christianity was gradually progressing. Heathenism was almost extinct;, attendance on religious services was the rule--there were few exceptions; a few native priests tried still to uphold the tapu, but it was gradually declining; infanticide was now rare; suicides seldom occurred; and murders were few and far between, and chiefly perpetrated under the idea of the death of a relative having been caused by witchcraft. It is true, at the beginning of the year a chief murdered a slave girl near the Wahi coal mines, because she would not obey his wife, but such instances are now very rare. Christianity had softened and improved the native character in a a most astonishing manner. The lion had become a lamb. I will give an example:-- The noted and dreaded chief Mokoro, who formerly led Waikato to attack Rotorua, one of the most bloodthirsty and licentious cannibals that New Zealand ever produced, became a Christian; he put away seven wives, and remained faithful to one, the mother of his children. He built a church at Whatawhata, and refused to join in the war parties and feuds of the Waikatos. About this time, Watere te Kauwae invited a huihui (gathering of the tribes) to assemble at Remuera. Four thousand natives, with their chiefs, met. The missionaries, Church of England and Wesleyan, accompanied them. His Excellency Governor Fitzroy met them, and going round the encampment, talking to the chiefs, &c., asked them to dance the war dance that the Europeans might see their customs. Some acquiesced, others refused, and none more decidedly than Mokoro, who had lately been baptized by the name of Levi. He said to the Governor, 'I am ashamed of my old native customs. The war dance, I consider, is the strength of satan. I will not again engage in it. I am a Christian.' This large assembly of natives, who might have sacked Auckland in those days, if they had been so inclined, dispersed quietly to their homes without any serious disturbance or quarrel. About this time a promising young man, named Tarawhiti, was baptized by the Rev. R. Burrows (who was visiting the Waikato) by the name of Heta or Seth, and he became my fellow labourer and fellow minister in the Gospel. A more faithful man could not be, or a more consistent Christian. During twenty long years of trial and difficulty, Heta has never failed me; I bless God for him, and I often wish I possessed his humble and quiet spirit. The Bishop of New Zealand again visited this district, confirming the natives at Whangape, Taupiri, and Whatawhata. The Gospel was progressing, and I trust we were thankful.
I will now mention a few instances, in addition to those already made known, of the power of the Gospel in preventing bloodshed during the quarrels of the natives respecting eel fisheries and land. Some of the most remarkable were the disputes of Ngatihine and Ngatipou with the Ngaungau and Ngatitipa tribes, in reference to the former.
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March 12, 1845. --I accompanied the Ngaungau to Waitutu, the encampment of Ngatihine. Before we reached that place, the Ngaungau consented to engage with me in prayer, and pulled their canoes to shore. After having committed ourselves to His keeping who can 'turn from us those evils we most righteously have deserved,' I gave them a few words of good advice. On arriving at Waitutu, we found Ngatihine drawn up in a line, in order to shake hands. This ceremony over, the parties separated, leaving a space of forty yards between them, in which Tirua, another neutral chief named Kepa, and myself stood. Both parties remained silent for some time. At last Tirua arose and said, 'Let your words be good. Don't be angry. Keep to the point.' I also said 'I will motion with my hand to the first man who gets angry, that he may sit down until his anger shall be gone, and his words become straight again.' This was consented to. Neither party seemed inclined to commence. At last Ngatihine called to Ngaungau to commence. After a native of each party had spoken, Ngatihine, contrary to an engagement that there should be three speakers on either side, allowed the same native to speak again. Tirua called upon another native to speak. The Ngatihine remained silent for some time; whereupon William Wesley, the chief of the Ngaungau, arose and said, 'You ought to have kept to your agreement; but as you will not speak, I will, and we shall go.' After speaking for about three quarters of an hour, he said, 'I have finished: let us go.' The Ngaungau and their party then went to their canoes, upon which some bystanders cried, 'They are going for their guns,' which had been left in their canoes. This was a false report. A scene of confusion now prevailed, in the midst of which a chief of Ngatihine struck the bell and cried out, 'Let us have prayers.' The object of the bell was to prevent the young men from running to their muskets, which was the case with a few. I spoke to them from the words, "Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me," --telling them if the Holy Spirit once left them they would be given up to all the evils of a 'deceitful and desperately wicked heart'--and then I went to Ngaungau, who had pulled about a quarter of a mile distant. In the evening both parties assembled for prayers, and again the next morning. I also had reading classes with them and school with the children; but the matter is not settled.
From the above account it will be seen that the Gospel had an influence--1st, in disposing the natives to prayer before they met; 2ndly, in inducing something like courtesy in their conduct to each other; and 3rdly, in preventing bloodshed in the moment of confusion and disorder. I fear there are but few who are really changed characters; but there are a few. Even the blessing which the mere outward profession of Christianity, as regards this world, has brought to this people, is great, when it is considered that in former times the old population of the river would have been involved in war by far less provocation.
August 31: Lord's Day. --Both parties assembled together, about 400 in number, for morning and evening services, and school. At night I was about commencing a Bible reading-class with Ngatipou, when a native informed them that on the following morning Ngatitipa would destroy the boundary fence. The chiefs immediately assembled the tribe, and sent for me to ask my advice. I said, 'You must not fire your muskets. Let the Ngatipou fire the first ball.' One of the chiefs said, 'Ngatipou, listen to me: do you all consent to the words of your teacher?' They all immediately cried, with one voice, 'Yes, we do.'
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I then went to Ngatitipa, and asked the chief Warenahi if it were his intention to break the boundary fence. 'Yes,' was the reply, 'it shall not stand, for it is on our land.' 'Well,' I said, 'I have a question to ask you. Will you consent not to fire the first gun?' Nini, a troublesome chief, jumped up and said, 'I will not consent; mine shall be the first to be fired at Ngatipou, for the land is ours.' Kawae, another chief, then said, 'Blood shall be shed for that fence--that's all I have to say.' After some further conversation with them, I returned to the pa of Ngatipou tired and dispirited.
September 3. --We assembled by sunrise for morning prayers. I was about giving out the hymn, when a native came running and crying out, 'Let your prayers be short, for Ngatitipa are breaking down the fence.' Uira, the chief, replied, 'Never mind, let us have our prayers; ours is a right cause--God will take care of us.' We sang the 125th Psalm-- 'They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion.' We then had prayers; after which I cried, 'Ngatipou, don't forget your promise, don't fire.' All now rushed to the fence, of which a small part only was standing. This was defended by Ngatipou, and a scuffle took place, wrestling, sparring with their guns, &c., --a scene of confusion which baffles description. I was in the midst of them, and my constant cry, 'Friends, remember your words. Be careful of your guns; don't fire.' Ten muskets were wrested from Ngatitipa, who were the weakest party, and several of whom were trampled down by Ngatipou. Most of the Ngatipou natives I knew by name, and I called to them not to deal hardly with their fallen foes, but to let them return to their pa, which they did. The whole body of Ngatitipa were beaten back. Thus ended, perhaps an anomaly in New Zealand, an actual collision of old enemies--each party having lost three friends in a former engagement, a few years since, respecting the same land--without bloodshed.
I followed Ngatitipa to their pa when they retreated, for I was afraid they would fire from their fortifications; a few did, but it was merely to intimidate the other party, who were again erecting their fence. The bullets whizzed over our heads, but Ngatipou did not return the fire.
After remaining a short time at the pa, I returned to the fence, where I found Ngatipou had assembled for worship. I said, 'Perhaps the heart is too much excited for prayers; but as you have all assembled I have one word to say to you: Do not be lifted up; be not proud; it is God who has kept your hearts to-day; give Him the praise.' After prayers, the chiefs called to me and said, 'Your words are true, it is God alone--it is the Gospel alone that has prevented mischief to-day. If we had held our old native custom, great would have been the evil; we should be mourning over our dead.'
From these facts it will be seen that even the outward profession of Christianity had a moral power in preventing bloodshed. If the outward profession had such power, what must be the effects of the real possession of Christianity? and many of the natives were real Christians.
It was not always the case that a New Zealand conflict of tribe against tribe ended without some being slain. The same land, the Ihutaroa, claimed by Ngatipou and Ngatitipa, was, in March, 1846, the cause of bloodshed. After an apparently satisfactory conversation with the belligerent tribes, Dr Maunsell and myself returned home, especially as the allies of both parties began to disperse. An aukati or boundary line had been agreed to by the disputants, and their allies kept within the line,
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excepting a few young men of both parties, who oftentimes, from bravado, crossed the line. A young chief of the Ngatitipa side crossed the line, and was repulsed by a chief of the Ngatipou, the opposing tribe; a wrestle ensued; an unfortunate blow drew blood from the nose and mouth of the Ngatitipa chief, and that tribe immediately assembled at the line and fired. It was returned by the Ngatipou. A great chief of Ngatitipa was shot through the heart, and a general battle ensued; 32 were killed on the spot. This was the last native fight of tribe against tribe on the Waikato. Shortly afterwards a reconciliation took place; they mourned for their conduct, and no subsequent quarrel in Waikato ever ended in bloodshed.
The imperative necessity for commencing native boarding schools at the Waikato stations, for the children of our baptized natives and catechumens, became more and more apparent to the Waikato missionaries. It is true, early morning school before breakfast was usual in most of the villages; yet the attendance of the children could not be enforced, as the difficulty of collecting them together arose from the carelessness of their parents, very few of whom either taught or restrained their children. For, just emerging themselves from a state of barbarism, they did not value the benefits of early training and education; hence their carelessness as regards their children.
The Taupiri boarding-school and the Maraetai school at Waikato Heads were commenced in 1846, and the one at Otawhao in 1847. Dr Maunsell commenced with twelve children, and before the end of the year he numbered twenty. The branches of instruction were geography, reading, English history, arithmetic, Scripture, and Church Catechism. In 1852 Dr Maunsell's institution had so increased that it numbered 100 boarders. Besides his educational labours, he was employed at all leisure intervals in the work of translation. He writes at this date, 'I am thankful that I have advanced far into the Book of Job; the printing has reached the second chapter of the Book of Ezra.' In addition to these labours, one-third of his time was spent in visiting his district. Surely I may say with regard to my respected brother-- "In labours more abundant."
As regards the Taupiri school, which I commenced May 10, 1846, with the valuable assistance of my native teacher Heta Tarawhiti (now an ordained priest of the Church of England), at the end of the year our scholars had increased to nineteen, and in 1857 our boarders were forty-nine girls, forty-seven boys, and sixteen adults--112 in all. A steady increase had taken place; and although the missionaries were necessarily out in their districts a great part of the year, the quiet yet earnest perseverance of our wives and assistants ensured the progress and efficiency of our institutions. In one year alone I spent 120 nights in my tent, travelling to the various villages, holding meetings for reading the Scriptures, examining candidates for baptism, settling disputes, organising schools, attending to sick, and in other missionary duties; but our labours were light then, for the hearts of our people were with us. It was the curse of war--the Taranaki war--that damped our spirits and blasted our hopes.
With regard to the Otawhao school at Te Awamutu, I have not the statistics to enter into particulars; but there is no district in this part of New Zealand that had made greater advances in civilization. Even as far back as 1847, the late Rev. J. Morgan wrote as follows:-- The flour mill
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at Rangiaohia has been completed at the cost of £215. The mill at Otawhao is being erected at the estimated cost of £115, and the one at Maungatautari will be begun on its completion; its cost also is calculated at more than £100. A European miller has been engaged to take charge of the three mills. Brick ovens are being built at Otawhao; and within four miles of the station three hundred acres of corn are to be seen, now nearly ripe.
Civilization also was progressing in the Taupiri district. I find this entry in my journal showing how civilization will follow the progress of the Gospel:-- 'January 16, 1849. -After assisting Dr Maunsell to administer the sacrament to eighty communicants at Kirikiriroa--(now Hamilton)--he baptized forty adults, many of them Ngatihaua chiefs, some of whom had been bloodthirsty and desperate cannibals, now clothed and in their right mind, allowing even their slaves to teach them their alphabet and catechism. Some of these men I had met at the Wairere in 1839 on a war expedition to Maketu, when they threatened to strip me if I preceded them to Tauranga. They have been living on the Waikato for the last eight years-- one day's journey from Taupiri. It was in March last that they expressed their desire for baptism, being determined to serve their Saviour. Four years ago these natives entered a dwelling house, belonging to a European living near Auckland, and stripped it. Such was the character of these people, that they were universally dreaded by all near them. Is anything too hard for the Gospel? They are now anxious for a flour mill, which is being erected. Thus these sometime-cannibals are now Christians and agriculturalists; so sure is it that civilization will follow the reception of the Gospel.'
At our schools several of our young men learnt to plough, and it was partly from their work that we had produce for our school children, and were kept from the heavy debt which burdened our institution in early days.
Before the Taranaki war broke out, the boarding schools on the Waikato were as follows:-- Dr Maunsell's institution, at Kohanga; Rev. B. Y. Ashwell's, at Taupiri; Rev. J. Morgan's, at Otawhao; Roka Tarawhiti's, the native minister's sister, at Paetai, Waikato, near Rangariri; Rawiri Motutarata's, at Rauwhitu, near the coal-mines; Philip Matewha's, at Tamahere, Horotiu, near Hamilton. These schools were progressing more or less till the much-lamented war at Taranaki broke out, when the natives lost all confidence in the British Government and Englishmen. Of course it was natural that missionaries--the subjects of Queen Victoria--should suffer with their countrymen in their estimation.
I will now mention some of the rules we laid down for the discipline and guidance of our schools, or, I should rather say, of the schools of Taupiri and its district. We were greatly strengthened, in 1854, by the arrival of Mrs Colenso to assist my wife; it was impossible for any one to take a greater interest in missionary work; her knowledge of native language could not be surpassed, and her influence with the native children was very great--in season and out of season. She was sedulously at work, not only for the school but for the natives generally. Her kind Christian conduct won upon the children; and with such women as my beloved wife and Mrs Colenso, I do not think it surprising, with the blessing of God, that our schools prospered. She remained with us seven years, till she went to England.
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The rules were as follows:-- An hour before breakfast--6 a.m. in summer, 7 a.m. in winter--the bell rang: prayers and Bible-class for an hour; this I always took. 8 a.m. in summer, and 9 a.m. in winter, the bell rang for breakfast. 9 a.m. in summer, and 10 a.m. in winter, the bell rang for school. 1 p.m., dinner. 2 p.m., the sewing-school for girls, and farm work for boys, till 5 p.m. At 6 p.m., tea. After tea, the elder girls were engaged knitting, and the others in a reading class. Our usual course of instruction was reading, in native and English grammar, geography, history, writing, arithmetic, and singing, for any proficiency in which last we are indebted to the Rev. A. G. Purchas, who introduced the figure system; and as my wife thoroughly understood music she was able to carry out the plan efficiently. In a short time our school took four parts in singing, and chanted a part of our beautiful service on the Sundays, and could sing, in English, glees, rounds, anthems, and hymns. Those were indeed happy days--gone for ever! The native schools on the Waikato followed as far as possible the Taupiri rules, and everything prospered. Then came the war; and although all the results of our work were not lost, the future was blighted as to schools in which good had been done. Many souls were saved; good lives and happy deaths through Christ followed from the instruction received in the school, and no doubt many of our scholars are in heaven.
The baptisms during the year 1847 were:-- Adults, 110; Children, 124.
I will now speak of the results of our work, which we have seen in the holy lives and happy deaths of many of our scholars and natives.
One of our first converts was the old priest Te Paki, the great native orator, or bag of talk, as the natives expressively called him. I mentioned in my second letter, in 1839, that I found him being taught to read by his son, a lad of about twelve years of age. He was afterwards baptized by by Dr Maunsell, by the name of Wesley, and was my inseparable companion in all peace-making expeditions. At one time his faith nearly failed. A few years after his baptism, his favourite son, the lad alluded to above, went with some Europeans to carry their pigs to Auckland. In crossing Manukau the canoe was upset, and this lad with the Europeans all perished. When Wetere (Wesley) heard of it, he said, 'My old atuas (gods) are angry with me for embracing Christianity; hence this disaster.' He never came near me for three weeks, and I feared he had lapsed, till one day I saw him coming up the road to the mission station; I went to meet him: he said,
'Oh, my father, I had almost made shipwreck of my faith, I had almost forsaken Christ, but I have seen my sin and I am sorry for all my foolishness. I am very weak, and my heart loved my poor boy very dearly!' I felt much for this Christian chief; we knelt down together and prayed for a submissive will. I felt I needed it as much as he did, for I had lately been called to bury an only son, a promising lad of eleven years, who used to teach a small class, and had said to me a few weeks before his death, 'Papa, when I am a man, I will be a missionary and help you.' The good old chief Wetere te Paki never wavered afterwards; his life was spent in trying to make peace between hostile tribes after he became a Christian, and his death was peace. When dangerously ill, I asked him what were his hopes for eternity? He answered, 'Christ is my Saviour; His death is an utu (payment) for my sins.' As his death approached, he called his tribe and
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said, 'Hold fast Gospel principles. Be decided for Christ. Pray without ceasing. Hear what S. Paul says, --if God be with us who can be against us?' Then remaining silent while feeling for his book, for his sight was gone, he said at length, "God be merciful unto me a sinner, and bless me, show me the light of His countenance and be merciful unto me, that His way may be known upon earth, His saving health among nations." He then fainted; when he recovered he repeated a native hymn, and died while praying to his Saviour.
Another chief I will mention, whose consistent life since his baptism, and whose happy death, prove that he was a Christian in deed and truth.
Mokoro, the terror of Rotorua, was chief of Ngatiruru, a tribe living at Otawhao and Whatawhata. This bloodthirsty cannibal was dreaded by his enemies; he was ferocious and licentious in the extreme. He appeared so hardened and desperate that it seemed almost impossible for the Gospel to meet his case; but it became the power of God to salvation. The lion became a lamb. He was foremost in every good work, was greatly attached to his missionaries, was a peace-maker and a sincere follower of Christ. He was seized with measles, which ended in malignant dysentery, and died whilst praying for the teachers and preachers of the Gospel whom he mentioned by name. Thus, by his life and death, he glorified God.
Another chief--William Kumete--was equally decided. He said to his tribe, just before he died, 'Oh, cleave to Christ; never forsake the Gospel!'
A teacher of many years' standing, named Samuel Wahapu, was a faithful preacher of the Gospel. He preached from these words: "Watch and pray, for ye know not the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh." He said, 'Some of us are near death, --perhaps nearer than we imagine. Are you ready?' He then said, 'I want air: let me out of the house.' He went and sat against a tree and died.
Another young chief and native teacher, Daniel Taratiki, who was with me when shot at on the Waipa river (see my first letter), lived a consistent life, and died happily whilst exhorting his father--the old chief Te Uira-- to give his heart to God and to receive the Gospel. He was indeed a good and interesting young man, and lived with me for many years; his life and death made a strong impression on his tribe.
Another young chief of Ngatihine, named Broughton te Rongopoto, died a most happy death. He never would join any war-party; and when he accompanied his tribe his New Testament was his only weapon. At the Ihutaroa, his nephew was shot through the heart while standing by his side; he knelt down by the young man, prayed, and committed his spirit to the Saviour. No thought of revenge influenced this good man. He warned his tribe against fighting, but when they would not listen he did not forsake them, only prayed for and with them. Soon after this battle he died, and his end was peace.
Another young chief and teacher, William Otapo, a nephew of the old eloquent priest Wetere te Paki, was cut off by malignant dysentery. He was a teacher in the Taupiri School; he lived very consistently, and was always watching over and warning his tribe, the Ngaungau, against their increasing coldness and lukewarmness in religious feelings. Both by precept and example he tried to lead them to their Saviour. His last words were: 'O my tribe, never forsake Christ; depend upon His Holy Spirit; He will never leave His people.'
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But one of the most consistent and good men whom I ever met with was Thomas Moninoa, the teacher of the Ngatiwhauroa. A more unselfish or good-natured character could not exist. He was conscientious in all his dealings, and truthful; he feared no consequences, and faithfully and affectionately told his people when they were wrong. One of my most valued friends, he was courteous and kind to all, and would do anything for, or go anywhere with me, and never once thought of or asked for a recompense. He died of inflammation in the stomach; his sufferings were fearful; he said to me, 'E taku matua--O my father, if I had only just begun to think of my soul, I should be in a sad state, I am in such pain, I cannot think, but all is now well. I know in whom I have trusted.' Soon after he died. I must say I wept bitterly at the loss of my Christian brother; they were selfish tears--he was at rest.
All these deaths were the consequences of the measles and its after effects, which in 1857 decimated Waikato.
I could speak of others--Paratene te Aopouri, Ihaia, Nikorima, Hemi; besides many of our school-girls--Dorcas, Manumoa, Sophia te Huka, Peninah, Mary, and others. But sufficient has been written to show that, independently of the moral influence of the Gospel in destroying native habits and customs, and preventing bloodshed, it was also accompanied by saving results to the souls of our people. In the year 1852, the Right Rev. the Bishop of New Zealand confirmed in this district two hundred natives.
We now come to consider the causes of the decline of Christianity in the Waikato. The first cause I will mention is the increase of wealth, and the disregard of parents to the education of their children. A race of young people were springing up who knew not the missionary. It is true our school was full, but after all the scholars were few compared to those who chose to work their farms, or to trade with Auckland.
The schools were often in debt, and I was obliged at one time to reduce my numbers from seventy-five to fifty, though only for one year. Out-farming enabled us eventually to receive them again, but still we were anxious, and liable to get into debt. A worldly spirit was soon induced by the general desire for trading, which was good in itself when not carried too far, but had now become a snare. The principal question now, was--What is the price of wheat? and not what is the meaning of such and such a passage of Scripture.
Another cause was--the young chiefs in their anxiety to get money to purchase ploughs, horses, mills, &c., often sold land to the Government when they themselves only had an inferior and secondary claim.
The native mind was now distressed and unhinged, and declension in religious feelings followed. This was the commencement of the fall of the native New Zealand Church.
As I do not wish to enter upon political subjects, I will only just mention one fact, which I believe weakened the confidence of the natives in the disinterestedness of the British Government, i. e., their becoming sole land purchasers.
The annexed letter will show the anxiety of many of the Waikato tribes
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for the establishment of British institutions among them, and the maintenance of peace:--
Taupiri, Waikato River,
October 23, 1860,
Enclosed is a paper on native affairs, by Mr Fenton, late Resident Magistrate in the Waikato district. This paper has been pronounced by the House of Representatives to be the most clever and interesting document on the subject of civil institutions for the natives ever produced in New Zealand. If the plan so successfully commenced had been persevered in, I do not hesitate to say that the whole of Waikato, and, in all probability, other districts, would have now been covered with court-houses and machinery for the gradual introduction of British law. The experiment was successful beyond our most sanguine expectations. In less than twelve months, five court-houses had been erected on the river, and a good staff of native assessors, to assist the European Magistrate, been organised. A runanga, or municipal council, assisted in carrying out the decision of the Court, i. e., their moral influence rendered physical force unnecessary: in no case has the decision of the magistrate been resisted. This hopeful movement was suffered to die out, from a groundless fear on the part of the Government that it would widen the breach already existing between the Queen's party and the native King party. Never was there a more mistaken policy on the part of the Government. As the party for the tare (law), or the Queenites, was gradually gaining ground, the Kingites were becoming more and more reconciled to the movement; and there is not the shadow of a doubt that had Mr Fenton continued his judicious and conciliatory plan, the two parties would have coalesced, and the King movement, under some less objectionable name, would have become a most powerful instrument for the spread of law and order. Mr Fenton's removal from Waikato, to be an assistant to the Colonial Secretary, against his desire and request, was the first great blow to this hopeful movement. His place as Resident Magistrate was unsupplied, and the natives believing themselves to have been deceived by the Government, gradually lost all confidence in it, and all heart to proceed in their onward course of law and order. Yet even now, although more than two years have elapsed since his removal, in some of the villages summonses are still issued by the native assessors, and damages awarded. A case occurred a few months ago, when a young man stole some salt from a store in this neighbourhood; a summons was issued; the case was tried; and the damages, five shillings, willingly paid. But I am grieved to say, that through the neglect of the Government, most of the tribes favourable to the tare (the law) have now joined the Maori King movement, which it is possible may become antagonistic ere long, unless peace is made with William King. As Archdeacon Maunsell, myself, and several native chiefs have been called to give evidence before a select committee of the House of Representatives respecting this movement, I need not enter into details, as the published evidence will ere long appear in the Blue Book.
I have only one or two remarks to make on this subject to prove how the leaven of this movement was increasing, and what a powerful engine for good it was becoming.
First. --The reports of the Waikato courts had reached distant tribes. In 1858 I received a letter from Bishop Williams, in which he said that the courts of Waikato had excited much interest among the natives of Poverty Bay and the East Cape, and that he should, perhaps, send some chiefs to
[Inserted handwritten note in Auckland Museum copy]
[See Gorst, Maori King, p 109 re
Mr Fenton apparently went to a great deal of trouble in his journeys up and down the river, and submitted proposals to the Government to assist in establishing law and order -- but apparently the Government and the Pakeha settlers preferred the lack of law and consequent disorder, as a pretext for confiscation.]
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Waikato, to see their practical working. Secondly. --The moral power of these courts will be seen from the last case tried at Kahumatuku, a village two miles from the Taupiri Church Missionary Station. A native from the Kanawhanawha rivet, a tributary of the Waipa--quite the backwoods of New Zealand--when in Auckland, stole clothes from the fence of Archdeacon Kissling's institution. He managed to escape to Kanawhanawha, to his home. Mr Fenton heard of it, and sent two native assessors to bring the offender to Kahumatuku. He came, accompanied by his father and brothers, who offered to pay eight times the value of the articles stolen, if they (the court) would let off the prisoner from the sentence of the magistrates, viz., three months' imprisonment in the Auckland goal. The magistrate said, 'No; it cannot be. I wish to show the young men of Waikato that they cannot commit theft in Auckland with impunity, and think they can escape to the bush and be safe.' He was accordingly imprisoned.
Only second to the success of the Gospel was the progress of this movement. The glorious struggle in the native mind for law and order surely, under Providence, proves that 'there is a tide in the affairs of men, which, if taken at its turn, leads on' to great results. I trust the opportunity, as regards Waikato and New Zealand, will again be given, and the noble aborigines raised in the scale of nations; but clouds--and thick clouds-- seem now to be gathering over the future of New Zealand. Not only is the war raging at Taranaki without the prospect of a speedy peace, but Upper Waikato is involved in the same war. Several hundred armed men left a few weeks ago the Waipa river. I fear, ere long, Middle and Lower Waikato may be drawn in, especially as a murdered native was found at Patumahoe on the Manukau, and a report spread that he had been murdered by a European, although no proof has yet been found. Great excitement prevails in the tribes by which I am surrounded, and reports are rife, namely, that Waikato will attack Auckland, if it should be found that the native has been murdered by a white man. I am thankful, however, to say that several chiefs are going to investigate the matter. If it should appear from circumstantial evidence that the murder has been committed by an European, and the British Government should fail in prosecuting the supposed offendor, I do not know what may be the consequence--I fear war with Auckland. Now, if the native courts of justice and the runangas had been in existence, this difficulty would have been overcome. They would have carefully considered the case, and have acquiesced in the decision of the law. I believe also that they would have successfully mediated between the British Government and William King. A retrogade movement, I fear, has taken possession of the native mind, and feelings nearly akin to their native customs are beginning to prevail; this has been increased by what they consider an unjust and unholy war with William King. Their sympathy with him is very great, and their anxiety for peace at the commencement of the war was proved by meeting and proposing that thirteen Waikato chiefs, four missionaries, six native teachers and deacons, and two English magistrates to be chosen by the Government, should be allowed by the Governor to proceed to Taranaki for that purpose. But it was too late. Whilst writing this proposition to the Government, a canoe brought word that a battle had been fought, and mediation was at an end. Nothing would have been easier had such a plan been tried before the declaration of martial law. Old Te Wherowhero said
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to me 'If I had been applied to I could have settled this; but the first news that reached me was, that the soldiers had left for Taranaki.' The poor old chief was deeply distressed. Although I have carefully abstained from intermeddling with politics, as I never attended their runangas, yet, from being so near to the village of the Maori King, I hear through my native teachers much that is going on; and their good sense, forbearance, and patience may ere long be exhausted, and a general war may follow. It only remains now for the Government to conclude a peace, although inglorious, as one of the members of the House of Representatives has declared the war to be unjust and unholy, and this is becoming the general opinion. Secondly, the Government must regain the confidence of the natives; and then, thirdly, re-introduce Fenton's system of civil institutions and schools.
Our only hope is in the gracious influences of God the Holy Spirit, who alone can rule the unruly and sinful affections of man. We assemble every day at 10 a.m., to pray with my native teachers for the blessing of peace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our village boarding-schools are increasing, although in troublous times. A crisis is at hand in New Zealand. We do earnestly beg the prayers of our fathers and brethren in in the Gospel.
Seven years 1 have elapsed since the above letter was written. The real state of Waikato during that period is well known, as regards its political, social, and religious aspects. I fear we have yet to learn from experience that honesty is the best policy. Any departure from such policy--either by Government or individuals--must be followed by misery and ruin.
B. Y. A.
w. ATKIN, CHURCH AND GENERAL PRINTER, HIGH STREET, AUCKLAND.
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