The introduction of Methodism into New Zealand dates back to the early years
of the nineteenth century. when the calls from the regions beyond were being responded to by the Home Churches, and the messengers of Christ were making their way to the uttermost parts of the earth. The Wesleyan Methodist Mission in New Zealand was established in 1822 by the Rev. Samuel Leigh, with whom must be associated the names of Revs. Nathaniel Turner and John Hobbs, Primitive Methodism was established in 1844 by the Rev. Robert Ward; the United Methodist Free Churches in 1860, by Mr. George Booth; and the Bible Christian Church in 1877, by the Rev. W. H. Keast.
John Wesley said: "The world is my parish:" and the Methodism which he founded flourishes wherever it is established. In this Britain of the South the four branches of the Methodist Church have made a worthy contribution to the religious life of the nation.
The union of the Methodist Churches in New Zealand is not a vision of yesterday. As far back as the early eighties its desirability had been referred to in private and on public occasions by leaders in each of the Churches, until at last union came to be considered within the realm of practical politics. In the year 1883, the question was brought up for consideration in the Annual Church Courts, where it was received with such favour that a number of leading ministers and laymen were appointed to meet during the year and draw up a basis of union to be submitted to the Annual Courts of the respective Churches.