New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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The Rev Jamess Buller 1812 - 1884 


Chapter 1 The Years of Preparation 
Chapter 2 Missionary to the Maoris 
Chapter 3 Minister to Colonists 
Chapter 4 Preacher in Retirement 

Was born at Helston, Cornwall, December 1812 and died atSt Albans November 6th, 1884. At an early age he was converted to T God, and shortly after his conversion was admitted as a local preacher. In 1835 he left Cornwall for Sydney, and in the following year proceeded to New Zealand as tutor in the family of the Rev. Nathaniel Turner He rapidly acquired a knowledge of the Maori language, and in 1837 was received as a probationer for the Ministry. For sixteen years he laboured with great diligence and fidelity as a missionary chiefly, among the Maoris of the Kaipara District, though frequently making long journeys through other parts of the country to promote the wel are of the entire Native race. In 1854 he entered upon the Colonial work, and with great acceptance exercised his ministry in Wellington, Canterbury. Auckland, Thames and Christchurch Circuits He was appointed six years in succession by the Conference to the Canterbury Circuit, and it was during this period of his superintendency that the Durham Street Church was erected - a rare monument in those early days of the Province, of large faith and energetic labour. By reason of his genial disposition and the urbanity of his manner, Mr Buller lived in the affectionate esteem, not only of the Methodist people of his charge, but of the members of other sections of the Church wherever he laboured. As a student he was exceedingly painstaking and diligent, and the marked development of his intelectual powers and oratorical gifts was a result of this careful mentat culture. Hence as a preacher he was always clear and vigorous, frequently eloquent and impressive. While ardently attached to Methodism, he cultivated a catholic spirit, and was ever ready to rejoice in the success of Christian effort in denominations other than his own. The esteem in which he was held by his brethren is shown by the positions of trust to which from time to time he was by their suffrage elected. For twenty-one years in succession he held the position of Chairman of the District. In 1864 he became President of the Australasian Conference, and in 1875 was called to fill the chair of the second New Zealand Conference. In 1876 he became a supernumerary and paid a visit to England, where he resided five years, publishing while there his Forty Years in New Zealand. During the last two years of his life he passed through much suffering; but his pain was borne with meekness and resignation; his pietv became more mature, his experience richer and more freely expressed. His mind remained clear to the last, and on the day of his death he joined in prayer to God, and expressed his joyful confidence in Jesus, his Saviour and Lord.

"Servant of Crod, well done!
Rest from thy loved employ,
The battle's fought, the victory's won,
Enter thy Master's joy."

A few weeks afterwards, on December 23rd, Mrs Buller passed away. The editor of the New Zealand Wesleyan wrote: "She never really overcame the sad sense of loss occasioned by the removal of her husband of nearly fifty years of her life: she dwelt upon the last words and the parting scene in a manner which showed how much of her own life had been buried in her husband's grave; and it was well therelore, when her own last summons came .. . Kind-hearted, hospitable Mrs Buller! How many will remember her with gratitude and give God thanks that she was spared so long, and strengthened so much to be a true helpmate to Mr Buller to the end."

Thus the book was closed which had opened with the conversion of a young man about the year 1834 and the departure for a new land of two young people in 1835.

Minutes of NZ Methodist Conference 1885