New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
 Go to Index

Methodist Maori Missions Yesterday and Today (1946)


We have, as a Church, been too modest, or too unenterprising, in giving publication to the record of our Mission to the Maori people-a Mission which was led by the consecrated endeavour of many noble men. Nor are we sufficiently vocal about the well-considered and well-directed plans that are being earned out today to retrieve the situation and to assist the native people in the present crisis of their history. But here is a Booklet which goes far to supply the deficiency, written by one who is expert in his subject, and who knows how to tell his story. He gives us glimpses of the ancient life of the Maori as the first Europeans came into contact with it, and of the native religion, the higher reaches of which were remarkably spiritual and ultimately made the acceptance of Christianity less difficult for the Maori mind. The first missionaries arrive and, after years of delay and disappointment, conversions begin to multiply and all the indications appear of a conspicuous and lasting success which would have made the New Zealand Mission a field famous in missionary history. Then the clouds gather, cruel misunderstandings arise, and every hope is overthrown by the shattering stroke of war.

Then-and here. perhaps, is the chief value of the Booklet-we are also shown how faith and patience refuse defeat, and how our Church, led by confident and believing men like William Gittos and Thomas G. Hammond and by those who followed them. all lovers of the Maori people, began the recovery which is still in process. Many will be surprised to read of how far that recovery has proceeded and of the very considerable number of agents, ordained and lay, men and women, who are covering the old mission fields with a network of service.

To eager hearts the ingathering may seem slow and inadequate, but none who regards with a broad and sympathetic vision the work of today, will think it unworthy of our great past or doubt that there is a rich harvest to come if we do not lose faith or grow weary in well-doing.

It will thus be an encouragement to many earnest men and women and a service to the Kingdom of God in the land, and, especially. to the Maori people, if this timely and most interesting publication is widely and attentively read and allowed to have its just influence upon the mind of the Church. And we venture to hope that it will be followed by others of like calibre and value. -C. H. LAWS.