New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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CHAPTER ONE The Anglican Initiative, the Preparation
and the Kaeo Adventure 1822-1827  
CHAPTER TWO A new start in the Hokianga 1827-1834 
CHAPTER THREE The nrst southward move 1834-1838  
CHAPTER FOUR Once more to Waikato and Southward 1838-1842 
CHAPTER FIVE The third decade 1842-1852 
CHAPTER SIX The fourth decade 1852-1862 
CHAPTER SEVEN The fifth decade 1862-1872

PART TWO. THE SECOND HALF CENTURY 1872-1922                                               

CHAPTER ONE The first decade 1872-1882 
CHAPTER TWO The second decade 1882-1892 
CHAPTER THREE The third decade 1892-1902 
CHAPTER FOUR The fourth decade 1902-1912 
CHAPTER FIVE The fifth decade 1912-1922  


CHAPTER ONE The first decade 1922-1932 
CHAPTER TWO The second decade 1932-1942 
CHAPTER THREE The third decade 1942-1952 
CHAPTER FOUR The fourth decade 1952-1962 
CHAPTER FIVE The fifth decade 1962-1972 

This story is to record the main features, the personalities, the varied fortunes, the trials, disappointments, aspirations and achievements of the Methodist Maori Mission to the Maori people over three half-centuries 1822 to 1972.

It is a very condensed account, but it aims to provide an overall picture of a significant strand in the history of this country, and it may awaken an interest that should produce in future years further accounts of aspects of the story.

Other Churches shared in this Missionary activity, and they have their recorded volumes. In particular we pay our tribute to the initial pioneering of the Church Missionary Society's workers of the Anglican Church under Samuel Marsden and his colleagues, without whose brotherly co-operation and encouragement, much of this Wesleyan story would never have been told.

The work began in a confused age. The Napoleonic Wars had recently ceased with all the inevitable social and economic confusion that followed. The major nations of Europe were licking their wounds and still viewing every move of their erstwhile adver-saries with suspicion.

Britain's conflict with the American Colonies, and the loss of areas for economic expansion, and a place to dispose of her growing surplus population, meant that she was seeking some solution in the face of a disillusioned public who had burned their fingers in their experiments in colonisation in America.

It was a period of intense sectarian rivalry in Britain and on the Continent. Following the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century and the counter-movement of the Anglican Tractarians, there was a polarising of religious thinkers around sharply diverg-ent viewpoints with strong antipathies. Such divisions emerged within, as well as between, the various denominations.

The Napoleonic Wars had resulted in a renewed mutual distrust between Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches, and movements of the Roman Catholic Missionaries, often from zeal-ous French Orders, gave rise to fears of fresh French colonial expansion.

The Industrial Revolution had begun. Towns grew around the factories, the birth-rate multiplied, social unrest assumed alarming proportions, and the commercial world was looking for new sources of raw materials and markets. There was a boom in ship-building, with a resulting demand for timber, masts, spars and cordage for the sailing ships, and there had grown a new demand for whale oil and animal skins. All these factors turned the eyes of the commercial and industrial leaders to the Pacific area.

Amidst all this, a growing social conscience nursed in the Evangelical Churches stirred a concern for the unevangelised peoples in the lands now opening up.

This was a day of strong convictions, held with zeal and propagated with vigour. The men and women who were thrust up as leaders in that period were men and women of their time. Not only Church people, but large sections of the general public were living under somewhat limited and puritanical pressures, some of which were good and some not so good, but as the Missionaries went out from such a social situation and made their impact on primitive peoples, their attitudes and standards set before these folk received much unfavourable judgment. To this day this continues from their critics. However in justice it must be said that these early Missionaries, a very varied group of men and women, were prepared for their convictions to travel to the ends of the earth and face privations and live dangerously to a degree that humbles their modem readers. In an age when the anti-hero and the debunker of the great figures of the past are in fashion, one wonders how far modern detractors of Missionary personalities would have been prepared to face such conditions themselves for the sake of their convictions.

It is from the reading of the work of this section of Christian Missions to New Zealand that these pages are recorded. The read-ers who will make this a beginning of their search will find that it opens a great human story for which as a young nation we should be grateful.