New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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Walter Lawry and the Mission in the South Seas


Chapter 1 The Early Years
Chapter 2 New South Wales (1818-1822)
Chapter 3 Mission to the Friendly Islands
Chapter 4 Ministry in England
Chapter 5 The General Superintendent (1844-1852)
Chapter 6 ConclusionAcknowledgement


I first became interested in Walter Lawry twenty years ago, when working over the Mission Correspondence seeking material for the centenary brochure of Wesley College, Paerata. The Lawry reports and letters stood out from the rest. It was clear that his position and personality made an immediate impact on the Mission, and especially on its relations with the Government. He lifted the status of the Wesleyans and helped the early stages of transition from a Mission to the Maoris to an indigenous church. Why then the unhappy end? This story attempts to set the events in historical focus, and to explain why things happened as they did. It may even have something to say to contemporary Methodism.

The bare facts are there for anyone to dig out of official minutes and reports. But the light and shade, the details that bring the story to life, come from papers and old letters, and from oral tradition handed down among the members of the gregarious Lawry clan, who shared freely with me. I am especially grateful to the family of the late Rev. A. C. Lawry for permission to use their great-grandfather's Journal for the years 1818-1825.

My thanks are also due to Mrs Lucy Marshall of Henderson who, as a trained research worker, has followed every trail and knows more about her great-great-grandfather than any other person does. She has been most generous with her help. I wish also to thank the Mitchell Library, Sydney, for extracts from the 1851 Journal.

President, N.Z. Wesley Historical Society.