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A History of the English Church in New Zealand

Proceeding northwards to the Manukau Harbour


In

the same year (1838) Brown and Wilson re-occupied Tauranga, which soon became a particularly powerful centre. Not only were the catechetical classes large and enthusiastic, but the native teachers itinerated through the villages of the district, and a party of fifteen set off on a missionary tour to Taupo and Cook Strait. The history of this bold undertaking is hard to discover, but local traditions seem to show that these dimly-remembered pioneers must have descended the Wanganui River, and that at least one must have penetrated as far south as Otaki.

From Tauranga also an occasional visit was paid to Matamata, which was not again to become the residence of a white missionary. But it had Tamihana Waharoa with his model _pa_, and its graveyard contained the grave of Tarore, "who, being dead, yet spake." Her father, Ngakuku, did not indulge in useless grief, but in 1839 accompanied Wilson from Tauranga along the Bay of Plenty to Opotiki near its eastern end, and there they founded a station amid a people more savage than any yet encountered. Yet even these accepted the new teaching with eagerness. A curious evidence of this was given by a deputation which came one day to Opotiki from a village 30 miles in the interior. The object of these strangers was not blankets or powder, but simply to ask the white man whether the words of the burial service might be read over the unbaptised!

Outside the region of the "bonnet"

war, changes also were in progress. The tribes were moving toward the coast, and their teachers found it wise to follow. The Puriri station was for this reason broken up, and two new ones established on the Hauraki Gulf--Fairburn settling at Maraetai, and Preece near the mouth of the Thames. Hamlin, too, abandoned his post at Mangapouri, and sailed down the Waikato to its mouth. Proceeding northwards to the Manukau Harbour, he found there the Rev. R. Maunsell already established. They worked together for three years; then Maunsell, leaving Hamlin at Manukau, opened a new station at Waikato Heads. Maunsell was a Dublin graduate of great eloquence and strong personality. He soon acquired a commanding influence over the people of his district, and an examination held by him in 1839 rivalled those of the Bay of Islands ten years before. Fifteen hundred people were present at this gathering. A class of 450 were examined in the Catechism in the open air, while 300 more advanced scholars inside the schoolhouse displayed their proficiency in varied subjects, some of them repeating correctly whole chapters out of the Epistles. At the close came a baptismal service, when 100 Maoris were received into the fold of Christ's Church; and afterwards a celebration of the Holy Communion, when more than that number participated. The service was followed by a feast, at which whole pigs were deftly carved and carefully apportioned, with their share of corn and kumeras, to each tribe: "In a few moments the whole vanished as if by magic. All was animation and cheerfulness, and even those who had come four and five days' distance seemed to forget their fatigue in the general excitement."

While the mission was thus spreading through the island in cheering fashion, the older stations at the Bay were privileged to receive an episcopal visit. The able and devoted Dr. Broughton had lately (1836) been appointed Bishop of Australia, and had been requested by the C.M.S. to extend his pastoral care, as far as possible, to the islands of New Zealand. The mention of such a visit calls up imaginative pictures of its probable course. Would there not have been intense expectation and busy preparations beforehand? The Maoris would doubtless welcome their august visitor with characteristic heartiness, and would come forward in hundreds, if not in thousands, to receive the gift of Confirmation at his hands. His journeys from one station to another would be like a triumphal progress; there would have been feastings, gifts, and rejoicings everywhere.


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