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A History of the English Church in New Zealand

The bishop visited a Wesleyan missionary


At

Arowhenua more than 100 Maoris were found, but these showed the effects not only of Tamihana's instruction, but also of Wesleyan teachers from the south. The melancholy result was the division of the _pa_ into two sections, who plied the bishop with questions on denominational distinctions. The same uncomfortable state of things was found in almost every village as far as Stewart Island, and detracted much from the pleasure of the tour. At Waikouaiti, 100 miles farther south, the bishop visited a Wesleyan missionary, Mr. Watkins. He was the only white teacher who had as yet visited this portion of the country, and he entertained his guest for two days in friendly fashion. He was inclined to resent the intrusion of Tamihana into his district, but admitted in conversation that, owing to weak health, he had never been able to visit many of the _pas_ himself, and that he had been so scantily supplied with literature by his Society that he could not circulate books. The bishop felt that the ground had certainly not been effectively occupied before Tamihana's visit, for all the Maoris attributed to him the beginnings of their knowledge of the truth. He therefore declined to recognise a Wesleyan sphere of influence in these regions, but the parting between himself and this lonely missionary was thoroughly friendly on both sides.

At Moeraki, Selwyn had again taken to shipboard, and learned from some of his fellow passengers much of the romantic history

of the southern whaling stations. He was able also to fill in his map with the names of capes and other coastal features as they came successively into sight: "In the company of these men I soon found the whole of the mystery which had hung over the southern islands passing away; every place being as well known by them as the northern island by us."

The whaling stations of Stewart Island and of the opposite mainland supplied a curious field for missionary effort. Though Christian marriage was unknown, the whalers appeared to be faithful to their native partners, and uniformly anxious that their half-caste children should lead a more regular life than they themselves had known. In a considerable number of cases the bishop pronounced the Church's blessing over these irregular connections, and he distributed large numbers of simple books for the instruction of the children.

A fortnight soon passed by amidst this interesting community, and, after reaching the farthest inhabited point at Jacob's River, the bishop was able to make a quick run by sea back to Akaroa, which he reached on Feb. 14th. Here he evidently felt himself to be on alien soil, for though he thoroughly appreciated the ceremonious politeness with which he was received on board the French corvette, he does not seem to have held any service on shore, nor performed any episcopal act. He was more at home with a godly Presbyterian family whom he found at Pigeon Bay, and complied with their request to conduct their evening prayer.

By the end of the month he was back in Wellington, where at last there appeared some hopeful signs. A new governor (Captain Fitzroy) had just arrived, who helped him to secure a better site for a church; and a new judge, "who spoke very co-operatively on church matters." At Auckland he consecrated St. Paul's Church, and was pleased to find his projected church at Tamaki already taking shape. Such "a solid venerable-looking building" refreshed his spirit[6] amidst "the wilderness of weather-board;" and he had another "delicious day" in his library at Kerikeri before he finally arrived at Waimate. He was escorted home on March 21 by a procession of the members of the college and the schools, amounting in all to full 50 souls, and found everything in such good order that he requested his English friends to waste no more compassion upon him for the future.


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