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Pewhairangi: Bay of Islands Missions and Maori 1814 to 1845

Pewhairangi: Bay of Islands Missions and Maori 1814 to 1845

Автором Anglea Middleton

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Pewhairangi: Bay of Islands Missions and Maori 1814 to 1845

Автором Anglea Middleton

647 pages
7 hours
Dec 6, 2019


Drawing upon the author's ongoing examination of the archaeology of missionization in New Zealand, Pewhairangi also places it in international comparative context. When a small group of three English families landed in the bay below Rangihoua pa in 1814, under the protection of its chief and inhabitants, the story told in Pewhairangi began. It is the story of New Zealand's first permanent European settlement at Hohi, of the church mission that it represented, and of the other mission communities subsequently established in the Bay of Islands at Kerikeri, Paihia, Te Puna, and Waimate. It tells of Ngapuhi and Pakeha engagement, as neighbors, over four decades: the chiefs, the missionaries, the mastermind Samuel Marsden, and the wives and children of all these men. The book also records the multiple comings and goings in the Bay of the amateur and professional artists whose works supply many of the book's fine illustrations.
Dec 6, 2019

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Pewhairangi - Anglea Middleton

Published by Otago University Press

PO Box 56 / Level 1, 398 Cumberland Street,

Dunedin, New Zealand

E: university.press@otago.ac.nz

W: www.otago.ac.nz/press

First published 2014

Copyright © Angela Middleton 2014

The moral rights of the author have been asserted.

ISBN 978-1-877578-53-3 (print)

ISBN 978-1-98-859220-6 (EPUB)

ISBN 978-1-98-859221-3 (Kindle)

ISBN 978-1-98-859222-0 (ePDF)

A catalogue record for this book is available from the National Library of New Zealand. This book is copyright. Except for the purpose of fair review, no part may be stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including recording or storage in any information retrieval system,without permission in writing from the publishers. No reproduction may be made, whether by photocopying or by any other means, unless a licence has been obtained from the publisher.

Publisher: Rachel Scott

Editor: Wendy Harrex

Design/layout: Fiona Moffat

Index: Robin Briggs

Ebook conversion 2019 by meBooks

Published with the assistance of Creative NZ

Frontispiece: ‘Night Scene, New Zealand’, from the Missionary Register in 1837.

Wearing a greatcoat and cap, James Kemp is shown preaching at a Bay of Islands village.

Title page and title verso: Medal presented to Te Pahi, 1806. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s Australia




1 Into the Māori World

Exchanges and travels before 1814; The Māori world; The English evangelicals; The mission evangelicals at Port Jackson, 1810–1814; Ngāpuhi in 1814: Whānau, hapū and iwi

2 Hohi and Rangihoua Pā, 1814

Missionary arrivals and Rangihoua, 1814; The land transaction and Marsden’s departure; Ruatara’s demise; The Hohi settlers; Organisation and trade; Hohi or Waitangi?; Hohi, the settlement; Marsden returns, 1819 and 1820; Thomas Kendall, Hongi and Waikato visit England; Kendall’s expulsion; Hohi in decline

3 Māori Gardens and European Arms

Civilise, then Christianise; Māori horticulture and agriculture; The arms trade; The musket wars; The wars draw to an end; Entanglements: unexpected outcomes

4 Kerikeri Mission and Kororipo Pā, 1819

Hongi Hika’s mission; Kerikeri women and mission life; Conflict within the mission; Kerikeri after the Butlers; The Clarke era; Hongi Hika’s death; The Stone Store; The Kemp era; From tapu to noa

5 Paihia, 1823

Te Koki and Hamu of Ngāti Hine; Marianne and Henry Williams arrive, 1823; Stand-offs and encounters; The mission community; The mission at work; The mission schools; Expansion and change, 1840

6 Te Waimate, 1830

The Clarke, Davis and Hamlin years; William and Jane Williams arrive; Richard Taylor takes over; A mission farm; The battle with the ‘Prince of Darkness’; Winds of change; Waimate, a bishop’s palace?; Selwyn’s Waimate institutions; Selwyn abandons the north

7 Te Puna, 1832

Traces of Te Puna; ‘Great things has been done’; ‘A lonely, difficult and profitless life’; The mission and the pā

8 Escalation to War, 1845

Te Tiriti o Waitangi; Economic decline in Pēwhairangi; Tikanga or British law?; Ngāpuhi divisions and politics; Heke’s felling of the flagpole(s); The sacking of Kororāreka; Waimate, the wāhi tapu; After Kororāreka; Puketutu; Ōhaeawai; Waimate, occupied territory; Ruapekapeka, the final battle; Peace making; Still the conversation lives

9 What Hath God Wrought?

Appendix: Mission personnel







ēwhairangi, or more literally, Te Pē-o-whairangi, the Bay of Islands, has been a place of intrigue and mystique for me since the late 1990s. As a student at that time, I was searching for the place of interaction – or even the earliest interactions – between Māori and Pākehā, to form a focus of my PhD, in order to explore the foundations of our bicultural world through archaeology and the written record. I learnt about the Ngāti Manu leader, Pōmare II, and his stronghold pā of Ōtūihu, a place that rivalled Kororāreka (today’s Russell) in the history books. Pōmare II was a man who had seized the opportunities offered by encounters with Europeans coming into the Bay of Islands in the early to mid-nineteenth century; Ōtūihu was a place ripe for investigation through archaeological techniques to explore this kind of interaction on the ground. I met with Ngāti Manu leaders at Karetu, my research was blessed and I was given a woven flax kete before I left to visit taonga at the Smithsonian Museum and do further research there in 2000, but this project was not to go ahead.

Since that time, the knowledge in that kete has increased as my focus shifted around Pēwhairangi. In the north of the Bay, I encountered a landscape redolent with the kind of interaction I was searching for, where the tūpuna Te Pahi and Ruatara had actively sought engagement with Europeans. The Māori and missionary landscape at Te Puna and Hohi spoke loudly of this. It seemed a pristine archaeological landscape in 2000, with evidence of the two mission stations nestled on either side of the terraces and defences of the towering Rangihoua pā. Te Puna became the focus of my PhD research, revealing the nature of this isolated and marginalised mission station, its inhabitants often dependent on the hapū of Te Hikutū and Ngāti Torehina based at Rangihoua. Beyond Te Puna, I also explored the nature of the Church Missionary Society’s (CMS) New Zealand missions in comparison with other missions in the New World, the bigger picture of colonisation and missionisation.

I had long thought about this particular Pēwhairangi book, a book that would explore the detail of the expansion of the CMS missions in the Bay of Islands and the changing nature of their interactions with Ngāpuhi, in particular, as missions were established under the auspices and in the territories of different hapū. What began as a small party of three mission families and ticket-of-leave convict labourers in 1814 had led to a burgeoning settler population, land speculation and unanticipated dynamics some 25 years later, followed by the arrival of the British administration in early 1840. Ngāpuhi were significant actors in these events, but the outcomes were not as expected. I was keen to uncover the major players, important places and fine details in this significant story. Funding applications followed and in 2012 I was the recipient of a Claude McCarthy Fellowship, as well as a grant from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. I was very grateful to finally have the opportunity to focus on this project.

Team at Hohi, 2012

The kete of knowledge returned to Ngāti Manu and Ngāti Hine in 2010, when I was one of the researchers working on the Te Aho Claims Alliance report to the Waitangi Tribunal, completed in 2013. This took me back to my earlier connections in the south of the Bay. More recently, as the bicentenary of the Hohi mission drew closer, Ian Smith, of the University of Otago, and I had the opportunity to work at Hohi and to explore what might well be considered its sacred ground, where leaders Te Pahi and Ruatara once welcomed the earliest Pākehā settlement of ‘mechanic’ missionaries. Our archaeological investigations, carried out in the summers of 2012 and 2013, funded through two University of Otago Research Grants and support from the Department of Conservation, uncovered details of the Hohi mission structures and revealed aspects of daily life. This provided the window into the beginnings of mission life in Pēwhairangi.

Along the way, some things changed. At the beginning of the project, I thought of the mission next to Rangihoua as ‘Oihi’, as most published works identify it. The traditional name, ‘Hohi’, soon resurfaced from nineteenth-century sources and was clearly identified as the correct term for this place by Hugh Rihari, Erima Henare and other tangata whenua. This is now the mission’s acknowledged name, after Ian Smith applied to the Geographic Board in 2013 to correct this historical error.

This book, Pēwhairangi, represents that blessed kete now filled with mātauranga, from both the Māori and missionary worlds. It is of course a partial – in both meanings of the word – history. There are many other stories and histories of Pēwhairangi to be told from differing vantage points.


Dunedin, May 2014



gā mihi nui ki ngā tūpuna o Ngāpuhi nui tonu me ngā mihi nui hoki ki ngā hapū katoa o Pēwhairangi me Hokianga. Greetings also to the descendants of those early missionary/settler families. The evidence of the relationship between Ngāpuhi and Pākehā remains inscribed on the ground across the Bay of Islands.

This book has been funded with a Claude McCarthy Fellowship and a Ministry for Culture and Heritage History Research Award for 2012. I am very grateful to these two organisations for the opportunity to undertake this research and writing – it has long been thought about. Many thanks to my referees, Professor Charles Orser of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, and Emeritus Professor Helen Leach of the University of Otago, Dunedin, for their support in this.

I am grateful to those kaumatua who have guided my research over the past 15 years. This is a journey that began with Ngāti Manu and Ngāti Hine in 1999, when Erima Henare introduced me to the complexities of hapū history, which I have returned to time and again. Ngā mihi ki a koe. From Ōtūihu and Kororāreka my focus shifted northwards to the entwined Māori and missionary landscape at Te Puna and Rangihoua. My deep thanks to Hugh and Raewyn Rihari and Aropai Rihari who have long supported this work and provided assistance. I am grateful to have been able to ask Hugh many questions along the way. My thanks and greetings also to Mānuka Henare, who is a mentor in te ao Māori, and especially te ao Ngāpuhi.

My thanks to Kingi Taurua for supporting the reproduction of the drawing of Tāreha and for discussion about Ngāpuhi ancestors, and to Judi Ward for leads in research relating to Hariata Hongi. Ngā mihi ki a korua.

My thanks also to the staff of Heritage New Zealand (formerly New Zealand Historic Places Trust) for assistance, in particular for facilitating my photography at the Kerikeri and Waimate missions and supplying information about the collections and archives held in these places.

Team at Te Puna, 2002

I am also grateful to others who have assisted: to Bill and Catherine Edwards for practical support and good company in Kerikeri and to Pat Baskett for reading and commenting on drafts. My particular acknowledgements to Ian Smith, for being a ready source of support, for reading drafts, and for producing a number of the maps and plans in this book. Moreover, thank you for our ongoing discussions about early Pākehā and Māori engagement, which have contributed largely to this book in many ways. I would also like to acknowledge the teams that worked with Ian and myself on archaeological investigations, at Te Puna in 2002 and at Hohi in 2012 and 2013. Thanks also to Peter Cooper of Mountain Landing who provided access to the Te Puna mission site for those investigations.

Special thanks to Wendy Harrex, who has supported this publication over the past years, and taken extra time to shape it, and to the wider team at Otago University Press, for helping to produce a book that I hope will add to the understanding of the foundations of our nation.

Map of the Bay of Islands with principal locations. Ian Smith, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Otago


Into the Māori World

From the earliest years of settlement in the thirteenth century, the Bay of Islands on northern New Zealand’s east coast was a prime location for Māori occupation. The coast and sea provided food of all kinds, including fish, shellfish and seals, while kūmara (sweet potato) and other staple crops could be grown easily in the warm, fertile environment. Dogs were eaten, and moa too, until hunted to extinction by the end of the fifteenth century.¹ Today, the Bay remains a mecca of a different kind, a tourist and horticulturalist’s ‘subtropical paradise’. But it also offers time travel, the opportunity to explore not only earlier Māori occupation, but the dynamic, unpredictable beginnings of Māori and European interaction. The landscape is embedded with stories of people and events, both sacred and profane.

Several centuries after first settlement, as both population and competition for resources increased, Māori began to fortify hill tops and headlands. Using the simple wooden kō, a digging stick, they created major earthworks of ditches and banks, reinforced with heavy palisading to deter any invading enemies. Within these pā, hill slopes were cut and filled to form level terraces for living spaces, where houses were built out of raupō (reed) and wood; all food was cooked out of doors, in smaller open structures (kāuta) and in hāngi (stone-filled cooking pits). Some pā were so large that visiting Europeans in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries described them as towns.

As well as maintaining hill-top pā, Māori moved through the landscape in a seasonal and ceremonial rotation, maintaining intersecting land interests in dispersed places. Kūmara was planted in spring, mainly in inland gardens, harvested in autumn, and stored over the winter months, either in pits with a thatched roof to keep the crop dry or on whata, platforms supported by posts. Also grown was the hue (gourd) used for food and for holding liquids, and the paper mulberry, a cherished plant used to produce tapa cloth, but only in small amounts, that was often worn as an ear decoration. Today, parts of the Bay’s landscape still attest to traditional horticultural practices, with rows of parallel channels or possible boundary lines visible on many slopes, created by the processes of drainage and subdivision of plots.² Storage pits also survive, although their thatched roofs have long gone.

Aerial view of Rangihoua and Wairoa bays, 1950, showing places mentioned in the text.

In the northern Bay of Islands in the late eighteenth century, the pā of Rangihoua formed one of the principal citadels, under the command of a rangatira (chief, leader) known as Te Pahi. His kāinga or village extended westward from the pā along the shoreline at Te Puna and Wairoa Bay, to encompass a small fortified island (an appealing place standing close to the mainland) and Koutu pā, on the headland (also known as Papuke).³ To the east below Rangihoua pā, on the far side of a small stream, was a hillside known as Hohi, used for gardens. Traces of both the pā and gardens are still visible on the hillsides.

Hohi was to be the site of New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement, in 1814, when a small group of three English families were landed in the bay below Rangihoua, under the auspices of the pā and its occupants. This book tells the story of that settlement, the church mission it represented, and the further mission communities established in the Bay at Kerikeri, Paihia, and Waimate. It is a story of Māori and Pākehā engagement, as neighbours, over four decades. By 1840, when Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) was signed, the Bay of Islands was one of the few places where European and Māori communities had coexisted for some time. By 1845, as the meaning of British annexation became clear and the European population began to burgeon, local disillusionment with Te Tiriti was so great that it resulted in the War in the North.

Rangihoua pā, showing terracing and gardening features, and the Hohi mission site, 2004.

Kevin Jones, Department of Conservation

Exchanges and travels before 1814

Contact between Māori and Europeans in the Bay of Islands began in the late eighteenth century. The wide, attractive harbour with many islands was named by James Cook in November 1769.⁴ The meaning of the ancient Māori name for this place, Ipiripi, is not clear.⁵ ‘Pēwhairangi’, a later name, is a transliteration of the English ‘Bay of Islands’. Cook found the Bay a fertile area, more heavily populated than anywhere else he had seen in Aotearoa, a place where there was ‘room and depth for any number of shipping’ and the ship’s company received ‘refreshment of every kind’.⁶ Edible fernroot (aruhe), a subsistence food, grew wild and there were large, well-kept gardens of kūmara, yam and taro. Some 400 people in canoes crowded around the Endeavour on Cook’s arrival. Tupaia, Cook’s Tahitian guide in the Pacific, conversed with the locals while presents were dispersed and large quantities of fish were purchased. These had been caught in an enormous seine net, much larger than the Europeans were used to: ‘fishing seems, indeed, to be the chief business of life in this part of the country’, wrote Hawkesworth, one of Cook’s company.⁷

Three years later, in 1772, a French expedition commanded by Marc Joseph Marion du Fresne⁸ had a significant encounter with Pēwhairangi Māori. As many of this expedition’s sailors were suffering from scurvy, the French established a hospital camp on Moturua Island in the southern part of the Bay, and planted gardens of onions, swedes, cabbages and turnips; pigs were also raised. These subsequently added to the established food sources in the Bay but, after a French infringement of tapu, Marion du Fresne and 24 of his men were killed and eaten. The French retaliated and killed many more Māori. This event became a catalyst for inter-hapū (sub-tribal) war and was to have major repercussions for decades to come.⁹

A significant connection between Māori and European was formed during the last decade of the eighteenth century. In April 1793, two young men, Tuki and Huru, were kidnapped from near the Cavalli Islands and taken to Norfolk Island, where the governor, Philip Gidley King, hoped they would be able to teach convicts how to process flax.¹⁰ As flax weaving was regarded as women’s work in the Māori world, it was a task that chiefly men like Tuki and Huru would not undertake.¹¹ However, King and the two Māori became friends. When King arranged for their return to the north of New Zealand in November 1793, he sailed with them, presenting them with goats, pigs and other goods as they left the ship. On land, the pigs and plants multiplied and were distributed to others.

The enterprising Te Pahi, then rangatira of Te Puna and Rangihoua pā, developed these new European foods as trade goods, supplying pork and potatoes to the increasing numbers of whalers stopping at the Bay of Islands, in exchange for iron items.¹² King, now governor of New South Wales, sent further gifts to Te Pahi to encourage this trade, and in 1805 Te Pahi travelled to Port Jackson with his sons to see the incipient European world, seeking to acquire new knowledge and technology.¹³ On meeting Governor King, Te Pahi presented him with fine mats and stone patu, and ‘performed the ceremony of Etongi [hongi] or joining of noses’.¹⁴ Installed in Government House, Te Pahi established a political alliance, not only with Governor King but also with Samuel Marsden, chaplain to the New South Wales convict settlement and, from 1804, local agent for the London Missionary Society’s Pacific ventures.¹⁵ This relationship with Te Pahi inspired Marsden to return to Britain to seek the support of the Church Missionary Society for a first Christian mission to New Zealand, to be established under Te Pahi’s protection.

Te Pahi, a ‘man of high rank and influence’, impressed Marsden with his logical mind, while King enjoyed his ‘extremely facetious and jocose’ conversation.¹⁶ They must have conversed in English. Te Pahi was not embarrassed by ridicule of his tattooed face, but immediately ‘retorted with pointed sarcasm’ that powdered and greased hair was to him much more absurd than tattooing. At a dinner party with the governor, the rangatira argued against the impending execution of a convict found guilty of stealing a pig; why not then, he argued, hang Captain — (an unnamed ship’s captain), who was also at the dinner table, for he had sent a boat’s crew ashore to dig up and steal potatoes from Te Pahi’s own gardens. The ‘abashed’ captain’s reply is not recorded, but he ‘had in reality acted as the chief represented’; moreover, Te Pahi commented, such theft was a common practice ships when visiting the Bay.¹⁷

Tippahee a New Zealand chief, an 1827 engraving by W. Archibald, from an earlier drawing by G.P. Harris.

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, A-092-007.

Samuel Marsden in 1808.

Elder, Letters and Journals, 48.

Te Pahi left Port Jackson to return to Te Puna in 1806 on board the Lady Nelson, with gifts from King, including a prefabricated house which the ship’s carpenter erected on his island, just offshore at Wairoa Bay, the first such building to be seen in the landscape of Aotearoa.¹⁸

Other people from the Bay of Islands followed Te Pahi. In about 1807 his relative, Ruatara, arrived in Port Jackson, along with several other Māori.¹⁹ Meeting him, Marsden thought long about the ‘temporal and spiritual welfare’ of these ‘very interesting people’. He considered them ‘a savage race, full of superstition, and wholly under the power and influence of the Prince of Darkness.’²⁰ The only remedy was the ‘Gospel of a crucified Saviour’. Marsden resolved to return to England as soon as he could get leave of absence, ‘to get some missionaries sent out to preach the Gospel to this people’.

But the political world of New South Wales was unstable. Marsden and King, no longer governor, left for Britain in February 1807.²¹ When Te Pahi returned to Port Jackson on a second visit in 1808, he found his former allies gone,²² leaving him friendless in this strange land, lampooned by those in power, ‘cruelly neglected and ill treated’.²³ He returned to the Bay of Islands disillusioned, but worse was to follow. Late in 1809, the British ship Boyd was sacked in Whangaroa Harbour, to the north of the Bay of Islands. Nearly all those on board, some 40 people, were killed and eaten.²⁴ This was revenge for the captain’s mistreatment of Te Puhi, a chief of Ngāti Pou. According to the precepts of mana, tapu and utu (see below), such action was necessary to restore and maintain the mana of this chief.

Tippahee, a chief of New Zealand, 1808 (Te Pahi). Painted (or caricatured) by James Finucane during Te Pahi’s second visit to Sydney in 1808.

Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, a128467 /SV*/Mao/Port/14.

Coastal view, Bay of Islands Jan. 25 1899, drawn by Philip Walsh. This is one of Te Pahi’s islands, Roimata or Turtle Island.

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, E-363-q-037/038.

While Te Pahi did have links to Ngāti Pou at Whangaroa, he was not responsible for the sacking of the Boyd. But Tara, from the rival hapū of Ngāti Manu based at Kororāreka in the south of the Bay, told a ship’s captain that he was.²⁵ As news of the Boyd killings reached Port Jackson, British officials Colonel Foveaux and James Finucane were about to leave the colony for Britain. Their ship put in at the Bay of Islands, where they encountered six other British vessels. Captains and crew of all ships dispensed an immediate rough justice for the fate of the Boyd, by exacting revenge on Te Pahi and his people. Before daylight on a morning in late March 1810, 60 well-armed seamen scaled the small island where Te Pahi’s house stood. They soon ‘cleared the island of its inhabitants’, leaving ‘their king’s house with the presents he had at various times received from our Government and from individuals as a booty to the invaders’.²⁶ Te Pahi, wounded in the attack, swam with other surviviors to the headland known as Koutu,²⁷ where he later died. The single British casualty was shot by friendly fire, while some 70 of Te Pahi’s people were killed.²⁸ This tragic event was long remembered by those who knew Te Pahi and is still recalled today.

The Māori world

The daily life of Māori around 1800 was based on concepts and values relating to mana, tapu and utu. The Bay of Islands landscape, with its fortified settlements (like Rangihoua), sacred burial places and other wāhi tapu, as well as everyday living spaces, was infused with these values. People were also imbued with mana.²⁹ Patu Hohepa describes this as a ‘nonvisible measure’ possessed by all things, consisting of ‘ancestral or spiritual inheritance, prestige, power, recognition, efficacy, influence, authority and other positive virtues’, the driving force for ensuring the ‘happiness and good existence of the tribal nation’.³⁰ Mana is closely connected with tapu (sacred or set apart under religious restriction) and with utu (see below).³¹ While those of high birth especially have great mana and tapu, the mana of a person can grow or be diminished by his or her actions or those of others towards him or her. Breaking tapu brings loss of mana and the possibility of retribution, supernatural or otherwise. In traditional Māori society, violation of tapu was believed to bring sickness and catastrophe through the anger of the atua, the gods. Noa, by contrast, is ordinary, profane, or free from tapu; the restrictions of tapu can be removed by the use of food and water, making people and things noa.³²

The hau, or ‘wind of life’ or ‘spirit of the thing given’ is central to utu, to the relationship of reciprocal return and to the maintenance of mana.³³ Hau pervades the kin group as the breath of the ancestors; ‘gifts or insults to any part of the group thus affected the hau of the entire kin group.’³⁴ The present-day Māori greeting using the hongi, the pressing together of noses, is the mechanism for intermingling the hau, the breath, to bring people together.

Utu provides a mechanism for maintaining mana, by balanced return, with good returned for good, and bad for bad. Infringements of tapu, of both the body and the land, were punished by utu. When Europeans arrived in the Bay of Islands and did not recognise the restrictions of tapu, Māori exacted utu on them, as they did on other Māori, in order to maintain mana and tapu.

For Māori, concepts such as mana and tapu charged both the landscape and the bodies of highly ranked persons with cosmic ancestral powers essential for eminence and fertility.³⁵ The infringement of mana and tapu, whether in relation to the body or possessions of a chief or the desecration of sacred elements of the landscape, brought the possibility of sickness or defeat to those who had allowed the infringement to occur, while utu created a return to the status quo.

Into this landscape stepped missionaries, whalers and other Europeans. Many found themselves confounded and unnerved by these concepts and practices, while they remained confident of the spiritual and economic superiority of their own beliefs.³⁶ In the early decades of the mission settlements, through their close association with and dependence on Māori, missionaries were forced to submit to punishment for infringements of tapu, carried out by taua muru (plundering parties). At the same time, since their own idea of the sacred was not of this material world, the missionaries denied the concept of tapu. For them, the landscape was profane.

The English evangelicals

The beliefs of that first small band of missionary arrivals to New Zealand were very different from those of Māori. During the second half of the eighteenth century, a Protestant religious re-awakening known as the Evangelical Revival, associated with people like John Wesley (founder of Methodism), swept Europe and North America. ‘High church’ practices were now frowned upon; preachers studied the gospels and often spoke outdoors, where their teaching could reach the masses. Revivalism infiltrated many areas of life in Britain at this time, and pervaded British thinking throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.³⁷ Powerful politicians, such as the anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce, were Revivalists, as were some people in the East India Company, the primary mercantile agency in Britain’s eastern empire.

Mr. Marsden’s Church at Parramatta, an engraving of St John’s, Parramatta.

J.B. Marsden, Life and Work of Samuel Marsden (Christchurch: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1913), 96

St. John’s in Parramatta, 2013.

Photograph by the author

Revivalist societies believed that the command of Christ was to evangelise the world. Evangelicals from different Anglican and non-conformist denominations came together to organise the London Missionary Society (LMS), the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and the Wesleyan Missionary Society (WMS), all of which were established by 1800. An earlier, associated organisation was the Society for the Promotion of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPGFP). Missionary voyages into the Pacific began in 1797, when the LMS ship the Duff arrived in Tahiti. It left behind some eighteen missionaries, most of whom fled to New South Wales within a year. Other missionaries were left in the Marquesas and Tonga, but these missions quickly failed. It was decades before further efforts were made in these two places.

The CMS mission to New Zealand began in 1814, with the arrival of the three families at Hohi. When the first Wesleyans arrived five years later, the two societies worked together in northern New Zealand. Roman Catholics, seen as a major threat by the Protestant societies, would not arrive in New Zealand until 1838.

Evangelical missionary doctrine described a binary world, divided into good and evil. Thus, Māori cultural practices and beliefs were seen as the work of Satan or the Devil, often personified as the ‘Prince of Darkness’ in the reports and daily journals the New Zealand missionaries sent back to the CMS in London. Missionaries saw themselves as fighting a holy battle against Māori practices related to mana and tapu. These concepts affected the missionaries’ everyday lives, as Māori inflicted punishments for infringements of tapu by ransacking mission houses, taking goods or even physically attacking people. The Europeans did not understand that these were actually lesser forms of punishment, that they were being exempted from normal practices, such as the infliction of death, for similar infringements by Māori. When the missionaries responded to Māori transgressions by exacting European ‘justice’ or revenge, Māori were similarly confounded.

To the evangelical mind, God was omniscient, responsible for a myriad of small and larger events in the world. Reward for good (Christian) behaviour and Christian practice in this life came in the next, with promotion to a heavenly world where God presided and one was reunited with deceased friends and family. In the missionaries’ binary world view, the alternative was hell, the realm of the devil and a place of fire and eternal damnation, to which they believed all Māori were destined to go after death. The only hope for Māori was to be baptised and converted to Christianity. The end of Māori traditional beliefs and practices would be a victory for Christianity and ‘civilisation’.

The mission evangelicals at Port Jackson, 1810–1814

Only days after the news of the sacking of the Boyd reached Port Jackson, Samuel Marsden arrived back in New South Wales from Britain on board the Ann, with recruits John King and William Hall; the news soon followed of the attack on Te Puna and the death of Te Pahi.³⁸ While Marsden always believed Te Pahi was innocent of the charges he had been murdered for, his plans for a mission were now delayed indefinitely.³⁹ The Bay of Islands was considered much too dangerous to settle in.

Te Pahi’s relative Ruatara had also been on board the Ann. Some time after the ship had left Portsmouth, Marsden was astonished to find him on the forecastle, ‘wrapped up in an old greatcoat, very sick and weak’, coughing up blood. Ruatara had gone to Britain intending to see King George, but was badly treated and never achieved his aim. On the voyage to New South Wales, Marsden and John King nursed the chief back to health.⁴⁰ Ruatara spent some months with Marsden and his family at Parramatta, teaching Marsden and the missionaries the Māori language and learning European agricultural skills, especially those associated with wheat production, that he was determined to put to use at Te Puna. Although he left Port Jackson to return home in November 1810, he was again exploited by a nefarious sea captain and only reached the Bay of Islands in 1812.⁴¹

During their hiatus in New South Wales, Marsden’s mission recruits applied themselves to learning the Māori language and some practical skills. Since they received no salary from the Society, they had to find employment. William Hall did well as a carpenter and purchased property that proved useful when he finally quit the Bay. John King, who had been ‘driven to his knees’ and converted to the evangelist cause while hearing Daniel Wilson (later bishop of Calcutta) preach in his home town of Nether Worton,⁴² was apparently unwell for much of this time. Marsden fretted that a family ‘strain of insanity’ may have been manifested.⁴³ If subject to such an illness, John King may well have found it exacerbated by the difficult new environment he was about to encounter.

King’s preparations for missionary life included finding a diligent, Christian wife. This was considered a necessity in the missionary field, where single men were vulnerable to the ‘temptations’ of indigenous women, as had already occurred in the Tahitian mission.⁴⁴ At Parramatta, John King met a young woman, Hannah Hansen, who had come to New South Wales with her parents, Thomas and Hannah, and her brother, also Thomas, in 1807. John King and Hannah Hansen married in 1812, when Hannah was aged 20 and John King five years older. Their first child, Philip Hansen King, was born in 1813. When John King came to the Bay of Islands it was as the mission shoemaker, a trade he had learned from his father. He also learned to spin twine and dress flax.

William Hall’s first wife had died in England in 1807. Two years later, before leaving his native Carlisle, he married Dinah Carruthers. Their first child, William Carruthers Hall, was born in 1811 and by late 1814 both Hannah King and Dinah Hall were pregnant with their second children. The mission recruits were joined in October 1813 by Thomas and Jane Kendall and their five children.⁴⁵ Kendall, a draper and grocer before he left England, was converted to evangelism by the preaching of Basil Woodd (later the secretary of the CMS) during a visit to London. He joined the mission as its intended schoolmaster.⁴⁶

Fragment of Hannah King’s hand-embroidered wedding dress, worn in NSW, 1812 (not in England, 1810, as Dr Hocken stated: ‘Piece of Mrs. King’s wedding dress before leaving England circa 1810’).

Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago, Dr T.M. Hocken papers, MS-2398/008

Hannah King was a skilled needlewoman. She made John King’s wedding shirt, embroidered with his initials, for their wedding in 1812. There is a small burn, apparently from tobacco, on the shirt-front.

Photograph by the author. Collection of Waimate Mission Station, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Marsden sent Kendall and Hall on an exploratory trip to the Bay of Islands in May 1814, on his recently purchased mission ship the Active. At Rangihoua, William Hall was greeted as a ‘Nuee nuee rungateeda pakehaa’ – a ‘very great Gentleman white man’,⁴⁷ an early use of the term Pākehā, that would soon be used to describe the identity of European New Zealanders.⁴⁸ Marsden had sent a letter to Ruatara, which read:

Duaterra, King

I have sent the brig Active to the Bay of Islands to see what you are doing, and Mr. Hall and Mr. Kendall from England. Mr. Kendall will teach the boys and girls to read and write. I told you when you were at Parramatta that I would send you a gentleman to teach your tameheekes [tamarikis] and koctecdos [kotiros] to read. You will be very good to Mr. Hall and Mr. Kendall. They will come and live in New Zealand if you will not hurt them, and teach you how to grow corn and wheat and make houses. Charles has sent you a cock and Mrs. Marsden has sent you a shirt and jacket. I have sent you some wheat for seeds, and you must put it into the ground as soon as you can. I have sent you a mill to grind your corn. If you will come in the Active to Parramatta I will send you back again. Send me a man or two to learn to make an axe and everything. You will send the Active full of moca [muka, flax], potatoes, limes, mats, fish and nets. I have sent a jacket for Kowheetee [Kawiti]. Tell him to assist you and Terra [Tara] to lade the ship. You will be very good to all my men and not hurt them, and I will be good to you. Anne, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Charles, Martha, Nanny and Mrs. Bishop, Mrs. Marsden are all well and wish to know how you are. If you do not come to see me send word by Mr. Kendall and Mr. Hall what you want and I will send it to you. – I am,

Your friend,

Samuel Marsden⁴⁹

Marsden’s letter is clear about what he was proposing but not about his long-term objectives; for his missionaries, ‘civilisation’ was to precede Christianity, ‘a specifically religious message would be presented when the Maoris were ready to hear the word’.⁵⁰ His offer of Kendall and Hall to teach Ruatara’s people how to read and write, and how to grow wheat and corn and build European-style houses coincided with Ruatara’s own desires, and those of Te Pahi before him. Marsden’s diplomacy worked, although Māori reasons for acquiring agricultural skills may not have been so straightforward or peaceful in their intent as he assumed. When the Active returned to Port Jackson after six weeks in the Bay, seven Māori were on board, including Ruatara and two other influential rangatira, Hongi Hika and Korokoro. The Active also carried a small cargo of timber from Kawakawa, to help defray costs.⁵⁶ Meanwhile, foreshadowing the arms race to come, William Hall wrote to the CMS in London, requesting them to send him a gun ‘as a kind of defense as there is nothing the natives dread so much as the sight of a Gun’.⁵⁷ It would also be useful for duck shooting, he said: he had seen a great many ducks while in New Zealand.


Soon after the arrival of Thomas and Jane Kendall in New South Wales, Samuel Marsden resolved to hire or purchase a ship to service his planned New Zealand settlement, as he now had three families waiting to go there. On finding that the minimum cost of hiring a vessel for a single

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