Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 18, June 1974


Bay of Plenty Times $1.20        GRACE LOCKINGTON

Mrs. Lockington, (nee Stone) a former resident of Katikati and of Waihi, and now living at Crathie, has reminisced over her 82 years of life. The "tales" she has to tell, and the stories are all at first hand from her own or others' experiences, - people and incidents. Being factual, they are the stuff that makes up the history of a district. (Mrs. Lockington's book is not a History of the district, but it does supplement the existing material). While "Ulster Plantation" is a History of the Settlement, and "My Simple Life" records the contemporary scene, Mrs. Lockington is able to trace families through from the settlement to the present day, to record incidents and episodes too trifling for a History, but too amusing (or embarrassing) to omit, for in them we read between the lines of the day to day activities of the people, of their environment and attitudes, of the conditions which to them were normal to their way of life.

Very readable - chatty style. E. BUSH



The publication of this biography of Henry Williams, Missionary Extraordinary to New Zealand, is timely, coinciding as it did with the 150th anniversary celebrations marking the arrival of Henry with his wife and family in 1823. It is perhaps ironic that this biography of one of the founders of the Church of the Province of New Zealand should have been written by a Presbyterian minister, but members of our Historical Societies who know Mr. Rogers will recall his interest in the early history of this land (and there is no doubt that the subject of his research was vitally concerned with the beginnings of this colony, and indeed helped to shape its future). As Principal of the Maori Theological College at Ohope, he would have as students many whose genealogies would include some of the people with whom Williams was so much concerned; and as a further point of interest, Mr. Rogers' interest in Henry Williams had already been evoked, as witness the publication of a volume of Henry's Letters in 1961.

The task of Captain Hobson in the proclamation of British rule in 1840 was made easier by the presence of the missionaries - the way had been prepared when, in proclaiming the Faith and teaching the principles and practice of Christianity, they had created the conditions for colonisation, and had unwittingly perhaps prepared the way for acceptance of the general ideas promulgated by Hobson. Certain it is that without the guidance of Henry Williams the path to the Signing of the Treaty might have been more strewn with obstacles. He it was who advised and directed the approach of the British, his word and his mana swayed the Maori in his thinking.

Henry and Marianne Williams arrived in the Bay of Island in 1823, both dedicated to the life-time of service that lay ahead; to each of them posterity owes a great debt for the foundations they laid. Educated with his younger brother William by their widowed mother, the two boys were imbued with their mother's religious convictions and strong independent spirit. For ten years (1806 - 1815) Henry served in the Royal Navy, and saw action against the French and Danish Fleets. With the cessation of the War against France, serving officers were retired on half-pay.

Through the influence of his brother-in-law, Henry prepared for ordination and acceptance by the Church Missionary Society for service in New Zealand. Because of delays, his departure was postponed, Henry married his Marianne, and by the time the C.M.S was ready to send them, they had three children, with another expected. After a period in Sydney, they were accompanied to New Zealand by Samuel Marsden who saw them settled into a site for a new mission station at Paihia, where, three years later, they were joined by William and his wife. When Marsden returned to Sydney, he took with him the Rev. John Butler, thereby leaving Henry as the only priest in the Mission; he was ipso facto the senior missionary, and this office he maintained with a fair if arbitrary hand. He was fortunate in that the chief of Paihia was friendly towards Marsden, and gave protection to the station at Paihia.

Henry won the trust and confidence of the Maoris - at first perhaps vicariously as the Lieutenant of Marsden, but Henry quickly attained mana in his own right, earned in part no doubt through his firmness, and stubborn resistance to wrongs. The Maoris found in him a defence against remorseless sailors who sought to take advantage of them. His mission station, chapel, and school soon became a centre for them.

The uncertainty of supplies from Sydney induced Williams to have a boat built. His mana received a considerable boost when, without the aid of the man-power that had assembled to assist in the launching of the white man's large "canoe" (and with the hope of reward) it rolled down to the water with the removal of chocks, and aided by the natural force of gravity. In its short life, the "Herald", launched 24th Jan. 1826, greatly assisted the work and the spread of the Mission. On its first visit to the Bay of Plenty, the missionaries were able to assess the need, and in due time to place men in pre-selected spots.

One can infer from the various chapter headings entitled in each section, Peacemaking and Exploring, how much Henry was involved with affairs and matters outside Paihia. And the fact that of seven headings concerning Progress, Development, Peacemaking, and Exploration only one uses the term Problems implies the effort the missionary put into his labours, the reception accorded him by opposing parties, and the successful outcome of his missions. Not that success came easily. But one can judge the calibre of the man from the nature of his missions. As peacemaker between factions, he needed physical courage to approach a taua that had a grievance; he needed a subtlety of approach and a knowledge of the Maori way of thinking. These qualities and gifts he manifested. As an explorer, he needed physical stamina to withstand long days on bush and mountain tracks, or at sea enduring the tempest. His many expeditions, whether to bring peace to the land, or to explore the needs of the people for further missionary activity, involved long periods of separation from his wife and family, and from his work at Paihia.

Henry Williams didn't earn his title of "The Peacemaker" the easy way, and he was even attacked in his own home. But Maori and Administrator and ship's Captain all called upon the missionary to intervene in their quarrels. The Bay of Islands became a natural centre of strife and disruption. The Ngapuhi had acquired muskets, and with them they sought to attain dominance over the tribes of the northern parts of the North Island. Henry made more than one trip in their wake. Kororareka had been the gathering place for sailors, and many a disturbance broke out between quarrelsome sailors besotted with grog, or between sailor and Maori. Because he opposed the selling of muskets and powder by masters of vessels by way of barter for goods, Henry was viewed with hostility by such masters. Nevertheless the Mission influence was strong enough for a station to be established at Kororareka. With the arrival of Pompallier there was extreme antagonism between the rival denominations, and this of course extended to the followers. As Kororareka became the centre of concentration of shipping, commerce followed, and traders and grog-shops opened.

Mr. Rogers takes pains over the involvement of Henry Williams over the incidents relative to the cutting of the flagstaff at Tapeke Point, and the reader becomes well aware both of the causes, many of them stemming from well back in the past, and of the reasons why Williams could so easily be accused of seditious participation. At the same time, it is interesting to read the course of events, and of Henry's part in giving assistance to the Magistrate in stemming the tide of insurrection. At the same time, his advice to the authorities went unheeded, and resulted in further dissidence. But it was the word of Te Wiremu to the Maoris that finally brought peace to the disturbed district, and won the expressed gratitude of the Governor, who recognised the worth of Henry's efforts - but not before bloody battle had ensued, and Henry was accused by the acting-commander of complicity. The noise of that battle left grumblings and rumblings for long years after the cessation of the fighting, and the author of this biography has followed it through to give lucidity to the story, and reputation to the subject.

In 1839, Henry sailed to Port Nicholson via the Bay of Plenty, and taking with him Octavius Hadfield whom he wished to instal in the Otaki district. At the same time, Williams was desirous of meeting with Wakefield who had in London brought charges of land speculation by the missionaries and had even convinced the C.M.S. of the validity of these charges. Henry Williams wished for a confrontation with Wakefield and the N.Z. Land Company, but Wakefield was in the South Island. However, the pair went on foot to the Otaki district where they were received with much friendship, and were delighted to find evidence of Christian teaching through the efforts of a former slave of Ngapuhi who had come under the influence of Henry at Paihia, and on his release had returned to the Otaki district. Even in this district, Henry was able to secure peace between an Otaki taua and an opposing force of Ngati-Awa.

Having inducted Hadfield at Otaki, Henry set out on the long march home, via Tauranga, a journey of three hundred miles through unexplored country, uncertain of the fate of the party in possibly hostile territory. Henry was 47, suffering the pain of recurring rheumatism and the effects of an old war wound. Yet he completed that trek in a month - such was the man who faced the rigours of that journey. Mr. Rogers tells the story in detail; it is a saga to be read for oneself.

With the arrival of Busby, Hobson, and Bishop Selwyn, the path of history carved out by the missionaries became now a broad road with all the conflicts of many travellers. Henry and William Williams had laid the course for this road, and much of its foundation. But in marching down this new road of Colonisation, Henry was to face ignominy, and dismissal by the C.M.S.

To provide for his children, he had purchased land for their future, since it was the only future they had. But the C.M.S. had been misinformed, while Selwyn and Grey lent support to the misunderstandings. After his dismissal, Henry and his family moved to Pakaraka, where he built "The Retreat", and the Church that became the centre of a large congregation of those who remained loyal to their much-respected Te Wiremu, in its precincts he and his wife were finally laid to rest.

In 1853 both Grey and Selwyn were in England and placed the facts before the C.M.S, requesting that Henry be reinstated. The authorities agreed, and Henry accepted, but they did not return to Paihia. The Retreat at Pakaraka remained their home and Henry and Marianne could rejoice in the memory of the love and loyalty of all those who had not deserted them in the hour of disgrace. His mana continued through the unhappy years of colonisation, and he was able to pacify and mollify and advise the aggrieved, albeit the authorities regarded the missionaries as "Traitors and Busybodies ... Authors of all mischief".

There is much more to tell, and Mr. Rogers has told it well. The biography is a "must" for all students of History; it should find a place on the shelves of all who are interested in the history of our land. But it will be welcomed by those who love adventure, who love heroes, who believe that Truth is stranger than Fiction.