Thomas Kendall, one of New Zealand’s first Christian missionaries, was based at the Church Missionary Society (CMS) station in the Bay of Islands from 1814 until 1821. He pioneered the transcription of the Māori language, and also investigated how Māori understood the universe. In doing so, however, he attracted hostility from others in the Australasian mission world.
Suzanne Aubert – later Mary Joseph Aubert – was a Catholic nun, nurse, teacher and pioneering social worker, who sometimes had to battle church and government authorities in order to help those in need. Her career spanned six decades. Read biography of Mary Aubert
In 1860, after working as a nurse in her homeland, France, Suzanne Aubert voyaged to New Zealand to work as a Catholic missionary in Auckland. She joined the Marist Māori mission in Hawke's Bay in 1871, then the mission at Hiruhārama (Jerusalem) on the Whanganui River in 1883.
To help fund Jerusalem she marketed herbal remedies, and used her family inheritance to buy a farm for growing saleable produce.
In the 1820s the Kerikeri mission station was under the protection of Hongi Hika and the Ngāpuhi tribe. Hongi had encouraged the establishment of the mission - largely because he wanted access to muskets, which gave Ngāpuhi a great military advantage over other tribes. Today the 1822 mission house is New Zealand's oldest building.
Of Taranaki and Te Āti Awa descent, Te Ua was born in Waiaua, South Taranaki, in the early 1820s. In 1862 he established a new religion, Hauhau, based on the principle of pai mārire – goodness and peace. But most settlers viewed Hauhau as a fundamentally anti-European religion, synonymous with ‘violence, fanaticism and barbarism’.
On 2 March 1865 Carl Sylvius Völkner, a German-born missionary, was hanged from a willow tree near his church at Opotiki. His death was attributed to the followers of a new religion, Pai Marire, who suspected Völkner of spying for the government.
Bishop Pompallier was born in Lyons, France, in 1801. He was consecrated Bishop with responsibility for Western Oceania (including New Zealand) in 1836. He arrived in New Zealand in 1838, and by the mid-1840s had established a number of Catholic missions. By 1843 the French missions claimed about 45,000 Maori converts.
Henry Williams (1792-1864) was a former Royal Navy lieutenant who served in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1823, as an Anglican priest, he was appointed to head CMS's mission in New Zealand. Under his forceful personality, the mission was highly successful, influencing several thousand Maori to convert and spreading its influence through much of the North Island. By the late 1830s, Williams and most missionaries actively supported British annexation, believing it necessary to protect Maori from lawless Europeans.
Richard Taylor (1805–1873) was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1829. He was later appointed a missionary with the Church Missionary Society (CMS), and settled at the Bay of Islands in 1839.
In January 1840 he acquired a large tract of land in the far north – including Cape Reinga and Spirits Bay/Kapowairua – from the Kaitaia chief Nopera Panakareao. His main purpose appears to have been to create a permanent endowment for the local tribe, Te Aupouri, but he was heavily criticised by those who did not appreciate his motives.
George Augustus Selwyn (1809–1878) was educated at Cambridge University, where he gained an MA in classics. He was ordained as a deacon in 1833. In 1841 he was consecrated Bishop of New Zealand, and arrived in the colony in the following year.
The Reverend Samuel Marsden, Chaplain to New South Wales, (1765-1838) was the driving force behind the establishment of Anglican mission stations in New Zealand in the early nineteenth century. He was born in England and based in New South Wales, and he was a member of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). His work and that of his missionaries helped build up a relationship of trust with Maori chiefs, paving the way for the acceptance of an official Crown presence in New Zealand.
Thomas Grace (1815–1879) joined the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1844 and was soon ordained as a deacon. He arrived in New Zealand to take up missionary work among Maori in 1850.
He began work in Poverty Bay. Unlike other CMS missionaries he did not seek the rapid assimilation of Maori. Instead he encouraged Maori to gain some economic independence, and to retain their lands. This made him very unpopular with settlers.