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Williams and Land

Missionaries purchased land for the Church Missionary Society (for mission churches and buildings)  and later to put land in reserve for Maori when settlers moved in. Private missionary land purchases were controversial from the outset. A few missionaries thought it wrong to buy or own land under any circumstances; the Church Missionary Society issued confused policy on the subject; and there was settler and New Zealand Company resentment. Missionaries who bought land did so to provide for their families. They argued their case with earnest conviction, but in Henry Williams’ case, to no avail – ultimately he was disconnected from the Church Missionary Society, until later reinstated. This section of the website examines the land purchases and the argument for them.

Henry Williams and Land

In December 1830, in a letter to his brother-in-law Edward Marsh, Henry Williams foresaw the need to buy land for his children, who at fifteen would cease to be supported by the Church Missionary Society, and become a burden on their parents. In a virtual absence of potential occupations, farming was a solution. “We have written to the Society respecting the propriety of purchasing land on their [the children’s] account; we do not wish to commence anything of the kind without their approbation. At the same time I do not see what else can be done”.[1] His first purchase, from Te Morenga and others, was made in 1833, at Taiamai (Titirangi).[2] Subsequent purchases were made in 1835, 1836,1838, and 1839, more or less in step with sons and daughters turning fifteen. The properties were later put into trusts for his children with, in 1861, some 800 acres placed in trust for the Church. Land discussed here does not include purchases made on behalf of the Church Missionary Society for mission stations, or land bought in trust for Maori. The table below shows the parcels bought by Henry Williams and the acreage finally confirmed by Commissioners examining pre-1840 claims in 1844.




The locations are more or less south and west of the Waitangi River including or bordering on areas known today as Pouerua, Pakaraka, Waiaruhe, Puketona, Ohaeawae, and Oromahoe.[3]


Although his purchase at Titirangi was ostensibly for his children, Henry Williams hinted at some sort of community development there, building schools and ultimately a town.[4] In 1834, Te Morenga and his people were already present and actively working on the land. This notion, of continuing to involve the previous owners with the land, was present in other Missionary –Maori transactions.[5] An interesting insight comes in 1837 from the testimony of John Flatt before a House of Lords Select Committee, in which he described Maori labouring on land they had sold, receiving payment in goods, thus obtaining a supplementary return.[6]


Goods, and sometimes money and stock, were used in exchange for the land. The goods included tools of various sorts, iron pots, blankets, tobacco and pipes, and clothing – jackets, trousers and gowns. Horses and cattle appeared in some exchanges. Various currencies were used in the Bay of Islands in the 1830s, when the presence of a large number of American whaling ships contributed to the pool of dollars. Silver Spanish dollars – ‘pieces of eight’ – then had the status of an international currency.[7]


A contemporary assessment of the price paid to Maori by the missionaries showed that it was substantially more than that paid by the New Zealand Government (after 1840) and the New Zealand Company, being equivalent to 3s 4d per acre, as opposed to 3d and ½d per acre respectively.[8] The Land Commissioners examining Henry Williams’ holdings in 1841 estimated that the value of goods and money given in exchange for the land amounted to £1722.[9]Williams himself valued his contribution at £1000.[10] Money spent on farm purchases, improvements, and working costs was later estimated by Henry Williams to be around £6000 to which legacies and gifts were said to contribute [11] – we can assume that this was expended over more than 10 years by himself and his sons. There is no evidence that he sold land for a profit, and any proceeds from the farm were reinvested in improvements. He claimed not to have received any payments from that source. The land was not sold for decades after he died. Descendants still farm in the area.


Generally, the land purchased was said to be unimproved, in scrub or bush, and of variable quality. Some land was purchased for access to other parcels. The areas purchased totalled 11000 acres, reduced after 1840 to 7010 acres by the Commissioners investigating pre-1840 claims, and then restored in 1844 to 9000 acres on the recommendation of Commissioner Fitzgerald, authorized by Governor FitzRoy.[12] By 1844, all bar four of Henry and Marianne’s children had turned fifteen, and were no longer receiving financial support from the Society. As none of them would have had the power or authority, or the mana to negotiate with the sellers, nor adequate financial resources, Henry Williams stood effectively as an agent acting on their behalf.


Initially, the land was not surveyed –accurate surveys were years away. Rather, the boundaries were described according to Maori custom using geographical or natural features. The following, relating to part of the Pakaraka purchase, is an example: “This is the Boundary. Pokapu, a piece of land covered with fern, and near an old sacred place called the Umutakiura, Tomotomokia, and along the boundary marked on trees as far as the Kuta: the Horu, and above the Horu, Kauri, Kopu and Puketotara, up to the old boundary”. [13] In some deeds reference was made to the exclusion of sacred sites from the sale. The deeds were written in Maori, signed or marked with a cross by the vendors, and witnessed by fellow missionaries and Maori.[14] They make the land over to “Williams and his children for ever” (or similar wording) and may include “for them to reside on, to work on, to sell, or do what they like with it”. 


From time to time Henry Williams advised the Church Missionary Society when he was purchasing land and what was being given in exchange, but he was sometimes short on detail. He did, however, inform the Society as to the extent of his purchases in 1841, which the Society vindicated in 1845.[15] For reasons given above it would have been difficult to give accurate land measurements, although he could have made approximations. What the Society would have made of such estimates it is difficult to say, as they would have to be qualified by an assessment of land quality and potential productivity to make sense. Such estimates would invariably exceed the acreage of mature and productive English farms with which the Society could make comparisons. They would not easily comprehend the stocking rates of New Zealand scrubland, and the time, effort and cost to bring land into full productive capacity - a matter of some years.


Nevertheless, this would come back to haunt Henry Williams once the Society became aware of the total area he and other missionaries had purchased. Not all Maori-Missionary exchanges were trouble-free, but in those days Maori held the upper hand, and deceitful practices carried great risk. Maori chiefs who were among the vendors later swore that they disposed of the land willingly and had no wish to have it returned.[16] Tamati Waka Nene, a chief who was friendly towards the missionaries, wrote to Henry Williams in similar terms.[17] At the Treaty signing Maori voices were raised over missionary land holdings, which have continued to be referred to in claims and evidence heard by the Waitangi Tribunal.


All the above suggests that things were cut and dried: negotiations were held, agreements reached, deeds signed, and money and goods handed over. But given the times and the circumstances, it was not that simple. Initially, there was no legal structure to which the deeds could belong – land was bought and held under Maori sufferance. Over the period of purchase, and after New Zealand became a Crown Colony, the social, economic and political ground shifted substantially. The ways in which Maori land was acquired changed – not always for the better. Any Williams vision of a future New Zealand must have been constantly revised. After the Treaty was signed the missionary holdings were scrutinised by the Land Commissioners and the sizes in some cases amended - a process Henry Williams was comfortable with. The relationships between the Williams family and Maori were inevitably complex – not able to be fully revealed by quoted snapshots in letters and journal entries- and in particular we know little about what was in the minds of those who sold the land to Henry Williams. Were they merely seduced by the value of the goods and money on offer, or was there something else they hoped to gain from the exchange? If they thought that the land was alienated forever, what did they think might be their future relationship with it and the new owners? The contexts were much more than just a willing buyer and a willing seller and an exchange of value.  


It has been said that in the 1830s Maori ideas of title and rights to land predominated, and negotiations over land were closely dependent on individual relationships forged between Maori and Europeans, the latter being incorporated into a Maori world. As long-standing mediators between this world and the European one, the missionaries were in a notably different position to other purchasers.[18] Most missionaries had close connections with particular iwi, and individuals within them. 



How much was too much?


This is a difficult question to answer, and there are widely differing views. His biographers, Hugh Carleton and L.M. Rogers, and others strongly supported his case, as did some of his fellow missionaries including his brother William, Robert Maunsell, and Archdeacon Brown. Some, nursing faith-based objections, opposed the idea of missionaries owning land at all – Octavius Hadfield and William Colenso among them.[19] Bishop Selwyn was far from enthusiastic and later sided with those who challenged the purchases. Settlers and the New Zealand Company saw the missionaries as competitors, or obstructing their own negotiations – although E.G. Wakefield initially supported missionary purchases.[20] The missionaries Richard Taylor and Fairburn had purchased four to five times Henry Williams’ acreage, although they claimed it was being held to protect Maori interests, for the most part. Although the Church Missionary Society was hard to pin down on quantity, it did urge restraint, and found reports of higher figures alarming.


At this distance from the 1830s it is difficult to estimate the amount of unimproved Northland land that would serve the needs of eleven progeny, all bar one of whom would marry and start families of their own. In April 1833, the missionaries recommended to the Church Missionary Society that 200 acres of land be given to each child on reaching the age of fifteen. However, the Society hedged its acquiescence with conditions that were unacceptable. This was as well, as there was a growing recognition that “land in New Zealand was not like land in England” and a holding of 200 acres of unimproved land would lead to the starvation of people and animals.[21] A farm of this size might be a viable unit if fully developed and intensively farmed using modern farming practices. But that was not achievable at the time. Frequent references were made to the quality of land, including that it was poor and fern-covered. Much of it was in Northland clay soils, and Northland soils in general need fertiliser for pasture growth.[22]


Making rough, but useful comparisons: in 2007 the average size for a sheep and beef cattle farm in New Zealand was 678.7 hectares or 1677 acres.[23] On the basis of a final grant to Henry Williams of 9000 acres, each of the Williams children might be allotted 331 hectares or 818 acres, assuming that it was evenly distributed.[24] This is approximately half the area of the average sheep and beef cattle farm in 2007, noted above, although we can assume that there will be viable units below the figure quoted. Also, we are comparing unimproved with today’s improved acres, including modern, intensive farming practices. On this basis the area that was bought by Henry Williams and available for distribution among his family does not seem unreasonable. 


As we are still, in the present century, evaluating the impacts of European-style farming on the country’s environment, it is easy to imagine the difficulties of making judgements on land quality, management, sustainability and productivity all those years ago. Anyone having read Guthrie-Smith’s Tutira might be less quick to judge those who began farming in the 1830s, with limited farming knowledge and little understanding of altered landscapes and New Zealand ecosystems.[25] How, under such circumstances would you know how much land would serve your purpose?  What would be the outcomes? This is a context entirely left out of the debate. 


Another figure to gain currency was that of 2560 acres, ultimately used by the Society as its bottom line for an individual missionary holding. Although this was for the relevant parent, not for the individual children for whom the land was destined.The figure had its origins with the New Zealand Legislative Council, which in 1841 had deemed it to be the maximum that the Land Commissioners examining pre-1840 claims, could grant. The figure faded from view, but periodically re-surfaced in the convoluted processes that followed. 


The total figure is tied back to a single individual, in this instance Henry Williams, as if he were planning to farm it himself, for his own benefit. This was never the case. Other than keeping a watch on progress, giving encouragement and occasionally lending a hand, he was not greatly involved, and denied receiving any financial gain.[26] If he made a mistake, it was in not taking the legal steps to put the land in trust for each of the beneficiaries sooner than he did, even though that would have been difficult at the time. However, he would have been aware that circumstances might change cases in that volatile environment.  Had the eleven Williams children each been able to buy 1000 acres of land as adults, fewer questions would have been raised. But they lacked the mana and financial resources of their parent, and Maori owners would not have negotiated with them. Under English Law the children could not act in an independent legal capacity until they were twenty-one - none of them had reached that point by the time the land was purchased.


The issue is complex and deserves a better analysis than simply exclaiming over the size of the purchase. In the end, Henry Williams was debating the issue from two perspectives: the first the need to provide adequate areas of farming land for his progeny, the second, to modify those amounts if Governor Grey apologised for slandering the missionaries over responsibility for the wars in the North. These were in conflict with each other –there needed to be a balance. The question remains – could they have done with less? Possibly, but not a great deal less, and by how much is so far unresolved.[27]





Henry and Marianne Williams had six sons and five daughters.  In his Journal, Henry states that the land was purchased for “his boys” or “my children”. Although distribution was likely to favour sons, there was reference to a division of the Pakaraka holding amongst his sons, with an allowance made to “unmarried ladies”.[28] What form this allowance took is not clear, although it may not have been large. The women faced the prospect of marrying men in a similar situation to their brothers regarding employment.  In an 1861 deed, putting land in trust for the church, reference is made to a land holding of Caroline Williams, one of Henry and Marianne’s daughters, who by then had married into a family that is still farming in the area.


The land was made over to the children by deed by 1849.[29] Thomas Bartley, who became Henry Williams’ solicitor, arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1839 and set up a practice in Auckland in 1841. Instructions to him from Henry Williams in 1851, regarding his will, stated that land grants made to the children were in the charge of trustees who would apportion the land according to need. Also, a tenth was to be set aside for schools and churches, again under a trusteeship.[30]




Attitudes to land purchases – the CMS and others.


From beginning to end, the Church Missionary Society’s instructions and admonitions on land purchases were nebulous, ambiguous, and contradictory.[31] They were aware of “secular temptations” that would cause their missionaries to “stray from the path of righteousness”. But they did not object to the purchase of land in order to make “adequate provision for families”. In 1840, while disapproving such purchases in general, they did not wish to  “lay down prohibitory rules”.  They were then upset to learn the extent of the purchases, but in 1845 excused the missionaries from censure, saying that they were warranted in making suitable arrangements for their children, especially given their long and devoted service to the country and the mission. By 1847 they were threatening disconnection of those missionaries whose grants were not approved by the Governor and the Bishop. Matters between Williams, Governor Grey and Bishop Selwyn – the source of great tension - were not resolved and on 30 November, 1849 the Society carried out its threat and Henry Williams was no longer in its service.[32] Four years later the Society rescinded its decision and, later still, apologised.


How could the Society be precise about purchases of land, condition and utility unknown, in a country that they had never seen, when the fundamentals of their thinking were at such odds? Their policies, never coherent or consistent, changed as they became subject to agendas pursued, and pressures applied, by individuals and organisations in England and New Zealand. Matters were made worse by the months separating relevant communications between the parties.[33] Appearances in person to argue cases were almost impossible given the distances involved.


How did this state of affairs evolve? The following summarizes the main points:[34]


In 1838 a Select Committee of the House of Lords heard from John Flatt, a former Church Missionary Society catechist who, among other things, referred to missionary land purchases. While his testimony contained inaccuracies, it was not particularly damming, nor was a subsequent publication, by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, complaining about the Church Missionary Society’s attitude to colonisation by the New Zealand Association.[35] Nevertheless, these observations had the effect of alerting the Church Missionary Society to the issue, which was raised again in a vitriolic attack on the New Zealand missionaries by the colourful and abrasive J.D. Lang, a Presbyterian Minister from Australia who briefly visited New Zealand. [36]  Thus, missionary problems with land were given significant impetus through Parliamentary inquiries into colonisation and the lobbying of the New Zealand Company in England, eventually coming to public notice through pamphleteering and the newspapers.[37]


In 1839-40 Henry and William Williams took alarm at the dubious land-buying practices of the New Zealand Company and New South Wales speculators, and as a countermeasure bought up land to be placed in reserve for Maori. They encouraged other missionaries to do the same, thus earning the lasting enmity of the New Zealand Company. By 1841, attacks on Henry Williams by the Wakefields and supporters of the New Zealand Company in England, were increasing.


In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, translated into Maori by Henry Williams. Several missionaries took part in gathering Maori signatures around the country. In spite of their reluctance to accept colonisation, they recognised it as inevitable given the encroachment of what they saw as malign forces, damaging to Maori. With the Treaty came the development of Government institutions and regulation. Pre-1840 land claims, including those of the missionaries would be scrutinized and reviewed by the Land Commissioners and approved by Governor Fitzroy. Henry and William Williams came through relatively unscathed.


Next, two key figures arrived in New Zealand: Bishop Selwyn in 1842, and in 1845 Governor Grey, who replaced FitzRoy. Meanwhile, in 1844 an act of rebellion by Maori against the Government commenced. Called the “War in the North” it did not end until early 1846. This event would play a central role in forthcoming arguments over missionary land.


Grey made a number of attempts to discredit the missionaries – taking aim at Henry Williams in particular. Beginning with an accusation of his disloyalty during the rebellion he then attributed the cause of the war to the large land holdings of the missionaries. He developed his theme in dispatches, culminating in one to Gladstone, then Secretary of Colonial Affairs, in 1846. This last, the so-called “blood and treasure” dispatch", argued that a large expenditure of British blood and money and the use of naval and military force would be required to secure the missionaries in their land claims. [38] For the most part, Grey’s claims were manifestly untrue – he later admitted as much to William Williams.[39] But an admission in New Zealand was not as good as a retraction in England, and pressure on the Church Missionary Society continued to mount.


In September 1847, Bishop Selwyn entered the fray, siding with Governor Grey, an act later deemed injudicious, and one that he would later regret when he lobbied for Henry Williams’ reinstatement.[40]Grey then sought to prove that Governor FitzRoy’s land grants were illegal, losing in the Supreme Court in 1848. A favourable appeal granted by the Privy Council was overtaken by Grey’s own “Quieting Title” legislation in 1849. But, by having gained Selwyn’s ear, Grey was able allow additional pressure to be applied to the Church Missionary Society.


The major sticking point in negotiations was the refusal of Grey to withdraw his accusations against the missionaries, and Henry Williams’ refusal to back down unless he did so.[41] In spite of continuing protests by Williams, on 21 May 1850 he received notice of his disconnection from the Church Missionary Society, and he moved with his family from Paihia to Pakaraka, where his sons were farming. The severance would last for four years. 


In December 1850 William Williams left for England. He would appear before the Parent Committee of the Church Missionary Society to repudiate Grey’s accusations, and restore his brother’s reputation and membership of the Society. The Society acknowledged the former but would not reverse its decision. 


Then in 1854, with pressure growing within the Society itself, both Grey and Selwyn sought Henry Williams’ reinstatement by the Church Missionary Society, and on July 18, 1854, the Parent Committee of the Church Missionary Society passed a resolution, noting their regret at the disconnection and restoring Archdeacon Henry Williams as a missionary of the Society.


In New Zealand, by 1856 (Selwyn) and 1862 (Grey) the parties were reconciled. It was almost as if the events of the past few years had never happened. The saga was allowed to drag on for nearly two decades, and nobody emerges with a great deal of credit. The obduracy of Henry Williams, ineptitude of the Church Missionary Society, the deviousness of Grey, the misjudgements of Selwyn, all played their part. The dogged persistence and political influence of the New Zealand Company in England, were underestimated.  The difficulties of trying to address complex problems in two jurisdictions, separated by half a world, cannot easily be dismissed.


In a sense Henry Williams had won, but not without cost. The land was in the hands of his family, he was still an Archdeacon and a member of the Mission, and relations with the Bishop and Governor Grey had been restored. But the affair had consumed the last two decades of his life.  In a belated footnote, on 17 September 1939, just prior to the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Church Missionary Society resolved to acknowledge the valuable service given by Henry Williams, and made a formal apology for the way in which it had treated him, saying that their earlier judgements had been based on misinformation, the matter amplified by distance and poor communication. 


William Williams and land


William Williams provides an interesting contrast to Henry Williams in the context of land. His holdings were smaller and more scattered. He was a more mobile missionary, and his purchases, both in location and quantity, reflect that. William and Jane also had a large family and the arguments made by Henry for sizeable land purchases could easily have been made by them had they been pressing. However, William and Jane had only three sons with two destined for the Church. Also, their family was much younger. At the time the Treaty was signed, only two children (both daughters) had reached fifteen years of age.


It is also the case that at the time he was  making provision for his family, reaction against missionary land-buying was mounting in New Zealand and England. Also they were growing up in in a New Zealand that was rapidly changing as it became a Crown Colony, with a growing settler population, infrastructure and economy, that would increasingly support employment. With the growth of mainstream Anglican congregations, a life in the church was becoming more feasible.


Accordingly, William purchased land in Northland and Hawkes Bay in several parcels totalling 1488 acres.[42] These were not amended by the Land Commissioners. The only son to take up farming (James Nelson Williams) did not purchase land until 1857 (Kereru station) and later bought Frimley in 1867, where the family has remained ever since.


Current perceptions


Missionary land-buying was never very popular among the colonists and contemporary newspapers. Not always the most impartial sources, they were full of accusations, and equally vociferous rebuttals. Two biographies of Henry Williams, written almost 100 years apart, were favourably disposed towards their subject and his land purchases, basing their claims on a large body of original source material.[43] Nevertheless, this diversity of opinion continues.


The fate of missionaries and religion in post-war historical writing is discussed elsewhere on this website under the “Williams and the Treaty” tab. This unfavourable environment retriggered the land issue. Once again Henry Williams and the missionaries were accused of the “sin of greed”.[44] Some of this was to seep into popular writing where there are fewer constraints on accurate reporting, and there has always been an appetite for stories about errant clergy.[45]


Modern scholarship has to an extent restored some of Henry Williams’ reputation, much being owed to advances in Treaty research and academic writing. However, time has not entirely stalled the flow of accusations.


He remained the Archdeacon of Waimate, a position to which he was appointed in 1844. According to Auckland Diocesan records he retained the position until his death.[46] Carleton’s biography suggests that in the absence of any form of church government Bishop Selwyn could not remove him from the post, although clearly there was an impression at the time that he had done so.[47] There is a failure in many discussions of this topic to recognise the difference between the Church Missionary Society and the Anglican Church.



The Society, the Church, and disconnection


Much has been made of Henry Williams’ ‘disconnection’ from the Church Missionary Society as a direct consequence of his land purchases. The term is used advisedly as it is the one the Society itself employed when advising him of the severance of their relationship. It is more than just a euphemism and, to understand why, we need some understanding of the nature of the Church Missionary Society, and its relationship to the establishment Church. 


He was not strictly speaking an employee, in the sense of a master-servant relationship. The Society was a voluntary one made up of clergy and laymen, backed by philanthropists and reformers. It was funded through donations, bequests and collections, and had a President, committees and secretaries. It functioned as a lay organisation, and although it had links with the Anglican Church and worked with it, they were separate entities. To be a missionary, one had to be both a member of the Society and an ordained minister in the Anglican Church, unless appointed a catechist or lay missionary. The Society could, and did, dissolve the connection between itself and a missionary either for cause or simply because they no longer required the missionary's services.  In many cases, the appointment was for a lifetime of service in the country to which they were sent, the full implications of which were unforeseen by the Society. 


This brings us to the position of the Church. Recent cases before the House of Lords and English Court of Appeal have determined that a clergyman is not an employee, but a “Servant of God” and even his Bishop does not have sole powers of dismissal. Henry Williams’ Bishop, Bishop Selwyn, could have removed him from the Archdeaconry of Waimate, an administrative appointment of Selwyn’s making, but he did not. He could not easily dismiss an ordained minister, and there was no indication that this ever crossed his mind. Dismissal of a clergyman for gross moral turpitude might be possible, but buying land does not appear to meet the threshold.


Henry Williams’ departure from the Society (it turned out to be temporary) had no effect on his vocation as a minister. He retained, uninterrupted, the position of Archdeacon, and continued to act as a minister and missionary, more or less as before. The Society even offered him a year’s stipend to help him through the transition. Their obvious reluctance, in taking the step, was of a piece with the ambivalence with which they treated the entire issue.


Most importantly he retained the loyalty and support of his Maori friends and congregation. At some cost, local iwi raised a memorial to him, still to be seen in the grounds of St Paul’s Church Paihia. The image of Henry Williams has been carved into the central pou in the whare waananga at Te Tii marae, at Waitangi, a rare honour for a pakeha.


In his last decade he lived a relatively normal life, at least with as much normality as his environment could allow, surrounded by a loving and loyal family. Socially, he retained friends and supporters amongst the settler community, fellow missionaries, and Maori, but the stigma of the ‘disconnection’ was something that never entirely left him. His family, now settled on the land over which there had been much dispute, were making their own mark in the expanding settler community.


[1]  Letter, Henry Williams to Edward Marsh, 8.12.1830, p.141, Fitzgerald, C. (Ed.) 2011.Te Wiremu, Henry Williams, Early Years in the North. Huia Press, Wellington.

[2]  Letter, Henry Williams to Edward Marsh, 14.2.1834, p.230, Fitzgerald, C. 2011, loc cit. This was on what was then known as the Taiamai plains, an area adjacent to and south of Te Waimate, which would include areas known today as Ohaeawae, Pouerua and Pakaraka. It is often difficult to relate names to specific purchases, as some of the deeds refer to several names in the one purchase, and some names do not appear to be in current use.

[3]  Turton, H.H.,1879.Maori Deeds of Old Private Land Purchases in New Zealand, from the year 1815 to 1840, with Preemptive and Other Claims.

[4]  p. 230, Fitzgerald, C. 2011. Loc cit.Although the deed of sale does not explicitly include this.

[5]  Pp. 106-107.Belgrave, M., 2005. Historical Frictions, Maori Claims and Reinvented Histories. Auckland University Press, Auckland, 388pp.

[6]  pp. 39, 41. 1838. Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords Appointed to Inquire into the Present State of the Islands of New Zealand. Minute of Evidence of Mr. J Flatt. They claimed that they would not able to otherwise obtain a return given the state of the economy and the market at the time. They were apparently able to plant for themselves on the bought land.

[7]  By then British coins were circulating in New South Wales, which outlawed Spanish dollars. However the Spanish dollars were still legal tender in the United States, the source of many visiting ships.

[8]  pp. 265-267, Chamerovzow, L.A. 1848. The New Zealand Question and the Rights of Aborigines.T.C. Newby, London, 418pp. Chamerovzow was the Assistant Secretary of the Aborigines Protection Society in London which was defensive of the rights of indigenous people.

[9]  p. 220, Rogers, L.M. 1973. Te Wiremu, A Biography of Henry Williams. Pegusus Press, Christchurch, 335 pp.

[10]  In his report on the claim, the Land Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald stated that Henry Williams had paid enough to entitle him to 22131 acres under the ordinance scale. Land Office June 10, 1844. Appendix III, p.486, Rogers, L.M. (Ed.), 1961, The Early Journals of Henry Williams.Pegasus Press, Christchurch. However he never bought or claimed this amount.

[11]  p.223, Rogers, L M. 1973. Te Wiremu, A Biography of Henry Williams. Pegasus Press, Christchurch, 335 pp. 

[12]  At an earlier point 2560 acres was mooted. Pp. 226-228, Rogers, L. M., 1973. Te Wiremu, A Biography of Henry Williams.Pegasus Press, Chrischurch. 335 pp.

[13] Translation from Maori, Deed 172, p.170, Turton, H.H.,1879. Maori Deeds of Old Private Land Purchases in New Zealand, from the year 1815 to 1840, with Preemptive and Other Claims.

[14]  Among the witnesses was William Colenso who later claimed to be opposed to the sales.

[15]  pp.220, 222, 223, 278 Rogers, L. M., 1973. Te Wiremu, A Biography of Henry Williams.Pegasus Press, Chrischurch. 335 pp. Although he did communicate, to the CMS, in 1841, progress that was being made on the farms.

[16]  p.38, Moore, D, Rigby, B, and Russel, M. 1997. Old Land Claims. Waitangi Tribunal, Rangahaoua whanui series. 364 pp.

[17]  p.200, 201. Carleton, H. 1877.The Life of Henry Williams, Archdeacon of Waimate.v. II, Wilson and Horton, Auckland, 364 pp. It was not always plain sailing. A chief, Hake, involved in purchase of land for the CMS re-occupied the land to underline a separate dispute, not connected with the land in question. This was resolved. (p. 255 Journal). Broad objections by some Maori were raised to missionary land purchases during the Treaty signing.

[18]  pp. 29, 58, 59, 86-93. Belgrave, M., 2005. Historical Frictions, Maori Claims and Reinvented Histories.Auckland University Press, Auckland, 388pp.

[19]  Hadfield (Henry’s future son in law) then a new arrival, was some years away from having children, and needing to think about their future. Colenso, whose self-righteousness and highly developed sense of sin prompted his own downfall, was not an ally of Henry Williams, although he witnessed the deeds of some of the purchases.

[20]  In his letter to Dandeson Coates, Secretary of the CMS , who opposed colonization, Wakefield used the missionaries as examples of land-owning settlers.

[21]  pp. 143,147. Porter, F. (ed.) 1974. The Turanga Journals, 1840-1850.  Price Milburn and Victoria University Press, Wellington, 659 pp.

[22]  Allan Gillingham, 'Soils and regional land use - Northland', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 12 October 2017)

[23]  Land Information New Zealand, Average New Zealand Farm Sizes. Given current intensive farming practices and the use of fertilizers it is currently possible to have a productive sheep/cattle unit at around 100 ha or less. But two-thirds of small-holdings are deemed unproductive. Pp.11-12, 14,  Mulet-Marquis, S. and Fairweather, J. R. 2008. New Zealand Farm Structure Change and Intensification. Research Report No. 301. Lincoln University, Christchurch.

[24]  It probably was not even- the men getting more than the women. Even so the figures would still bear comparison to the size of a farm in 2007. 

[25]  Guthrie-Smith commenced farming fifty years later and his struggles with the environment are described in Tutira, published in 1921 – a New Zealand classic.

[26]  p. 273. Rogers, L.M. 1973. Te Wiremu, A Biography of Henry Williams. Pegusus Press, Christchurch, 335 pp.

[27]  It should be noted that by the time the issues with Grey were surfacing –the mid to late 1840s –the employment environment for the Williams family was changing as the colony grew. Perhaps he could see future employment opportunities beyond farming, and could be more relaxed about the amount of land needed for their support.

[28]  Letter, Henry Williams to Thomas Bartley, 27.5.1851, Folder 89, Box 3, MS 91/75, AML.

[29]  p.227, Carleton, H., 1877, loc.cit. Once the legal status of disputed Crown grants had been established.

[30]  Letter, Henry Williams to Thomas Bartley, 5.3.1851, Folder 89, MS 91/75, box 3, Auckland Museum Library

[31]  Partly the result of applying the strictures and ethics of faith to secular and earthly realities.

[32]  pp. 270, 272, 279, Rogers, L.M. 1973. Te Wiremu, A Biography of Henry Williams. Pegusus Press, Christchurch, 335 pp.

[33]  The Reverend E.G. Marsh, Henry’s brother-in law and mentor, who had close connections with the Society, counselled him to “forego the prospect of worldly advantage” but then advised him to bring the land under cultivation and stock it “with the most useful productions”. Letter, E.G. Marsh to Henry Williams, 11.7.1835. Folder 19, Box 1, MS 91/75, AML.

[34]  For greater detail consult Chapters 5 & 6, Rogers, L.M., 1973. Loc cit.

[35] 1837. Mr. Dandeson Coates, and the New Zealand Association; in a Letter to the Right Hon. Lord Glenelg, by E.G. Wakefield Esq. Henry Hooper, London. 26pp. Coates was the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, Lord Glenelg the Colonial Secretary. While it contained several inaccuracies, it stated in reference to missionary land-buying (p.20) that “it is perfectly natural and proper that they should do so”. It listed several missionaries and the amount of land bought by them. The information came from “the lips of John Flatt”.

[36]  Lang, J.D. 1839. New Zealand in 1839 in Four Letters to Lord Durham.Smith and Elder, London. Durham was chairman of the New Zealand Company.

[37]  E.g. The Times, of London, 7.10.1840.

[38]  pp. 243-251, Rogers, L.M. 1973. Te Wiremu, A Biography of Henry Williams. Pegusus Press, Christchurch, 335 pp.

[39]  p. 251, Rogers, L.M., loc.cit.

[40]  p. 388. Limbrick, W.E. 1990. Selwyn, George Augustus 1809-1878.  The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, v. 1, Allen and Unwin, Wellington.

[41]  p. 262, Rogers, L.M., loc.cit.

[42] Appendix A, Rigby, B., 2014. Validated review of the Crown’s tabulated data on land titling and alienation for the Te Paparahi o Te Raki inquiry region: Old land claims, surplus land and scrip. Waitangi Tribunal Paper (Wai 1040). Although the totals are similar the breakdown of location and acreage does not match that cited on p. 148 (n16), Porter F., 1974, The Turanga Journals, 1840-1850.Price Milburn and Victoria University Press. 659pp.

[43]  Carleton, H. 1877.The Life of Henry Williams, Archdeacon of Waimate.v. II, Wilson and Horton, Auckland, 364 pp; Rogers, L.M. 1973. Te Wiremu, A Biography of Henry Williams. Pegusus Press, Christchurch, 335 pp.

[44]  p. 161.Sinclair, K. 1990. Grey, George 1812-1898. The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. V.I, Allen and Unwin & Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.

[45]  An example can be found in the Listener of 22 May 2010, in an article titled ‘Land sakes’ by C.K. Stead, a novelist, also a descendant of John Flatt whose testimony is mentioned above. Stead’s article contains several errors, not least of which is that Williams bought 22 000 acres (it was 11 000) and he “recently received a late posthumous reinstatement by the Anglican Church to his archdeacon-hood [sic]…”.Again not true – he never lost it (see above).

[46]  p.353, Davidson, A.K.(ed.) 2011. Living Legacy. A history of the Anglican Diocese of Auckland.Diocese of Auckland.

[47]  p. 254, Carleton, H. 1877.The Life of Henry Williams, Archdeacon of Waimate.v. II, Wilson and Horton, Auckland, 364 pp.

Research and writing: John R H Andrews

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