The women were responsible for teaching Maori girls and women, as well as training them in domestic chores, paid for in clothing, and often food and board.[1] Household duties and management were in those days a normal part of the education of girls – including missionary daughters – and while there was some

benefit in this source of help, it was at times a mixed blessing. When their daughters were old enough they assisted with teaching. Altogether eight missionary daughters assisted at the Paihia school between 1827-38 enabling Marianne and Jane to spend up to five hours a day in supervision. [2] It was not just the routine tasks of cooking, washing and ironing, as nursing, embroidery and sewing were also taught, along with reading, writing and scripture.[3]


The men were responsible for the boys schools, usually conducted separately from the girls. Depending on location there were a number of different schools, catering for different age groups and genders. For males these included the English boys school, the Native boys school, and a school for Native teachers. Pupils were fed at school and obtaining sufficient supplies consumed much missionary time.[4] There were graduation ceremonies for the Maori girls and boys, dressed in English-style clothes, with a substantial feast and prizes awarded for the best work.[5] At Waimate, which for a time became something of an education centre, there was an infant school for Maori children, staffed by missionary wives. 


[1] Henry and Marianne’s house at Paihia had a room set aside for the Maori girls.

[2] p. 153, Fitzgerald, T., 2004. ‘To unite their strength with ours’. Journal of Pacific History, 39(2): 147-161.

[3] Modern critics sometimes refer to this as servitude, however the relationship was not equivalent to domestic servitude in England, to which Marianne and Jane were accustomed. It was evident that the Maori under their charge were free to come and go if they pleased – and they often did. Jane would have preferred to carry out her domestic duties herself and with her family, but they saw value in teaching ‘civilized housekeeping habits’ (p. 27-28, Porter, F. (ed.), 1974. The Turanga Journals). Domestic duties were interwoven with more formal education. Jane and Marianne were also responsible for the English Girls School at Paihia.

[4] p. 76 Fitzgerald.C. (ed.) 2011, loc.cit.

[5] pp. 28, 29,  Porter, F. 1974, loc.cit

​© 2013 H & W Williams Memorial Museum Trust.  All rights reserved.


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