THE WILLIAMS MUSEUM
Items of Special Interest
19th Century ship's bell of bronze believed to be from Henry's ship The Herald which he built in 1824-26. Henry probably would have obtained the bell in Sydney on the ship's first voyage. Construction of this ship was a remarkable achievement and though it had a short working life it played a crucial part in obtaining supplies and people for the pioneer mission station. The Herald was wrecked in Hokianga harbour in 1828 and there is no record of the bell being saved. However the family members who donated it, Peggie Bannister and her daughter Margot Goodin, state that it was earlier owned by their ancestors Thomas Sydney and Agnes Lydia Williams (Henry’s grandchildren through his two sons, Edward and John) who told their descendants it was from The Herald. For many years it was the door bell and dinner bell at Kaharau, Sydney and Agnes’s property near Ruatoria.
This beautiful sterling silver cup with silver gilt inside was made in London in 1799 by silver maker James Mince. The family who donated it, Peggie Bannister and daughter Margot Goodin, descendants of two of Henry’s sons, say it was used by Henry Williams as a communion chalice. But that was not its original use as it is engraved with the initials CG or GC, so it may have been a drinking goblet or a christening cup. Perhaps the original owners donated it to Henry for church use when he became a missionary. It is possible that it was a christening cup for one of Marianne’s three brothers, all called George Coldham and all of whom died in infancy.
A reed organ dated around 1870 donated by Peggie Bannister and her daughter Margot Goodin. Made in Boston it is believed to have been originally in St Paul's church, Paihia. The organ company which restored it at the request of the Trust notes it is a rare and well-made instrument. The first organ to come to New Zealand was a barrel organ sent to Henry and William in 1830 by their brother-in-law Reverend E G Marsh. It went to Pakaraka with Henry in 1850 and is now a treasured item at the Whanganui Regional Museum having been fully restored.
A hoeroa (fighting staff) donated by Patrick Williams’ widow, Janet Williams. Hoeroa are comparatively rare and were owned by chiefs of high rank. They were made from the lower jawbone of sperm whales and were carved at the head. This hoeroa belonged to Henry’s son, Archdeacon Samuel Williams of Te Aute and would have been gifted to him by Maori. It is a particularly fine example, being very long (1755mm) and in good condition. It was passed down through the family and kept at the family property Mangakuri in Hawkes Bay.