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1838, Extract from the Journal of the John Whitely, Hokianga

The Reverend John Whitely was a missionary of the Wesleyan Missionary Society. From 1836 to early 1839 he was based at Pākanae, Hokianga, with his wife and family. See his entry in the Encylopedia of New Zealand

ATL MS-Copy-Micro-0769 (Typescript pages 83-86, 89, 91) Transcribed from the typescript by Merv Duffy, September 2022.

July 1838

Went in the Boat to Wirinaki and found most of the people gone away to the Roman Catholics. The rest seem to be a good deal dispose to think for themselves and appear to be halting between two opinions but alas they are earthy and sensual.
Sunday. Early in the morning went across the River and preached at Oragatea and Tairutu; the people were remarkably attentive to the truth “God so loved the world” – and “This is the record”. Returned and preached at Pakanae: after which at Newark met three classes for tickets and preaching in the evening from Rev. 22:18-19; [1] inconsistencies of Rome.
Met some of the baptized natives at their request for religious conference. Weather squally.
Book mending.
Rode to Waiwatawata, Waikoku, and Waiherhea. A party with provisions came from Wirinaki. They seem to be disappointed with the Roman Catholics and doubtless are hunting after the loaves and fishes.
Sent the Boat to Mangungu with 5 pigs and to get books for Moetara. Much of my time taken up with the people from Wirinaki. Blistered Opatai’s knee.
The boat returned from Mangungu. Still unfavourable accounts of Sister Turner. May the Lord in compassion to her family spare and restore her. Pakanae.
Mr Cochrane was at Pakanae trading. Bled a man at Pakanae – Natives from Wirinaki.
Sunday. Early in the morning preached at Pakanae; Rangitiri returned with me to the station and stayed the services. He informed me that some of their people were inclined to the Roman Catholics, but he said if they went to the R.C. they should leave him, and he would fetch the Christian natives from Waikorhea to reside at his place. Paitama went to Tairutu.
Went to Wirinaki. The Roman Catholic Bishop arrived while I was there but he did not come near where I was. The people are inclined to open a horse oad[?] from my place.
Went to Mangungu – took a boat load of potatoes. Found news from England. Sister Turner still very ill. The Lord prepares us for all his will concerning us.
Returned from Mangungu.
A messenger from Daniel who is expecting a Taua – engaged to pay them a visit tomorrow.
Sunday. Went early to Pakanae. A few natives returned with me to service at Newark – preached from the rich man and Lazarus. After service went in the boat to Daniel’s place intending from thence to proceed to Motukauri to Papahia’s people but the weather was so tempestuous and the wind so strong against us that I was obliged to give up the later place. Preached at Daniel’s place to an attentive congregation from “in my father’s house” etc. Daniel and his brother Abraham are two very intelligent young men, and I double not with attention may be made very useful in the cause of God. It was late before I got away from their place, the night was dark and tempestuous but we arrived safe.
Went off early according to arrangement for Mangungu. Called by the way at Motukauri where I intended to have been the day before. The people appeared glad to see me and I hope the Lord is preparing their hearts for his truth. Communications from England but as yet we are left in some suspense. A letter from our friends, all well.
Returned from Mangungu. Mr Hobb’s lads came to fetch the whale-boat. Bro. Wallis and Mr Stephenson arrived from Kaipara.
An easterly gale. Bro. Wallis set out for Mangungu but returned.
Bro. Wallis and Mr Stephenson went to Mangungu. Reading English news.
Bro. W. returned from Mangungu. Poor sister Turner still very ill.
Bro. W. and Mr Stephenson returned to Kaipara intending to be at Kaihu on Sunday. The weather very bad may Providence take care of them.
Sunday]. Waited in expectation of Rangitiri but disappointed. Preached in the morning from 1Thess. 3-13[2] and in the evening preached from –

August 1838

[August 1st, Wednesday]
Went to Wirinaki and fell in with Paphurihia.
Waimamakau – the chief whose name is Karamua seems under some concern for his soul.
[5th, Sunday]
A good day. Made arrangements with Pairama to visit Te Karamu and to bring him into the fold.
[12th, Sunday]
Baptized five adults and 2 children. One of the adults was perhaps the oldest chief in this neighbourhood; between 60 and 70 years of age.
[16th August]
Had a good deal of conversation with Kamukaiwa the old chief of Waikerohia, He has been sometime here sick and now wishes to be baptized.
Went over to Tairutu – found several natives very ill but generally inclined to listen to the word of exhortation. From thence to Orangatea; fell in with Papahia and his people – he has been with the Roman Catholics but is willing to receive a missionary from us and provide a place for his residence.
Went to Wirinaki – most of the people were away. Here also much sickness prevails. May the Lord overrule it for Hi Glory. Preached from the “Sufferings of Christ.”
[19th, Sunday]
Early this morning went over the Boat to bring over Papahia, and his friends to service and was much pleased to see him and his two sons accept the invitation. Our morning service was well attended several strangers present, preached from Rev. 1-18. [3] A profitable season. After service received the painful intelligence that Bro. Turner and family were burnt out – Their dwelling-house having been completely destroyed by fire. In the afternoon baptised 12 adults and administered the Sacrament. After the labours of the day, the tide being fair went up the River to see and condole with Bro. Turner; found the house, stores and other appendages utterly destroyed but thro’ mercy no lives were lost.
[20th, Monday]
Fixed on the site for the New Mission House at Mangungu.
[21st, Tuesday]
Decided to build the new house forthwith and that Bro. Buller and family should come down to the Heads for a season, in order to make room to afford Bro. Turner a temporary accommodation. Returned home very wet. Sent off to Bro. Wallis.
Sent up the Boat to fetch Bro. Buller – 3 pigs for Mangungu. Went to Kohutu with Mrs W. and children, Partly agree with Capt. Young for timber for a new Chapel.
Had from Capt, Young 94½ feet boards.
Tomokai the man who in April last was

[Pages 87 & 88 not transcribed – but are there on the Microfilm]

September 1838

[ (1838, September) 7th]
Mrs Monro paid us a visit. A messenger arrived from Wirinaki with the following note, Friend Whitely come you here, Kiri is dead, quite dead, quite dead. It was done with an axe. Give some bluestone to dress the foot of Kiri and let the bearer bring it. From your friend Kiri. This was rather alarming but as the “quite dead” man wanted some bluestone with which to dress his foot I comforted myself with the assurance that he had at any rate a little life left after all. I therefore accompanied the messenger and found the poor fellow had cut his foot most sadly with an axe while chopping at a new canoe they were making – the loss of blood had been great and he had fainted twice in consequence so that he said that he had been quite dead, but for some reason or other he came back to the world and his friends.
[8th, Sunday]
In the morning preached and gave tickets. Afternoon went to Tairutu and Pakanae. The chief at Tairutu shewed me a small book written in native by the R.C. Bishop and give to one of their people. The native is so imperfect that it was utterly impossible for any native to comprehend its meaning, but as near as I could make it out the following is what he is putting into the hands of this people as the Commandments - The native is a correct copy –
  1. Koe e wakanuia me aroha ai tonu ki te atua anaki. [=] Thou shalt magnify and constantly love God only.
  2. Aue koe e wakaitia ai te ingoa o te atua i te korero kino me noa aua koe e wakanohoia tou meinga i tona ingoa mo nga mea teka me nga mea noa. [=] Thou shalt not lessen (degrade or debase) the name of God by wicked or common conversation neither shalt thou affirm thy sayings by his name, (either) for things false or things common.
  3. Koe e wakanohoia te ra tapu mo te karakia me te honore kau o te atua. [=] Thou shalt cause the holy day to be observed for the worship and honour of God.
  4. Koe e wakahonore ki tou matua tane me tou matua wahine kia tou ora e roa ai. [=] Thou shalt do honour to thy father and mother that thy life may be long.
  5. Aua koe e patu me aua e hiahia kia a koe mo te patu. [=] Thou shalt not kill and thou shalt not wish (or desire) to kill.
  6. Aua koe e hunga tiahi (I suppose it should have been hanga tahae) i te kiko me i te ngakau. [=] Thou shalt not steal (Tahae or steal is frequently used by the natives for adultery).
  7. Aua koe e taehae aua hoki e puria mou nga me o tou wakaritea.[=] Thou shalt not steal (the latter part is unintelligible unless it means thou shalt not withhold the things thou hast promised.)
  8. Aua koe e mahi ai e meinga he, aua koki e korero teka. [=] (The first part is unintelligible, unless it means thou shalt not deceive, the second part is neither speak falsely.)
  9. Aua koe e inengare ki te mahi o te kiko I mu o te marena. [=] Thou shalt not desire the works of the flesh before marriage.
  10. Aua koe e inengare mou i te ritenga kino ki nga mea o tou wakaretea. [=] (This I cannot understand nor do I think any native in the land can comprehend its meaning); indeed the greater part of the above will be destitute of meaning in the estimation of the natives and I have only been able to discover the sense intended from a knowledge of the Ten Commandments as translated in our Protestant Bibles.
Monday – gardening – Wirinaki.
Tuesday – rough weather from the east. Bro. Buller returned with Bro. Hobbs. A letter from Mr Beecham informing us of White’s expulsion.

[Page 91 not transcribed – but is there on the Microfilm]

[ (1838, September) 19th, Thursday]
The weather very rough – Paua came to inform me that he is going to leave me as his people have gone to the Roman Catholics. The Bishop is holding out bribes and the ignorant natives are ever ready to grasp at anything that feeds their pride and selfishness.
Went to kakanae with Mr Buller, also to Pao’s [? Paua} place all are expecting freat things from the P.
[21st, Saturday]
Mr Buller to Wangape – I went to Wirinaki.
[22nd, Sunday]
After the morning service at the Station went to Motutoa where I met with a considerable number of natives. Returned and gave tickets – after which went to Wairoa and preached – then returned home for evening service.
Mr Buller returned.
[27th, Friday]
Mr Turner came down. Bro. Buller went to Orangatea, found Papahia and had much conversation with him about the Roman Catholics.
[28th, Saturday]
Mr Turner returned.
[29th, Sunday]
Mr Buller went to Tairutu and Orangatea. The Brig “John Dunscombe” came in. Afternoon met the remainder for tickets and baptized tow of the Waikato natives who have lately come up from the South. Bro. Buller preached at night from “this is a faithful saying etc.” [4]
Went to Waiwatawata. Spent most of the day with the people imparting Christian instruction and giving tickets. Bro. Wallis came up in the evening whom I accompanied home.


  1. Revelation 22:18 I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
  2. 1 Thessalonians 3: 13 “so that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
  3. Revelation 1:18 “and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.”
  4. Presumably 1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (KJV)