The English church in Canterbury, New Zealand, 1843-1890
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The story of Canterbury as a Church of England settlement begins in 1843, when Edward Gibbon Wakefield conceived the idea of founding such a settlement in New Zealand. As a suitable background for the main theme, however, I have briefly considered the coming of Christianity to these Islands. Attention is then drawn to the genesis of Canterbury and to the role of the English Church in founding and developing the colony. I have regarded the year 1890 as a convenient point at which to conclude the story, because Bishop Harper's resignation took effect then, and the gains of the Church during the first episcopate had been consolidated. In this thesis my aim is to catch something of the spirit of those Churchmen, who devoted their energies to making Canterbury what they believed she should become a holy habitation. I have not been content with a mere description of Church affairs or with a monotonous narrative of consecrations and dedications. An attempt has been made to assess the influence of the Church on the community as a whole, and to estimate the value of her work. It has to be borne in mind, of course, that the; Church is a failure from the world’s point of view -- so was Her Lord -- and that the world at large underestimates the beneficial effects emanating from organised Christianity. The Church of England in Canterbury from 1843 to 1890 illustrates something unique in the history of the English Church. Although the same experiment will never be repeated, we should at least be thankful it was attempted once. It also demonstrates the influence which ideals exercise upon practice, and the way in which ideals are modified when applied in practical life. Finally, it is well for us to remember that many who toiled for Canterbury’s sake were not ashamed to own Jesus of Nazareth as their Lord and King. There has been ample opportunity to carry out research, especially among the records at "Church House” in Christchurch. Numerous published and unpublished reports, despatches, letters, minutes and papers have been carefully examined. The problem has not been a lack of material, rather was it to decide what to leave out. Volumes might be written about the Church in Canterbury; I have had to compress the story into a few pages. The task sometimes seemed laborious and wearisome, but now it is finished I feel well rewarded. References made in the course of the work show to what sources or authors the present writer is indebted. Thanks are also due to Sir James Hight, to the Provincial and Diocesan Secretary, Mr L. H. Wilson, to Mr L. W. Broadhead, the Church Steward, to the Rev. Canon H. S. Hamilton, and to the Revs. J. F. Feron and H. G. Norris, for the material they have put at my disposal, and for their interest in the writing of this thesis.