The New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society in India 1890-1974
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In a history of Christian missions in India, the work of the New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society would be insignificant. Since it's formation in 1885 it has sent out fewer than eighty missionaries, has operated in only two relatively small areas in the North East, and has achieved, for most of its history, little success in terms of conversions to Christianity. But despite its insignificance, the Society is a strategic one to study. It's missionaries have worked among Hindus, Muslims and animists, among Bengali plains people and Tripura hill tribals; among rural illiterate peasants and educated urban elites. They have used a wide variety of methods including the provision of extensive socio-economic services such as medical treatment, education and relief assistance. They have also been met with a contrasting response. In 1971 the number of Baptists in Tripura was 5,442, in Tippera 125. The reasons for the contrasting response will be the main emphasis of this study. This essay does not pretend to be an authoritative account of the work of the New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society. It has been limited by the lack of available relevant material and the absence of any analytical New Zealand Baptist publication.