History of the Anglican church in Nelson from the coming of the white man to the establishment of the West Coast goldfields
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This work has been planned to sketch the history or the Anglican Church from the days of the whalers, before any organised settlement by Whites, up to the opening of the goldfields on the West Coast, and the establishment of towns there. So far, no history of the Diocese has been published but if Bishop Sadlier had not died in 1934, he would have undertaken the task. The period described covers the three phases of settlement in the Nelson Province - first, the expansion in the district round Nelson, secondly, in the Wairau and Awatere Valleys, and thirdly, on the West Coast. In the course of this thesis, I aim to show the part played by the Church in the foundation of the Nelson settlement, and the subsequent growth of the Church itself. Then follows the similar treatment of the churches as they were opened up in other areas of the Province. More particularly I have attempted to outline the achievements of the Church - its influence on education, Maori welfare, and on social life in general, as well as its constitutional achievements in the formation of the Diocese . For this purpose I have divided the thesis into two parts, the first dealing with the individual churches and their relations with their own particular environments. The second part is a survey of the Church as a whole in relation to the life of the settlement. I have considered it necessary to deal, as far as it is possible, with those topics separately from the history of the churches, and from the point of view of the Diocese as a whole. This question of arrangement I have found to be another difficult problem. The separation of the various aspects such as education, and constitutional development, might tend to impair unity, but it seemed to me the only method to obtain a clear view of the Church as a whole. Much of the detailed information in connection with the conflicts between the Bishops and the Church may seem to be unnecessary, but I feel it serves to emphasize the importance of the prominent characteristics of the early Nelson settlers - their strong Low Church and non-conformist sympathies and their sturdy independence. The present reference to a long series of meetings may be justified by the evidence they afford of the interest or Anglicans in their church affairs and of the nature of part of their social life. It also provides an interesting contrast to the Church at Home, which at the time had many undemocratic features. There, the tendency to become more Anglo-Catholic in doctrine, with a rigid hierarchy, a firm control over education, social life and morals, and even considerable influence over local government, provided a marked contrast to what was to happen in Nelson. Another marked feature was the similarity of functions of the Church then, as compared with to-day. Now, there is a number of organisations such as Mothers' meetings, Flower Guilds, elite Societies, to name only a few, which did not exist in the old days, because women were too busy in their homes. There, also, were no charitable institutions beyond those for the Maoris, but to-day, several orphanage schools contribute to the charitable and educational activities of the Province.