Churchabilia! – letter opener carved from the Melanesian Mission schooner ‘Southern Cross’

This delightful keepsake was donated to the library by F. M. Doig from his wife’s family treasures and was recently requested by an overseas researcher studying the Melanesian Mission.

This item is one, among others, that were originally made as a fundraiser for the Melanesian Mission at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

The inscription on the front reads:

“O kano mornkel apen (motú for) In remembrance of Bishop Patterson and Bishop Selwyn.”

And on the back:

“Made out of a bit of the Melanesian Mission schooner, ‘Southern Cross’ 1814-1891.”

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We will be sharing more eclectic keepsakes from our collections in the near future. Stay tuned!

Te Rongopai 1814 ‘Takoto te Pai!’

The recently published book, Te Rongopai 1814 ‘Takoto te pai!’, is a collection of essays, originally presented at a conference held in Waitangi in 2012, exploring Marsden and the early Missionary beginnings in New Zealand. This book gives an insight into early Christianity in New Zealand including relations between missionaries and local iwi and how they viewed this new culture and religion.

Copies can be purchased from the Anglican General Synod Office for $30 (plus $3 for p&p). They are contactable on 09 521 4439 or email at

Cheques to: Anglican Church General Synod Office

Direct Debit: 02-0192-0130001-004 witrh reference ‘your surname’ and ‘C1/9980′.

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Reverend Wiki Te Paa witnesses the eruption of Mt. Tarawera

At the John Kinder Theological Library, we hold a copy of Reverend Wiki Te Paa’s journal made available for students and researchers by Dr. Jenny Te Paa, granddaughter of Wiki Te Paa. The original is held in private hands. Our Kaiwhakamana, Colenso Eramiha, has been studying the passages in Te Reo and creating a basic index of names, dates and events that will be of great help to researchers.

During his research, Colenso was surprised to find this entry on an infamous date in 1886, as Te Paa was visiting Rotorua; he travelled large distances to visit Maori people in rural parishes. Colenso has provided the following translation of the beginning of this entry:



 One o’clock in the evening of the 9th day of June, 1886.  A great earthquake occurred at Te Wairoa, Rotorua.  The land was turned upside down and flames met the sky. There were earthquakes, thunder,  lightning and a great wind. The land was buried in sand. We thought it was the time of the end of this world. 


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Te Wairoa, buried in thick layers of volcanic mud, the lava having mixed with seawater and soil, was almost completely destroyed. Wiki Te Paa paints a remarkable eyewitness account to a catastrophic event that forever changed the landscape of Aotearoa.

The 150th Anniversary of Christmas Day 1814

Held at Oihi, Bay of Islands on Christmas Day in 1964, was the 150th anniversary of the 1814 Christmas service at which Samuel Marsden preached the first known sermon on New Zealand soil.

These images are from a collection of slides on New Zealand mission sites and churches, taken by Reverend Allan Ross Wards.  The preacher, shown in both photos was the Reverend R E Marsden, a direct descendant of Samuel Marsden.

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‘Church and People’, the national Anglican newspaper, devoted a December issue to the event. It is available here at Church Papers Online.

Church & People Dec 1964

Cathedral Prayer Book from the Hospital Ship SS Marama

A copy of the Cathedral Prayer Book was recently received, with the inscription:

Church of England. Hospital Ship Marama, 1917”, and

“This Cathedral Prayer Book was used by the Anglican Chaplain on the Hospital Ship SS Marama during the Great War in 1917, and has been presented to S. Paul’s Cathedral by the Rev VG Bryan King, 1921, Oct 26”.


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In September 1915, the Government announced that a second hospital ship, the SS Marama had been chartered to sail from New Zealand in December 1915.  After many voyages from the battlegrounds to England with wounded soldiers, she then voyaged to New Zealand returning soldiers home.  She departed New Zealand on March 22 1917, heading for Bombay and Suez, and then south to Durban, Capetown and Bristol, once again then returning to New Zealand with a ship packed with wounded New Zealand soldiers.

Anglican Chaplains known to have served on SS Marama, and therefore are likely to have used this prayer book,  include Rev. William E Gillam, 1916-1917; Rev. Harry D Burton, possibly right through 1915-1918; Rev. McKenzie Gibson, 1915-1919, and Rev. Robert Franklin, 1918.

SS Marama

The New Zealand Hospital Ship, SS Marama. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 10. Ref: PAColl-6208-53. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.


Here is a fascinating collection of ephemera and photographs of the SS Marama, including its history before World War I and its post-War life as a cruise liner. 

Personal thank you notes from Queen Elizabeth II to Sir Paul Reeves, then Governor-General of New Zealand

Here at the John Kinder Theological Library our wonderful archives volunteer, Lea Tovey, is currently processing and sorting the personal papers of Sir Paul Reeves, Archbishop of New Zealand from 1980 to 1985 then Governor-General of New Zealand from 1985 to 1990 (ref. KIN 91). The scope of the collection ranges from his time as Governor-General of New Zealand to his constitution review work with Fiji and as leader of the Commonwealth Observer Group during the 1996 Presidential Elections in Ghana. A large part of the collection consists of correspondence. Sir Paul wrote to and received letters from people from all walks of life, ranging from school children to Bishops, Prime Ministers, the Royal Family, and personal friends.

Here is some correspondence he received as Governor-General from Queen Elizabeth II after two visits from the Monarch. The first letter is dated 1986, with a covering letter from the Queen’s Secretary, Sir Philip Moore. The second letter is dated 1990, the year New Zealand hosted the Commonwealth Games and the sesquicentennial celebration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The Queen spent two weeks here attending both events and in this letter she reflects on her time, expressing that “Being in New Zealand  in 1990 was an experience and I hope it has been of some help sorting our problems and for the future.”

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Video footage of Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Paul Reeves at Waitangi, 1990

Relaunching Our Blog

Our blog has undergone a rebirth and is being re-launched as ‘Fossick in Our Collections’.  The original intention of the blog was to showcase material we held that would be helpful for those writing for the bicentenary of the Anglican Church in New Zealand.  Now that we have reached 2014, the old name ‘Towards 2014′ has outlived its usefulness, and will be gracefully retired.

We always did manage to creep outside of our own parameters, so this new incarnation will feature things from all of our archival and related collections that we want to share.


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