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BIPOC Voices in the Victorian Periodical Press
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NOWHERE has the power of the Gospel more remarkably displayed itself than in New Zealand. The Natives in their heathen state were accustomed to tattoo their faces. The marks once made could never be removed; and the features were disfigured, and deprived of the expression which God had put upon them. This practice in a figure explain how sin had spoiled the character of this people. The crimes they practised, war and cannibalism, made them hideous to look upon. But very many amongst them have been "transformed by the renewing of their mind:" they have put on Christ and been renewed in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. A pleasing instance of this is mentioned by the Rev. R.David in one of his late Journals.
A Chief named Maika, of Mangakahia, together with several of his people, was baptized a year back. Anxious to see how he was getting on, Mr. Davis recently visited his Pa. He found there proofs of rapid improvement. A new, decent, slab chapel had been built, sufficient to accommodate a hundred people. Many of the Chief's young men had learned to read the Scriptures correctly; and nearly the whole of his people, both old and young, were well acquainted with the Church Catechism. A great change had taken place in the neighbourhood. Of course, like all other persons who try to do good service to Christ, he met with difficulties, which only served to show more clearly the reality of his Christian character. Some vicious young men, who had fallen away from their Christian profession, had resolved on taking possession of some rich land in the neighbourhood, which the owner, an elderly Chief and a Christian, whom Maika calls his elder brother, had kindly permitted them to cultivate for a time. The old Chief was angry; and serious consequences might have followed, had not Maika interposed. He warned his old friend that this was a device of the enemy to hinder him in his Christian course, and recommended him to suffer evil, and give up the land. The young men, ignorant of what was going forward, and supposing, from Maika's friendship for the old Chief, that he would take part with him in the quarrel, came to his place to challenge him. Maika soon undeceived them, and spoke to them most closely on their falling away.
The Society, on the occasion of the Jubilee, addressed a Letter to its Native Converts throughout the world. Amongst other places, it reached Mr. Davis's district in New Zealand. It was read to the Native Christians, who were much pleased with it, especially the Mangakahia Chief Maika, who sent back the following answer—
TO THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH. Kaikohe, July 16, 1849.
This is my love to you [in thus writing] that you may know that I love you in Jesus Christ. There is a God above who has caused my children to grow [in that which is good]. I have considered my salvation to be of God, because His loving-kindness toward this land has been great: yes, His love to this land has been very great, and the people of this Island have been much strengthened from the clothing of the Holy Spirit. On this account my heart loves my Father which is in Heaven, because He has given, through your gracious design, [His] saving grace to this Island. It is true, it was from the Missionaries you sent that we heard the words of this salvation. And my prayer to God is, to strengthen my heart and my body by His Holy Spirit, that I may be sacred to Him, in order that I may be strong to give the saving word to my children, to my fathers, and to all the people of my place. I am well acquainted with the wickedness of the world: it is my desire to cast off the world with all its evil. Let Christ [now] be a Father to me and to my children. When I go to God [in prayer] He pours His loving- kindness into my heart: He is the spring of the water of life: these are the riches I am seeking after. As soon as I was baptized I built a House of Prayer for my people, and fenced it in: I am now waiting to receive a bell from you. Be gracious, and send a bell for the House of Prayer—a calling voice for my children both morning and evening.
Your loving Friend,
The following is the reply of David Taiwanga, one of the oldest of the Christian Natives in New Zealand—
TO THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH. Kaikohe, July 12, 1849.
It was in this year of Jubilee that your Letter came to our Minister, Mr. Davis. He is wise in looking into our sins, and in proclaiming to us the Word of God. Mr. Marsden was the first messenger to us wicked people of New Zealand: the second messengers were Mr. Williams and Mr. Davis: these are the elders of the Church in this country. The desire of my heart with regard to your words is, that I may seriously consider them in my mind: the consideration must be an inward one. And I pray to the Father to help me—to give me earnestness in prayer to Him, and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. I rejoice at your words, which come, through you, from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who is the director of all things in heaven and earth. You are the sanctified people of that God. Jehovah has chosen you to devise means whereby His Word may be disseminated. My heart's desire is, to bow down and cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner," a sinful man. O God, Thou hast seen, Thou knowest my ignorance, nor are my sins hid from Thee! "Search me, and see if there be any wicked way in me." I will smite upon my breast and say, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Yes, you shall behold me, and I shall behold you, at the last day, although some are living in the north, south, east, and west.
From your loving Friend,
Digital Publication Details
Title: “New Zealand”
Creator(s): Anonymous; Reweti Maika; David Taiwanga
Publication date: (1850) 2022
Digital publishers: One More Voice, COVE
Critical encoding: Kenneth C. Crowell, Cassie Fletcher, Jocelyn Spoor, Adrian S. Wisnicki
One More Voice identifier: liv_026001
Cite (Chicago Author-Date): Anonymous, David Taiwanga, and Reweti Maika. (1850) 2022. “New Zealand.” Edited by Kenneth C. Crowell, Cassie Fletcher, and Jocelyn Spoor. In “BIPOC Voices,” One More Voice, solidarity edition; Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE). https://onemorevoice.org/html/bipoc-voices/digital-editions-amd/liv_026001_HTML.html.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
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