Chapter 6: New Zealand, October 1895–January 1896

Reid L. Neilson and Riley M. Moffat, eds., Tales from the World Tour: The 1895–1897 Travel Writings of Mormon Historian Andrew Jenson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2012), 163–220.

Cha​pter 6: New Zealand: October 1895–January 1896

As soon as we emerged from the timber they commenced to call out “haere mai, haere mai” (“come, come”), and after we had forded the river they strung themselves out in a long line in front of the meetinghouse to receive our undivided greeting which meant both shaking hands and rubbing noses. This certainly was a new and novel experience for me. I had learned a great number of new departures and native ways during my sojourn among the Hawaiians, Fijians, Tongans, and Samoans; but none of these indulge in that particular mode of greeting which the Maoris call hongi (nose rubbing). Well, I made a failure of the first attempt. Elder Gardner, evidently forgetting that I was a new hand, started out in such good earnest for himself that he was halfway down the line before I had unsaddled my horse and was ready to commence. I was just getting my nose ready to start in when my courage failed me. All at once I seemed to forget the verbal instructions I had received about this same hongi business. Was I to press with the top of the nose, or the left or right side, or all around? I had forgotten all.

—Andrew Jenson [1]

New Zealand, Harmsworth Atlas and Gasetteer, (London, 1890), 48

“Jenson’s Travels,” October 17, 1895 [2]

Ruatangata, near Whangarei, New Zealand

Friday, October 11. After attending to some necessary business in connection with the transportation of elders, I commenced my historical labors in Auckland, New Zealand, pertaining to the Australasian Mission, assisted by Elder John Johnson, who is the secretary of the mission. He commenced to act in that capacity a few months ago, when Elder Ben Goddard, the former secretary, returned home from a long and faithful mission.

Saturday, October 12. I continued my labors of the day previous and was introduced to Elder Charles Hardy, president of the scattered fragments of what was once the Auckland Branch. Brother Hardy embraced the gospel in 1854, in Australia, and, together with other Saints, sailed from the province of Victoria, April 27, 1855, on the brig Targuena bound for America. But the ship sprang a leak and only brought her passengers to Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was declared unfit for further sea service; and the emigrants had to pursue their way from there to America as best they could. Brother Hardy, who was then an unmarried man, succeeded in reaching San Bernardino, California, where he lived for several years; but instead of going to Utah when the San Bernardino Saints migrated thither, Brother Hardy went to England, where he took to himself a wife, and in due course of time wended his way to New Zealand, where he has raised quite a family. After the elapse of many years, he saw a Latter-day Saint meeting advertised in an Auckland paper, which caused the old spirit of Mormonism to come upon him anew, and he made himself known to the elders and was in due course of time baptized by Elder John P. Sorenson, of Salt Lake City. Since then he has remained a faithful member of the Church and has often assisted the mission in a material way, being blessed with some of this world’s goods.

Thursday, October 13. Having occasion to seek retirement while consulting about matters of importance, Elder William Gardner and myself (Photo of Jenson and Gardner) started out on an early-morning walk, in the course of which we ascended the famous Mount Eden, an extinct volcano situated about three miles inland from the business part of Auckland. The mount, or hill, is about 640 feet high, and the view from its summit is most extensive and magnificent. All around are seen the craters of extinct volcanoes, a careful count footing up the remarkable total of 63 within a radius of five miles, showing what a warm corner of the earth this must have been at some prehistoric date. Auckland, with its beautiful suburbs and splendid harbor, lies spread out at one’s feet, and beyond, the Waitakere Ranges on one side and the Coromandels on the other, while the extinct volcano, Rangitoto, with its triple cone, dominates the landscape straight ahead. Mount Eden is also interesting in other points. The crater remains a perfect inverted cone, forming a vast amphitheatre, which is sometimes used for mass meetings of the populace. In older Maori days, the hill was a pa, or stronghold, and the terraced fortifications are plainly visible on its sides.

Auckland, containing a population of about 51,000, including suburbs, is situated on the shores of Waitemata Harbor, a beautiful stretch of water branching from the Hauraki Gulf. The ground upon which the city is built is rolling, and some of the hills are quite steep; but as the streets, instead of crossing each other at right angles, have been laid out so as to conform to the hill slopes, the streets are quite nicely graded. Auckland is the chief port for the trade with the South Pacific Islands. The city was founded by Governor William Hobson in 1840, and it remained the capital of New Zealand till 1864, when the seat of government was removed to Wellington. 


Andrew Jenson and Australasian Mission president William Gardner. Courtesy of Church History Library, Salt Lake City. 

Since October 27, 1854, Auckland has been known to Latter-day Saint history. On that day Elders Augustus Farnham and William Cook landed in Auckland from Australia as messengers of truth and salvation to the people of New Zealand, which at that time contained a population of only about 30,000 whites. Auckland only had two or three thousand people in 1864. The elders, on arriving, found all the houses of accommodation in the city full in consequence of an influx of emigrants; consequently they had to hire unfurnished apartments to live in. After first visiting the respective ministers or preachers of different denominations, they gave notice by advertisement, of a series of meetings which they intended to hold at the Venetian cottage (formerly the residence of General Pitt). Their meetings were well attended, and there was considerable inquiry on the part of the people, many of whom purchased books treating upon the principles of the gospel. After holding several meetings, the two elders proceeded to Onehunga, a small town situated on the Manukau Harbor, on the west coast, seven miles from Auckland, intending to hold meetings there; but the early departure of the steamer on which they were to sail for Wellington prevented them from preaching there. The first branch of the Church in New Zealand was raised up by William Cook, after the return to Australia of Augustus Farnham early in 1855, at Karori, near Wellington. I have been unable to learn of any other organization of the Church in New Zealand till 1867, when Elder Carl C. Asmussen, who had recently embraced the fulness of the gospel in England, baptized six persons at Kaiapoi, near Christ Church, on the South Island, and ordained William Burnett an elder; but no branch was organized, though meetings were held every Sunday for some time, and others baptized. In 1870, Robert Beauchamp revived the work near Wellington, and in April 1870 a branch, consisting of eighteen members, is reported to exist at Karori, near Wellington, where the former branch of 1855 had been raised up by Elder Cook. On January 8, 1871, a conference was held at Karori at which thirty-one adult members of the Church in New Zealand were represented, including four elders. In the latter part of December 1871, Elder Henry Dryden and Brother Joseph Fawcett, with their respective families (eleven souls altogether), sailed from New Zealand per steamer Nevada. This little company, which seems to be the first Latter-day Saints to immigrate direct to Utah from New Zealand, arrived in Salt Lake City February 10, 1872. On December 14, 1875, Elders Frederick Hurst, Charles Hurst, John T. Rich, and William McLachlan landed at Auckland as missionaries from Utah. The arrival of the four elders and that of Elder Thomas Steed, who was sent over from Australia about the same time, may be termed the commencement of perpetual missionary work in New Zealand, though I believe even after that the field was without representation from Zion once for a year or more. But though elders landed at and took their departure from Auckland, no successful missionary work was done in that city till after the arrival of Elder John P. Sorensen of Salt Lake City on December 16, 1879. He commenced to preach in Auckland (at the Odd Fellows Hall) January 11, 1880, and baptized his first converts in that city February 29, 1880. A number of others followed, and on June 6, 1880, he organized a branch of the Church in Auckland, with Elder William John McDonald (the first man baptized) as president. For many years the Auckland Branch was strong and lively, though contentions occasionally arose among some of the members. But in due course of time the “cream of the branch” immigrated to Zion; others apostatized, and there are at present only a few scattered members of the organization left. Among those are Sister Harding and family, with whom we held a little meeting on Sunday evening, October 13. If the branch is not revived in the near future, it will not be the fault of Elders Johnson and Browning, who are laboring with a zeal which their opponents say is worthy of a better cause, to establish the cause of Zion in the beautiful city of Auckland and vicinity.

Monday, October 14. In perusing the records of the Australasian Mission, I found that no accounts of the labors of the early missionaries have been preserved; at least, they are not at the headquarters of the mission at the present time. The record, which is known as the mission history, has been well kept since that date. Nearly two hundred missionaries from Zion have landed on the shores of New Zealand since 1881, of whom upwards of sixty are pleading the cause of truth here at the present time, the bigger half among the Maori people.

The Australasian Mission embraces New Zealand, Australia, and Tasmania. The New Zealand part of the mission is divided into fifteen districts, of which twelve are Maori and three are European districts, though some European missionary work is also carried on in some of the Maori districts. The names of the districts commencing with the north end of the North Island and finishing with the south end of South Island are as follows: Bay of Islands, Whangarei, Auckland, Waikato, Hauraki, Tauranga, Waiapu, Poverty Bay (or Turanganui), Mahia, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Wairau, Canterbury, and Otago. (Map of New Zealand branches and membership list) The first twelve embrace the North and the three last the South Island. The Auckland, Canterbury, and Otago are the three European districts. According to the statistical report of December 1894, the Australasian Mission, exclusive of elders from Zion, contained 139 elders, 156 priests, 109 teachers, 153 deacons, and 1,908 lay members, thus making 2,465 the total of officers and members. Adding 933 under eight years of age in the families of Saints, the grand total of souls foots up to 3,398 souls. Only 110 of these are in Australia and Tasmania; the rest are in the New Zealand districts.

Branches in New Zealand described by Andrew Jenson during his tour of 1895

The colony of New Zealand, which is a British possession, consists of three main islands with several smaller groups of islands lying at some distance from the principal group. The main islands, known as the North, the South (the middle), and Stewart islands, have a coastline 4,330 miles in length, namely, North Islands 2,200; South Islands, 2,000; and Stewart Islands, 130 miles. New Zealand is a mountainous country, but it has many large plains. In the North Island, which is highly volcanic, is situated that famous Thermal Springs District. The South Island is remarkable for its lofty mountains, with their magnificent glaciers, and for the deep sounds or fjords on the western coast. New Zealand is firstly pastoral and secondly an agricultural country. Sown grasses are grown almost everywhere, the extent of land laid down being upwards of 8,000,000 acres, according to government reports. In the South Island a large area is covered with native grasses, and the large extent of good grazing land has made the colony a great wool-and-meat-producing country. The number of sheep in the colony in 1894 was 20,230,829, and the value of the wool exports for that year was about twenty-five million dollars. The frozen meat exports (mostly mutton) for 1894 were valued at about $6,000,000. The North Island, with its adjacent islets, has an aggregate area of 44,468 square miles; the South Island, with adjacent islets, 58,525 square miles; and Stewart Island, 665 square miles. The area of New Zealand is about one-sixth less than the area of Great Britain and Ireland, the South Island alone being a little larger than the combined areas of England and Wales. The North Island extends over a little more than seven degrees of latitude, a distance in a direct line from north to south of 430 geographical, or 498 statute, miles; but as the northern portion of the island trends to the westward, the distance in a straight line from the North Cape to Cape Palliser, the extreme northerly and southerly points of the island, is about 515 statute miles. The extreme length of the South Island is about 525 statute miles. The south island is interceded along almost its entire length by a range of mountains known as the Southern Alps. Some of the summits reach a height of from 10,000 to 12,000 feet, Mount Cook, the highest peak, rising to 12,349 feet. For beauty and grandeur of scenery, the Southern Alps of New Zealand are said to compare favorably with the Alps of Switzerland and even to surpass them in point of variety. So far, only a few of the loftier New Zealand peaks have been scaled, and many of the peaks and most of the glaciers are as yet unnamed. Situated in latitude from 34º25´ to 47º17´, South New Zealand enjoys a climate varying from one similar to that of Italy in the north to that of England on the south. (Map of New Zealand from Harmsworth Atlas 1890, p. 48)

British sovereignty was proclaimed over New Zealand in January 1840, and it became a dependency of New South Wales, Australia, until May 3, 1841, when it was made a separate colony. The government of the colony was first vested in the governor, who was responsible only to the Crown; but in 1852 an act granting representative institutions to the colony was passed by the imperial legislature; and a general assembly, consisting of a legislative council appointed by the governor and an elective House of Representatives, was provided. The first session of the general assembly was opened May 27, 1854. The governor is appointed by the queen; his salary is $25,000 a year, which amount is paid by the colony. The members of the House of Representatives are elected for three years; four of the members are representatives of Maori constituencies.

The estimated population of New Zealand on December 31, 1894, was 686,000, exclusive of Maoris who, according to the census of 1891, numbered 41,993, at that time. According to the census of 1891, the religious complexion of New Zealand was as follows: 250,945 of the inhabitants were members of the Church of England; 141,477, Presbyterians; 87,272, Catholics; 63,415, Methodists; 14,825, Baptists; 6,685, Congregational Independents; 5,616, Lutherans; 3,928, Pagans; etc., 1,463, Hebrews; 308, Unitarians; 315, Society of Friends members; and last and smallest of all, 206 Latter-day Saints, commonly known as “Mormons.” This doesn’t include the Maori population, of whom nearly one-tenth are members of the true Church of Christ. Of the 41,953 Maoris given in the census returns of 1891, 251 females were Maori wives living with European husbands. It also included 1,466 half-castes living as Maoris. In addition to the 41,953 classed as Maoris, there were 1,122 half-castes living as Europeans. Of the Maori population, 1,883 only lived on the South Island and 136 on Stewart Island, thus showing that the bulk of the native population is on the North Island.

Of the white population enumerated in 1891, 612,064 were born British subjects and 14,594 of foreign birth, among whom were 1,603 North Americans (from the United States); 3,663 Germans 2,053 Danes; 1,414 Swedes; 1,288 Norwegians; 711 French, etc. There were also 4,470 Chinese in the colony. The number of bachelors in the colony aged 20 and upwards was 70,197, and of spinsters aged 15 and upwards there were 67,000.

It may be interesting to the ladies of Utah and the readers of the News generally to know (if they are not posted already) that the women of New Zealand enjoy the elective franchise, “The Electoral Act, 1892,” extended to women of both races (whites and Maoris) the right to register as electors and to vote at the elections for members of the House of Representatives. The qualifications for registration are the same for both sexes. Women, however, are not qualified to be elected as members of the House of Representatives. For European representation every adult person, if resident one year in the colony and three months in one electoral district, can be registered as an elector. Freehold property of the value of £25 held for six months preceding the day of registration also entitles a man or woman to register, if not already registered under the residential qualification. Maoris possessing £25 freeholds under Crown title can also register, but, if registered on a European roll, cannot vote for a representative of their own race. For Maori representation every adult Maori resident in any of the four Maori electoral districts can vote. Registration is not required in native districts. The proportion of representation to population is not required in native districts. The proportion of representation to population at the general election for the House of Representatives in November 1893 was one European member to every 9,604 inhabitants and one Maori member to every 10,498 natives.

“Jenson’s Travels,” October 24, 1895 [3]

Takahiwai, New Zealand

Tuesday, October 15. For the purpose of visiting the two districts of the New Zealand mission which embrace the branches of the church on the north end of the North Island, Elder William Gardner and myself boarded the small steamer Wellington and sailed from Auckland at 8:00 p.m., bound for Whangarei, about ninety miles away; we spent the night upon the ocean sailing along the east coast.

Wednesday, October 16. Having had a pleasant voyage during the night, the ship stopped at Marsden Point at daylight, and soon after leaving that place we were enveloped in a dense fog, which made it necessary to cast anchor between Grahamstown and Limestone Island. In a short time, however, the fog lifted, and the voyage was continued. At 6:30 a.m. the Wellington landed her passengers at Opau, or the railway wharf about two miles below the town of Whangarei. We now traveled six miles by rail to Kamo, a small coal mining town, where Elder J. H. Willard Goff, who presides over the Whangarei District, met us with two extra horses, on which we rode about four miles inland to the residence of Brother Percy S. C. Going, who lives in a very hilly district of country known as Ruatangata. Here we received a most hearty welcome by Brother Going and family, (Photo of Going family) who are the only members of the Church in the neighborhood and constitute a part of what is called the Opuawhanga Branch. Here we also met Elder Hial B. Hales, who is Elder Goff’s missionary companion in the Whangarei District. We spent the afternoon perusing records, and in the evening we held a cottage meeting in Brother Going’s house. Besides his family and the elders, four nonmembers were present.

Percy Going and family. Courtesy of Rangi Parker

Thursday, October 17. We spent the day at Brother Going’s, I being busily engaged in perusing the district and branch records of the Whangarei District, assisted by Elder Goff.

Friday, October 18. Brother Going furnished Elder Gardner and myself with a horse each; and, Elder Goff having one of his own to ride, the three of us set out on a twenty-five mile horseback ride to the native village of Te Horo, where a conference for the Bay of Islands District had been appointed for the following Saturday and Sunday. This day’s ride gave me a fair introduction to the clay hills of New Zealand. There are only a few wagon roads through this sparsely populated part of the island, and hence only a few vehicles cross the country; most of the traveling is done on horseback. The face of the country consists chiefly of hills and mountains, the slopes of which generally present a somewhat scary appearance through having been dug again and again in search of kauri gum. Gum digging has in times past been a very profitable occupation in this part of the country, and according to government reports there are still 7,000 persons employed in the business. Since 1853, 169,378 tons of kauri gum have been gathered, most of which has been sent abroad, where it is used in the manufacture of varnish, etc. The gum is mostly dug out of the ground in tracts of country where extensive kauri forests once stood. The gum digger prospects the ground armed with a long sharp spear, which he sticks into the ground where it is sufficiently soft for him to do so, and when he strikes a lump of gum, he digs down for it. This gum, or resin, is simply the solidified turpentine of the kauri tree and occurs in great abundance in a fossil condition in the northern part of the North Island; it is dug up alike on the driest fern hills and the deepest swamps. The purest samples are found on the Cape Colville Peninsula east of Auckland. A large quantity is also obtained from the forks of living trees, but this is considered of inferior quality and fetches a lower price. In the fossil state, kauri resin occurs in lumps varying from the size of a walnut to that of a man’s head. Pieces have been found weighing upwards of 100 pounds. When scraped, the best specimens are of a rich brown color, varying greatly in depth of tint. Sometimes translucent or even transparent specimens are found occasionally with leaves, seeds, or small insects enclosed. When obtained from swamps, the resin is very dark colored, or even almost black, and brings a low price. Transparent or semitransparent specimens fetch very high prices, being used as a substitute for amber in the manufacture of mouthpieces for cigar holders, pipes, etc. The great bulk is used in the manufacture of oil varnishes, and in all countries where much varnish is made it holds the chief place in the market. It is exported chiefly to England and to the United States. The digger’s equipment is of a simple character; a gum spear consists of a light, pointed iron rod fixed in a convenient handle; the gum is dug out with a spade and carried home in a sack. In many cases the spear is dispensed with, and the entire area is dug over to such a depth as the digger thinks likely to prove profitable. An old knife is used to scrape the gum, the scrapings being utilized in the manufacture of fire kindlers. Diggers generally pay a small fee for the privilege of digging on Crown lands. Gum digging in New Zealand is a standing resource for the industrious unemployed. The average price for kauri gum in 1894 was about £48 per ton when exported.

We arrived at the village of Te Horo, situated in the heavy woodland on the Hikurangi River, about the middle of the afternoon, and was welcomed by Elder Charles B. Bartlett, president of, and Thomas J. Morgan, Joseph Markham, and Milo B. Andrus, traveling elders in the Bay of Islands District. There being a flourishing branch of the Church at Te Horo, about thirty native Saints were there to receive us. As soon as we emerged from the timber they commenced to call out “haere mai, haere mai” (“come, come”), and after we had forded the river they strung themselves out in a long line in front of the meetinghouse to receive our undivided greeting, which meant both shaking hands and rubbing noses. This certainly was a new and novel experience for me. I had learned a great number of new departures and native ways during my sojourn among the Hawaiians, Fijians, Tongans, and Samoans; but none of these indulge in that particular mode of greeting which the Maoris call hongi (nose rubbing). Well, I made a failure of the first attempt. Elder Gardner, evidently forgetting that I was a new hand, started out in such good earnest for himself that he was halfway down the line before I had unsaddled my horse and was ready to commence. I was just getting my nose ready to start in when my courage failed me. All at once I seemed to forget the verbal instructions I had received about this same hongi business. Was I to press with the top of the nose, or the left or right side, or all around? I had forgotten all. The president of the branch, who is also a chief, stood at the head of the line; and he was the first to be greeted as a matter of course. There he stood with his large Grecian nose all ready for action. No, I could not; I had forgotten how! Or, rather, I had not learned yet. I simply gave him a hearty regular Mormon hand shaking and passed on to the next, while he gave me a sympathizing look. He seemed to take in the situation; but this was not the case with all the rest. What was the matter with the new elder, or the kaituhituki (writer), as they called me from the beginning? Did I feel above hongi-ing with them, else why didn’t I do like the rest of the elders? Well, I made a public confession before conference was through, and in the absence of a better excuse I tried to make them believe that I was a bashful young man who feared that I would be laughed at if I shouldn’t do it just right; and so I had postponed the experiment till I could learn it in a more private way. But I assured them that as I had been practicing with the president of the branch and others between meetings that I would hongi with all of them before I left them. That was satisfactory, and according to latest accounts none of the Te Horo Saints have apostatized through my neglect of duty.

Our first official act after arriving was to administer to a sick woman, who suffered with female weakness. We were then conducted through the fallen timber and up a steep hill about a quarter of a mile to a neat little farmhouse owned by Brother Eru Reweti, second counselor to the president of the branch, who vacated the house with his family in order to let us occupy it during our visit. We had only been occupying our new temporary home a short time when the bell rang, and soon afterwards a message in the shape of an open-faced little native boy came running up the hill and called to the top of his voice, “Haere mai ki te kai,” which meant, “Come to the food,” or in plainer English, “Come to supper.” All right; we had come twenty-five miles over a rough, muddy, hilly, dangerous road and were hungry, so we responded cheerfully. Our horses were already provided for and were feeding in the green grass of early spring, which abounded on the hillside. This sounds strange perhaps to some of the readers of the News to speak of early spring in October, but such it was; and in coming through the country from Kamo to Te Horo, the green pastures and the young and tender wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, as it had commenced to grow, looked beautiful indeed. October in New Zealand corresponds to March in the northern zone of a similar latitude. Well, the meal to which we were invited was served in the meetinghouse; the food was placed on mats which were spread on the middle of the floor and reached from the door head, or at the inner end; and all must sit on the floor in regular native style except myself, for whom a small box was provided because I was a new hand and consequently not accustomed to Maori ways. But as I was anxious to impress my Maori friends with the fact that I had passed through months of careful training on the smaller islands of the Pacific and had learned to sit on my crossed legs in genuine native style, I respectfully declined the use of the box and insisted the Elder Gardner who was the oldest man and besides the president of the mission was the most proper person to perch upon this seat of honor; and I suggested further that it be placed at the head of the table (mats) for that purpose. The point was sustained, and both elders and Maoris seemed to relish the food, which consisted chiefly of well-cooked meat, potatoes, and bread.

After supper, we commenced our historical labors, the district and branch records of the Bay of Islands District having been brought in for that purpose of being inspected, and contributed information for Church history.

After evening prayer in the meetinghouse, which was preceded by the singing of a hymn and the reading of a chapter in the Bible, the gathering was turned into a genuine Maori poroporo, during which numerous speeches of welcome were made, chiefly directed to Elder Gardner and myself, to which we briefly responded; but as every leading man present seemed to have something to say, the meeting was prolonged till about 11:00 p.m. in the night. This did not mean that all present kept awake all that time; many slept, and some even snored. Even we missionaries were half asleep part of the time, and no doubt I should have gone far into dreamland had not one of the elders paid particular attention to me by whispering a translation of the speeches in my ear as they were being delivered. At length the last speaker was through, and we elders, after shaking hands with all who were not asleep, betook us to our quarters on the hill, where we slept comfortably during the night.

Saturday, October 19. Our conference, which has the semiannual conference of the Bay of Islands District, commenced in the large and commodious Te Horo meetinghouse at 10:00 a.m. Elder Charles B. Bartlett and myself were the speakers in the forenoon, Elder Gardner doing the translating for me. He was also my interpreter in the meeting held the previous evening. President Gardner was the principal speaker in the afternoon, while a number of the native brethren, Elders Gardner and Milo B. Andrus addressed the congregation in the evening. The last-named elder had just arrived from Utah and had been assigned to the Bay of Islands District to labor among the Maoris. We had a good and interesting time, and notwithstanding the rainy weather and a death in a neighboring village, about fifty natives, both Saints and strangers, attended the meetings. After the evening session greeting speeches were again made by a number of natives who had arrived during the day; and they in turn were greeted by the residents of the village.

Sunday, October 20. Our conference was continued, and three interesting meetings held, commencing respectfully at 10:00 a.m. and at 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. The historian occupied the time in the forenoon, Elder Bartlett translating for me; in the afternoon Elder Gardner, two native brethren, and Elder Bartlett were the speakers, and in the evening the assembly was addressed by Elder Thomas J. Morgan, myself, and several natives. Between the forenoon and afternoon meetings I baptized two in the beautiful clear water of Hikurangi River. One of them was George Marriner, a half-caste who had come seventy miles from Waihou, on the Hokianga River to attend the conference and to be baptized; the other candidate was Hoterane, a young boy belonging to the village of Te Horo. (Photo of New Zealand baptism) All the Saints and strangers present in the village had assembled on the banks of the river to witness the performance of the sacred ordinance, and as Elder Gardner stood upon the green bank and addressed the assembly on the subject of baptism, it caused one’s mind instinctively to revert to John the Baptist preaching to the multitude on the banks of the River Jordan, or in the wilderness of Judea. The scene certainly was very impressive. After the singing of a suitable hymn, the offering of a prayer, and Elder Gardner’s speech, which was all done in the Maori language, I entered the stream and administered the sacred ordinance of baptism for the first time in my life in the southern zone. The two converts were confirmed in the afternoon meeting, which gave Elder Gardner a good subject for a powerful sermon on the first principles of the gospel. Thus the first conference which I attended in the Maoridom proved a very interesting one to me.

Monday, October 21. I spent the day doing historical labors at our quarters on the hill, assisted by Elders Morgan and Markham, while President Gardner and the other brethren went up the river a few miles to attend a funeral. Another meeting was held in the Te Horo meetinghouse in the evening, at which Elder Gardner was the principal speaker. The news of the good time we were having at the conference had spread to the surrounding villages, and the people kept coming in, some to be baptized. Instead of attending this meeting, I worked on the records till midnight, assisted by Elder Bartlett.

Elder Ezra Stephens baptizing in New Zealand. Courtesy of Rangi Parker

The Bay of Islands Latter-day Saint missionary district embraces the extreme north end of the North Island; it extends southward on the west coast to the village of Tikariu and on the east coast to and including the Bay of Islands. Four elders from Zion are laboring at the present time in this district, which consists of eleven branches, namely, Waitetoki, Te Touwai, Matauri, Ngawhitu, Kaikohe, Tautoro, Waihou, Waitomio, Maromaku, Te Horo, and Mangakahia. The total membership of the district, including children, is 381, of whom ten are Europeans.

The Waitetoki Branch comprises the Saints residing in a village of that name situated on the Pupuke River, which empties into the Whangaroa Harbor on the east coast, the village being about seven miles up the river. It is also about sixty miles north of Kawakawa and is the northernmost branch of the church in New Zealand; it was organized January 17, 1889, by Elders George and Orson D. Romney, with Papu Arapata president; he still presides.

Te Touwai Branch consists of the Saints residing in a village called Te Touwai situated near the east coast on the south side of the Whangaroa Harbor and about three miles south of the town of Whangaroa. The branch was organized April 1, 1888, by Elder George Romney Jr.

The Matauri Branch consists of the Saints residing in the native villages of Matauri, Wataua, and Takou, which are all situated on the east side of the Whangaroa Harbor; the branch was organized in February 1892 by Elder William T. Stewart and others.

The Ngawhitu Branch embraces the Saints residing in a little native village of that name situated inland about twelve miles northwest of Kawakawa; it was organized February 17, 1889.

The Kaikohe Branch consists of Saints residing in and near the village of Kaikohe, which is situated inland about five miles west of Lake Omapere, or about twenty miles west of Kawakawa. The branch was fully organized November 27, 1892, by Elders Edward Atkin and Charles B. Bartlett.

The Tautoro Branch, which was organized February 17, 1889, consists of the Saints residing in the village of Tautoro situated on a mountainous country about five miles southwest of Kaikohe, and about twenty-five miles by road northwest of Kawakawa.

The Waihou Branch was organized by Elder Angus T. Wright and other elders October 6, 1889; it comprises the native Saints residing in the Waihou Valley on the headwaters of the Hokianga Harbor about twenty-five miles northwest of Kawakawa.

The Waiomio Branch, organized October 1888, consists of the Saints residing in a village of that name and also in the neighboring village of Kopuru. Waiomio is situated about three miles south of Kawakawa and is the place where the elders laboring in the district make their headquarters. They get their mail at Kawakawa, a European town, which is situated inland eight miles by rail from Opua, on the Bay of Islands shore. Opua is about 130 miles by steamer northwest of Auckland.

The Maromaku Branch consists of the Saints living in the native villages of Maromaku and Te Tororoa, situated about seventeen miles southwest of Kawakawa, or about eight miles northeast of Te Horo. The branch was organized by Elder William Paxman and other elders January 5, 1889.

Te Horo Branch consists of the Saints residing in the villages of Te Horo, Roma, Kaikou, and Pipiwai, all situated on the Hikurangi River, a tributary of the Waitoa. Te Horo, the principal village, is situated in a narrow valley between wood-covered mountains, about twenty-five miles south of Kawakawa, near the base of the Motatau Mountain, one of the highest elevations in New Zealand north of Auckland. The branch was organized by Elder William Paxman and other elders January 1, 1889, with Hamuera Toko as president. He still presides with Wiremu Te Tairua and Eru Reweti as counselors.

The Mangakahia Branch, which was organized February 17, 1889, consists of the Saints residing on the Mangakahia River in the villages of Te Kiore, Te Kaauau, and Te Haminge. Te Haminge, where most of the Saints reside, is situated about ten miles southwest of Te Horo, or about thirty-five miles southwest of Kawakawa.

In culling from the records, I experienced great difficulties in keeping track of Maori names. The natives of New Zealand are in the habit of changing their names repeatedly in the course of a lifetime; and thus we often find that a native has been baptized in one time, ordained to some office in the priesthood in another, and perhaps set apart to preside over a branch in still another name. I have used my utmost influence against this practice, both in public and in private, and instructed all record keepers to see that these mixtures of names do not occur in the future, as such a practice would almost destroy the value of records for historical purposes. Another trouble that I have also encountered is that a number of elders from Zion have been guilty of writing their names in half a dozen different ways, thus making it impossible to trace them without an interpreter.

Tuesday, October 20 [22]. At an early hour a messenger arrived at our sleeping apartments on the hill at Te Horo, announcing that several persons were waiting at the meetinghouse to be baptized before breakfast. Consequently, we all proceeded to the banks of the river once more; another interesting meeting at the water’s edge, another hymn and prayer, and then Elder Bartlett entered the stream, followed by one young man, two women, and a boy, all of whom were baptized in full view of the people on the banks of the stream, the same as the day before. We then repaired to the meetinghouse, where a confirmation meeting was held, and the ordinance of laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost was administered to the four persons who had just made covenants with the Lord in the waters of baptism. On the same occasion three children were blessed, after which I delivered a short parting address to the people, with Elder Bartlett as interpreter. The next thing on the program was a late breakfast, then the exchanging of a few small presents as tokens of love and remembrance, then goodbye and rubbing noses with about fifty natives, who placed themselves in a row, for that purpose. We also gave the parting hand to Elders Bartlett, Morgan, Markham, and Andrus, and at 10:45 a.m., Elders Gardner, Goff, and myself mounted our horses and rode off the same way that we had come. While crossing the river, the Saints stood on the bank wishing us goodbye and uttered many words of goodwill, while they swung their hats and waved their handkerchiefs to us, until we disappeared from their view in the bush. We now rode twenty-five miles over hills, valleys, and streams and arrived at Brother Going’s house in Ruatangata at 4:00 p.m.

Thus ended my introductory visit to the Maori people, to whom I at once became attached because of their full heartedness and love for the gospel and the servants of the Lord who are preaching it to them. On general principle the Maoris are a hospitable people. During our sojourn at Te Horo, they provided plenty of food for us elders and all their other visitors three times a day. The meetinghouse served as dining hall. Nearest the wall on either side were placed mats, where the people sat during the meetings and slept at night, while the passage through the middle served as table at meal hours. Our food consisted of good bread, well-cooked pork and mutton, a little butter and jelly, ordinary potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, etc. The hearts of the Saints were overflowing with kindness toward us, and they gave us the best they had. The ringing of a bell announced all meeting, prayer, and meal hours.

“Jenson’s Travels,” November 6, 1895[4]

Gisborne, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 23. We spent a pleasant time at Ruatangata with Brother Going and family, by whom we were treated with much kindness. Brother Going and wife are young people, having four nice little children; they are also young in the church but enjoy the spirit of the gospel. Martha Ruffle, a young unmarried sister, stops with them. At 10:00 a.m. Elders Gardner, Goff, and myself left Ruatangata on horseback and rode nineteen miles by way of Kamo and Hikurangi to a neighborhood known as Opuawhanga, to the residence of Elder Thomas Finlayson, president of the Opuawhanga Branch, who, with his large and interesting family, is about to emigrate to the land of the Saints in far-off America. He had quite recently sold his farm at a fair price and rejoiced very much at the prospects of gathering with the Saints. After spending a short time in pleasant conversation with Brother Finlayson and family, we took a three-mile walk into the bush, piloted by Elder Finlayson, to see one of the largest kauri trees in New Zealand. It stands on the farm of Mr. G. Foden (formerly a member of the church) and on the immediate borders of the great Puhipuhi Forest. Its circumference is about forty-five feet with a gigantic stem of nearly sixty feet below the branches, and seventy-five fit for lumber, exclusive of the top. It is estimated that its top is about 150 feet above its roots. As to its age, nobody can guess it. One enthusiastic writer who visited the tree six years ago uses the following language in describing it: “As one stands beneath this monarch of the forest, listening to the perpetual sough of the wind through its gigantic branches, and reflects that its life history goes back into the mystic unhistoric past—that a thousand years have seen it as we now see it—that probably before London or Rome was, it burst into life, how all that is human is minimized! So far as can be seen, this magnificent tree is still in its youth, and that its future history, if protected, may be as lengthened as its past, and that it will still continue to live when present scenes shall have passed away and are forgotten.”[5] We experienced considerable difficulty in reaching this interesting specimen of nature’s production. Not only was it hard climbing, but the road or path leading to it was very miry and wet in places owing to the recent rains; it also led through a thick undergrowth through which we had to grope our way with care. We were quite tired when we returned to Brother Finlayson’s house about sundown; and after spending a pleasant evening with the family, we enjoyed a good night’s rest.

The kauri is the finest tree in New Zealand and affords the most valuable timber. It varies from eighty feet to one hundred feet and upwards in height, with a trunk from three feet to eight feet in diameter, but specimens have been measured with a diameter of fully twenty-two feet. The bark is smooth and of a dark grey color, and falls away in large flat flakes; and the handsome globular cone is nearly three inches in diameter. The timber is of the highest value and combines a larger number of good qualities in a high[er] degree of perfection than any other pine timber in general use. Many logs are beautifully clouded, feathered, or mottled and are highly valued for ornamental cabinet work, paneling, etc., realizing from £7 to £10 per one hundred feet superficial. Ordinary kauri wood without figure is used for wharves, bridges, and construction work generally. It is exported to a greater extent than any other New Zealand timber and affords employment to nearly one-third of the entire persons engaged in timber conversion in the colony.

Thursday, October 24. I spent the day at Brother Finlayson’s perusing a number of records pertaining to the Whangarei District, Brother Finlayson’s home being the district headquarters at present. About 3:00 p.m. Elders Gardner and Goff started on horseback for Takahiwai, leaving me to follow the next day, in company with Elder Finlayson and others.

Friday, October 25. We arose early, and at 7:00 a.m., I bid Brother Finlayson’s family goodbye, and started in his company for Takahiawi. We walked two miles across some lowlands, beyond which we were overtaken by two of Brother Finlayson’s boys with horses, which they had brought around the swamps that we had crossed on foot. We mounted the animals and rode four miles to Waro, a coal mine and railway terminus. After examining the mines and the adjacent limestone quarries, we walked along the track one mile to Hikurangi, a neat little town with two hundred inhabitants, where we boarded the train at 9:45 a.m., and rode ten miles to Whangarei, having been joined at Kamo by Brother Percy L. C. Going, his nephew, and Hoane Tautahi Pita, a native elder. While they continued by rail to the wharf, Brother Finlayson and I got off at Whangarei to attend to some business, and we afterwards walked two miles to the wharf. Soon afterwards, young Robert Going, from Grahamstown, came across the water with a little boat to take us to his father’s house; but there being too many of us to be accommodated at once, three of us got in first and had a pleasant two-mile sail down the tidal river. We landed at the foot of some hills on the left across which we walked during a heavy fall of rain, while the boat returned for the other passengers. After first paying a visit to Limestone Island, we held an interesting little meeting at the house of Mr. Henry H. Going at Grahamstown, at which I spoke over an hour; and after partaking of the hospitality of Mr. Going, he furnished us with two boats, in which Brother Finlayson and son, Brother Going and nephew, the native elder, and myself embarked at 10:30, and set out for Takahiwai, some eight miles away and across the wide tidal river. Our object in starting at this late hour of the night was to take advantage of high water, as the river is very shallow in many places. There being no wind, we rowed all the way. The night was dark and cloudy, and several times we lost our reckoning, being unable to see either the shore or the mangroves which are growing very thick in the shallow parts of the river, and in fact line it all the way. At length we lost our way in sailing up through an inlet or narrow opening in the mangroves, through which we were to reach the village of Takahiwai. We ran aground again and again, unable to see or keep in the channel. At last we could get no farther whichever way we turned; and so we decided to leave our crafts and make shore, though we did not know where the village was. It was now 2:00 a.m. in the morning. Stripping ourselves of part of our clothing and picking up our baggage, we started in single file on our wading expedition. Though the water was not deep enough to float our boats, we found both water and mud in many places much deeper than we thought necessary for wading purposes; but none complained as we were all brave fellows and would not show the white feather by referring to the cold, the mud, and rocks and shells which cut our bare feet, or the deep holes in the sand or clay into which we plunged periodically. At length we found ourselves on higher ground, where we could feel the green grass under our muddy feet. But where were we? We hallooed long, loud, and often and called out in English, Danish, and Maori; but for a long time all our signals of distress were unheeded; at length the friendly response of a dog was faintly heard in the distance, and we immediately stood off in the direction of the sound and soon found ourselves climbing a hill; more dogs began to howl, and finally a whole regiment (a small one) of canines met us; then we saw a light, and next we found the village. O these blessed dogs! The friendly act on the part of the Takahiwai canines on this occasion made me forgive all the dogs in New Zealand all their former trespasses against me; and I have never kicked a dog since. While our good brethren and sisters slept the sleep that would have known no awaking till morning had we not disturbed them by our actual presence, these uneducated dogs instinctively responded to our calls and saved us from the unpleasant experience of wandering in the mud all night.

On our arrival in the village, we found Elders Gardner, Goff, Bartlett, and Markham, together with a number of natives who had accompanied the Bay of Islands elders from Te Horo, sleeping in the meetinghouse. Room was also made for us, and after shaking hands all around (for all the natives as well as the elders awoke to hear the hurried report of our midnight adventure) we retired to obtain a little rest before assuming the responsibilities of another day, which was about to dawn upon us when we lay down.

Saturday, October 26. We commenced our conference at 10:00 a.m. Elder Goff was the first speaker, followed by myself and Wike Te Pirihi, the president of the Takahiwai Branch. Brother Goff interpreted for me, while I greeted the Saints from their coreligionists in Zion, the Hawaiian Saints, and others, and gave them some items of Church history. In the afternoon meeting, Elder Charles B. Bartlett and Wiremu Te Tairua were the speakers; and Hamuera Toki, Joseph Markham, and Kaio Muhani spoke in the evening.

Sunday, October 27. The conference was continued and closed, three well-attended meetings being held. Henari Te Pirihi, Percy S. C. Going (through interpreter), Eru Reweti, and myself (through Elder Goff as interpreter), and Hial B. Hales spoke in the forenoon. In the afternoon, Elder Gardner was the principal speaker, and in the evening Honetana, Make Te Pirihi, myself (through Elder Goff as translator), Hutana Eparainia, and Elder Gardner were the speakers. The Spirit of God was poured out in rich measure both upon speakers and hearers, and we all had a season of rejoicing. The natives seemed to be in the best of spirits and manifested much interest in the spirit of our conference. During our stay we were treated to the best the village afforded, four meals a day being served. The food was prepared in a neighboring cookhouse, and the meals spread and partaken of on the floor of the meetinghouse. Only the visitors, who had increased to about thirty-five before the conference closed, ate and slept in the meetinghouse. Among the visitors was Elder Peter J. Nordstrand, who has been a member of the church since 1876, and took an active part in the affairs of the mission on the South Island years ago. He gave me important information about the early doings of the missionaries in Christ Church and vicinity.

The Whangarei District embraces all that part of the North Island of New Zealand, which lies south of the Bay of Islands on the east coast and of Tekaritu on the west coast. Its southern boundary is the Kaipara Harbor on the west coast and the Town of the Wade on the east coast. The baptized membership of the district is 232, or 334 souls including children under eight; 41 of these are Europeans, the rest Maoris. Two elders from Zion are laboring in the district, which comprises six branches of the church, namely, Waikarei, Whangaruru, Opuawhanga, Horahora, Te Kahiwi, and Great Barrier. The two elders laboring in the district make their present headquarters with Brother Finlayson at Opuawhanga and receive their mail at Kamo, the latter place being about one hundred miles by steamer and rail north of Auckland.

The Waikare Branch embraces the Saints residing in a village of that name situated on the peninsula south of the Bay of Islands and near the historical town of Russell, twenty miles east of Kawakawa, and about fifty miles north of Whangarei. The branch was organized December 13, 1887, by Elders Elias Johnson and George Romney Jr., with Mita Wepiha as president. He still presides and is one of the ablest and most faithful elders in the mission.

The Whangaruru Branch embraces the Maori Saints residing in the villages of Mokau, Oakura, Punaruku, and other neighboring villages, all situated on the east coast and constituting a district of country known as Whangaruru. The southernmost of the village is about nine miles south of Waikare. This branch embraces what was formerly the Mokau Branch (organized early in 1888) and the Punaruku Branch (organized October 21, 1888). The present branch organization was effected November 26, 1893, with Hoani Tautaki Pita as president.

The Opuawhanga Branch is a continuation of the Mangapui Branch, which was organized by Elder William Gardner about 1886. The branch embraces all the European Saints in the Whangarei District, and Elder Thomas Finlayson, who resides at Opuawhanga, presides. His house lies in a country district about sixteen miles north of Whangarei.

The Horo Horo Branch (formerly known as the Waipa Branch) consists of the Saints residing in the villages of Horo Horo and Waipa, which are situated on the east coast about thirty miles northeast of Whangarei on the Nganguru River near its mouth. The branch dates back to November 1889, when it was organized by Elders Angus T. Wright and George W. Davis. The Kahiwai Branch, first organized by Elders William Paxman and William Gardner in November 1887, is the oldest native branch north of Auckland. It embraces the Saints residing in the village of Takahiwai, which is situated near the Whangarei River, or sound, about twelve miles by water or thirty miles by road south of Whangarei and about three miles in a straight line northwest of Mardsden Point.

The Great Barrier Branch (also called Peki Paaria) consists of the Saints residing on the Great Barrier Island, which lies far out in the ocean about sixty miles northeast of Auckland. The branch was organized by Elders Angus T. Wright and George W. Davis December 4, 1889.

Another branch called Whananaki (organized November 29, 1888) has lately gone out of existence.

Monday, October 28. Brother Finlayson and son, Brother Going and nephew, and Hoani Tautahi Piti took their departure early in the morning. Soon afterwards, the bell rang for morning devotion, and after prayer, we ordained Tetahi Honetana to the office of a priest. The next on the program were speeches of greeting by a number of the leading native brethren present, to which Elders Gardner, Bartlett, Goff, and myself responded. The native speakers all expressed their appreciation of our visit and the good conference just ended, and their great love and respect for us as the servants of God. Both the Takahiwai and Te Horo brethren desired another conference held at their respective places in the near future. After all these proceedings, breakfast was served, and at 11:30 a.m., Elder Gardner and myself took leave of the elders and native Saints, mounted our horses, and rode seven miles to Marsden Point, where we boarded the steamer Wellington and sailed for Auckland at 4:00 p.m., arriving there at 11:00 p.m. We remained onboard till morning, enjoying a good night’s rest.

Tuesday, October 29. We landed at Auckland and found Elders John Johnson and Thomas S. Browning awaiting our arrival. I now spent the remainder of the week in Auckland busily engaged in historical labors, assisted by Elder Johnson. On the Thursday evening, we attended a lecture given by a preacher of the Irvingite persuasion. As his lecture was characteristic of its many truths and correct principles, I approached him after the meeting and complimented him on his lecture. He at once became all attention and, no doubt thinking I would be a good subject for conversion to his creed, gave me pressing invitations to attend the remainder of his lectures and even offered me special private instructions. But when I told him that I was an elder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his interest in me suddenly gave way to a spirit of contention, and for some time we had a warm and somewhat hot-tempered debate, which ended in the preacher taking his hat and leaving, Elder Browning and myself challenging in vain for further discussion. I never knew before that the Irvingites, or the so-called Apostolic Church, were so bitterly opposed to the work of God, though Joseph Smith in recording its origin in his history fully warrants that such naturally would be the case.

“Jenson’s Travels,” November 16, 1895 [6]

Nuhaka, New Zealand

Sunday, November 3. Elders William Gardner and Thomas S. Browning remained at Auckland to hold a Maori meeting with some visiting natives while Elder John Johnson and I walked out into the country to fill appointments. While I stopped to hold a cottage meeting in the house of Mr. Thomas Surman, in New Lynn, a little town about seven miles from Auckland, Elder Johnson walked four miles further to Titirangi, and held a meeting in a schoolhouse. In both meetings we had attentive listeners. On our return to Auckland in the evening, we felt impressed that the gospel seed sown on that day would bear fruit some time.

Monday, November 4. I resumed my historical labors in our rather uncomfortable quarters, being obliged to write by a little table in our small room with the bedstead for a seat. The Australasian Mission is certainly in great need of better headquarters.

Tuesday, November 5. After spending the forenoon doing historical work, Elder William Gardner and myself boarded the steamer Tasmania and sailed from Auckland at 2:30 p.m. to make an extended tour to all the districts of the New Zealand Mission lying southward. The Huddart, Parker & Company’s agents were kind enough to give us both free transportation from Auckland via Gisborne, Wellington, and Lyttelton to Dunedin and back again; and I here feel in duty bound to state that our elders have always been well treated by the agents of said company, who also on general principles are endeavoring to make all passengers traveling on steamships as comfortable. From Auckland the course of the Tasmania was southeasterly until Cape Colville was passed at 7:00 p.m.; thence we steamed off across the Bay of Plenty heading for East Cape. The evening was windy, and the sea somewhat rough; seasickness consequently prevailed.

Wednesday, November 6. About 8:00 a.m. we rounded East Cape and changed our course from a southeasterly to a southwesterly direction. We kept pretty close to the shore after this, which afforded us a fine view of the mountainous country and in places rock-bound coast. At 3:00 p.m. we cast anchor in Poverty Bay, off Gisborne, almost on the same spot where the great navigator Captain James Cook anchored October 8, 1769, having only discovered New Zealand a few days previously. But instead of being met by savage warriors in canoes ready for fight like Captain Cook, we were soon approached by a steam launch, tugging a lighter after it for the purpose of landing passengers and freight. But as the winds and waves blowed and rolled toward land, the little craft labored hard to reach the steamer. Getting there at last, it was no easy task to transfer the passengers. The little launch was tossed up against the side of the steamer repeatedly, only to be lowered quite a number of feet the next moment; but by careful manipulation of ladder and hoisting apparatus, the passengers, who were to land in Gisborne, Elder Gardner and myself included, at last found ourselves clinging hard to the tackling and railing of the launch, which finally landed us safely in at the Gisborne wharf at the mouth of the Turanganui River. On landing we met Elders Charles H. Embley and Jacob E. Teeples, who are laboring as missionaries in the Poverty Bay District. They conducted us to the house of Wirihana Tupeka, who presides over the Waikanae Branch and with whom the elders make their headquarters in the Poverty Bay District. He and his wife and niece received us kindly, and we spent a pleasant evening with the family and the elders. I also commenced my historical labors, the various branch and district records having been gathered here for the purpose of being perused. The evening was cold and stormy. Just before night, Elder Joseph C. Jorgenson, of Logan, Utah, rode in with horses for Brother Gardner and myself to ride up to his field of labor—the Waiapa District—where we expected to hold conference the following Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, November 7. In the morning I was introduced to Hami Te Hau, a sick brother who lived in a tent on the premises of Wirihana Tupeka, and who was the first Maori I ever met who was tattooed all over his face. We also ate new potatoes for breakfast. They were raised in the sand along the beach, where they ripen earlier than in ordinary soil. After spending the forenoon culling from the records, Elders Gardner, Jorgenson, and myself left Gisborne on horseback about 1:00 p.m., for the Waiapa District. A few miles’ ride brought us to the coast, and thence we followed the beautiful sandy beach for several miles until we reached the mouth of the Pakare River, which travelers generally cross on a ferry. But as Elder Jorgenson knew of a place some distance up the stream where the river could be forded in safety, we concluded that we would not patronize the ferryman, as he no doubt had more shillings already than we had. So instead of paying the ferrying fee of one shilling for each man and horse we forded and then rode about three miles inland to the little Maori village Tepune (twenty miles from Gisborne), where Tamati Waka, a nonmember, received us very kindly and gave us boiled potatoes, corn, and cabbage for supper and made us as comfortable as he could overnight. We had quite an interesting time with the family at evening prayer, and during the conversation which ensured Tamati Waka related some of his experience in the land courts and denounced the actions of the Church of England missionaries, who, he said, had taught the Maori to pray to God; but while the confiding Maori was engaged in his devotion, the missionaries and the other pakehas (Europeans) stole his land from under him.

Friday, November 8. We arose early from our beds on the mats in the smoky and dismal quarters where we had spent the night, partook of bread and warm water (with sugar in) for breakfast, saddled up, mounted our horses, and rode away. First we passed up through a picturesque valley; thence we crossed the mountain to the sea beach, which we followed for several miles, thence turned inland again, crossing another mountain to Tolaga Bay, where the town of Uawa is pleasantly situated at the mouth of a river of that name. This place is about thirty-five miles from Gisborne. We now turned inland once more, following the general course of the Uawa River about four miles to Mangaheia, a native village situated on a stream of that name, a tributary of the Uawa. At this place there is a branch of the Church, and here we were to hold our meetings or conference for the Waiapu District. Here we also met Elder Rouzelle E. Scott and Joseph A. M. Jacobsen, who are laboring as missionaries in the Waiapu District in connection with Elder Jorgenson. The native Saints who were at home also greeted us with their usual warmth of heart. I commenced my historical labors at once, assisted by Elder Joseph C. Jorgenson. In the evening, after prayer, speeches of welcome were made by the natives, to which Elder Gardner and I responded. We also administered to a sick sister who lay at death’s door and was raving under the influence of a peculiar spirit, which we rebuked by the power of the priesthood, after which she became quiet and rested well during the night. Instead of calling for the administration of the ordinance for the sick in the first place, the young woman had sought the advice of the Maori priests, but this had only made her worse, and was, in our judgment, the cause of the evil spirit taking possession of her. Brother Tehira Paea, the president of the Mangaheia Branch, placed a room in his house at our disposal during our stay in the place, where we spent a comfortable night.

The Waiapu District embraces that peninsular part of the North Island of New Zealand, which terminates in East Cape and extends to the Pakarae River on the southeast coast and Opotiki on the north on the Bay of Plenty coast. The membership of the district is 204, or 295 souls including children. Three elders, who make their headquarters near Uawa, or Tolaga Bay (thirty-five miles northeast of Gisborne), are the representatives from Zion at the present time in the Waiapu District, which consists of five branches, namely, Uawa (also called Mangaheia), Te Pekahua, Tokomoru, Taumata O Tapuhi, and Te Rahui.

The Uawa Branch comprises the Saints residing in the town of Uawa situated on the Tolaga Bay, at the mouth of the Uawa River, and in the village of Mangeheia, situated inland about four miles northwest of Uawa. There is a small meetinghouse at Mangaheia. This branch was organized December 31, 1884, by Elder John W. Ash and Ezra F. Richards.

Te Pekahua Branch is a continuation of the Mangatuna Branch, which was organized December 9, 1884. It embraces the Saints residing in the villages of Wharekaka, Kopua, Tarakihi, and Mangatuna. Wharekaka, where the meetings are generally held, is situated on the left, or north, bank of the Uawa River, about three miles up from its mouth, or the town of Uawa.

The Tokomaru Branch comprises the Saints residing on the Tokomaru Bay, on the east coast, about thirty-five miles south-southwest of Te Rahui and thirty miles north-northeast of Uawa, or Tolaga Bay. The branch was first organized out of the northern part of the Marahea branch in 1888. On February 25, 1893, a reorganization was effected when it absorbed the remnants of the Marahea Branch, which was originally organized by Elders William T. Stewart and John W. Ash November 30, 1884, with Henari Potae as president.

Te Rahui Branch comprises the Saints residing in three native villages named respectively, Te Rahui, Tauma, and Te Pakihi, of which the two first are situated in the Waiapu Valley and the other on the coast about eight miles northeast of Te Rahui. Te Rahui is situated on the north side, or left bank, of the Waiapu River near its mouth. It is sixty-five miles northeast of Uawa on Tolaga Bay, and near East Cape, being the easternmost of all the branches of the Church in New Zealand. The branch was first organized by Elders John W. Ash and Ezra F. Richards January 11, 1885, and consisted once of nearly 200 members. It is still the largest branch in the district. The general conference of the Australasian Mission was held here in April 1892.

The Taumata O Tapuhi Branch is an outgrowth of the Te Rahui Branch and was organized April 10, 1887. It comprises the Saints residing in the villages of Taumata O Tapuhi and Tarapa, of which the first named is situated about four miles inland from the mouth of the Waiapu River, or the village of Te Rahui.

Saturday, November 9. I spent the day perusing the district and branch records for historical purposes, which proved quite a task, as most of the entries in the branch books were made in the Maori language. In the evening we held our first meeting in a low and rather dismal-looking meetinghouse. Elder Gardner and I were the speakers, Brother Jorgenson translating for me. About sixty people were present—all natives except the elders. About the same number attended the meetings on the following day.

Sunday, November 10. We held three good and interesting meetings at Mangaheia. I occupied most of the time in the forenoon, Elder Jorgenson again being my interpreter; in the afternoon, Elder Gardner spoke on the first principles of the gospel. The evening session was mostly devoted to bearing testimonies, I also being among the speakers. Excellent testimonies were borne, and the natives were so anxious to speak that two or three sometimes rose to their feet simultaneously for the purpose of talking. The meeting was a long one, as nearly all who were present—both men and women—had something to say. Among the speakers were quite a number of intelligent and representative Maoris, including some nonmembers. The Holy Spirit was poured out to such an extent in all our meetings that we left the people feeling well and the Saints full of determination to renew their efforts in serving the Lord faithfully and true. While the evening meeting was in session, the sick woman to whom we had administered several times during our stay died. This was no surprise to us, as we were not permitted in our administration in her behalf to promise her a prolongation of life.

Monday, November 11. After taking leave of Elders Scott and Jacobsen and those of the native Saints who had not already taken their departure, Elders Gardner, Jorgenson, and myself mounted our respective horses and started on our return trip for Gisborne at 7:30 a.m. At Uawa we took leave of Rutene Kuhukuhu and family. Mr. Rutene was once a faithful member of the Church, but he fell from grace like others have done. He has, however, retained his love for the gospel and the brethren and is desirous of once more becoming a member. After riding twenty miles we stopped to let our horses bait on the banks of the Paparae River, while Elder Jorgenson and I took a refreshing swim in the beautiful stream. This was my first experience of that kind in New Zealand. Resuming our journey at 1:30 p.m., we forded the river, which was a somewhat dangerous undertaking, as the water was quite deep, the tide being in. Tired and weary after our long ride, we arrived at Mr. Adolph Hansen’s house near Gisborne at 6:00 p.m. There we spent a pleasant evening with the family and some invited relatives, talking gospel, singing songs, reciting, etc. Mr. Hansen’s wife is a member of the Church, and he himself is a good friend of the elders. At a late hour we finished our long day’s journey by walking and riding to our former quarters on the premises of Wirihana Tupeka.

Tuesday, November 12. We settled down to hard work copying and culling from the district and branch records, assisted by Elder Embley, whom we had met again the evening previous at Mr. Hansen’s house. In the evening we held a meeting in Brother Wirihana Tupeka’s house; we also received our home mail, including copies of the Deseret News, which gave us the minutes of the October conference held in Salt Lake City and other items of news which are always interesting and welcome to an elder in a foreign land.

The Poverty Bay, or Turanganui District, consists of a tract of country lying adjacent to the town of Gisborne, with a coastline extending from the top of the mountains southwest of Muriwai, or the south line of Cook County, to the mouth of the Pakarae River on the northeast. It consists of four branches with a total membership of 90, or 126 souls including children. The names of the branches are Waikanae, Rakaututu, Tawhao, and Muriwai. The two elders laboring in the district make their headquarters at Gisborne, or the Waikanae Branch, where they also receive their mails.

The Waikanae Branch embraces the Saints residing in Gisborne and vicinity, two being European Saints. It is a continuation of the Papawharaki Branch, which was organized November 18, 1884, with Te Whatonoro (John A. Jury) as president, and was one of the first Maori branches in New Zealand. From 1887 to 1894 it was known as the Kaiti Branch. Wirihana Tupeka, with whom the elders make their home, now presides over the branch and is a very faithful and hospitable man.

The Rakatutu Branch embraces the Saints residing in the five native villages called respectively, Karaka, Rakaiketeroa, Waihoro, Takepu, and Rakaututu. The last-named place, where the meetinghouse stands, is about twenty miles inland from Gisborne in a northwesterly direction. It was in this branch at the village of Karaka, that the Book of Mormon was translated into the Maori language by Elders Ezra F. Richards and Sondra Saunders, under the direction of Elder William Paxman. The village of Karaka is situated on the bank of Waipaoa River, two miles northwest of Rakaututu. The branch was organized October 4, 1885.

The Tawhao Branch consists of the Saints residing in the native villages of Tawhao, Whakato, and Whareho, all situated on the Waipaoa River about two miles inland from Poverty Bay and about twelve miles southwest of Gisborne. The branch was first organized January 26, 1886, by Elder John W. Ash.

The Muriwai Branch embraces the Saints residing in the villages of Muriwai, Whareongaonga, and Tanatapu. The first-named village is situated on Poverty Bay, about sixteen miles southwest of Gisborne. This branch, which was organized by Elder John W. Ash and Ihaia Hopu September 23, 1884, is the oldest, largest, and best branch of the Church in the Poverty Bay District. Two of the general conferences of the Australasian Mission, namely, in April 1886 and April 1887, were held at Muriwai.

“Jenson’s Travels,” November 21, 1895 [7]

Te Hauke, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 13. We arose early, and I worked on the records till 10:00 a.m., when we commenced another meeting at Wainui, near Gisborne, at which I spoke through Elder Jorgenson as translator. We held another meeting in the afternoon at which Elder Gardner was the speaker. Immediately after closing that meeting, Elders Gardner, Embley, Jorgenson, and myself took leave of Elder Teeples and the native Saints, mounted the horses which had been provided for us, and rode sixteen miles over a good, though roundabout, road and through a beautiful and fertile tract of country to Muriwai, a native village situated on the lowlands near the beach, which contains the oldest and best branch of the Church in the Poverty Bay District. We put up with Te Keepa, the president of the Muriwai Branch, who received us very kindly and made us comfortable during the night. We held no regular meeting in the evening but had an interesting time with the family and a few others who came in after prayer.

Thursday, November 14. Our time at this place being very limited I worked with the records part of the preceding night. At 9:00 a.m. Elders Gardner, Embley, Jorgenson, and myself and a native brother continued our journey from Muriwai, and we now traveled thirty-five miles over mountains and valleys, through gorges and timber, following a genuine New Zealand bridle path to Mahanga, a native village situated at the foot of the mountains on the seashore and near the narrow neck of land which separates the Mahia Peninsula from the rest of the island. We arrived at this place at 5:30 p.m., and we bid welcome by Elder Lewis G. Hoagland, of Salt Lake City, who presides over the Mahia District, and also by the native Saints residing at Mahanga, which constitute one of the seven branches of the Church in the district named. Soon after our arrival, Elder James N. Lambert, another of the elders laboring in the Mahia District rode into the village. In the evening we held a little meeting, at which Elder Gardner and I were the speakers. We then retired, but not to sleep, though we needed that as well as rest very much after our long, tiresome ride over the mountains. The mosquitoes and fleas had apparently formed a conspiracy against us. Both seemed to be as numerous as the boulders on the seashore at this particular place; and they were determined to feast at our expense, notwithstanding all our efforts to the contrary. Even Brother Embley, who always carries a flea sack with him for protection during nights, found that extraordinary apparel altogether inadequate to afford his person protection on this occasion. It might serve a good purpose elsewhere but not in Mahanga. As for the rest of us, we were unable in the morning to tell which of the numerous bumps and swellings on our itching limbs had been produced by mosquitoes and which by the fleas. Portions of our bodies reminded me or a certain relief map of a very mountainous country which I saw at the World’s Fair in Chicago two years ago.

Friday, November 15. We resumed our journey at 9:00 a.m. and rode four miles, part of the way along the sandy beach, to Kopuawhara, a native village situated on the isthmus which connects the Mahia Peninsula with the mainland. Here we received a hearty welcome by the native Saints, and after rubbing noses, shaking hands, etc., I settled down to my usual historical work assisted by Elders Hoagland and Lambert. We also met Elder James C. Allen, who labors in the Mahia District, and is soon to succeed Elder Hoagland in the presidency of the district. In the evening we held a good and well-attended meeting. Besides the members of the Kopuawhara Branch, quite a number of Saints from the neighboring branches of Mahanga and Waiwhara were present. Elder Gardner and the historian were the principal speakers. After the meeting, the natives indulged in the usual speech making. It was welcome to Brother Gardner and his traveling companion and farewell to Elder Hoagland who visited this part of his district for the last time prior to his departure for his home in Zion.

Saturday, November 16. After taking leave of the natives in the usual way, Elders Gardner, Embley, Jorgenson, Hoagland, Allen, Lambert, and Andrew Jenson mounted our horses and rode about fourteen miles (following the beach part of the way) to Nuhaka, a native village situated inland about a mile on the right bank of the Nuhaka River, which we forded at its mouth instead of crossing at the ferry further up. On our arrival at the village, we were warmly greeted by the Saints, who saluted us with the usual “haere mai” (“come”) as soon as we came in sight. This is a fine village, and nearly all the people are Saints. There is a good meetinghouse with a little tower on it, which gives the place quite an attractive appearance as seen from a distance. Here also the elders laboring in the Mahia District have their headquarters and occupy the former home of Hirini Whaanga, who emigrated to Utah in 1894. (Photo of Hirini Whaanga) Soon after our arrival I sat down to work with the district and branch records and continued thus till a late hour.

The Mahia District embraces a tract of country lying adjacent to the Mahia Peninsula, which it includes. Its coastline extends about sixty miles from the mountains, which separate it from the Poverty Bay District to and including Waikare on the south. In point of membership it is the largest district in the mission, containing a total of 537 souls belonging to the Church, including children, or 377 baptized members. Three missionaries from Zion are laboring here at present, and there are seven branches, namely, Mahanga, Waiwhara, Nuhaka, Mangatieke, Wairoa, and Mohaka.

The Mahanga Branch, which is an outgrowth of the Kopuawhara Branch, consists of a small village called Mahanga situated on the seacoast immediately north of the Mahia Peninsula, and seventeen miles northeast of Nuhaka. The branch was organized on March 5, 1888.

The Waiwhara Branch embraces all the Saints living on the Mahia Peninsula, most of whom reside in the village of Waiwhara, which is situated on the east coast of said peninsula about eight miles southeast of Kopuawhara and twenty-one miles southeast of Nuhaka. The branch was first organized by Elders John C. Stewart and James A. Slater December 7, 1884. In 1891 it absorbed the Tawapata Branch, which was organized November 2, 1884, and during its existence embraced the Saints residing in the south end of the Mahia Peninsula.

The Kopuawhara Branch embraces the Saints residing in the villages of Kopuawhara and Karaka. The former is situated on the narrow sandy isthmus which connects the Mahia Peninsula with the rest of the North Island. It is about a mile inland from the east shore and about two miles from the opposite coast. It is also thirteen miles northeast of Nuhaka. Karaka is about half a mile north of Kopuawhara. The branch was organized by John C. Stewart October 12, 1884.

The Nuhaka Branch embraces the Saints residing in a fine village of that name situated on the Nuhaka River, about one mile inland from the coast. This is the headquarters of the district. The branch at this place was organized by Elders John C. Stewart and James A. Slater December 14, 1884. Nuhaka is about fifty-five miles from Napier by water.

The Mangatieke Branch comprises the Saints residing in a village of that name which is pleasantly situated on a flat at the foot of the mountains about a mile inland from the Hawke’s Bay coast and six miles southwest of Nuhaka. All the inhabitants of the village are Saints except two persons. This branch is an outgrowth of the Nuhaka Branch and was organized February 23, 1890.

The Wairoa Branch consists of the Saints residing in the native village of Te Uhi, on the north, and Wairoa (or Clyde) on the north side of the Wairoa River; but most of the members reside on the Te Uhi side of the stream where the president of the branch lives and where the meetings are held. Most of the people in the village are members of the Church; and the fine Church of England chapel which stands on the riverbank is like a similar building at Nuhaka, unoccupied as a rule on Sundays. The Wairoa Branch was organized March 29, 1885, by Elder John C. Stewart.

The Mohaka Branch embraces the Saints residing principally in the village of Mohaka and vicinity. This village is situated on high ground about half a mile inland from the shore of Hawke’s Bay and about twenty-two miles by roundabout road southwest of Wairoa, which again is twenty miles southwest of Nuhaka.

In each of the seven branches in the Mahia District there is a Sunday School, and at Waiwhara, Kopuawhara, Nuhaka, and Mangetieke there are good and commodious meetinghouses. Two of the general or annual conferences of the Australasian Mission have been held in this district, the April 1891 conference at Nuhaka and the April 1894 conference at Waiwhara.

Sunday, November 17. At the morning karakia (prayer meeting) a chapter was read in the Book of Mormon, each person present reading a verse. I was afterwards complimented of reading mine well, considering that I was a new arrival in New Zealand. But when it is understood that the vowel sounds in the Maori language are almost like the Danish and that the Maori language is strictly phonetic like the Danish, it might be expected that my early training in my native tongue would enable me to read a phonetic language easier than those who have been used to speaking English only all their lives. In this connection it may be said that experience has taught the presiding elders in New Zealand that elders of Scandinavian birth and training acquire the Maori language quicker than those of other nationalities, everything else being equal. This rule also holds good among the elders who have labored in the Hawaiian, Samoan, and Tongan missions.

I will here explain once for all that Maori Saints in nearly all organized branches meet together for prayer morning and evening in their respective meetinghouses or usual places of worship. First a hymn is sung, and in the absence of a Latter-day Saint hymnbook in the Maori language, the Church of England hymnbook is generally used; but the numbers are usually sung to tunes which have been introduced by the elders from Zion. Next follows a chapter from the Bible or the Book of Mormon, the presiding officer calling upon whomsoever he will to read. This is followed by all natives present chanting in pure Maori style an article from Ready References, which has recently been translated and published in the Maori language. Then comes the prayer, which as a rule finishes the exercises; but often questions are also asked and answered, and in such instances considerable time is consumed. Nearly all male members take part in these proceedings as they are called upon in turn to do so; and as a rule they cheerfully respond. In fact, most of the members would consider it a great slight if they were not called upon in their turn to read, or pray, or take the lead in the chanting and singing. That peculiar timidity with which every young American or European elder is so well acquainted seems to be almost unknown among the Maoris, who generally arise with an air which would indicate that they consider themselves perfectly able to do anything in the line of singing, preaching, or praying that is required of them. Before the fulness of the gospel was preached to the people of Nuhaka, most of them were members of the Church of England; but now the Church of England chapel, which occupies a central position in the village, stands unoccupied on Sundays as well as week days, and its timbers are fast decaying. We held three interesting meetings in Nuhaka during the day and evening, at which Elders Gardner, Andrew Jenson, Charles H. Embley, Lewis G. Hoagland, and Joseph C. Jorgenson were the principal speakers. We also blessed three children and administered to several sick persons.

Monday, November 18. After working several hours on the records in the morning, preparations were made to continue the journey, and at 10:00 a.m., Elders Gardner, Hoagland, Embley, Jorgenson, Allen, Lambert, and myself bid farewell to Nuhaka and its Saints and rode three miles to the little neighboring village known as Tahaenui, where we visited several families of Saints, after which Elders Embley and Jorgenson took leave of us to return east, and the rest of us continued the ride to Wairoa (twenty miles from Nuhaka), where we arrived at 3:00 p.m. in the midst of a genuine New Zealand rainstorm. Here we met a hearty welcome by the native Saints, with whom we held an interesting little meeting in the evening.

Tuesday, November 19. We worked hard with the records till 4:00 p.m., when we rowed ourselves across the Wairoa River to the European town of Clyde or Wairoa. After paying a hurried visit to the only Latter-day Saint family in the town (Brother Hans M. Mortensen) Elder Gardner and myself took leave of all the elders who had been our last traveling companions (Hoagland, Allen, and Lambert) and boarded the little steamer Te Kapu and sailed from the Wairoa wharf at 6:45 p.m. After sailing down the river about three miles, we passed over a dangerous bar at its mouth into the open ocean. We had a pleasant voyage across the bay (Hawke’s Bay) to Napier, thirty-five miles from Wairoa, and landed at the Spit wharf at 11:30 p.m. We remained onboard till morning enjoying a good night’s rest.

“Jenson’s Travels,” December 4, 1895 [8]

Porirua, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 20. Accompanied by Sister Jane Mortensen, who was a fellow passenger with us from Wairoa, Elder William Gardner and I visited her brother Samuel Mortensen, who lives across the river in a little town called West Spit. He is the only member of the Church left of a small branch which Elder John P. Sorenson of Salt Lake City raised up in Napier and vicinity in 1880. The branch was organized October 17, 1880, with seven members, and Samuel Hansen as president.

After our morning visit, we took passage in a bus for the Napier Railway Station two miles distant, where we met Elder Wilford P. Nebeker, the presiding elder in the Hawke’s Bay District. We also took a walk through the little city of Napier, which contains about eight thousand inhabitants and has quite a romantic situation on the seacoast. The business part of the town, which has somewhat regular streets, nestles at the foot of a hill that rises almost perpendicular from the sea to a height of over three hundred feet. Some of the finer residences are built on the top and slopes of this remarkable hill, which is separated from the mainland by a swampy and low country, and the ground on which Napier stands was evidently once a separate island. The people of Napier and vicinity are at present busily engaged in building a breakwater far out into the ocean commencing at the foot of the hill or bluff just mentioned. Millions of dollars have already been spent, partly to no purpose, as the mighty ocean waves undermine the huge masonry and caused the walls to tumble over into the deep water; but the workmen are now blasting huge rocks from the hillside, which they are moving out on rails and casting into the ocean as an outside protection for the Creekwater proper, which is built of huge concrete blocks, each of which weighs about thirty tons.

At 1:30 p.m. Elders Gardner, Nebeker, and myself boarded the railway train and traveled twenty-five miles through a beautiful and apparently fertile country to Te Hauke, a native village situated in a romantic little valley with a lake in its center abounding with eels of all sizes. Here we received the usual hearty welcome from the native Saints, as there is quite a branch of the Church at this place. Here we also met Elders Thomas J. O’Brien and David Lindsey, who, together with Elder Nebeker, form the missionary strength from Zion in the Hawke’s Bay District. The natives at Te Hauke live in comfortable lumber houses, and the elders whose headquarters are here occupy a neat little room in one of the largest dwellings. The place has also a fine meetinghouse which is nicely furnished with a stand and seats.

Thursday, November 21. This was letter-writing day for the elders at Te Hauke. The American mail was to leave in a day or two, and we all had something to say by the means of the pen to wives, children, fathers, mothers, relatives, and friends in the land of the Saints, or in “Zion, dear Zion, far o’er the sea.” In the evening we attended and spoke in a native prayer and testimony meeting.

Friday, November 22. I worked all day with the district record, assisted by Elder Thomas J. O’Brien. A number of native Saints from several of the branches in the district arrived in the evening to attend the conference which had been appointed for the two following days.

Saturday, November 23. After prayer and breakfast I took a morning walk alone upon the green grass-covered hills lying immediately back of Te Hauke. The view was grand and beautiful. The peaceful village; the romantic lake; the thousands of sheep grazing upon the hills’ slopes; the waving grain and cozy groves of fruit trees, weeping willows, and shrubbery; and the finely graded roads winding through the valley all combined to make a picture at once grand and enchanting and not soon to be forgotten. At 10:00 a.m. we commenced our first meeting, at which I occupied a portion of the time, Elder Hoagland acting as translator for me. We held another interesting meeting in the afternoon, when Elder Gardner preached to the people. These two meetings were held in the meetinghouse; in the evening, another meeting was held at the large lodging house where most of the visiting natives slept at night.

Sunday, November 24. Our conference was continued, and two interesting meetings were held. Elder Gardner, Andrew Jenson, and a number of the native brethren and sisters spoke. Two were baptized during the day. We also administered to a number of sick persons.

Among the conference visitors was Hohepa Otene Meihana, of Taonoke, who was the first Maori baptized in this part of the country. Most of the people in his village followed his example, and for several years the Taonoke Branch, over which he presided, was one of the best and liveliest Maori branches in New Zealand; but he finally quarreled with the elders from Zion, which led to his excommunication from the Church in 1892, since which the Taonoke Branch has gone down, until it has almost ceased to exist. This circumstance serves as a good illustration of what the influence of a Maori chief means. The Maori people are great sticklers for the rights of their rangatiras, or chiefs. Whatever an influential chief does is generally endorsed by his people. Hence if a great chief embraces the gospel, numbers of his people will generally follow; and on the other hand, as in the case of Hohepa Otene Meihana, if a chief is severed from the Church, it often means the dissolution of a whole branch or the turning away of most of the people in his village. The probability is that this particular chief will soon return to the Church, which undoubtedly would mean the resurrection of the Taonoke Branch.

The Hawke’s Bay Latter-day Saint missionary district includes that part of the North Island of New Zealand which lies adjunct to Napier. Its coastline commences at Waikare, or on the south line of the Mahia District, and extends as far south as Cape Turnagain. Inland it extends to and includes Woodville in the heart of the country. The district contains 286 baptized members of the Church, or 398 souls including children under eight years of age. It consists of eight branches of the Church, namely, Taonoke, Korongata, Tikokino, Te Hauke, Takapau, Paki Paki, Tamaki, and Waimarama.


Hui tau at Te Hauke. Courtesy of Rangi Parker

The Taonoke Branch comprises the Saints residing in the native village of that name situated about two miles northeast of Hastings and ten miles southwest of Napier. The branch has an interesting history, as this is the place where the good work was commenced among the Maoris in the Hawke’s Bay country. Hohepa Otene Meihana was the first one baptized here. His baptism took place April 27, 1884, Elder Alma Greenwood, one of the first elders who introduced the gospel in its fulness to the Maoris, officiating. Before the middle of August following, over seventy Maoris had joined the Church in Taonoke and neighboring villages. On June 29, 1884, two branches of the Church were organized in that locality with Hohepa Otene Meihana as president of one of them, which was originally known by the name of Pakohai but which was soon changed to Taonoke. The first general conference of the Australasian Mission, in which the Maoris took a prominent part, was held at Taonoke in January 1885.

The Korongata Branch consists of the Saints residing in the native village of that name situated on a small stream about five miles southwest of Hastings and about twelve miles northeast of Te Hauke. The branch was organized June 29, 1884, on the same day that the Taonoke Branch came into existence. Korongata is still one of the best branches in the Hawke’s Bay District, and contains at the present time a greater membership than any of the other branches. [9]

The Tikokino Branch comprises the Saints residing in the village of Tikokino, which is situated on the left bank of the Waipawa River, in a valley near the foot of the mountains, about fifteen miles northwest of Waipawa, which is situated on the railway twenty-nine miles southwest of Te Hauke. Tikokino is about twenty-nine miles by roundabout road southwest of Te Hauke. The first baptism at Tikokino took place September 7, 1884, Elder Edward Newby officiating, and the branch was organized September 28, 1884.

The Paki Paki Branch consists of the native Saints residing in the native village of that name situated on the railway five miles southwest of Hastings, seventeen miles from Napier and eight miles northeast of Te Hauke; the branch was organized July 7, 1889, by Elders John A. Sutton and Joseph P. Beck.

The Te Hauke Branch, already mentioned, was organized March 28, 1886. For several years it ranked as one of the liveliest Maori branches in the mission. Three general conferences of the Australasian Mission have been held here—the first one in April 1889, the second in April 1892, and the third in April 1893.

The Takapau Branch embraces the Saints residing in and near the native village of Takapau, which is situated on a small stream in an open plain and on the railway thirty-two miles southwest of Te Hauke, or fifty-seven miles from Napier. The branch was organized October 7, 1888.

The Tamaki Branch embraces the Saints residing in the fine village of Tamaki (Tahoraiti the name of the railway station), which is situated on the railway fifty-six miles southwest of Te Hauke and eighty-one miles from Napier. The branch was organized June 7, 1889. [10]

The Waimarama Branch comprises the Saints residing in a native village of that name situated on the seacoast about twenty miles southeast of Hastings, or about thirty-two miles by roundabout road from Te Hauke. The branch was organized January 19, 1890, by Elder Joseph P. Beck.

The Saints of the Hawke’s Bay District, as a rule, are well-off as to this world’s goods. Many of them are also well educated and live in European style. As a rule they appear superior to the average of their race in different ways.

Monday, November 25. We, the elders from Zion, met with the people of Te Hauke for morning prayer and then said goodbye. I also sang to them the Hawaiian “Aloha ‘Oe,” which pleased them very much. Elders Gardner, Nebeker, and myself then got into a buggy which the good Saints of Korongata had furnished for our special convenience and left Te Hauke at 9:45 a.m. We traveled fifteen miles in a southwesterly direction through the heart of a beautiful country to Waipawa, a European town situated on a river of that name, which we forded and made our way to the Maori village lying on the lowlands on the other side. Here we were kindly received by Brother Arapata Meha and family, who live in a comfortable frame house, in which we held a meeting in the evening; some Europeans being present, the speaking was done in English. Elders Hoagland, O’Brien, and Lindsey, who had followed us on horseback from Te Hauke were also present.

Tuesday, November 26. It rained very heavily last night; and as it continued to pour down this morning, Elder Gardner and I concluded to travel to Tamaki by rail, while Elders Hoagland and Nebeker faced the storm in the buggy. Taking leave of Elders O’Brien and Lindsey at the railway station at Waipawa, we traveled forty-three miles to Tamaki, a native village situated in a clearing of the so-called seventy-mile bush, about two miles southwest of Dannevirke, a settlement founded principally by Scandinavians a number of years ago. At Tamaki we were made welcome in the elegant home of Brother Wiremu Takana, a leading man of the village. All the natives in Tamaki live in comfortable lumber buildings, and the only thing that distinguishes the village from an ordinary European town is the long, iron-covered Maori meetinghouse, in which the general conference of the Australasian Mission was held in April last. A number of natives came in and spent a pleasant evening with us in Wiremu Takana’s house.

Wednesday, November 27. At 10:00 a.m. we commenced a well-attended meeting in the large meetinghouse. Nearly all the village people attended, and Elders Gardner and Andrew Jenson were the speakers. Then, after taking leave of the good people of Tamaki, the two elders named boarded the train and continued their journey at 3:30 p.m. A fourteen-mile ride brought us to Woodville, a little European town with about eight hundred inhabitants situated in a timbered valley between mountains and hill. Thence we followed the Manawatu River down through the renowned Manawatu Gorge abounding with beautiful scenery on every hand to Ashurst (eight miles from Woodville), another European town, where we met Elder Heber C. Jex, of Spanish Fork, Utah, who is laboring among the Europeans in the Manawatu District, and also old Brother Robert Menzies, who lives in the neighborhood. He brought a buggy in which he took us about a mile to the house of his son-in-law, Brother George Wilson, who, with his family, are the only members of the Church in Ashurst. We held an interesting little meeting in the evening with the few Saints present, as none of the many neighbors whom Elder Jex invited chose to put in an appearance. After the meeting we confirmed Herbert E. Wilson, the eight-year-old boy of Brother Wilson, who had just been baptized; blessed the baby, a recent arrival in the family; and administered to Sister Wilson who was sick.

“Jenson’s Travels,” December 9, 1895 [11]

Dunedin, New Zealand

Thursday, November 28. Elder Heber C. Jex and I started out on foot on a short missionary trip to Bunnythorpe, a European town seven miles from Ashurst, leaving Elder Gardner to proceed by train to Palmerston North. After our arrival in Bunnythorpe, we visited several Scandinavian families residing in the vicinity, some of whom had shown considerable interest in the gospel and had been kind to the elders, and in the evening we held a little meeting in the house of a Mr. Jepsen, who lives about two miles from Bunnythorpe. I addressed the little congregation in Danish and spoke with considerable freedom; but most, if not all, of those present were unwilling to accept the truth, the old Lutheran creed to which they adhered being good enough for them. There are quite a number of Scandinavians in New Zealand who, like their countrymen in America, make good settlers, but only a few of them care much for religion; and those who do are generally sticklers for the creed of their forefathers. After the meeting we walked back to Bunnythorpe, where a Mr. B. Tremewan, a merchant, received us with kindness and kept us overnight. He and his estimable wife are investigators of “Mormonism.”

Friday, November 29. Elder Jex, who got an overdose of Danish in the meeting last night, was sick this morning, and it was with considerable difficulty that he walked with me the six miles to Palmerston North. But on our arrival there, we were made welcome and treated with much kindness by Sister Mette Katrine Jepsen, who, together with Brother Jepsen, had waited several days for us. But before we came, he had to leave home to resume his work at a distance. Here we also met Elder Gardner again, who had arrived in Palmerston the day before. After being administered to, Elder Jex felt much better and was able to resume his journey with us before night. He afterwards explained that he could stand the Maori tongue alone, but when it came to a combination of Danish and Maori at the same time, he gets more than he can conveniently digest, not being a man of very great physical powers. This incident reminds me of an experience I had while traveling in company with President Jesse N. Smith, of the Snowflake Stake, nearly two years ago. Brother Smith insisted that I should do the lion’s share of the public speaking as we held meetings in the different settlements, which I did, until Brother Smith got so hoarse that he could scarcely converse in a tone loud enough to be heard. How Elder Smith could get hoarse by listening to my preaching has always been a puzzle to me; and I did not speak Danish either.

After a pleasant visit with Sister Jepsen, who is very hard of hearing but is a devoted Saint who enjoys the spirit of the gospel, we proceeded by team to the Maori village called Te Awapuni situated about two miles south of Palmerston North, where we held an interesting little meeting in the evening with the Maori Saints, who seemed to appreciate our visit very much. We were also well taken care of during the night by Elder Henari Apatari, who presides over the Awapuni Branch.

Saturday, November 30. Elders Gardner, Jex, and myself, accompanied by Henari Apatari and two other natives from Te Awapuni, boarded the train at the last-named place, and traveled seventy-three miles southward to Porirua (fourteen miles from Wellington), where we arrived at 11:45 a.m., having enjoyed the sight of the beautiful scenery and landscapes both along the coast and inland. At Porirua we met Elders William S. Dimond and Horace W. Barton, who are laboring in the Manawatu District, and we then walked a mile to the native village of Takapuahia, which is pleasantly situated on the Porirua Bay. Here there is a lively branch of the Church. We were made welcome in the house of Wiremu Neera Te Kanae, who presides over the branch, and we also met Elders James S. Abbott and John H. Ellis, the other two missionaries who labor in the Manawatu District. The Saints at Takapuahia had made splendid preparations for the reception of their visitors, being well provided with food, which they cooked in good style and served in a large tent raised for the purpose adjacent to our quarters. There are some fine Maoris at this place; most of them can speak and understand English and are otherwise above the average of their race in intelligence. They belong to a historic and brave branch of the Maori people, of which they seem to be justly proud, and Brother Wiremu Neera showed us a genealogical chart which gave his forefathers for thirty-six generations back. We commenced our first meeting at 3:00 p.m., I being among the speakers. Elders Gardner and Dimond and a native brother were the speakers in the evening meeting. (Photo of Wineera family)

Sunday, December 1. Our conference at Takapuwahia was continued, and three meetings were held. In response to written invitations a number of Europeans attended the first two meetings, at which the preaching was done in English, Elder Gardner and myself being the speakers. We had a good time, and the Holy Ghost gave the servants of the Lord utterance. We also blessed two children. In the evening meeting Elders Jex, Ellis, and Barton and several of the native brethren were the speakers.

Monday, December 2. I commenced my historical labors in good earnest, being assisted by Elders Jex, Abbott, and others of the brethren. By way of finishing our conference another meeting was held in the evening at which Elder Gardner and I were the principal speakers. The following two days were spent by myself attending to historical work while President Gardner and the other elders wrote letters and conversed with the Saints. On the 4th (Wednesday), Elders Jex, Dimond, Barton, and Ellis left Porirua to resume their missionary labors in other parts of the district.

The Manawatu District embraces that part of the North Island of New Zealand which lies between the west coast and the Tararua range of mountains. It extends from and includes Wellington on the south to and including the Taranaki country on the north. The baptized membership consists of 90, or 144 souls (including children), of whom 37 are Europeans. Of the five elders from Zion in the district at the present time, three are laboring among the Maoris and two among the Europeans. The latter (Elders Jex and Dimond) are having a hard time of it, as the white inhabitants of that part of the country, though quite numerous, have no inclination to receive the gospel. It is very seldom that the elders can obtain schoolhouses to preach in, or indeed any public building, without paying a high rent; and only a few will open their houses for cottage meetings. Nor do the people as a rule treat the elders with that hospitality which is sometimes characteristic of people who live in a new and sparsely settled country. They usually have to pay for their board and lodging. While the two elders laboring among the Europeans generally travel on foot or by train, the three among the Maoris travel on horseback.

The Wairarapa District consists of four branches, of which three consist of Maori and one of European members. The latter is called the Palmerston Branch and consists of the Saints residing in Palmerston North and at Ashurst and Fairy Glen, near Fielding. Most of the members were baptized in other parts of New Zealand, but located at different times in the Manawatu country, where Elder Ben Goddard on December 11, 1892, organized them into a branch of the church with Robert Armstrong, who was already an elder, as president. A series of meetings were held in the theater at Palmerston North, at which there was a good attendance of people who seemed interested in the principles advocated by Elders William T. Stewart and Ben Goddard; but none so far have yielded obedience to them. A Sunday School, which still holds regular sessions, was organized at Palmerston North on July 9, 1893.

The Takapuwahia Branch, also frequently called the Porirua Branch, consists of the native Saints residing in the native village of Takapuwahia, which lies adjacent to the European town of Porirua, which is fourteen miles north of Wellington. The branch was organized by Elders John W. Kauleinamoku and David Muir September 30, 1888, with Hohepa Horomona as president. It is still the best branch in the district.

The Awapuni Branch consists of the Maori Saints residing in a scattered condition near Palmerston North; the bulk of them, however, live at Awapuni, a little village situated two miles southwest of Palmerston North, on the Foxton railway. Some also live at Ngawhakarau and Puketatara. The branch was organized May 17, 1885, but has seen many “ups and downs” and changes since that time.

The third Maori branch of the Manawatu District is called the Poroutawhao Branch and consists of Saints residing in a village of that name, situated about four miles northwest of Levin Railway Station, fifty-nine miles north of Wellington or thirty miles south of Palmerston North. The branch was first organized August 10, 1890, by Elders Joseph N. Heywood and Joseph S. Groesbeck, but can hardly be said to exist at the present as most of the former members have left the Church and others moved away to other parts of the country.

Thursday, December 5. Elder Gardner and myself bid farewell to the good Saints of Takapuahia, or Porirua, and also Elder James S. Abbott, the president of the Manawatu District who accompanied us to the railway station, and traveled fourteen miles by rail through a hilly country to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, where we spent the remainder of the day attending to business connected with the transportation of our elders, and we also spent some time in the museum and the public library.

Wellington—the capital, or “Empire City,” of New Zealand and the seat of government of the colony—is situated at the head of Port Nicholson, a fine harbor circular in form and one of the safest and most commodious in New Zealand. Wellington is hemmed by surrounding hills, which has necessitated large areas of land being reclaimed from the harbor or bay, on parts of which some of the finest buildings are erected. Most of the fine residences are perched on the hillsides, which gives the city a very picturesque appearance, as one approaches it from the sea. At the Thorndon end of the city is the residence of the governor of the colony, a handsome building of the Italian style of architecture. Adjoining are the houses of Parliament, and nearer the business part of the city are the general government buildings, which enjoy the distinction of being the largest wooden structures in the world. Elder Gardner and I went all through these buildings, which are full of government offices and the depository of the most valuable books and documents. How the government of New Zealand can feel at ease with the government documents in a wooden building is more than I can comprehend. Even the Parliament library, which is the largest and best in the colony, is arranged in a large building of wood. There are a number of interesting places around Wellington, one of which is Mount Victoria, on which is located the naval signal station. From its top a full view of the harbor entrance, the strait, and the open sea beyond is obtained. Immediately behind the Wellington lies the suburban town of Karori, where the first branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand was organized.

The actual settlement of Wellington began in 1839, in which year the ship Tory arrived from England, having sailed from Plymouth May 12, 1839. It arrived at Port Nicholson September 12, 1839. Two native chiefs—Epuni and Wharepori—soon went abroad and offered to dispose of the harbor and lands adjacent. Several days were spent in discussing conditions, and on the 25th, these were agreed upon, and the deed was signed the day following. It is related that the principal goods given by the Englishmen for the site of Wellington and the harbor were 135 stands of arms, 21 keys of gunpowder, a cask of ball cartridges, a gross of Jew’s harps, 1,200 fishing hooks, and some night caps, pipes, and sealing wax. On September 30, 1839, the New Zealand flag was hoisted on shore and aboard the Tory. The town was first named Britania, but in November 1840, this name was dropped in favor of Wellington, in compliment, it is stated, to the great duke of that name. Among the vessels following the Tory were the Cuba, Aurora, and Oriental, all bringing more settlers, and several of Wellington’s streets were named after these vessels and others in honor of some of the first settlers. The population of Port Nicholson (the name of the harbor) in 1840 is estimated as about 1,300 Europeans and 800 natives. Wellington was first declared a borough August 4, 1842, by Governor William Hobson, who also declared that the place had about 2,000 inhabitants; but the town government only lasted for a short time. In 1863 the next attempt at local municipal government was made and a regular town board appointed; in 1864 it was made the capital of the colony. It succeeded Auckland in that distinction, being more centrally located than its rival city of the north. Wellington was again made a corporation by what is called the Municipal Corporations Act of 1867. The population of Wellington was estimated at 8,000 in 1871; this had increased to 21,000 in 1881 and to 32,000 in 1891. Now Wellington claims a population of forty thousand.

“Jenson’s Travels,” December 17, 1895 [12]

Picton, New Zealand

Friday, December 6. The hearts of Elders William Gardner and Andrew Jenson were made glad by the reception of American mail, which had been forwarded to us from Auckland. All was well at our respective homes when our family letters were written. The public news from the land of the Saints was also of a cheering nature. If there is anything that causes more than ordinary joy in the heart of an elder in a foreign land, it is the reception of good news from home; and in New Zealand, where there is only a monthly mail from America, the arrival of the mail steamer is always a red-letter day with our elders. All traveling programs and missionary appointments are generally made with due consideration of American mail day, when the elder desires to find himself in close proximity to his post office, that he may receive his news from “loved ones” at home. At 3:00 p.m. we boarded the good steamer Tasmania, one of the Huddart, Parker & Co.’s vessels, once more and sailed for Dunedin, South Island. The day was cloudy but not stormy; hence we had a pleasant voyage. The coast scenery, which presents itself to view as one sails out of the Wellington Harbor, is very interesting, though not so grand or beautiful as seen in several other parts of the world.

 Saturday, December 7. At 5:30 a.m. the Tasmania reached the mouth of the inlet on which Port Lyttelton is situated about six miles up from the ocean. At 6:00 a.m. we arrived at the harbor, 175 miles from Wellington; and as the steamer was to remain here for several hours, Elder Gardner and myself landed and boarded the railroad train, which in twenty minutes brought us to the beautiful city of Christchurch, six and a half miles from Lyttelton. Nearly two miles of this distance is through a tunnel which has been bored through the heart of the mountain which separates Port Lyttelton from the Canterbury Plains. We spent the morning hours walking through the artificial park lying adjacent to the museum, and we were particularly interested in the fine ponds and the scenery along the Avon River, which passes through both the park and the city and abounds with fish. We also visited the public library, and on returning to the railway station we unexpectedly met Elders Edgar O. Best and Wallace C. Castleton, who are laboring as missionaries in Canterbury with headquarters in Christchurch. Many years ago there was a flourishing branch of Latter-day Saints in Christchurch, and others in the immediate vicinity; but the members of these have long since immigrated to Zion or have strayed off, with the exception of one or two who still remain and are only counted as scattered members. In 1894 missionary labors were renewed in Canterbury, and the prospects are now good for a successful work being done. Quite a number of people are investigating the principles of the gospel, and a few months ago Elder Best baptized two.

The city of Christchurch is situated in a flat country, on the edge of what is known totally as the Canterbury Plains. The distant mountains to the west, especially in winter and spring when covered with snow, form a beautiful background to the city, while to the south the Lyttelton Hills rise to a height of 1,600 feet. The city has been admirably laid out; only the roads which follow the winding banks of the small river Avon that flows through the town breaks somewhat the regular straight street system; large plantations of English trees have been made in the parks, squares, avenues, and private gardens; many of the buildings, both private and public, are excellent specimens of architecture, whether built of greystone, brick, or wood. Personally, I like Christchurch better than any other city I have seen so far in New Zealand.

One of the earliest difficulties which the first settlers of Christchurch had to contend with was that of communication between the port and the plains. At first the only means of conveying goods to Christchurch was by sea in steam lighters to the estuary of the Avon and up the river Heathcote. In 1857 the road between Christchurch and Sumner, on the Lyttelton Inlet, was opened, but it was soon afterwards resolved to make a tunnel through the hills. The tunnel is 2,866 yards in length—the longest tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere. The line was opened in 1867, being the first railway constructed in New Zealand.

After a hurried conversation with Elders Best and Castleton, we returned to Lyttelton and again boarded the Tasmania, which sailed at 2:00 p.m. After rounding the heads at the mouth of the inlet, the ship headed for Dunedin, about two hundred miles away, and as the weather was good and the sea smooth, we spent another pleasant night on the briny deep.

Sunday, December 8. At 6:00 a.m. we entered the picturesque inlet which leads up to Dunedin; about halfway up we passed Port Chalmers on our right, and at 7:00 a.m. we were lying alongside of the wharf at Dunedin. Here we met Elder John G. Young, one of the missionaries from Zion laboring in the Otago District, or the south end of the South Island of New Zealand. As we had no Saints to visit in Dunedin and felt no particular desire to go to any of the sectarian churches, we took a stroll through the main street of the city and also visited the museum; the remainder of the day we spent in our room in the hotel reading. In the evening we walked to the Princess Theater, where one of the popular Dunedin divines was preaching a farewell sermon; but the house was too crowded for us to gain admittance, so we had to content ourselves with listening to some Salvation Army performance and to go away without being “converted” or “saved,” though one of the aids in the meeting who considered it his duty to talk to us tried his best to tell us something about being baptized of the Lord, without being able to answer our question in regard to the necessity of being baptized of water and of the Spirit.

Monday, December 9. We (Elders Gardner, Young, and Jenson) called at the Union Steam Ship general offices in Dunedin and succeeded in making arrangements for a reduction of 10 percent in the regular fare for our elders traveling from port to port in and between New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji, or on all the Union Steam Ship Company’s steamers. Hitherto our elders have been allowed no reduction, though such has been given to ministers of the gospel belonging to other denominations. The main object of my visit to Dunedin was to secure a concession of that kind from the company named. After this visit we climbed a high hill, from the summit of which we obtained a good view of the city and harbor; through the courtesy of the town clerk we were also permitted to ascend the high steeple of the city building, from which a grand bird’s eye view is obtained of the business part of the city. We also spent a couple of hours in the Athenaeum Library, which is certainly a credit to a town like Dunedin. At 4:00 p.m. we took leave of Elder Young, who returned by rail for his field of labor in the south.

Dunedin is the capital of the provincial district of Otago, and by its own citizens it is claimed to be the largest, best-built and most important commercial city in New Zealand. It is situated on a picturesque site at the southwestern side of a bay running inland about nine miles. Its streets are well paved and lighted with gas; it has also good waterworks. During the last few years, a large number of substantial buildings have been erected, rendering an air of permanency and wealth to the business portion of the city. The city is enclosed by a recreation reserve called the Town Belt, through which a carriage drive called the Queen’s Drive has been laid out. Dunedin was founded in 1848 under the auspices of an association of members of the Free Church of Scotland; and the intention was to make it purely a Scotch community and permit no other class of settlers; but the scheme would not work, though the Free Church of Scotland members still constitute a majority of its inhabitants. The progress of the city was slow until 1861, when gold fields of extraordinary riches were discovered seventy-two miles from the town. This brought crowds of diggers in from Australia. The town now has a population of about 46,000. It is situated in latitude 45°52´11˝. Hence the climate is strictly temperate, but only a little snow falls in the winter.

Tuesday, December 10. After attending to some more transportation business with the steamship companies, Elder Gardner and myself left the Leviathan Hotel, where the extremely selfish and unladylike proprietress demanded pay for what we had not received, and repaired to the harbor arriving in time to see the Tasmania swing out from the wharf as she was leaving for Port Chalmers, the bridge having been taken in already. But by watching our chance, as one end of the ship launched the wharf, we sprang onboard, an undertaking which was not accomplished without some danger of falling into the water. We could have overtaken the steamer at Port Chalmers by taking a railway train later on; but we desired to meet John Murrell, Esq., general New Zealand agent for the Huddart, Parker & Company who was onboard. We had no difficulty in effecting with him the same reduction for our elders that the Union Company had granted. Leaving Dunedin at 10:00 a.m., we arrived at Port Chalmers (eight miles down the inlet) an hour later. Here we landed and spent several hours onshore. After taking a rest sitting in the green grass on the top of a hill overlooking the harbor, we walked through the town, which contains about 4,000 inhabitants, and also made interesting observations in regard to the dry dock, a heavy weight-hoisting apparatus, the heaviest forge in New Zealand, and other things of interest at the harbor. Port Chalmers is the deep sea port for Dunedin. All large vessels stop here, and only the smaller ones, owing to shallow water and an irregular channel, can with safety go up to the Dunedin wharf. At 4:00 p.m. we boarded the Tasmania once more and steamed off for Lyttelton; but owing to the heavy current considerable difficulty was experienced in turning the ship in the narrow channel. We reached the open ocean at 5:00 p.m., and the wind and waves being favorable, we experienced another pleasant voyage.

Wednesday, December 11. At 6:00 a.m. we arrived at the mouth of the Lyttelton inlet, and an hour later we arrived at the Lyttelton wharf. Being informed that the ship would not sail till 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon, Elder Gardner and myself landed and walked up to the top of the mountain lying immediately back of Lyttelton. Its highest point to which we climbed is about 1,600 feet above sea level; and from that lofty summit we enjoyed a grand view of the surrounding country. Looking northward, the city of Christchurch, with its suburbs and surrounding villages, lay unfolded to our gaze, while far beyond, the snow capped mountains popularly called the Alps of the South rose their lofty peaks heavenward and formed a sublime background to the extensive and fertile Canterbury Plains which extend from the coast inland about sixty miles. From north to south this level tract of country is about one hundred miles long. Looking to the right, or northward and northeast, the broad expanse of the ocean called forth our admiration. The view reminds one of Salt Lake Valley as seen from Ensign Peak, though the New Zealand landscape is by far the most extensive. But there certainly is a similarity. While the windings of the Jordan and the Hot Springs Lake is plainly seen from Ensign Peak, the serpentine course of the Avon on the Canterbury Plains and a sheet of water, or coast lake, lying about as near the ocean as the Hot Springs Lake does to the Great Salt Lake, is observed with much interest from the top of the Lyttelton Mountain. Looking south and southeast, the view is nearly as grand. Here almost at our feet lies the town of Lyttelton, which for the lack of level ground to build upon has its houses perched upon the steep hillsides. Across the inlet with its numerous arms and miniature bays lies Banks Peninsula, a mountainous tract of country which hides part of the Canterbury Plains from the view of an ocean observer. After enjoying the interesting scenery before us for some time, we sat down upon the grassy hillside and sang some of the sons of Zion; we also poured out our hearts in thanksgiving to God for His kindness and mercies to us and invoked His blessings upon our future labors and upon Zion and her cause in every land, not forgetting our own loved ones in far-off Utah. It was a beautiful summer day, the finest day of the season in New Zealand so far, and all nature clad in its beautiful robes of green appeared lovely indeed. While standing in the summit, several railway trains passed through the mountain underneath us, and we also watched several steamers passing in and out of the Lyttelton Harbor, which viewed from such an elevation as the one we occupied added increased interest to the surroundings. After descending the mountain, we spent some time viewing the vessels in the Lyttelton Harbor. We also boarded the great steamer Tokomaru of London, which is capable of carrying 9,000 tons of freight; at present it is chartered for the frozen meat service and can carry at one time 100,000 sheep carcasses. The exportation of mutton from New Zealand to England is a very important branch of commerce in this part of the world. One of the officers (Mr. Innis) took us into his cabin and treated us to a bottle of soda water each. This was quite timely so far as I was concerned, as this was the forty-fifth anniversary of my birthday. We also visited the dry dock where the steamer Fileshire, of Glasgow, was laid up for repair. She ran on the rocks off the east coast near Oamaru last Sunday night and was badly damaged. She had no Mormon elder onboard when she struck. At 4:45 p.m. we again boarded the Tasmania, and at 5:00 p.m. we continued our voyage now bound for Wellington. Another fine night and another pleasant voyage.

Thursday, December 12. At 7:00 a.m. the Tasmania landed Elder Gardner and myself, together with all her other passengers, safely at Wellington. We shall long remember the Tasmania and its gentlemanly officers and other persons. She is a fine steamer, affording nearly all the modern improvements which a traveler meets with in first-class vessels. Captain Thomas McGee, who is a man of much experience on the sea, is a kind-hearted and interesting gentleman, and very popular with the traveling public. After landing in Wellington, we sought our former quarters on Willis Street, then called at the post office, where we received some additional mail matter from home; I also called on government officials to obtain literature and maps of New Zealand and spent the remainder of the day and evening at the public library reading Captain Cook’s Voyages.

“Jenson’s Travels,” December 25, 1895 [13]

Papawai, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Friday, December 13. Elder William Gardner and myself spent the day writing and reading at Wellington and also visited a family which had formerly belonged to the Church. At 8:00 p.m. we left Wellington as passengers onboard the little steamer Waihi, bound for Blenheim on the South Island fifty-seven miles from Wellington.

Saturday, December 14. Daylight found the little Waihi puffing and snorting at the mouth of the Wairau River, trying to pull herself over the bar into the deeper river water. She succeeded at last, and we now followed the wendings of the river for a distance of nearly twelve miles to Blenheim, a town of 2,000 inhabitants situated on the lowlands in the great Wairau Valley. Here we were met by Elder Joseph S. Linford, president of the Wairau District, who brought a one-horse cart in which the three of us now rode forty miles by roundabout road to Te Hora, a native village situated about six miles above Havelock, on the main road running from Blenheim to Nelson. We arrived at Te Hora at 2:00 p.m. and were warmly received by the natives, who had hoisted a British flag on the largest house in the village in our honor and who, when we approached, strung themselves out in a long line to hongi with us.

Here we also met Elders R. Leo Bird, Hyrum Cook, and Walter Bunot, the other three elders from Zion who are laboring in the Wairau District at the present time—the two first named among the Europeans and the latter among the Maoris.

The greeting being over, we ate dinner, and at 3:00 p.m. commenced our first meeting. Elder Gardner and I were the speakers; and as there were quite a number of Europeans present I spoke English without an interpreter, a number of the natives also being able to understand English. Immediately after the meeting was closed we noticed considerable rustling and heard some boisterous talk on the outside, and in going to the door we saw three drunken Maoris with bared arms, clinched fists, and desperate looks attacking some of the Saints who had attended meeting. They pretended to have a grievance to settle with the elders, one of whom they accused of having told a saloon keeper in Havelock not to sell whisky to the Maoris, which accusation was without foundation in fact, as our elders do not associate with saloon keepers in Havelock or any other “lock.”  The Saints generally taking the part of the elders, a general row and fight ensued, and for about an hour there was a regular war of words and muscles going on, the like of which none of our elders present had ever seen before in all Maoridom. Both men and women participated before the fight was over; and several men were knocked violently to the ground and severely beaten, but no limbs were broken and only a little blood spilt, as no sharp instruments nor firearms were used. After trying in vain to act as peacemakers, we elders retired to a corner by ourselves and formed a little group of our own, determined to defend ourselves as best we could should we be attacked. One of the drunks made a rush at one of our number, whom they accused of being the one who had talked with the saloon keeper, but Maori friends interfered, and the assailant was knocked down. While the fight was on, the excitement ran very high. Some of the combatants on both sides looked desperate indeed; women and children ran to and fro crying, and the air was rent by the terrible threats, oaths, and uncouth language that the drunken crowd indulged in. Finally the intoxicated parties were drawn off, and a nonmember, who was wiser and better than many of the rest, suggested that they settle their difficulties by engaging in some friendly games. This broke the spell, and peace was finally restored. The whole affair seemed to be an attempt on the part of the adversary to break up our conference and destroy the good influence and happy feelings that we were so anxious to produce wherever we went. We held another meeting in the evening, at which Elder Gardner was the principal speaker; I also said a little. But while we worshipped on the inside of the building, the devil raged on the outside; and the threats and insults offered by one of the drunks, who came to the door several times, disturbed us somewhat. No further trouble occurred, however; Elders Gardner, Linford, Bunot, and myself slept in the house of Hakaria Hemi, the president of the branch, while Elders Bird and Cook went home with Brother Witney, a European Saint, who lived about two miles away.

Sunday, December 15. We continued our conference at Te Hora. Elder Linford, some native elders, and Brother Gardner spoke in the forenoon, and I addressed the congregation in the European session held in the afternoon, at which quite a number of whites were present; and there would have been many more had the weather been favorable. But it rained all forenoon, which kept most of our friends at home in the afternoon also when it cleared up a little. We had good meetings and the attempt of the evil one to break up our conference ended in a failure to him. While Elders Gardner, Linford, and Bunot remained at Te Hora and held another meeting with the Maori Saints there, Elders Bird, Cook, and myself went to the European settlement (Canvastown) and held a cottage meeting in the house of Brother Witney. On our way there we visited Sister Simonsen, who treated us to ripe raspberries and strawberries. They were the first fruits of that kind that I ever ate in New Zealand. Our European meeting was attended by several strangers besides the Saints, who constitute the membership in this neighborhood. We stopped overnight with Brother Witney, who has a good and interesting family.

Monday, December 16. We arose early, and assisted by Elder Bird I attended to historical labors in the forenoon, after which we walked back two miles to Te Hora, where we finished our labors and then took leave of the Saints, got into a hired cart, and started on our return journey. On our way down the valley, we took leave of the European Saints and also Elder Cook, while Elders Gardner, Linford, Bird, and myself proceeded on the cart and Elder Bunot on horseback forty miles to the native village of Wairau, situated on the Wairau River about four miles from Blenheim. At this place there is a small branch of the Church, and we held a little meeting with some of the members in the evening at the house of Mehaka Watere, the president of the branch where we also stopped over night. On our journey today we turned aside from the road and visited a monument erected on the top of a hill in memory of twenty-two men who were killed by natives in battle June 17, 1843. The occasion was a land dispute. The colonial government had sent a party of surveyors in to survey the Wairau with an eye to forming white settlements there. The natives objected and ordered the surveyors off. They refused to go. Soldiers were sent for; a fight ensued. There were killed and wounded on both sides, but the Maoris came off victorious, and it appeared afterwards that they were in the right.

The Wairau missionary district embraces the north end of the South Island, or the Marlborough and Nelson districts. It consists of four organized branches of the Church, with a total baptized membership of 113, with 31 children under eight years of age; there are 144 souls, of whom 15 are Europeans. This is according to the statistical report of December 31, 1894, from which all the statistical figures given by me regarding the districts and mission have been taken. Of the four elders laboring in the district at present, two devote most of their time to the Europeans and to the Maoris. The names of the branches are Te Hora, Wairau, Whangarae, and Rongitoto.

The Wairau Branch, organized July 17, 1887, by Elders Nelson S. Bishop and Joseph S. Groesbeck, is the oldest branch in the district. The two elders named, accompanied by Erueti Kingi Manihera, a native brother, arrived at Wairau May 4, 1889, as the first Latter-day Saint missionaries sent to preach the gospel in its fulness to the Maoris in that part of New Zealand. They commenced to preach immediately and on June 2, 1889, began to baptize at Wairau. The Wairau Branch consists of the Saints residing in a village of that name situated on the left bank of the Wairau River, about one and one-fourth miles from its mouth, or the outlet into the ocean. It is also about four miles northeast of Blenheim.

Te Hora Branch consists of the Saints residing in the Pelorus Valley, the principal village being Te Hora, which is situated at the junction of the Pelorus and Whakamarino rivers opposite the latter stream from the European burgh called Canvastown, which is six miles up the Pelorus Valley from Havelock, a European town situated at the head of the Pelorus Sound. The Te Hora Branch was organized October 4, 1891, with Watene Hemi as president. His brother Hakaraia now presides.

The Whangarae Branch embraces the Saints residing in the village of Whangarae, which is situated on the Croixelles Bay, in the Nelson District about fourteen miles southwest of the so-called French Pass, about thirty miles by roundabout road northwest of Te Hora or Canvastown. The branch, which is an outgrowth of the Rangitoto Branch, was organized at a district conference held at Ohana, Rangitoto, May 13 and 14, 1893, with Renata Te Morehu as president.

The Rangitoto Branch, organized November 12, 1892, by Elders Ben Goddard and R. G. Meikle, consists of the native Saints residing in the Rangitoto, or D’Urville Island, which lies north of the South Island, from which it is separated by the dangerous channel known as the French Pass. The island is about sixty miles in circumference, and nearly all the inhabitants are members of the Church.

Tuesday, December 17. We spent the forenoon at Wairau attending to historical labors, and at 2:30 p.m. Elders Gardner, Linford, Bird, Bunot, and myself started off with the cart and traveled about ten miles to Para, a small railway station up in the mountains, where Elder Bunot took leave of us and returned with the cart, while the rest of us boarded the train and traveled eight miles to Picton, a fine little town with 1,000 inhabitants, beautifully situated at the head of Queen Charlotte’s Sound. Here we went onboard the steamer Wainui together with quite a number of native Saints from Te Hora and other places who are going over with us to attend the Christmas conference to be held in the Wairarapa Valley. We retired to rest after conversing with some fellow passengers about religion, at a late hour, while the steamer was yet lying at the Picton wharf.

Wednesday, December 18. At 2:00 a.m. the steamer Wainui sailed from Picton, and after a pleasant voyage of fifty-three miles, we arrived at Wellington at 8:00 a.m. We spent part of the day at Wellington visiting the museum, parliament buildings, etc., and also attended to some business. At 3:30 p.m. we boarded the train and started for the Wairarapa Valley. The journey along the bay, up the Hutt Valley, and around Rimutaka Mountains, a spur of the Tararua Range, is very interesting, the scenery along the road being of the most varied and picturesque description. That part of the road which passes over the mountain named is considered a great triumph of engineering skill. The grade on the Wairarapa side of the summit is very steep, the gradients in some places being one to fifteen, and many of the curves five chains’ radius. The line is constructed with a center rail, rising about eighteen inches above the level of the other two; and the wheels of the engine are so made that they grip each side of the center rail, acting both as a brake and as an assistance in the ascent. The first glimpse of the Wairarapa Valley, with its romantic lake nestling in its center, reminds me of Utah Valley as it appears from the mouth of Provo Canyon. We arrived at Woodside, fifty miles from Wellington, at 6:30 p.m. Here we changed cars and traveled three miles on a branch railway to Greytown, where Elder George Bowles, president of the Wairarapa District, and Lewis G. Hoagland, from the Mahia District, were on hand to receive us and conducted us to the elegant residence of Aporo H. Kumeroa, (Photo of Aporo Kumeroa) president of the Papawai Branch, who together with his family and other natives were there to greet us in the usual native style. In the evening, after prayer, speeches of welcome were made by the principal Maoris present to which we four elders who had just arrived responded. A good and pleasant spirit was manifest, and we soon felt quite at home with our Maori friends in the Wairarapa Valley.

Tamahau Mahupuku and his first wife, Arete, sitting in a garden at Papawai Pa. Photograph taken between 1900 and 1904 by Frederick William Vosseler. Used by permission of Alexander Turnball Library, Wellington, New Zealand. (PAColl-5555)

“Jenson’s Travels,” December 27, 1895 [14]

Wellington, New Zealand

Thursday, December 19. After breakfast we elders walked from Greytown about two miles to the village of Papawai, situated near the Ruamahanga River, in the open Wairarapa village. Here we were met by friends and conducted to the largest dwelling house in the village, which was placed almost at our disposal during our sojourn there. One of the best rooms was assigned to Elder Gardner and myself, in which we could attend to our writing and other business without being disturbed much. The large meetinghouse in the village was also placed at our disposal for meeting and sleeping purposes, and nearly all the native visitors slept there during the conference. Almost immediately after our arrival, I commenced my historical labors, the records of the Wairarapa District and of its respective branches having being brought here for my perusal. After attending an interesting prayer meeting with the natives in the large meetinghouse, we retired and enjoyed a good night’s rest.

Friday, December 20. The elders and native conference visitors began to arrive, some drove up in fine carriages; others came on horseback and some on foot. Whenever a fresh visitor came in sight, it was announced through the village by some woman calling out “haere mai, haere mai,” etc., at the top of her voice, and immediately on their arrival they were shown their quarters. Of the elders the following arrived: James S. Abbott, Edgar O. Best, and Wallace C. Castleton by train; Horace W. Barton, Heber C. Jex, John H. Ellis, and H. Lee Bradford on horseback; and George Jarvis and John Clayson on foot. This increased the number of elders at Papawai to fifteen. I spent the day culling historical matter, assisted by Elders Bowles and Bird. In the evening after prayer, Hamuera Tamahau Mahapaku, (Photo of Hamuera Tamahau Mahapaku, need permission of Alexander Turnbull Library) the head chief of the village, who ranks as one of the best-informed Maori chiefs living, made a long speech of welcome; it was replete with fine sentiments and expression of his great friendship to the elder though he is not a member of the Church but an investigator of our principles. When Mormonism was first introduced in the Wairarapa village, he was one of its bitter opponents; on one occasion he gathered all the sick and maimed of his village together and brought them to Te Oreore, where the elders were holding meetings, and demanded of them as a sign and a proof of their being sent of God to heal all his sick. When he was questioned in regard to his faith and the nature of the promise “These signs shall follow them that believe,” etc., was explained to him, he returned rather crestfallen, and after that he commenced to grow less and less bitter, until he finally became an admirer of some of the grand principles taught by the elders. A short time ago, when a sort of testimony meeting was held under the auspices of the Church of England and a number of the members of that church expressed their belief in the principles advocated by said church, Mr. Tamahau got up and declared that he would not say that. He did not feel so sure that the Church of England was the true Church nor that its doctrines were correct, for he was investigating “Mormonism,” which to him seemed more consistent with the Bible. Elder Gardner responded to the chief’s speech in a manner that pleased him and all present very much; I followed with a short speech, translated by Elder Gardner, and finished up with singing a Danish song. By special request I afterwards sang the Hawaiian “Aloha ‘Oe,” assisted by some of the other elders. Splendid spirit prevailed.

Saturday, December 21. In company with Elder George Bowles, I made a trip in a buggy to Greytown, where I had a long conversation with the editor of the Wairarapa Standard. After returning to Papawai I resumed my historical labors. About noon Elder Wilford F. Nebeker, Thomas J. O’Brien, and David Lindsey arrived by rail from the Hawke’s Bay District accompanied by quite a number of natives from said district. Elder William L. Dimond also arrived during the day. We were now nineteen elders from Zion at Papawai; and no more were expected for the conference. The day being warm nearly all the elders, myself included, went to the Ruamahanga River and took a refreshing bath and swim in its cooling waters.

Sunday, December 22. Our three-day conference commenced in the large meetinghouse at Papawai. Besides a good representation of Saints from the different branches in the Wairarapa District, there were quite a number also from the Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, and Wairau districts, and the following named elders from Zion: William Gardner, president of the Australasian Mission, and Andrew Jenson, his traveling companion; George Bowles, president of, and H. Lee Bradford, George Jarvis, and John Clayson, traveling elders in the Wairarapa District; James L. Abbott, president of, and Heber C. Jex, William L. Dimond, John H. Ellis, and Horace W. Barton, traveling elders in the Manawatu District; Wilford F. Nebeker, president of, and Thomas J. O’Brien and David Lindsey, traveling elders, in the Hawke’s Bay District; Lewis G. Hoagland, president of the Mahia District; Joseph W. Linford, president of, and R. Leo Bird, traveling elder in the Wairau District; and Edgar O. Best and Wallace C. Castleton, missionaries in the Canterbury District. These well-attended and interesting meetings were held during the day, commencing respectively at 10:00 a.m. and at 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. George Bowles, Andrew Jenson (through Lewis G. Hoagland as translator), and Aporo H. Kumeroa were the speakers in the forenoon; President William Gardner occupied all the time in the afternoon; and the speakers in the evening were Arapata Meha, Lewis G. Hoagland, and Andrew Jenson (with George Bowles as translator). After the regular evening meeting, the chief Tamahau delivered another speech in which he propounded a number of questions in regard to certain principles of the gospel; these were successfully answered by President Gardner, who in explaining them spoke with freedom and ease and seemed to give entire satisfaction to the chief and all who were present. Some of the native brethren also spoke. A good spirit prevailed in all the meetings, and the general verdict was that we had had a most excellent time during the day and evening. The day was very warm—the warmest day of the season so far in New Zealand.

Monday, December 23. We celebrated the ninetieth anniversary of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s birthday in New Zealand by continuing our conference at Papawai and holding three more well-attended meetings. Wiremu Neera Te Kanae, Hoani Turi Whatahoro (also called John A. Jury) one of the assistant translators of the Book of Mormon into Maori, James L. Abbott, Wilford F. Nebeker, and Joseph W. Linford were the speakers in the forenoon; Otene Pomare, R. Leo Bird, Edgar O. Best, and Hoera Te Ruruku in the afternoon, Elder Abbott translating for Elders Bird and Best; and in the evening the speakers were Paratene Tui, Henare, Apatari, Rangi Kawea, Heber C. Jex (through Elder Bowles), and Toi Te Huatahi, president of Te Oreore Branch. A child was blessed in the afternoon meeting and several sick persons were administered to during the day and evening. Elder Thomas J. O’Brien left for Hawke’s Bay to attend to some marriage ceremonies in his district.

Tuesday, December 24. A number of the Hawke’s Bay Saints returned home in the morning. For fear of overdoing it, the day being hot, it was deemed wisdom to hold only an evening meeting on this date. Some of the Carterton Saints (Europeans) visited Papawai, and in the afternoon Mr. Price, a photographer from Masterton, took a large picture of Papawai meetinghouse and conference visitors, the elders from Zion and the chief Tamahau occupying a central position in the same. A negative was also taken of the Carterton Sunday School. In the evening the finishing meeting of the conference was held; it was commenced at 7:00 p.m. and continued for fully four hours and a half, or until 11:30 p.m. Following are the names of the speakers: Andrew Jenson (through President Gardner), Hamuera Karaitiana, Rewa Maka, Whakapau Pomare, Matinga Rutu, Horomona Te Rongaparae, Ngawhakaahua (a sister), Hakaraia Hemi, Aporo H. Kumeroa, Wiremu Neera Te’Kanae, Hana Te’Kanae (a sister), Peniamine Hawakawa, James S. Abbott, and William Gardner. These speeches were generally interesting, full of meaning, and rich in good sentiments. Much of what was said was an endorsement of the teachings given by the elders from Zion during the conference. Some of the speakers also denounced the acts of the Church of England missionaries, who in many instances had defrauded the natives of their lands. One case was referred to by Watene Hemi from the South Island, where the church mentioned had received a donation of three thousand acres of land, in return for which the missionaries had only built one small meetinghouse for the natives. Several appropriate hymns were also sung during the session. This was the largest meeting I have ever attended in New Zealand or anywhere else, and toward the latter end of it, it kept the deacons busy most of the time poking away at the sleepers with their long sticks. Whenever these officers, of which there were quite a number in active service, saw anyone dozing off or even nodding, they would step up close to the sleeper, and if this was not sufficient to awaken him, they would apply the point of the stick to the limbs, body, or head of the sleeper until an awakening necessarily was affected. Our deacons in Zion might learn profitable lessons from their Maori brethren as to how people can most successfully be kept awake when they are being addressed by tedious, long-winded speakers. 


Hui tau at Whare Nui. Courtesy of Rangi Parker

The Wairarapa District of the Australasian Mission may properly be termed the cradle of Mormonism so far as Maoridom is concerned, as it was here that the first successful missionary work was done by Latter-day Saint elders among the natives of New Zealand. [15] A European branch of the Church had existed at Carterton in the Wairarapa Valley for some years when Elders Alma Greenwood and Ira N. Hinckley Jr., in July 1883, began to preach the gospel to the Maoris. They commenced to baptize July 21, 1883, organized the first native branch of the church at Papawai August 26, 1883, and the second at Te Oreore December 16 following. The Whitapu Branch was organized December 5, 1886, and when this latter branch was divided in May 1887, that part of it which was made into a new branch was called the Kohunui Branch, and the late chief Piripi Te Maari set apart as its president. These four branches, together with the European branch at Carterton, constituted the Wairarapa District at the close of 1894 and represented at that time one hundred and forty-nine baptized members, or (including children) two hundred souls belonging to the Church. But during the present year a new branch called Paranako has been organized by Elders George Bowles and H. Lee Bradford. There are four elders laboring in the district at the present time, of whom two watch over the Maori part and the other two the European part of the district.

The Papawai Branch consists of the Saints residing in the native village of Papawai and the European burg of Greytown, the latter being the terminus of a branch railway fifty-three miles northeast of Wellington and six miles from Carterton. Papawai is two miles east of Greytown, near the Ruamahanga River, which is the principal stream of the Wairarapa Valley.

The Kohunui Branch contains the Saints residing in the lower, or south, end of the Wairarapa Valley, or in the villages of Kohunui, Turanganui, and Paporowhitu. The meetings and Sunday Schools are held at Kohunui, which is situated on the main road running south from Greytown and distant from that place about thirty miles.

The Waitapu Branch has recently been mated with the Kohunui Branch. Prior to that it consisted of the Saints residing in the village of Waitapu, situated on the east, or left, bank of the Ruamahanga River in the Wairarapa Valley, about twenty-five miles south of Greytown, or twelve miles inland from the ocean.

The Paranako Branch embraces the Saints residing in the village of Paranako, which stands on high ground three miles inland from the east coast, or about fifty miles east-southeast of Masterton. The branch was organized July 28, 1895.

Te Oreore Branch consists of the Maori Saints living in the villages of Te Oreore, Hione (Zion), Akura, and Manaia, the greatest number in Akura. Te Oreore lies three miles northeast of Masterton, Hione between Te Oreore and Masterton, which is a European town of 3,000 inhabitants, situated on the railway sixty-six miles northeast of Wellington. The elders laboring in the district have their headquarters at Masterton and occupy a little house which the native Saints have built for them at Hione. The Te Oreore Branch has quite a history.

The Carterton Branch, presided over by Swen August Nilson, embraces all the European Saints living in a very scattered condition in the Wairarapa Valley. The branch was raised up by Elder Jens Jensen, who organized it February 20, 1881, since which it has seen a great number of changes and both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

Wednesday, December 25. Christmas Day. The village bell rang at the usual hour—5:00 a.m.; and though most of us who did not sleep in the meeting the night before had by no means obtained sufficient sleep or rest, we rose cheerful and happy and exchanged the compliments of the season with one another. It was the first time that many of us elders present spent a Christmas in a southern zone, in the middle of summer and hot weather. The early-morning hour found Tamahau, the village chief, out greeting his visitors. A committee consisting of both elders and Maori brethren had been appointed to arrange a program for Christmas Day and had been busily at work; and according to their arrangement the people gathered in the meetinghouse at 10:00 a.m. to listen to the exercises. The chief, Tamahau, who had been appointed president of the day, made an appropriate opening speech, after which he gave out an opening hymn and called upon President William Gardner, who had been chosen vice president for the day, to pray. Elder Gardner offered up an inspired prayer, which softened the heart of Tamahau so much that he shed tears of joy, and then he continued his speech, in which he expressed his great love for the elders and said that he believed the message they bore was true. Elder Gardner responded in an appropriate and spirited speech which was well received by all present. After this there was singing by missionaries and Maori, a recitation by Elder Jex, mouth organ music by Elder Best, and other interesting numbers. At noon 270 persons sat down to eat Christmas dinner, the chief and his wife being given the seats of honor at the head of the missionaries’ table, which had been moved down from the private dwelling when we had previously taken our meals to the center of the meetinghouse. The tables were spread with the best food the Wairarapa village afforded, and the decorations with natural and artificial flowers were very fine. Four of the best-looking Maori girls, all daughters of chiefs, waited on the missionaries’ table, while half a dozen men did similar service at the larger table where the natives ate. These waiters were all dressed for the occasion and decorated with tissue paper trimmings of many colors. The chief seemed fully to enjoy the honor bestowed upon him as master of ceremonies. It is worthy of note that while the morning exercises were going on two special messengers were dispatched for him to come over to the meeting that was being held in the smaller meetinghouse, where a Church of England minister was holding forth and was administering the sacrament, of which they wanted the chief to partake; but he sent word back that he was busily engaged where he was and could not come; and when the second messenger arrived, he felt really annoyed and answered the messenger in tones that could not be misunderstood. The sectarian minister, who evidently had come for the purpose of drawing as many of the natives off from our conference as possible, returned in disgust, without even seeing or speaking to the chief. A marriage ceremony had also been contemplated in which the young resident Maori minister and a native girl from Te Oreore should have been the contracting parties; but though the minister came fully prepared to solemnize the marriage, he was informed that it had been decided to postpone the ceremony a little longer. This annoyed the visiting minister, who demanded a reason, as he had been led to understand that everything was ready. But as he was not answered in a way to please him, he got riled in his feelings and in a fit of passion exclaimed: “I know the reason; it is because these Mormons are here.” The chief’s wife, with whom the conversation took place, then frankly acknowledged that he had guessed right—that he had named the reason. It is evident that the man did not realize his position just then in having to play second fiddle to Mormons.

In the afternoon, the scene of activity was transferred to the adjoining green when nearly all the people in the village and the visitors—perhaps upwards of one hundred—assembled to witness the sports. A most excellent program was carried out in which the young elders from Zion took an active and leading part. The exercises consisted of racing, jumping, throwing heavy weights, diving in a tub for coins by children, playing ball, etc., etc. The natives were elated and entered into the games with the spirit of them, determined to thoroughly enjoy themselves, which they did. Not a frown was seen on anybody’s face, not a harsh word heard, and not a drop of intoxicants taken, so far as we could see. And when finally the darkness of the night necessarily put an end to the interesting proceedings, all the natives seemed to be unanimous in the opinion that Papawai had never seen such a pleasant and happy day before. On all former occasions when the people had gathered to enjoy Christmas games, there had always been drinking, jarrings, and contentions to a greater or lesser extent.

After supper and evening prayer, a long poroporo aki (farewell greeting) meeting was held at which all the speakers (and there were many of them) uttered words of praise regarding the very interesting conference and Christmas proceedings, which all hearts had been made to rejoice. Even a Church of England Maori minister had come from a neighboring village to attend the meeting clad in the white ministerial robes of his church; he praised the Mormons for what they had done, and were now doing among the Maori people. He believed they were teaching the people true doctrines and felt to endorse their labors. He had learned on this particular occasion that the Mormons did not do things by halves but that when they took a matter in hand, they would carry it through to a successful termination; and that they were earnest and sincere in their undertakings. After witnessing some of the young Maoris go through the movements of a native haka (dance) in the large kitchen adjoining the dining hall and meetinghouse, we elders retired to our quarters, feeling grateful to the Lord for the success of our labors in Papawai and the good impressions which had been made upon the people. Considering that the conference was held in a village, which contains only a few members of the Church, and that we elders were the guests of friends only and not members, we had a double reason to feel pleased with the apparent good results of our visit.

“Jenson’s Travels,” December 31, 1895 [16]

Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 26. After morning prayer the elders at Papawai were made the recipients of another poroporo aki, in which the chief, Tamahau, took a prominent part and gave us his parting greeting. He expressed his entire satisfaction and endorsement of all we had done in his village and asked the Lord to bless us in our future labors. He also exhorted all his people who were members of the Mormon Church to be strong in the faith, true and consistent to their convictions, and exemplary in their habits like the elders who were teaching them the principles of truth and salvation. By and by he said he might also become a member; but he considered himself a wicked man who perhaps could not live the life of a Saint yet. In referring to the religious questions which had been asked and answered during the conference, he had learned this, that the Mormon elders were prepared to answer any question concerning the gospel which might be propounded but that when similar questions were put to the Church of England ministers, they, as a rule, were unequal to the task of giving satisfactory explanations. After breakfast the chief had two vehicles prepared to take Elder Gardner and myself to the railway station at Greytown; and after hongi-ing with about one hundred natives and exchanged words of love and greeting, we bid Papawai goodbye to continue our labors elsewhere. Elder Gardner rode by the side of the chief in his carriage, and I followed in the next vehicle. At Greytown, two miles from Papawai, we boarded the train at 10:15 a.m. and rode three miles to Woodside, where we changed cars and rode sixteen miles to Masterton, a European town of about 3,000 inhabitants, where we attended to some business and thence walked out in the country to Hione (“Zion”), a little Maori village situated one and one-half miles from Masterton, where Toi Te Huatahi, president of the Te Oreore Branch, and other native Saints reside. Here we took dinner with the Saints and then walked to Te Oreore, one and one-half miles further, where we visited Saints and strangers, and then walked back to Masterton, where we boarded the train at 5:15 p.m. and rode nine miles back to Carterton, where we met several of the elders who had returned that far from the conference, and also some Saints, there being a small European branch of the Church at this place. After saying goodbye to Elders William S. Dimond, John H. Ellis, and H. Lee Bradford, who continued their journey northward on horseback, Elders Gardner, Bowles, Jarvis, Clayson, and myself walked two miles out in the country to the house of Brother Charles Jensen, where a sort of Sunday School review was held in which all the elders present also took part. At a late hour we returned toward Carterton, where we stopped over night with Saints; Elder Gardner and myself met Brother Jacob C. Petersen, who is about to emigrate to Utah with his family.

Friday, December 27. Elder Gardner and myself took leave of the Carterton Saints and Elders George Bowles, George Jarvis, and John Clayson and boarded the train at 7:40 a.m. at Carterton bound for Wellington. At Woodside (six miles from Carterton), we were joined by Elders Hoagland, Abbott, Nebeker, Linford, Bird, Jex, Best, Castleton, Barton, and Lindsey, who were all returning from the conference in Papawai. In crossing the mountains we made the everlasting hills resound with the songs of Zion, which were enjoyed also by others of our fellow passengers. At 11:30 a.m. we arrived at Wellington, fifty-six miles from Carterton, and those of us who were bound for Auckland took our baggage at once onboard the steamship Anglian, which had just arrived in the harbor from Lyttleton. After attending to some transportation business at the office of Huddart, Parker & Co., we took leave of Elders Best, Castleton, Lindsey, and Barton, who expected to take a train for Porirua and thence go to their respective fields of labor, while Elders Gardner, Hoagland, Nebeker, Abbott, Linford, Bird, Jex, and myself boarded the Anglian and sailed from Wellington at 4:00 p.m. Elders Nebeker, Hoagland, and Abbott are returning to their homes in Zion after good and faithful missions, while Elders Linford, Jex, and Bird are going with Elder Gardner and myself to Te Aroha to attend the January conference. The evening and night were beautiful and clear, the sea smooth, and the ship better than we expected; and thus we had a good voyage. The sleep and quietude which we obtained onboard was much needed by most of our elders, whose rest had been considerably broken during our stay at Papawai.

Saturday, December 28. At 8:00 a.m. we passed Cape Kidnappers, thus named by Captain James Cook, the great navigator, who on Sunday, October 15, 1769, had an unusual experience with the Maoris off this point. While the explorers were trading with the natives, who had come out to the ship in their canoes, the latter seized a boy belonging to the ship, pulled him into one of their canoes and started for shore with him. But the sailors opened a musket fire on the Maoris, who then released the boy. He immediately jumped overboard and swam back to the ship. Captain Cook named the cape at which this happened Cape Kidnappers.

At 10:00 a.m. we arrived at Napier (203 miles from Wellington), where Elder Thomas J. O’Brien and twenty-one native Saints from the Hawke’s Bay District came onboard. Most of them were going to attend the Te Aroha conference. After taking a walk along the beach to the Spit, I climbed the Napier Hill (three hundred feet high) from the top of which a good bird’s eye view is had of Napier and surroundings. At 7:00 p.m. the voyage was continued from Napier. We were now thirty Saints on board, of whom nine were elders from Zion.

Sunday, December 29. Having had a fine passage during the eighty-six miles’ run from Napier, we anchored off Gisborne at 3:00 a.m. and remained stationary for eight hours. Later in the morning we were visited by Elders James C. Allen and James N. Lambert, from the Mahia District, who were on a visit to Gisborne. At 11:00 a.m. anchor was weighed, and the Anglian steamed off for Auckland, the good weather and smooth sea continuing. About sundown we passed East Cape.

Monday, December 30. Early in the morning we were passing Mercury Bay and the island of the same name; at 10:00 a.m. we rounded Cape Colville, and at 1:30 p.m., we arrived safely at Auckland, where we met three elders (George F. Burnham, Schuyler E. White, and Joseph F. Derbidge) who had just arrived from Zion as missionaries to the Australasian Mission. Some of the brethren put up at our Grey Street room, while Elder Gardner and myself and three other elders engaged board and lodging with a Mrs. Donnelley, who keeps a private boarding house on upper Queen Street. Since Elder Gardner and I left Auckland eight weeks before, we had traveled 2,520 miles, namely 1,800 miles by steamer, 335 miles by rail, 115 miles by vehicles, 169 miles on horseback, and 101 miles on foot. We have visited nine districts of the Australasian Mission and held conferences, or two days’ meetings in seven of them. We have worked up to the program which we prepared before starting in every particular and have not missed a single connection with any of our many and varied modes of conveyances on which we relied for transportation. We have also been imminently blessed in our labors. Almost invariably we have good meetings, and our associations with the elders and Saints in the different districts and branches have as a rule been of the most pleasant and agreeable nature. I have also been successful in obtaining historical data and information for Church history and have been the means of introducing certain reforms in record keeping on general principles. We also feel in duty bound to acknowledge in a public manner the courtesy of the Huddart, Parker & Co., which gave us both free transportation on their steamers from Auckland to Dunedin and back and for other courtesies extended to our elders and the Saints, who have traveled in vessels of the company.

Tuesday, December 31. I spent the last day of 1895 in our upper room on Queen Street, in Auckland, preparing correspondence for the Deseret News and finishing my private journal for 1895. By summarizing I find that since I left home in May last I have traveled 13,616 miles, namely 10,825 miles by water and 3,191 by land. Of the water travel 10,425 miles made in steamships, 30 in a steam launch, 265 in schooners, and 105 in small boats. The land transportation was 1,622 miles by rail, 452 by vehicles, 333 on horseback, and 384 on foot. Since I left Salt Lake City, I have spoken in public 105 times, namely, thirty-five times in Hawaii, seven in Tonga, eleven in Samoa, forty-nine in New Zealand, and three onboard steamers. I have spoken through interpreters seventy times and without thirty-five times. I have been imminently successful in my historical labors; and being assisted by the clerks of the various missions visited and other competent elders, I have been able to gather a vast amount of information and Church history data in a short time. My acquaintance with the native race inhabiting Polynesia, have been of a pleasant nature, and the kindness and hospitality which they have shown me and my traveling companions will always be remembered. The Maoris are perhaps superior to any of their kinsfolk who inhabit the smaller islands. I believe I could write a little volume on my own experience and associations with them and the inhabitants of Samoa, Tonga, and Hawaii. While our elders who are laboring among the Europeans in New Zealand would undoubtedly starve to death should they rely upon the hospitality of the people for their sustenance, those who travel among the Maoris are as a rule well fed and taken care of. Of course the food and accommodation is not always of the best kind; they are almost universally treated to the best the people have, and no more could be expected. It is also a pleasing fact to record that of all the elders who have labored among the Maoris during the past twelve years, not one of them is known to have transgressed or committed himself with woman. And this has become one of the distinctive features of the Mormon missionary, it being so different to the experience of the Maoris with other white men who have come among them. Elder Bartlett, of the Bay of Islands District, related an instance where a Maori family was visited by two of our missionaries and stopped overnight when the man of the house was away from home. A neighboring woman, a nonmember who happened to call in and who saw the elders there, remarked to the woman of the house how she dared keep these men in her house while her husband was away. “You don’t understand,” was the reply. “These are Mormon missionaries. They are not like other men, but more like Gods. No greater insult could be offered them than for a woman to make unchaste advances to them.”

I have yet three more Maori districts to visit, namely, the Waikato, Hauraki, and Tauranga. Then I go to Tahiti and will return by way of New Zealand to return to Australia; thence I go to Europe via the Suez Canal, expecting to visit Palestine and Egypt on the way. (Finish.)

“Jenson’s Travels,” January 16, 1896 [17]

Ngaruawahia, New Zealand

Wednesday, January 1. Found a number of elders from Zion and Maori Saints in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, anxiously waiting to take their departure for the distant town of Te Aroha, where a general conference for all the northern districts of the New Zealand Mission had been appointed for the following Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. As the people of New Zealand are great observers of both Christian and national holidays—that is, they observe them after a fashion—no train left for the south that day. So we waited till the Thursday (January 2) when thirteen elders and sixteen native Saints left Auckland per railway train in a special car on a one-hundred-and-fifteen-mile ride to Te Aroha. Our number was augmented by more elders and native Saints as we passed through the Waikato District; and when we arrived at our destination we numbered sixty souls, besides several non-Mormons, who, seeing that there was plenty of room in our apartment while the rest of the cars were crowded, insisted upon coming in to us. As a punishment for their persistency they were made them victims of gospel conversations, as the young elders with which the car abounded are anxious and ready at all times and at divers places to declare the principles of truth that they have been sent out in the world to preach. Most of the strangers took their medicine in good part, and several of them on taking leave expressed themselves as being highly delighted with what they had heard, and one or two even invited the elders to call on them if convenient.

On our arrival at Te Aroha, which is the Maori word for “love,” we were met by still more elders and Saints; and during our three days’ conference, the minutes of which have already been sent to the news for publication, twenty-eight elders from Zion were present, besides about 120 native Saints and strangers.

The conference was held in a new meetinghouse, which had just been erected in the little native village, which is situated about one and a half miles up the river from Te Aroha. Both elders and the other conference visitors were well cared for by the local Saints, who had raised a tent over a long table, at which one hundred could sit down and eat at once. This number also represented the visitors present, only about fifty local Saints being in attendance as the Hauraki District, of which Te Aroha is one of the branches, is only a small one. The Hauraki District consists of three branches and 123 baptized members, or 174 souls including 51 children, of whom 17 are Europeans. The district embraces a country bordering on the east coast of the North Island, including the Coromandel Peninsula, which terminates in Cape Colville. It extends southward on the east coast as far as Katikati; west and inland it extends to and includes the European town of Hamilton, situated on the Waikato River. The names of the branches are Te Aroha, Kirikiri, and Whitianga. Elders Joseph M. Folkman and Moroni Lazenby are the two Utah elders laboring in the district at present.

Te Aroha Branch consists of native Saints residing in and near a small village which lies between the Te Aroha Mountain and the Waihou River, about one and a half miles north of the European town of Te Aroha, which is 115 miles by rail or about 85 miles by water from Auckland. Reha Aperhama presides over the branch, which was first organized December 12, 1886, by Elders William Paxman and William Gardner.

The Kirikiri Branch comprises the Saints residing in and about a native village of that name which is situated about six miles south of the European town of Thames, and nearly half a mile east of the Waihou, or Thames, River; it is also about thirty-five miles north of Te Aroha. The branch was organized September 30, 1888.

The Whitianga Branch, organized by Elder William Gardner October 22, 1886, consists of Saints residing in a district of country known as Whitianga, most of them in a village called Kuaotunu, which is situated on Mercury Bay on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, about twenty miles east of the town of Coromandel and about 115 miles northeast of Te Aroha.

The European town of Te Aroha is claimed to be one of the most favorite health resorts in the world. It is a town of about 300 inhabitants, prettily situated on the left bank of the Waihou or Thames River and at the foot of a noble mountain, which rises in a height of over three thousand feet immediately back of the town. There are eighteen springs within the town limits under the control of the Domain Board; fifteen of the springs are hot or tepid, and there are seven large bath houses. The waters are, with the exception of the sulfur springs, saline and feebly alkaline and strongly charged with carbonic acid gas, which is constantly escaping from the springs in large quantities.

Our conference being held so close to this European town, some of the elders suggested that a hall be rented and a meeting held there, which was accordingly done in the evening.

Saturday, January 4. Elder R. Leo Bird and Thomas L. Browning were the speakers, but only a few attended, and most of those who did refused to become interested. While the meeting was in progress, I stepped quietly in, accompanied by another elder, and we both took our seat among the congregation, acting strangers. After the services were closed, I arose and asked for permission to propound a few questions, which of course was granted, and then followed quite a dialogue in which the congregation seemed to take considerable interest. Without any previous understanding, the brethren caught on, and thus quite a number of doctrinal points were cleared up which had not been fully explained during the meeting. Getting along so well on the inside, I continued my observations after getting out on the street, where a number of people were lingering around discussing the merits of the meeting; but a young man who might have passed for a Yankee anywhere so far as cheek was concerned stepped up with an air of importance and asked me if I was not one of them. I told him I belonged to the Latter-day Saints. The same thing chipped in another, and he was about right. And so the conversation took another turn. The cheeky man offered some abuse, and just as we were ready to reply another young man stepped to the front and championed our cause in a most earnest and spirited manner until the other fellow went away confounded and beaten. I complimented our unknown friend for standing up for truth and right as he had done, and said he was evidently a genuine Englishman who believed in fair play. He said he did and that he had enjoyed the meeting and would as soon hear the gospel preached by Mormons as by any other. Such is the life of Mormon missionaries! How diversified is the experience of an elder in a foreign land! I felt justified in doing what I did after the meeting, as the only thing I could think of at the moment to counteract the sleepiness and indifference which seemed to possess the little audience. But the European population of Te Aroha cares more for English gold than heavenly truths. It is strictly a business place, and nearly all the inhabitants get a living either direct or indirect from tourists who frequent the place as a health resort.

Monday, January 6. The day after conference had closed most of the elders and visiting Saints took their departure for their different fields of labors and respective homes. Elder Gardner returned to Auckland accompanied by others of the brethren, among whom were Elders Charles B. Bartlett, Christian Peterson, Joseph C. Jorgenson, Lewis G. Hoagland, Wilford F. Nebeker, and James S. Abbott, who returned to their homes in Zion after performing good missions in New Zealand. The next day more elders and Saints left, but I still remained to finish up my historical labors in the Hauraki District, being well taken care of by Reha Aperahama, the president of Te Aroha Branch, in whose house Elder Gardner and myself had occupied a comfortable room all the time during our sojourn in Te Aroha.

Wednesday, January 8. I finished my labors in Te Aroha, and at 10:00 a.m. Elder Joseph W. Linford and myself gave the parting hand to Elders Joseph M. Folkman and Moroni Lazenby and the native Saints, who still remained at the village; and Brother Rewi Mokena took us in a cart drawn by two horses fourteen miles over the lowlands to Morrinsville, where we took the train for the famous health resort Rotorua, which is beautifully situated at the foot of the mountains and on the west shore of Lake Rotorua. New Zealand is singularly rich in springs of water holding mineral in solution, and some of these are already noted for their valuable medical properties. Both hot and cold springs are found, the former being, with few exceptions, confined to the North Island, where superficial volcanic forces have been active since the so-called Tertiary Period and are not yet altogether dormant. The thermal springs district of New Zealand comprises an area of upwards of 600,000 acres, or close to 1,000 square miles. The length of the district is about fifty miles, with an average breadth of twenty miles. Its altitude varies from 900 to 2,000 feet above sea level. The most striking features of this region are the extensive pumice plains, intersected in various directions by high ranges of igneous formation, which are relieved here and there by enormous trachytic cones. Forests of extraordinary luxuriance and beauty clothe the mountains and border the extensive plateaus, while hot lakes, boiling geysers, and thermal springs are dotted far and wide over the country. These springs are of the most varied chemical character, and of every degree of temperature from 60° to 212 °Fahrenheit. The New Zealand government has chosen the western shore of Lake Rotorua as the basis of operation for opening up this wonderful district as a sanitarium and bathing establishment. The sanitarium reserve here comprises an area of some fifty acres bordering on Lake Rotorua. Twelve years ago this was a howling wilderness, covered with manuka scrub and diversified only by clouds of steam rising from the various hot springs. Here the adventurous invalid of years ago pitched his tent and derived what satisfaction he could from digging a hole in the ground for a bath. In many instances he immortalized himself by giving his name to the spring, and thus the visitor of the present day has pointed out to him such as “Cameron’s Bath,” “McHugh’s Bath,” “The Priest’s Bath,” etc. The acid waters in the latter are said to have nothing equal to them in any part of the world. Other springs have received their names from some real or imaginary quality, and thus we hear of the Madam Rachel, The Rain Killer, The Coffee Pot, Blue Bath, etc. Now the former desolation has been changed, a garden intersected by walks and drives lined with evergreens and grasses; fountains and flower beds also delight the eye, and commodious bathing pavilions are built over the principal springs.

Thursday, January 9. Having enjoyed a comfortable night’s rest at a private boarding house at Rotorua, where we put up, Elder Linford and I arose early in the morning and walked two miles south to the renowned Maori village Whakarewarewa, where we spent the forenoon taking in the sights and admiring the natural wonders which are grouped together here on a few acres of land. There are numerous small lakes, in some of which the water is boiling hot, in others tepid, and in some cold. The geysers, which were the greatest attractions years ago, are not so active now and hence not so interesting as before. One that used to send boiling waters a hundred feet up in the air at regular intervals is almost dormant now. Only by putting on several bars of soap and other stuff possessing explosive qualities can it be forced to play, and then only once or twice a day. Hot steam emerges from the springs and fissures in the rocks, and wherever one walks a hollow sound is produced, which conveys the idea that only a thin crust of earth intervenes between the pedestrian and the hot boiling mass underneath him. In several places the crust is so thin that considerable caution has to be exercised on the part of the visitors, who are advised never to venture out on their first expedition here without a guide. One native woman fell into a hot pool some time ago and was immediately scalded to death. Evil tongues would have it that her husband, who was with her at the time, pushed her in, as he was tired of her. The volcanic mud lakes, which abound, are another interesting feature of the place. Immediately in front of the Maori village is the hot pool Parekohuru, in which the natives cook nearly all their food. They also bake their bread in skillets which they bury in the hot soil adjacent to the pool. This cooks the bread without making any crust whatever, and we truly enjoyed the eating of some bread cooked in this manner. While taking dinner with Erueru Wikiriwhi, who, together with his family, are the only members of the church at Whakarewarewa. He also acted as our guide. His wife is a daughter of Sophia, an intelligent woman who is well and popularly known to tourists as a guide.

 After enjoying a bath in one of the tepid springs, Elder Linford and I returned to Rotorua, where we tried to hire a couple of horses and ride to the site of the once famous village Wairoa, situated about ten miles away across a range or several ranges of mountains; but the stableman assured us that it was too late in the day to start on so long a journey, as it would be impossible to get there before dark. Now we were both anxious to see the scene of the terrible eruption and earthquake of ten years ago; and our only chance perhaps in a lifetime was to see Mount Tarawera that afternoon, as we were compelled through force of circumstances to return northward the following day in order to fill other appointments. So I told Elder Linford that I could walk to Lake Tarawera and back that night if he could. Without hesitation he expressed the opinion that he could walk any distance that I would attempt to tramp. So after taking a good peep at the sun, in order to mark its exact position and distance from the western horizon, off we started at 3:00 p.m. Our road led over mountains and through gorges, over ravines and dugways, and through forests and bush. We also passed two good-sized lakes, namely, Tikitapu and Rotokakahi, in which the water was nearly as white as milk on account of the great quantity of pumice stone which was thrown into it at the time of the eruption. At length we reached the ruins of Wairoa, which lie in what was once a beautiful but now a desolate valley through which the Wairoa River courses its way from Lake Rotokakahi to the celebrated Wairoa Falls, where the stream takes a leap over a precipice about two hundred feet high into Lake Tarawera below. The eruption of Mount Tarawera, which took place June 10, 1886, covered this valley with volcanic stones and ashes to the depth of something like five feet on an average. It destroyed everything; and one hundred Maoris, besides a number of white people, lost their lives. The whole country within a radius of over fifteen miles was changed from a beautiful tract to absolute desolation. When the survivors emerged from under the ruins of their houses, such as had not time to get away or those who succeeded in outrunning the volcanic showers, returned to look for their former homes, they found nothing but black sand which covered hill and dale everywhere. Most of the smaller houses at Wairoa and in other villages were crushed in under the heavy weight of the masses which fell upon them, and entirely buried; but the roofs of several buildings were seen protruding above the stones and ashes. Thus the ruins of the hotel and a mill are still visible aboveground and are examined with great interest by tourists and others who visit the place. Though the trees and shrubs and all vegetation were also destroyed during the eruption, some of the more thrifty trees that were not buried so very deep commenced to grow afresh, and thus a number of weeping willows and several fruit trees are now ornamenting the old town site; among the latter we found three cherry trees laden with most delicious ripe fruit. Of this, Elder Linford and I partook freely, as we had brought no lunch along and were consequently hungry. I have eaten a great deal of fruit in my time; but I don’t remember that I ever enjoyed a meal of fruit alone so well as I did those cherries growing on the site of that town which had been destroyed by an earthquake. Having examined the ruins of Wairoa, we ascended a hill from the top of which we had a fine view of Lake Tarawera; but as we wanted a better view of the mountain of that name standing on the opposite side of the lake and which we were prevented from seeing by intervening hills, we descended to the banks of the lake to a point where the black old giant which sent forth its deathly messengers of destruction ten years ago was in clear sight, about twelve miles away across the lake. The mountain, which is 3,370 feet high, was almost rent in twain at the time of the eruption; and from our point of observation the chasm thus formed could be seen quite distinctly. A thin covering of vegetation has grown out upon the mountain slopes, particularly near its base; hence the picture of desolation is not so perfect now as it was for some time after the eruption.

While we were still gazing upon the wonders of nature, the fast falling shades of the hills upon the placid and cream colored waters of Tarawera reminded us that the day was spent, that the sun was disappearing below the western horizon; and the overhanging clouds also gave us reason to believe that the night would be a dark one; and here we were in a strange, uninhabited volcanic country, eleven miles away from the nearest human habitations. So we beat a retreat and started on our return trip at a time that we, according to the stableman’s idea, ought to have been at our quarters, as he had assured us that it was a very “unpleasant thing” to be found out on the steep mountain slopes of the Tarawera country after night fall. Retracing our steps, we soon reached the top of the hill or divide, thence passed down to the site of the ruined village, once more feasted on cherries, and then walked briskly back to Rotorua in the darkness of the night, arriving at our destination at 10:00 p.m. We met with no accident and had not sat down to rest once on our sample twenty-two-mile walk; but our soft European bed felt unusually comfortable that night.

Hinemihi meetinghouse at Te Wairoa, after the Mount Tarawera eruption of June 10, 1886. Photograph taken circa 1886 by Edmund Wheeler and Son. Used by permission of Alexander Turnbull Library. (PAColl-2981-2)

Friday, January 10. We visited the government sanitarium and other points of interest. The country around Rotorua has been the scene of several hot contests and battles between different tribes of Maoris; and hundreds of people have been slain at different times. Out toward the center of Lake Rotorua is a good-sized island called Mokaia, which for many generations was the stronghold of the Arawas, and where they generally were able to defend themselves against their powerful enemies from the north who were in the habit of evading the country in almost North American Indian fashion. On one occasion the great chief Hongi from the North landed in the lands of the Arawas, on the east coast, and after beating the latter in a number of battles, they retreated to their island stronghold, where they defied their enemies to follow. But Hongi, who was a great warrior, at once gave orders to have his war canoes brought overland from the east coast to Lake Rotorua, crossed over to Mokaia with his big army, and slew the Arawas with an exceeding great slaughter. There are also several beautiful Maori legends connected with this island. The Arawas still dwell in this renowned lake country; and some of them have embraced the fullness of the gospel and constitute part of the membership of the Tauranga District. The Arawas derive their name from a large canoe of that name, which was one of the seven traditional canoes on which the Maoris reached New Zealand from their former home in Hawaika.

The Rotorua country is included in that missionary division of the North Island of New Zealand, which is known as the Tauranga District. This district comprises three branches of the church, called respectively Pukerimu, Puketarata, and Orakeikorako with a total membership of 99, or 131 souls including children who have been blessed but not baptized. Two are Europeans, the rest Maoris. Elder David H. Packard is now the president of the district, succeeding Elder Christian Petersen in that capacity, and Elder William W. McDonald is his traveling companion. The district embraces a tract of country bordering on the Bay of Plenty, which is on the east coast of the North Island. The coastline extends from Opotiki on the southeast to Katikati on the northwest. Inland it extends to and includes the country surrounding the great Taupo Lake, the largest freshwater sheet in New Zealand; this lake is in a mountainous country near the center of the North Island.

The Pukerimu Branch consists of the Saints residing in the native villages of Pukerimu, Otaranania, Waitangi, and Hurea (Judea). Pukerimu is situated about one-half mile southeast of the European settlement of Te Puke, which is eighteen miles southeast of the seaport town of Tauranga and about thirty-seven miles north of Rotorua, the famous government health resort described above. The Pukerimu Branch was first organized in September 1895 by Elders Charles O. Anderson and Francis H. Wright. In 1893 it absorbed the neighboring Waitangi branch and is now the largest and most important branch in the Tauranga District; it is the headquarters of the elders laboring in that district.

The Puketarata Branch consists of the Saints residing in the village of Puketarata and vicinity. The village named is situated about twelve miles north of the town of Taupo, on the road to Atiamuri, or about eighty miles from Pukerimu. The branch was organized September 25, 1887, by Elders William Gardner and Henry J. Manning.

The Orakeikorako Branch consists of some native Saints residing in Ohaaki, Waiotapu, and a number of other villages. The village of Orakeikorako is now defunct. It was situated on the Waikato River about eighteen miles below the point where it leaves the Taupo

Lake, or twelve miles up the river from Atiamuri, or thirty-three miles south of Rotorua. The Orakeikorako branch is an outgrowth of the Puketarata Branch and was organized December 11, 1887. This locality is celebrated for its boiling springs, geysers, and terraces which overhand the river adjacent to the Maori village and for its remarkable alum cave, which has been visited by a great many tourists. The Waikato River scenery is also very interesting.

“Jenson’s Travels,” January 23, 1896 [18]

Auckland, New Zealand

Having spent a short but profitable time at Rotorua, New Zealand, Elder Joseph W. Linford and I started on our return northward by rail on January 10, 1896. While Brother Linford continued to Auckland to return to his field of labor on the South Island, I stopped at Hamilton, a European town of 4,600 inhabitants situated on the Waikato River eighty-six miles from Rotorua, to visit a family by the name of Johnson, who are members of the Church. The next day I traveled twelve miles by rail to Ngaruawahia, where I was met by Elder Jens K. Nelson, president of the Waikato District, who took me across the Waipa River and introduced me to Brother Paora Hopere, who presides over the Ngaruawahia Branch and in whose house I was made comfortable for several days while I perused the records of the district and its respective branches and attended to my usual historical labors. I also spent the following Sunday with the Saints, and attended a number of meetings with them.

The Waikato District was once the largest district in the New Zealand Mission, both in point of area and membership. It was here that the first series of Maori baptisms took place at the close of 1882 and the beginning of 1883; [19] and though the first sixty-odd persons who were baptized did not continue in the covenant, and the first branch organization affected did not prove a success, the gospel seed fell in good ground about two years later when Elders William Gardner and Charles O. Anderson, after laboring about one year without apparent success, found their labors blessed with most precious fruit. In about six months, the latter half of 1885, nearly four hundred Maoris were added to the church by baptism, beside 130 children under eight years of age who were blessed by the elders. When the boundaries of the Waikato missionary district were first defined in 1885, it included nearly the entire north half of the North Island of New Zealand; but in 1887, the Tauranga District was organized out of the southeastern portion of the original Waikato District, and in 1887 the remainder was again divided into three parts called respectively the Waikato, Hauraki, and Bay of Islands districts. The Waikato District since that division has consisted of that part of the North Island which extends from the Manukau Harbor (near Auckland) southward along the west coast to the north line of Taranaki. Eastward it extends to the Hauraki Gulf, and to a small river which falls into said gulf and which separates it from the Hauraki District. The Maoris are very numerous in this part of the country, and the district consisted according to the statistical report of December 31, 1895, of nine branches, named as follows: Ngaruawahia, Karakariki, Kawhia, Puketapu, Whangape, Weraroa, Huriwai, Tauranganui, and Wairoa. The membership of the district was 238, or 336 souls including 125 children, all Maoris. Two elders from Zion (Jens K. Nelson and Parley A. Waters) are the missionaries in the district at the present time.

The Ngaruawahia Branch comprises nearly all the inhabitants residing in a Maori village lying on the left bank of the Waipa River opposite the European settlement. Ngaruawahia, which is a railway town situated immediately above the junction of the Waikato and the Waipa rivers, and in the fork of the two streams, is fourteen miles by rail southeast of Auckland. The branch was organized in 1892 by Elder Thomas C. Stanford and the late Elder Otto L. Chipman, with Paora Hopere as president. The elders laboring in the district make the hospitable home of Paora Hopere their present headquarters.

The Karakariki Branch consists of the native Saints residing in a number of small villages, but mostly in one called Taketawa, which is situated on the left bank of the Waipa River about six miles above Ngaruawahia, or one mile below Karakarika, on the Waipa River. The branch was first organized December 2, 1885, by Elder William Gardner and a missionary companion.

The Kawhia Branch, organized by Elder Henry J. Manning August 14, 1887, consists of the Saints residing in the village of Kawhia, situated on the south side of the bay or harbor of that name. This is on the west coast of the North Island, about seventy miles by roundabout road southwest of Ngaruawahia.

The Puketapu Branch—the largest in the Waikato District—consists of the Saints residing in the villages of Puketapu and surrounding villages among which may be mentioned Rakaumangamanga, where Elder Otto L. Chipman died August 31, 1892, and Paruwhare. The village of Puketapu is situated on the left bank of the Waikato River opposite the European town of Huntly and distant from that town about half a mile; it is also ten miles down the river from Ngaruawahia. This branch was raised up by Elder William Gardner and organized by him August 9, 1885, as the first successful branch of the Church in the Waikato country.

The Whangape Branch consists of the Saints residing near the Whangape Lake and at different points on the left bank of the Waikato River. Most of the members reside at a place called Te Papa, on the south side of the Whangape Lake, about five miles west of Church Hill, or about thirty by winding road nouthwest of Ngaruawahia. The branch was organized by William Paxman and other elders July 22, 1889.

The Weraroa Branch consists of the native Saints residing in the villages of Weraroa and Manawaru. The former is situated about five miles inland from the west coast, about twenty miles south of the mouth of the Waikato River, and about twenty-five miles due west of Church Hill. Manawara is about five miles east of Weraroa. Most of the Saints live in Weraroa, which is the largest village of the two. The branch was organized by Elders William Gardner and Alfred W. Harper December 10, 1885.

The Huriwai Branch consists of Saints living in the villages of Huriwai and Huarau, mostly in the latter, which is situated near the west coast of the North Island, or about five miles south of Port Waikato. Huarau is situated about three miles north of Port Waikato on the opposite side of the Waikato River. Meetings are held at both villages, but Sunday School only at Huriwai. The branch dates back to December 13, 1885, when it was organized by Elders William Gardner and Alfred W. Harper.

The Tauranganui Branch was organized by Elders Alfred W. Harper and Francis H. Wright, September 5, 1886, and consists of the native Saints living in the village of Okahu and neighborhood. Okahu is situated on the left bank of the Waikato River about two miles above Port Waikato, a European town situated at the mouth of the Waikato River, about thirty miles northwest of Church Hill, or sixty miles from Ngaruawahia.

The Wairoa Branch (only partly organized as yet) consists of the Saints residing in a district of country bordering on the Hauraki Gulf. Most of the Saints reside in the village of Marepana, which is situated about five miles northeast of Wairoa on the right bank of the Wairoa River near its mouth.

Thursday, January 16. I took leave of the good Saints at Ngaruawahia and traveled seventy-four miles by rail to Auckland, where I now spent several days busily engaged in finishing up my historical labors in connection with the New Zealand part of the Australasian Mission.

I have now visited every district and nearly all the principal branches of the mission, and I have learned to love the Maori people, who, notwithstanding their peculiarities and fickle mindedness, possess characteristics which any Saint might be proud of. Their devotion to God and their religion and their love for the brethren, who as the Saints of God have brought them the true gospel, is so practical in its nature that a great many members of the Church in Zion could learn very important lessons in that regard, and in a great many other respects, from their dark-skinned brethren and sisters in Maoridom. The Maoris are naturally a praying people. Usually where there is an organized branch of the Church, all the members of the branch meet together morning and night for prayer, and they also attend their public meetings, both on Sundays and week days, with a regularity which would put the members in many American and European branches to shame. In my travels in New Zealand I have met all the elders from Zion laboring there except one (Elder Ashby); and my opinion is that they are all good young men and worthy representatives of the cause they have espoused, though some are more diligent and successful in their labors than others. My associations with them have been of the most pleasant kind. Most of those who are laboring among the Europeans have a hard time of it, as the whites as a rule reject the message the elders bear without investigating it. The brethren laboring among the Maoris are generally provided with enough food to eat, though not always of the most agreeable kind, but they are generally always treated to the best the natives have to give. Sometimes they eat by tables, in regular white man’s style; at other times they sit on mats and eat with their fingers unless they bring knives and forks along with them. Sometimes their meals are served to them on the green grass out of doors, on which occasions they often have to wage a general warfare with pigs, canines, and fowls which generally roam about at pleasure, seeking what food they can find around the houses, and especially when meals are served out of doors. On such occasions it is no uncommon occurrence for some member of the quadruped family to steal up to the dish intended for the human party of the household and lay hold of some delicious joint or eat up the food altogether in a moment when it is not properly guarded. A story is told of a good Maori sister who had cooked for herself an extraordinarily nice fowl, which she was preparing to eat on the green. She closed her eyes and asked a good long blessing; but what was her astonishment when she had finished her prayer, to discover her pet dog standing some distance away with her favorite fowl half eaten. Often one elder has to watch and keep pigs away, while the other prays or asks the blessing. I am not referring to these things in the light of ridicule but simply to show some of the little odd experiences which some of the elders laboring among the semicivilized people of the Pacific Islands have to pass through.

As for New Zealand, taking its many different features into consideration, I may say that I rather like it. The present government, however, seems to be very unpopular with the masses; and the colony is heavily in debt. In many respects the country tries to pattern after the United States of America, from whence most of the machinery and farming implements used in the colony are imported. When the colonists learn to introduce good, sensible four-wheeled American farm wagons to take the place of the heavy, clumsy and ugly two-wheeled drag carts now in use, that will be another step in the direction of improvements. The colonial government owns nearly all the railways in the colony, and manipulates them on a common basis, which does away with competition. The people complain that the fare is too high; but it is claimed to be placed on merely a paying basis. The government telegraph-system is the best I have ever become acquainted with. And though the rates for sending messages are very low, it is said to be the best paying institution in the colony. For one shilling an ordinary message is sent to any part of the country, irrespective of distance; and for a so-called delayed telegram, which is not delivered till the next morning after it is sent, six pence only is charged. This enables all the people, both rich and poor, to use the telegraph, which is more than we can say of the American systems, where the rates are very high and only the more wealthy can afford to use the telegraph, except in very urgent cases.

I am now bound for the Society Islands and sail this afternoon for Papeete, Tahiti.

Notes

[1] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, March 7, 1896.

[2] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, February 29, 1896.

[3] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, March 7, 1896.

[4] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, March 14, 1896.

[5]  We were unable to locate this source.

[6] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, March 28, 1896.

[7] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, April 4, 1896.

[8] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, April 11, 1896.

[9] Korongata, or Bridge Pa, was the site of the Church’s Maori Agricultural College from 1913 to 1931, when it was severely damaged in the great Hawke’s Bay earthquake and was never rebuilt.

[10] Located just outside of Dannevirke, Matthew Cowley, with the assistance of Arapata Meha and Wi Duncan, retranslated into Maori the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price in 1917 at the Duncan home.

[11] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, April 18, 1896.

[12] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, April 25, 1896.

[13] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, May 2, 1896.

[14] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, May 9, 1896.

[15] For a description of the genesis of the work in Wairarapa, see the recollections of Alma Greenwood, which were published serially in the Juvenile Instructor starting March 1, 1885.

[16] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, May 16, 1896.

[17] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, May 16, 1896.

[18] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, May 23, 1896.

[19] For a description of this effort, see the recollections of William Bromley, published in four parts in the January and February 1887 issues of the Juvenile Instructor.