Cast of Characters

By Professor Tony Ballantyne

Henry Bathurst, Third Earl Bathurst (1762-1834)

A powerful and influential British politician who served as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies from 1812. During the 1810s and 1820s he played a key role in shaping British imperial policy and although he was not an Evangelical, he supported the work of Evangelicals in the colonies.

Reverend Edward Bickersteth (1786-1850)

A prominent British Evangelical with strong connections to the Church Missionary Society (CMS)'s West African mission. From 1816 he served as the principal of the CMS’s training college and was also the CMS’s travelling secretary, responsible for coordinating the activities of local branches throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. From 1824 he served as Secretary of the CMS.

Reverend John Gare Butler (1781-1841)

An accountant prior to his ordination, Butler was appointed to serve as the Superintendent of the New Zealand mission in 1818. He arrived in the Bay of Islands in August 1819 and played a pivotal role in the development of the Kerikeri mission. He was unpopular with his colleagues and his authority was undermined by allegations of drunkenness. After Samuel Marsden suspended him in November 1823, he immediately left the New Zealand mission.

Reverend Robert Cartwright (1771-1856)

Recruited in Bradford by Samuel Marsden during 1808 as a chaplain to serve in New South Wales, where he arrived in 1810. He was deeply concerned with Aboriginal welfare and was a prominent advocate for missionary work.

George Clarke (1798-1875)

Trained in gunsmithery, carpentry and teaching, George Clarke was trained at the CMS training school at Islington before being dispatched from England in the CMS’s service in 1822. After working for a short period near Parramatta in new South Wales, he finally arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1824, together with his wife Martha, and George Jr., their eldest son. Clarke had a long and influential career in New Zealand as a missionary, Chief Protector of Aborigines, a prominent politician and a judge of the Native Land Court.

Francis Hall (1792-1850)

Arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1819 and was stationed at Kerikeri, where he took particular responsibility for the school. Quiet and conciliatory, he found the turbulence of the mission’s politics difficult and resigned in late 1823.

William Hall (?-1832)

One of the missionaries who helped found the New Zealand mission at Hohi. Trained as a carpenter, he settled at Hohi with his wife Dinah. He resented the authority that Kendall claimed and advocated for the abandonment of Hohi as a site. Hall ultimately left the mission in 1825 on account of ill-health.

Hongi Hika (1772-1828)

A powerful rangatira whose whakapapa connected him to Ngāti Rāhiri, Ngāti Rehia, Ngāti Tautahi and Ngāi Tāwake sections of Ngā Puhi, an iwi that he played an important role in consolidating. He was a potent military leader and directed Ngā Puhi’s extensive campaigns of the 1810s and 1820s. He also actively sought out contact with Europeans, recognising that trade with the newcomers and their technologies offered him a competitive advantage over other rangatira.

Hongi Hika was a patron and protector of missionaries and he played the primary role in the establishment of the mission station at Kerikeri in 1819. At times his relationships with the mission was fraught and ambivalent, in part because of his close association with Thomas Kendall. He travelled with Kendall to Britain in 1820-1, advising on Kendall’s linguistic research, but primarily seeking new technologies and ideas to enhance his power and to forward the interests of his people.

After leading Ngā Puhi in long series of raids and conflicts in the 1820s, in part triggered by his desire to assert claims to land at Whangaroa, Hongi was badly wounded in 1827 and died finally in 1828.

James Kemp (1797–1872)

A blacksmith by training, James Kemp arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1819 with his wife Charlotte. They played a key role in the development of the Kerikeri mission where James ran a smithy, oversaw the small Kerikeri mission farm, and ran the mission’s store, in addition to teaching, dispensing medicine and serving as a mediator in local conflicts.

Reverend Thomas Kendall (1778?–1832)

After a career as an assistant school teacher and grocer, Kendall had a conversion experience and embraced Evangelicalism, in part due to his connection with Basil Woodd. In 1808 he applied to be involved in the planned CMS mission to New Zealand and in 1814 he played a pivotal role in the foundation of the mission.

His time in New Zealand was turbulent, due to conflicts with his fellow missionaries, a fraught relationship with his wife Jane, and the difficulties he confronted in his work as a teacher in the mission’s first school. His close relationship with Hongi Hika, who travelled with Kendall and Waikato to England in 1820-1, helped shape the development of the mission, but was also the source of conflict.

Kendall’s involvement in the musket trade, the adulterous relationship he established with Tungaroa (the daughter of the Rangihoua rangatira Rahu), and the ongoing clashes he had with Samuel Marsden all contributed to the severing of his connection with the CMS mission in 1823, although he did not finally leave New Zealand until 1825. His attempts to understand and explain Māori cosmology together with his pioneering linguistic work remain very important outcomes of his New Zealand career.

John King (1787-1854)

A twine-spinner and shoe-maker by trade, King was one of the foundation missionaries to New Zealand. He arrived in New South Wales in 1810, where he married Hannah Hansen, the daughter of Thomas Hansen, captain of the Active. King was hard-working and closely observed local society even if his writing was unpolished. Later he oversaw the relocation of the Hohi mission to Te Puna.

Te Koki

An ally of the rangatira Tara, Pōmare, and Te Morenga who controlled the south and southwest of the Bay of Islands. He established a close relationship with Henry Williams as well as Samuel Marsden, who had taught his son Te Ahara at Parramatta. He played a key role in the establishment of a mission station at Paihia in 1823.


A Ngāre Raumati chief whose authority focused on the eastern islands and
the coastal lands on the south side of the Bay of Islands. A rival of Hongi Hika, he protested against the establishment of a mission station at Kerikeri and tried to convince Marsden to sponsor a mission on his lands near Pāroa.

Lachlan Macquarie (1761–1824)

After a successful military career he was appointed Governor of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land in 1809 and he held office as Governor until 1821. He oversaw the reform of colonial government, drove forward colonial development, tried to build connections to Aboriginal communities and attempted to use his powers to protect Māori and Pacific Islanders who served as sailors or traded with Britons.


A pioneering traveller from the southern Bay of Islands, who lived on Norfolk Island, at Parramatta (with Samuel Marsden) and in London. Literate and very interested in religion and mathematics, Māui enthusiastically engaged with British culture and Christianity until his death in London in December 1816.

Te Pahi (? -1810)

The Ngā Puhi rangatira was the first influential chief to visit New South Wales. Governor King interacted directly with Te Pahi, convincing him of the benefits that might accrue from cross-cultural contact. He also met Samuel Marsden and Te Pahi’s intellect and character convinced Marsden of Māori cultural capacity and the need for missionary work in New Zealand. Te Pahi functioned as an important intermediary between the Bay of Islands and New South Wales, and his island, near Te Puna, became a key centre for cross-cultural trade. He died after sustaining a wound in the wake of the violence and raids that followed the destruction of the Boyd at Whangaroa in 1809.

Reverend Josiah Pratt (1768–1844)

An influential Evangelical who was active in the foundation of the CMS in 1799 and also played a key role in the British and Foreign Bible Society. He served as the Secretary of the CMS from 1802 until 1824. He also was the moving force behind the establishment of the Missionary Register periodical in 1813.

Ruatara (? – 1815)

A rangatira of Rangihoua with kinship connections to Ngāti Rāhiri, Ngāti Hineira and Ngāti Tautahi of Ngā Puhi, and to the Te Hikutu hapū through his second wife Rahu. Ruatara travelled extensively as a sailor, visiting England. On his return from that voyage in 1809 he met Samuel Marsden onboard the Ann and a close relationship developed between the two men.

While staying with Marsden at Parramatta, Ruatara developed a plan to introduce wheat to the Bay of Islands, to develop a European-style settlement near Rangihoua and to support the work of missionaries. He played a key role in the foundation of the mission in New Zealand and was instrumental in determining the location of the first missionary settlement at Hohi. When he died in 1815, the mission lost a key protector and patron.


A young rangatira from the northern Bay of Islands who spent up to two years in Parramatta before travelling to England with Tuai. They returned to New Zealand in 1819 and during that voyage Titere turned away from engaging with the missionaries and did not support Christianity once he was back amongst his people near Rangihoua.


A Ngāre Raumati rangatira who lived with Samuel Marsden in Parramatta before travelling with Titere to London in 1817. He was one of the first Māori to produce accounts of Europe and he also helped shape Thomas Kendall’s understanding of te reo Māori. On his return to the Bay of Islands, he played a prominent role in the conflicts of the 1820s and retreated from his earlier engagement with Christianity.

Waikato (c.1790-1877)

A rangatira from Rangihoua. As a young man, he accompanied Kendall and Hongi Hika on their voyage to England in 1820 and 1821. He did not embrace Christianity, but nevertheless functioned as a significant protector of missionaries, particularly around the time of Hongi Hika’s death in 1828.

William Wilberforce (1759–1833)

The most influential Evangelical politician and social reformer in Britain. He was central in the campaign to abolish slavery, was at the forefront of many humanitarian organisations and was a central figure in the influential ‘Clapham Sect’.

Reverend Basil Woodd (1760–1831)

A prominent Evangelical clergyman based at Marylebone in London. He was a prominent hymn-writer, author and a strong supporter of the CMS as well as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and the British and Foreign Bible Society.

Reverend Henry Williams (1792-1867)

After a successful career in the Royal Navy, Williams embraced missionary work as his new vocation. He was ordained in 1822 and arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1823 with his wife Marianne and their three children. As the new leader of the mission, Henry Williams played a key role in transforming its strategy, placing greater emphasis on education as well as pursuing greater economic security and better maritime connections for the mission to New South Wales and Britain, as well as other parts of New Zealand.

Sir John Wylde (1781-1859)

Deputy Judge Advocate of New South Wales and an influential legal and social reformer.