Jenny Sharkey has been compiling a list of New Zealand’s revival history events into a book that can be purchased at Amazon.
Below is a very condensed version of some of New Zealand’s revival history. The information has come from so many varied sources that they have been lost track of. So apologies for not being able to acknowledge here the many researchers who have contributed to this list. Most of the writing is straight from other people’s websites so if you see something familiar I would love you to let me know so I can place an acknowledgement up.
If you have more information that can be added to this or correct/update it, please contact me (Jenny). There is so much more to add to this and many of you have been part of more recent outpourings so your stories are welcomed and a vital part of our story as a nation whose National Anthem declares we are the vanguard to the nations!
My personal belief is that there is great encouragement in knowing our history and what God has done here in days past. What he has done before he can do again – and more so!
14th May: In 1606, the Spanish Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, standing in Tahiti, spoke of the destiny of New Zealand. Here, in part, is the text of the prophecy:
“Let the heavens, the earth, the waters with all their creatures and all those present witness that I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros… in the name of Jesus Christ… hoist this emblem of the Holy Cross on which His person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of all the human race… on this day of Pentecost, 1606… I take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole, in the name of Jesus… which from now on shall be called the Southern Land of the Holy Ghost (La Australia del Espiritu Santo)… and this always and forever… and to the end that to all natives, in all the said lands, the holy and sacred evangel may be preached zealously and openly.”
New Zealand was first discovered by the Dutch mariner, Abel Tasman, on 14th June, 1643. It was Tasman who gave this new-found land its name and who first prayed for its blessing: “May God Almighty, vouchsafe His blessing on this work.”
While Rev. Samuel Marsden was still in Australia, he befriended Ruatara -the son of a Maori chief – and took care of him when he was very unwell. Ruatara recovered, and lived with Marsden in Sydney for six months. Ruatara was very grateful to Marsden, and passed this respect on to other Maoris, allowing Marsden a friendly audience with the Maori on his arrival in New Zealand. The chief of the Ngapuhi, Ruatarawho also lived with Marsden In Sydney for a time.
The Colony of New South Wales at the time thought the extermination of Maori more desirable than their conversion, and the traders who were profiting by fraud and violence objected to Marsdens plans for Christianity in New Zealand. No one supported him, no ship would take him and every possible slander was set against him. In the end, he purchased a ship at his own expense.
Marsden arrived in the Bay of Islands where a community of European settlers had established. After many preparations by his Maori friends, the first Christian service was conducted on New Zealand soil, on the morning of Christmas Day, 1814. Samuel Marsden preached “Behold! I bring you glad tidings of great joy” while Tuatara translated it as best he could for the crowd of Maoris.
However, Ruatara died shortly afterwards and another chief of this tribe, Hongi Hika, commenced a series of wars making missionary work extremely difficult. Marsden left Kendall, Hall and King in charge of the mission to the Ngapuhi from Kerikeri (originally in Rangihoua Bay) and returned to Australia, returning 7 times to New Zealand in ensuing years.
Marsden worked tirelessly into his old age to bring the gospel to the Maori people he laid his life down for. Marsden spent his own money, his energies and time on bringing the good news to the Maori people, not just the word of God, but good news in peace process and in training for a life of righteousness. He suffered endless accusations from the Australian and British government for his labours. His last visit to New Zealand was in 1827 and he died 12th May 1838. He would have seen the beginning stages of the great revival but the true fruits of his great work in the nation were to come after he had departed.
Ten years after Marsden spoke his first sermon, 1824 brought the very first signs of missionary success when a Maori named Whatu put his faith in Jesus as his Saviour. Additionally, the people of Bream Bay came to live at the Bay of Islands where they came under the frequent instruction of the missionaries. Rangi was a chief of this tribe and he impressed upon his people openness to the gospel and he was admitted to the church in baptism. This was the first Christian baptism in New Zealand.
In 1819, a block of land in Kerikeri was purchased to set up a new Mission Station at Paihia, which Reverend Henry Williams operated. Williams was sent to New Zealand in 1825 to manage the mission after Thomas Kendall was removed for an adulterous relationship and supplying muskets to the Maori. Williams came with a resolve not to trade or use guns, and put his family at great risk not only of bodily harm but also of starvation as the Maori refused to trade with him anything but weapons. However, the Williams family laid down their lives for the Gospel and Williams became highly respected among Nga Puhi, and prevented fighting on several occasions. The first baptism of a Maori – chief Rangi – in New Zealand was conducted in 1825.
Henry’s brother William and his young wife joined the mission in 1826 and for forty years the two brothers worked side by side to infiltrate New Zealand with the Christian Message. Their wives too worked alongside them in the mission.
Rev. Samuel Leigh also began a Wesleyan mission in New Zealand alongside, and with the encouragement of, Marsden’s Anglican mission. “About the close of the year 1827, in the missionary stations there were a few who began to pay more serious attention. It was noticed that some met together for prayer and reading the Scriptures. A small book was printed at this time in New South Wales, consisting of the first three chapters of Genesis, the twentieth of Exodus, the fifth of St Matthew, and the first of St John’s Gospel. In some villages, a few people showed interest also.
Modest schools had been in operation at several mission stations for a few years, and those who attended also received education in the gospel.”The progress which had been made in the work of evangelisation was very slow up to this period, but it was a steady advance. A spirit of inquiry was now at work in the missionary stations. In 1828 Williams brokered a significant peace treaty among the Maori in the chaos that followed the death of Hongi Hika.
In 1830, Taiwhanga was received into the Church, along with another man and his wife. (But the other two soon fell away). The interest manifested by a few of those in the settlement at Paihia now became almost general. An outpouring of the Spirit accompanied by conviction for sin followed. “One evening, Mr Davis invited all who might be disposed to attend to come to his house for conversation. About thirty men and boys responded, and an interview of deep interest followed.” One of the Maoris stood, and exhorted the others to turn from sin, and pray to be saved, and others agreed enthusiastically. Nine Maoris were baptised, and there were many other candidates.
In October, 1833, a group of natives and missionaries left the Bay of Islands in order to establish a new station on the Thames river, in an area badly affected by the Maori wars. Human bones lay scattered about in all directions, and some of the people pointed out the spots where their relatives had been killed and eaten. Having taken their evening meal, they assembled from 150 to 200 natives to evening prayers. The missionaries commenced as usual by singing a hymn, but what was their surprise when they heard the whole assemblage join and sing correctly with them; and in the prayers also the responses were made by all as by the voice of one man. Nothing like this had been witnessed before. When addressed upon the Gospel message, the natives were very attentive. These people had already received instruction from three youths who had lived in the mission families at Paihia.
They travelled up the river, and met Waharoa, the chief of that tribe. “The old man was sitting in state, and gave them a hearty welcome. On the Sunday, the people congregated together beneath the trees in an adjoining wood, where the message of peace was listened to with apparent respect. Old Waharoa asked many significant questions, and inquired what they were to do without a missionary to teach them.” A place was chosen near the mouth of the river, between two adjoining tribes.
A number of the Hokianga chiefs, including Patuone, expressed their wish to embrace Christianity. It was at this point that both the Anglican and Wesleyan missions decided to widen their work in a southerly direction, dividing the territory between their missions in order to avoid any show of disunity or competition between themselves to the Maoris. William Woon, was to be sent south to Waikato, to open up this work for the Wesleyans. A group of 62 adults were baptised at Mangungu.
Between 1834 and 1840, Mission Stations were established at Kaitaia, Thames, Whangaroa, Waikato, Mamamata (which was abandoned during tribal wars in 1836-37), Rotorua, Tauranga, Manukau and Poverty Bay. By 1840, over 20 Stations had been established, many of which were based in the North Island.
A weatherboard chapel was built at Mangungu in 1836. It was capable of holding up to 500 people but there were Sundays when 100 or 200 people stood round outside.” There were repeated references to such occasions at this time, with responsible leading chiefs joining Turner reported in 1837 that nearly 600 had been received into membership, or were on probation.
William Colenso printed the complete New Testament (in Maori) in 1838. During 1839 at all the mission stations in the north there was a great increase in the congregations, and in six months two hundred and twenty nine persons were received into the Church. The chief of the Rawara tribe, Nopera Panakareao, distinguished himself in this way. He often went, for a week at a time, to the surrounding villages, with his Testament in his hand, bearing testimony to the benefit he had received, and inviting his countrymen to partake of it.
In 1839 William Williams moved to the East Coast and formed the diocese of Waiapu at Turanga, Poverty Bay, where Gisbourne now stands. Additionally, Octavius Hadfield settled in Otaki, now the diocese of Wellington. Both these men went on account of being called by the Maori converts to help them spread the Good News.
“During 1840 the spirit of enquiry after Christianity was greatly on the increase. The people now flocked in large numbers to attend the classes of candidates for baptism. This was particularly the case in the stations in the Bay of Islands, and also at Waikato and the Thames; and in almost every part of the country the profession of Christianity became so general, that the total number of attendants at public worship was estimated at not less than 30,000, besides those in connexion with the Wesleyan mission.” On top of the 30,000 who were directly involved in Anglican worship should be added those involved in the Wesleyan work, as well as all the other Maoris who had been contacted by their own people, without much or any direct contact by missionaries, and who were adopting Christian practices, in one form or another, in their own villages, and without outside help.
In New Zealand at the time of the great Maori revival the population was 80,000 Maori and 2050 Non-Maori. To give a comparison of this revival – the Welsh revival of 1904 saw converts of between 35,000-70,000 over a two year period (or up to 150,000 according to some sources). Wales had a population in 1904 of 1.4 million people, so if 150,000 were converted that was only just over 10% of the population, in contrast with well over 40% of the New Zealand population being converted in a similar time span. This was truly a great revival!
The blessing spread to the South Island, as well, although not in quite such a dramatic way. The Rev. James Watkin was a Wesleyan missionary who worked amongst the Maoris of the South Island for two years before he baptised the first Maori. Many Maoris attended worship, and a larger building was required by May, 1843. In the frame of this church, on June 19, another great occasion took place. Nineteen men, two women and one child were baptised. Five more men were baptised on July 30, when the building was dedicated.”By the close of the year he had baptised over two hundred converts, and a gracious revival was in progress.”Fifty were baptised on Christmas Eve of that year.
At a Love Feast held that afternoon many of the natives bore striking testimony to God’s transforming grace. The preacher that night was Hoani Weteri Korako, and at the Holy Communion that followed large numbers of Maoris took the solemn vow of allegiance to Jesus Christ. One of the Christian leaders in this area was Matiaha Tiramorehu. “It is worthy of note that within four years of commencing his work Mr Watkin had trained and planted twenty-six native teachers in the settlements from Moeraki to Stewart Island.
“…Here is the testimony of Mary Ann Wunu: ‘The Spirit of God showed me all the sins of my heart, and my heart became dark and pained. I thought all things here were perishing, and I cannot live by them, but the Word of God endures forever. This was my thought when I heard the Word of God, therefore I gave my sins to Christ, and consented to Him, and if I be obedient unto Him till death, I shall live.’
By the middle of the 19th century, two thirds of the Maori had rejected their old ways and turned to the Christian message. It was to be followed by a period of terrible wars. Captain Hobson, the first Governor, said in 1841: “Whatever difference of opinion may be entertained as to the value and extent of the labours of the missionary body, there can be no doubt that they have rendered important service to the country, or that, but for them, a British colony would not at this moment be established in New Zealand.”
Henry served in the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 (aged 14 years old – 23 years old) which influenced Henry in his decision to become a Christian missionary and peacemaker.
Henry Williams played an important role in the translation of the Treaty of Waitangi (1840). In August 1839 Captain William Hobson was given instructions by the Colonial Office to take the constitutional steps needed to establish a British colony in New Zealand. Hobson was sworn in as Lieutenant-Governor in Sydney on 14 January, finally arriving in the Bay of Islands on 29 January 1840. The Colonial Office did not provide Hobson was draft treaty so that he was forced to write his own treaty with the help of his secretary, James Freeman, and British Resident James Busby. The entire treaty was prepared in four days. Realising that a treaty in English could be neither understood, debated or agreed to by M?ori, Hobson instructed Henry Williams, who worked with his son Edward, who was more proficient in Te Reo, to translate the document into M?ori and this was done overnight on 4 February. At this time William Williams, who was also proficient in Te Reo, was in Poverty Bay.
William arrived at Paihia on 25 March 1826 and spent the next eight years in charge of the mission school. As he had received some training as a philologist, one of his first tasks was to study the structure of the Maori language. In this connection he compiled a Dictionary of the New Zealand Language and a Concise Grammar which was published in 1844.
When it was decided to expand the work of the mission, Williams offered to open the new stations at Thames and Mangapouri. In 1833 he visited the East Coast – Poverty Bay area, where he established native teachers. Five years later, accompanied by Colenso, Matthews, and Stack, he revisited these districts which he now judged to be ready for a permanent mission station. In April 1839 Williams and Taylor visited the districts once more and selected a site. The following year he brought his family to Turanga (Gisborne) and took charge of a parish extending from East Cape to Cape Palliser. In 1837 Williams published his translation of The New Testament.
Early in 1851 Williams was sent to England to protest to the parent committee of the Church Missionary Society against their acceptance of the allegation by Sir George Grey that the missionaries’ land claims had provided Heke with his pretext for making war and, also, to vindicate Henry Williams. Though he did not secure his brother’s immediate reinstatement, he was able to convince the Church Missionary Society authorities that Grey had misrepresented the situation.
On 9 April 1835 Alfred Brown opened a CMS station at Matamata in the Waikato, near Te Waharoa’s pa. This mission lasted little more than a year: intertribal warfare forced the closure of the station in October 1836. One of his notable converts from the area was Te Waharoa’s son, Wiremu Tamihana Tarapipipi, who was baptised in 1839.
The Brown family took up residence at Te Papa (Tauranga) in January 1838, and by 1839 Alfred Brown had purchased 1,333 acres of land for the CMS. Bishop G. A. Selwyn granted him his licence as minister of the Tauranga district on 19 December 1842 and appointed him the first archdeacon of Tauranga on 31 December 1843.
In 1840 he was responsible for a group of 13 Christian Maori travelling as far as Taupo, Wanganui and Cook Strait, preaching the gospel and distributing books, a mission which lasted three months.
One of his earliest converts, while he was stationed at Matamata, was Ngakuku, a nephew of the great Ngati Haua chief Te Waharoa, who was, according to Brown, “a very desperate character”. In 1836 as a result of problems at Matamata, it was decided that Brown and his Christian students should move over to Tauranga to establish the mission station there. This involved crossing the Kaimai ranges by the Wairere track, which led over steep, rugged terrain past the Wairere falls and down the eastern side of the ranges to Te Puna. A band of Christian Maori, including Ngakuku and a group of children from the mission school, set off towards Tauranga. While camped for the night near the falls they were surprised by a Te Arawa war party, which seized Ngakuku’s daughter, Tarore, killing her and taking out her heart as revenge for the murder of a Rotorua man by Te Waharoa. In a truly remarkable display of forgiveness, Ngakuku urged his fellows not to seek revenge (utu) for his daughter’s death, saying, “There lies my child. She has been murdered as payment for your bad conduct, but do not rise to seek a payment for her. God will do that. Let this be the finishing of the war with Rotorua. Now let peace be made.”
Another significant convert was Matiu Tahu. In 1828 when Ngati Maru of Thames destroyed the Otamataha pa, on the northern tip of the Te Papa peninsula the only dwelling left intact was that of Tahu, a greatly respected and feared tohunga. When the missionaries picked the Te Papa site for their station he became interested in the new religion, and was very helpful to them. His name appears on the deed of sale of the Te Papa land to A.N.Brown. Tahu was baptised by Brown on Good Friday 1839. In a remarkable public gesture he renounced his powers as a tohunga by placing on his head a container in which food had been cooked. The significance of this act would have been both obvious and shocking to non-Christian Maori. The head of the tohunga was particularly tapu or sacred, and to desecrate it by placing noa or profane items such as food on it would have been a horrifying thing to do. After his baptism Tahu, known now by his Christian name of Matiu (Matthew), took up residence in the Otumoetai pa, working there as a mission teacher until the 1850s, when he moved to Ohuki pa at Matapihi. Brown’s relationship with Tahu was a strong and enduring one, and they often discussed matters of both political and religious importance.
Matiu summed up the Maori dilemma in the face of the strict requirements of the missionaries. He told Brown “You are not satisfied with us and you often express a fear that our religion is only lip service, that it has no root in our hearts. You forget what we were and what we have thrown away, our cannibalism, our murders, our infanticide, our tapus, which were gods to us. What prevents our return to these things but religion?”
Until well into his old age Brown spent up to four months of each year walking the tracks of the Bay of Plenty and Waikato to preach and baptise. The land wars of the 1860s marred the end of Brown’s missionary work. Of note – the Norfolk Island pines seem grown around this part of the country were favoured by missionaries for the Christian cross, renewed in each year’s new growth.
Hadfield studied the Maori language while teaching at the mission school at Waimate North but was unhappy at the ‘worldly mindedness of the missionaries’ and anxious to spread the Gospel. He responded to a request for a missionary for the Kapiti coast, where many had some knowledge of Christianity through instruction given by Maori teachers. In November 1839 he began his work at Waikanae and Otaki and set out to understand the culture of the people there. At Waikanae he worked with Te Ati Awa, from Taranaki, with occasional visits to those of the tribe who had migrated to Queen Charlotte Sound. At Otaki were Ngati Toa and Ngati Raukawa, who extended into Manawatu and Rangitikei. He travelled hundreds of miles and by the end of 1841 was ministering to some 7,000 widely scattered Maori, and supervising 18 schools set up to provide an elementary European education combined with the teaching of agricultural and domestic skills.
His role included peacekeeping and he quickly gained respect. An early visitor to Waikanae described the young missionary as ‘a tall, straight, slender, active, sinewy, sunburnt, smiling Pakeha…an agreeable intellectual cheerful young Gentleman well up in the Maori Language, Habits and Manners’.
At first Hadfield found Te Ati Awa at Waikanae, who had been influenced by the teacher Hohepa Matahau (Ripahau), more receptive to his teaching than Maori at Otaki, led by Te Rauparaha. Although never a convert, Te Rauparaha became Hadfield’s firm friend and provided timber for the church at Waikanae in 1842; congregations of up to 500 came, often from a distance, to school and services. By 1843 most of the Otaki Maori had accepted Hadfield’s teachings; within five years the station at Waikanae fell into disuse. Hadfield’s task was complicated by the spiritual needs of the growing settler population at Port Nicholson (Wellington) and at Nelson, and their pressure for land. Matters came to a head with the confrontation at Wairau on 17 June 1843 and the missionary found his roles as mediator between Maori and settlers and adviser to Governor Robert FitzRoy interfering with his ‘proper work’.
He embraced Te Reo, and made the friendship of Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake, who would later become the central figure in the Taranaki land disputes. Hadfield’s strength of character enabled him to ingratiate himself amongst the various Kapiti Coast iwi and hapu, although on at least one occasion luck played a part:
“Hereiwi, who had gone through his karakia making the kumara ground tapu,interrupted by pronouncing a curse upon me which was necessarily to lead either to my death, or to my removal from Otaki. I told him his curse would neither affect my life nor influence my proceedings, but was much more likely to injure him. I then left them. Early next morning I went to Waikanae. On my return after a few days I learnt that Hereiwi had died during the night after the affair in the kumara garden. This produced a profound impression on the Maoris, who attributed his death to his cursing me. In vain I endeavoured to explain that I had heard from some Englishmen who knew him that he had been suffering from a complaint in his lungs, and that his death was occasioned by the rupture of a large blood-vessel. Not altogether convinced they resolved not to meddle any more with me, but to allow me in future to disregard all their tapu ceremonies, and go where I liked. After that Te Matia and I were on friendly terms, at least we lived in peace.”
Although preferring to work amongst the Kapiti Coast tribes rather than minister to the european community forming in Wellington, Hadfield was held in high regard by all. As Baraba Macmorran relates:
Hadfield married Henry William’s daughter Catherine. Hadfield’s sympathies were very largely with the Maori in all the land troubles that ensued through the years with the Government and the colonists if he thought there was the slightest exploitation of the Maori, yet even Colonel William Wakefield, head of the New Zealand Company in the country, wrote of him in 1842— “Mr. Hadfield, who was educated at Oxford, and is a single-minded and sincere minister of the Gospel, well deserves the estimation in which he is held by all parties.”
Hadfield’s interest in the Maori language meant that he was able to understand attitudes and expectations from both sides of the race divide, and that he also understood who of his contemporaries had a good understanding of Maori. Praising Robert Maunsell in a letter to the Church Missionary Society, March 8, 1847, he wrote:
“He is by far the ablest Maori scholar in the country, and his translation, especially from the Hebrew, is really beautiful—perhaps even more so than scholars in England would consider possible . , . they are at once idiomatic and literal. Mr. Maunsell has a very accurate knowledge of the language, though he has not very clear views on the philosophy and the metaphysical part of the grammar. Archdeacon W. Williams comes next to him, though at some distance, and after him nobody.”
The first minister in Auckland was the Rev. George Buttle, who arrived in 1843. The following year, the Rev Walter Lawry arrived as superintendent minister, taking over from Buttle. In 1845, Lawry gained an assistant- the Rev T. Buddle. Buddle was also joined by the Rev William Kirk. Kirk is described as “A thoughtful expositor, animated in style and intensely evangelistic. During 1848 there was a great influx of new believers.
Buddle reports: “We have had a very delightful work among the young people. Several of the teachers were made partakers of saving grace, and went to their work in the school full of love and zeal. The scholars caught the influence, and the general routine of teaching had to be suspended and give place to prayer, when several of the children were able to testify of the grace and mercy of God. The same power has been felt by the church generally; the members have been quickened, and several added. Our congregations are excellent, and would be still larger, had we more accommodation.” Within two years the number of members had doubled.
The spiritual atmosphere thus created characterised the church for long after. Morley well remembers in 1864-65 the earnest spirit of Christian fellowship, the crowded congregations and the lively prayer meetings, and how the adjoining school room was filled for special services, and scores were led to decision for God.”
The first revival recorded in Wellington happened in 1848, when the Rev. S. Ironside was one of the ministers. The main church, in Manners Street, was destroyed in a disastrous earthquake. One of the local preachers, Sergeant Lovell, with two of his children, were killed in the quake when a wall near the beach fell on them. Lovell had preached the previous Sunday in the church from the text “I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:4.). His death made a profound impression. “Mr Ironside, quick to improve the occasion, on the Sunday following mounted a stool near the ruined church and preached in the open air. The result was that there was a great revival of religion.”
The Manners Street church was rebuilt after the earthquake, but had to be replaced by another church in 1868. Morley says: “A revival under Mr Kirk’s ministry, when throughout the Circuit for two years there were conversions every Sunday, was a splendid preparation for the undertaking.” This church was destroyed by fire in 1879.
The Catholic Apostolic Church (no relation to the Roman Catholic Church), founded in Great Britain by the Rev. Edward Irving, was the first church in New Zealand that freely acknowledged the Charismatic ministry. By 1879 the congregation had increased considerably and the first Catholic Apostolic Church building was opened on Webb Street, Wellington, in November 1890.
William Taylor, of California, in 1864, crowded High Street Methodist Church in Auckland, and the communion rail was thronged with seekers of salvation.
The Rev. George Harper had come from Yorkshire, and became a junior minister in the Auckland Circuit when James Buller was in charge of it. From there, he visited the Thames in October, 1867, two months after gold was discovered in good quantities. He preached in the open air, and had a congregation of four hundred. Earnest, devoted men gathered around him, and two class meetings were started.
In due course, a church was built at Shortland, and five conversions were recorded at the opening service. At first, local preachers led the worship, and a minister from Auckland visited every three or four weeks. “There were many gracious seasons realised within its walls….The Divine Spirit often moved mightily on the congregation, and many were led to forsake sin and begin a new life. On the goldfields generally there was a spirit of religious enquiry, and conversions were frequent.”
In 1875, the Rev John Crump was ministering under the superintendency of the Rev T. Buddle in the Manukau Circuit, and the Rev James Buller in the Canterbury Circuit. In the latter place, Crump had seen widespread revival.
“At the Thames, in 1875, an even greater work of grace was seen. For weeks marvellous displays of Divine power were common in the services, some literally falling down and crying aloud under conviction of sin, and many in the mines, who had not attended the services at all, were led to Christ. He recalls gratefully the help given in those days by the late Mr J. Kernick, Mrs Richards, and Mrs Heron, who were then class leaders there. ”
Henry Varley, a leading English evangelist, held very successful crusades in New Zealand during 1878-79. It was during one of his crusades in Wellington in 1879 that Harry Roberts was converted. Mr. H. Roberts would go on to host Smith Wigglesworth in New Zealand and become the main leader of the Pentecostal Church of New Zealand opening the first Pentecostal church building, United Mission Hall, on 13th February, 1900.
Buller supervised the building of the Durham Street church, which became the Methodist Cathedral of Canterbury. “A few months after its dedication, William Taylor, of California, held a series of revival services therein, preaching first to the church, and urging the members to seek holiness of heart. He then addressed the unconverted, and several scores of persons” were converted as a result.
Prayer meetings and week night meetings were largely attended. New fellowship classes were formed. During the year there was an increase of 152 members of the Church, with another 113 “on trial” for membership, and an increase of 570 adherents.
Blight says, “He (Buddle) was full of fervour and of spiritual power. Under his preaching, and especially under his impassioned prayers, there was continual revival wherever he went.”
Thomas Spurgeon, son of the great revivalist Charles Spurgeon, came to New Zealand in 1881. Within a few years his Auckland congregation – the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle – had grown to become the largest in the South Pacific.
Rev Edward Best was minister between 1882 and 1884. He was an Irishman who had taken part in the great Irish Revival of 1859. He came to New Zealand as a senior minister in 1881. “He was a saintly man, and the tears would course down his cheeks as he pleaded with men to yield themselves to the Saviour. He lived amidst perpetual revival.”
“During Mr Kirk’s term in the New Plymouth Circuit, the circuit enjoyed an almost continuous revival, and many of those then converted are still active members. In 1886 also there was a great ingathering, under the preaching of Rev J. S. Smalley.
Rev. and Mrs. John Alexander Dowie arrived in Wellington. They also visited Dunedin where they were the guests of Mr. & Mrs. John A. D. Adams, who later founded the Roslyn City Road Mission in 1903 and supported Smith Wigglesworth when he campaigned in 1922.
Two months prior to the Dowie’s arrival a ten day convention had been held in Wellington in January on the theme of “holiness and divine healing”. Dowie’s campaign was short and attendances were small but it marked the beginnings of an outpouring of divine healing in New Zealand.
Pastor George Müller also visited New Zealand and spent week nights preaching in various churches in Wellington. Even though he was 83 years old, he ministered night after night, and hundreds of people experienced God in a greater way through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In February, 1895, the Rev Thomas Cook conducted a ten-day mission in the Durham Street Methodist Church in Christchurch. “Nothing like the scenes witnessed had occurred since 1865. Hundreds of people were turned away on the last night of the Mission. Mr Cook was quiet in manner, and skilled in presenting the claims of Christ. He was a man of prayer, possessed great spiritual power.” 300 converts were claimed during this Mission. Cook also conducted a mission in Timaru in 1895, and saw one of the largest harvests there that he saw anywhere in New Zealand.
In August and September 1902 R. A. Torrey, pastor of Moody Church of Chicago and president of Moody Bible Institute of Chicago went with his song leader Charles Alexander to the cities of Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin in New Zealand. In Dunedin around 800 conversions were recorded. In both Australia and New Zealand over 20,000 conversions were recorded in total, with 1700 prayer groups in action throughout Melbourne praying for salvations. Torrey went from New Zealand to help lead in the Welsh Revival. In 1913 the Prime Minister of New Zealand welcomed the ministry of Torrey – Alexander on behalf of all the people of New Zealand.
The years 1912-1913 saw the team return to Australia, adding to their schedule New Zealand, Tasmania and Ceylon. In three weeks in Auckland, New Zealand, some 2,000 definite commitments for church membership were made.
Rev J Wilson saw a revival at the gold mining community of Waihi in 1905 which he describes as similar to the religious fervour of the Welsh revival – and the most dramatic revival he had seen in 22 years of ministry. Dr Watson was a travelling evangelist from America and he conducted a mission which was followed up with the Waihi townspeople carrying them on and Rev Wilson eventually coming to speak at these at Wesley Church, and alternating venues round the churches in Waihi. The “after meetings” had no set leadership and composed of prayer, praise and testimonies. Meetings were held all day and every day for weeks on end.
In the years 1918-1924 there was what can only be described as a move of glory in New Zealand among Maori.
Although Mere Rikiriki had prophesied in 1912 that Ratana who was baptized a Methodist would become a spiritual leader, he showed little sign of his potential until 1918. On 8 November, he saw a strange cloud like a whirlwind rise from the sea and rapidly approach him. He stood up and the cloud enfolded him. He heard the following words.
“Fear not, I am the Holy Ghost. My eye has looked to and fro in all the earth to find a people upon who I can rest.. I have come back to Aotearoa to choose you, the Maori people. Repent! Cleanse yourself and your family. Ratana, I appoint you to be a Mouthpiece of God for the multitude of the land. Ratana; Unite the Maori people, turning them to Jehovah of the Thousands, for this is His compassion to all of you.” As he ran towards his house he experienced a vision of all the worlds roads stretching towards him and felt a heavy but invisible weight descend upon his shoulders. When Ratana went inside and told his family what had happened they thought that he was crazy at first. Later in the day an angel appeared to him and repeated that he was called to turn the Maori people all over New Zealand away from spiritualistic and superstitious beliefs back to God. He was told he was called to heal the spirits and bodies of his people. Ratana threw all alcohol out of his house and immediately ended his business as the local bookie. He began reading and meditating on the Bible. He also felt tested in his faith and began praying for the sick.
Through the next few weeks Ratanas family believed him mad. At times he spoke with the voices of the Holy Spirit or the archangels Gabriel or Michael. He cleared out his house and took his family for night walks over rugged farm land. He put all the clothes and belongings of some members of his family in piles and said they belonged to the dead; all of their owners died in the influenza epidemic then raging throughout New Zealand. Those who had followed his advice to leave their homes survived. As his strange behaviour continued, Te Urumanaao and other family members came to believe that he was not mad but divinely inspired.
The first healing was that of his son Omeka, who had become ill in October when a needle became lodged behind his knee. A planned operation at Wanganui Hospital did not eventuate because the needle could not be located. Omeka was brought home; it was predicted that he would die. After a week of intensive prayer the needle emerged from Omekas thigh. Word spread, and at a hui tangihanga for all those who had lost family members in the influenza epidemic, the Whanganui chief Te Kahupukoro brought his bedridden daughter to see Ratana. After asking the girl whether she believed in the power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Ratana told her to rise; she recovered to lead a normal life. This was the second of many healings.
The next few years were a whirlwind for Ratana. People began arriving at his house with tents, and even building small wooden shanties on his land. Eventually the crowds became hundreds and thousands. He had 20 to 100 visitors daily; Everyone he prayed for was required to give up superstitions and believe in the Trinity. His voice and manner were quiet and gentle; he adopted no histrionics and did not touch his patients. His method was to question them about their illness and their faith in the healing powers of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the Faithful Angels. If the answers were satisfactory he would command them to rise, or set aside their crutches. He worked mainly with the lame, the blind or the paralysed. He did not always aim for instant healing. A growing pile of crutches, walking-sticks and wheelchairs at Ratana pa testified to his success.
One distinction of Ratana was also the additional emphasis on the “Faithful Angels” who were God’s ministers to man, possibly from his own angelic experiences. He would not pray for non-Maori people in person as he felt called to his own people but he would pray for those who sent letters to him. Healings became so common he was known as the “Maori Miracle Man” as newspaper articles about him began to appear. A non-denominational church was built on his land so that services could be held there. The first services included both Protestant and Catholic leaders. The Christmas 1920 service had over 3000 attendees and over 1000 healings were recorded.
1921 and 1922 were years of dramatic increase. Ratana traveled throughout the North and South Islands. Everywhere he went he called the Maori people to give up the old superstitions and convert to Christianity. Thousands came to his meetings where he regularly prophesied and healed the sick. All of these visits produced numerous conversions to his teachings; in some places more than half the Maori population agreed to become part of the morehu (survivors), the name for Ratanas followers. In places visited by Ratana the cures witnessed lent weight to his prophetic sayings, which were treasured afterwards. As part of his campaign against traditional Maori religion and tohunga he deliberately desecrated places of ancient tapu.
Ratana was supportive of doctors and medicine. He asked people to seek God first but encouraged people to seek medical help if they did not improve. Although Ratana was initially supported by regular denominations concern was beginning to be raised on three fronts. Firstly Ratana kept a distance from European people and he believed that Maori people should have Maori leadership. He would not meet with the press because he had endured extreme criticism and antagonism. His secretary handled all questions suggesting to some that there was secrecy involved in the movement. Secondly many of the people converted under Ratana were seeing him as their spiritual leader and not the denominational churches, which hoped to disciple the new converts. Finally Ratana’s emphasis on the “Faithful Angels” was considered out of the mainstream and somewhat suspect. By 1922 Ratana had received over 70,000 letters from all over New Zealand and from other countries, reflecting how far his fame had grown.
On March 18, 1924 Ratana and his family visited Mt Taranaki and Parihaka where he heard a voice reminding him to take care of the land of his people . In 1840 The Treaty of Waitangi was written between the Government of England and the Maori people. It recognized the prior occupation by Maori people of New Zealand and extended them the status and rights of British citizens. This treaty was largely ignored by Europeans however. As a result and a burning desire to obey the voice of God, Ratana In 1924, took a group of Maori from his church and went to England with a copy of the Treaty to petition King George V & His son Edward for their support. He was not allowed to meet with the King or the Prince but held meetings in London, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan with many healing recorded. Still Ratana knew he been ignored and mistreated in Britain.
By the end of 1924 Ratana’s ministry of physical healing was fading. He said later that it was because people were looking to him rather than to God. Which made him very sad. Most of the denominational churches distanced themselves. Ratana himself removed himself from the daily spiritual leadership of the church and handed the reins to other leaders who were more interested in the administrative tasks of the ministry.
A breach with orthodox religions developed over the years, provoking intense theological debates at Ratana pa. Initially, Ratana had discouraged attempts to deify him, but within two years the Ratana formula for the godhead included the Mangai, as well as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Ratana began to refer to other churches as introduced to New Zealand by gentiles, and therefore not fit for his people. In the early 1920s the Mangai had often prayed publicly in the name of Jesus; in the 1930s this practice was dropped and the Mangai himself was sometimes regarded as the kaiwhakaora (saviour). Both his sons Arepa (Alpha) and Omeka (Omega), always regarded as imbued with spiritual forces, died early in the 1930s, and not long afterwards the Mangai began to encourage his followers to regard them as Ratana saints or mediators.The final straw for the orthodox was that Ratana abandoned monogamy. In 1925, encouraged by Te Urumanaao, he took a second, much younger, wife to protect him against the infatuation of thousands of admiring women; this was Iriaka Te Rio, one of the dance troupe of girls who had travelled with Ratana. He had two children by her. Te Urumanaao was known from this time by the title, Te Whaea o te Katoa (the mother of all).
“On his first overseas trip Ratana had returned via Japan, visiting a Japanese Christian bishop. Relations with the Japanese had been very good; it was the highlight of the trip. Ratana thought that both Maori and Japanese were among the lost tribes of Israel. A marriage between two of his party took place in Japan, the ceremony presided over by a Japanese bishop” (Ballara).
“The idea grew that Ratana had married the Maori race to the Japanese race, had enlisted their support for Maori grievances and had prophesied the coming of worldwide war between the non-white and white races. He was accused of brandishing a Japanese Dagger and flying the Japanese flag at Ratana pa. Eyewitnesses denied these stories, and Ratana himself gave a speech describing his familys loyalty to the Crown, but some Maori leaders grew concerned and reported their fears to the government. When Pita Moko issued an official denial and published the text of Ratanas new covenant to demonstrate that the church was not disloyal, some morehu were disappointed at what they regarded as a betrayal and withdrew from the movement. Ratanas healing power, as he had predicted, was deserted him, although Pita Moko continued to report some cures” (Ballara).
There are over 50,000 members of the Ratana Church in New Zealand and 20,000 members in Australia mainly composed of Maori descent. There are 127 parishes in operation in New Zealand and 14 parishes operating in Australia.
In 1919 Herbert Booth, son of the late General Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) came to New Zealand. It was out of these crusades that “The Christian Covenanters Confederacy” was born.
In 1920 Thomas Kemp took over the pastorate of the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle Church. God had miraculously healed him prior to this so he had great expectations. He organised daily prayer meetings for revival which ran for over 18 months – “the burden of all of which have been “wilt Thou not revive us again””.
Mr J. Fullerton, a missionary of the China Inland Mission, was baptised with the Holy Spirit in a Pentecostal revival in Yunan, China. In a remarkably short space of time he had the supreme joy of seeing NINE THOUSAND gathered to the Lord. One night during prayer he was greatly impressed to pray for New Zealand, and it was revealed to him by the Spirit that God was about to pour out a Pentecostal effusion there. During his furlough to his own country, Denmark, he met Evangelist Smith-Wigglesworth. He then told him what God had revealed about New Zealand, and asked him if he had any leadings to visit New Zealand.
The Evangelist did make it a matter of serious prayer, and found that God desired him to visit these countries.
Pastor H. Roberts made the necessary arrangements for introducing Smith Wiggles-worth to the New Zealand public. Roberts had converted under the English Evangelist Henry Varley, in 1889, and had been engaged for 33 years in aggressive Christian work— more especially in the open air—and had been greatly burdened for New Zealand. Knowing that revival could only come through prayer, he had started Prayer Circles in the different suburbs of Wellington; nine of these being in full swing right up to this time. A regular attender of these meetings remarked that they had had very powerful seasons of blessing, and Pastor Roberts firmly believed the coming of the Evangelist was a direct answer to importunity in prayer.
Evangelist Smith Wigglesworth arrived at the end of May 1922. With two Christian friends, Pastor Roberts engaged the large Town Hall — a real act of faith — and paid down part of a night’s rental £8 10s. The minister of the Vivian Street Baptist Church, an eye-witness of the Welsh revival, gave the use of the Sunday School Hall for morning meetings, and the Evangelist began his campaign with a series of addresses on The Enduement of Power and The Gifts of the Spirit.
The numbers at these morning meetings increased so rapidly that the main Church had to be opened, and this too was soon packed out. Miraculous healings took place, as deformed and diseased children were prayed for. Many in the audience wept. A few adults— desperate cases—were ministered to. One gaunt consumptive, wan-faced man, who had been entirely given up as a hopeless case, was carried in, in a coma, but after prayer, arose full of vigour, and walked, with head up, out of the Church, healed!
For the evening meetings the Town Hall had been engaged. The first night, a Sunday, saw an audience of approximately 800. The next night this had increased to 1600. The third night the place, holding 3000, was full. From then on, for three weeks, crowds were turned away each night, unable to gain admission. It was quite a common sight to see the people hurrying along the streets, when as they came near the precincts of the Town Hall, they would begin to run. A strange presence seemed to pervade the very atmosphere.
One night at least a 1000 people could not gain admittance. A Salvation Army Officer who had come all the way from Brisbane to be in the revival, stood on the steps and preached to an outside audience. At least twenty decided for Christ, and several remarkable healings took place.
Many souls were won for Christ and many were also healed as can be seen in the following sworn affidavit, given by a milkman from Wellington:
“I attended the Town Hall on crutches; I saw others being healed and believed that God would heal me. I went forward, Mr Wigglesworth laid his hands on me, one of the workers anointed me with oil, Mr Wigglesworth told me to walk. I handed him my crutches and walked home. I felt as the healing came, as if a tight pair of stockings were being removed from my legs”.
There were over 2000 decisions for Christ, about 800 people filled with the Holy Spirit with the signs of speaking in tongues, demons cast out and hundreds baptized in water.
There were so many new converts in Wellington that on 17th July, 1922, it was decided to call the emerging organization the “Wellington City Mission” with Pastor H. Roberts as the Missioner for the congregation.
Smith Wigglesworth also held Healing Meetings at the Auckland Town Hall, Oct 27-Nov 11, 1923.
Shortly before Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947) passed into glory he prophesied, “During the next few decades there will be two distinct moves of the Holy Spirit across the church in Great Britain. The first move will affect every church that is open to receive it, and will be characterised by the restoration of the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The second move of the Holy Spirit will result in people leaving historic churches and planting new churches. In the duration of each of these moves, the people who are involved will say, ‘This is a great revival.’ But the Lord says, ‘No, neither is this the great revival but both are steps towards it.’
When the new church phase is on the wane, there will be evidence in the churches of something that has not been seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit.
When the word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest move of the Holy Spirit that the nations, and indeed, the world have ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and Welsh revivals of former years.
The outpouring of God’s Spirit will flow over from the United Kingdom to mainland Europe, and from there, will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth.
The following account is of a particularly powerful vision given to Smith Wigglesworth during the early part of World War II, when he was being visited by a young Lester Sumrall (the well-known healing-deliverance evangelist and founder of the charitable organization ‘Feed the Hungry’). This account of Wigglesworth’s vision comes from pg 168-169 of Lester Sumrall’s 1995 book, ‘Pioneers of Faith’:
“… Shutting his eyes again, he said, ‘I see the greatest revival in the history of mankind coming to Planet earth, maybe as never before. And I see every form of disease healed. I see whole hospitals emptied with no one there. Even the doctors are running down the streets shouting.’
“He told me that there would be untold numbers of uncountable multitudes that would be saved. No man will say ‘so many, so many,’ because nobody will be able to count those who come to Jesus. No disease will be able to stand before God’s people… ‘It will be a worldwide situation, not local,’ he said, ‘a worldwide thrust of God’s power and God’s anointing upon mankind.’
1922: Aimee Semple-McPherson
Apparently preached Evangelistic and Healing Meetings, Methodist Church in Taranaki St and Town Hall, 27 Aug 1922.
Pentecostal Church of New Zealand
The Wellington City Mission was set up to disciple those new converts that came out of Smith Wigglesworth’s campaign in 1922. It was the first attempt at organizing the Pentecostal movement in New Zealand. The organization changed its name to New Zealand Evangelical Mission in 1923. In 1924, independent American evangelist A. C. Valdez arrived in New Zealand and was perturbed by the controversy and schism he discovered in the Movement. Under his leadership, Pentecostals in the nation reorganized in December 1924 as The Pentecostal Church of New Zealand. Problems continued to plague the emerging Pentecostal movement, and by 1926 the organization was deeply divided over how it was to be structured.
Valdez concluded that New Zealand Pentecostals would benefit from association with a more mature fellowship of churches. He stated that, for ten years, he had made a special effort to study the various forms of church government. He recommended that New Zealanders align themselves with the Assemblies of God in the United States. Clark notes that Valdez’s recommendation was remarkable, given that Valdez did not hold credentials with that body in America. Clark also tempered this remark with the observation that Valdez, as a divorced and remarried man, was precluded from receiving Assemblies of God credentials.
In 1932, the arrival of the British-based Apostolic Church to New Zealand led to a loss of disaffected PCNZ members, and an ongoing competition for church congregations with the AoG movement. The Pentecostal Church also had to compete with other Pentecostal groups, such as A. H. Dallimore’s Revival Fire churches and the New Zealand counterpart to the Australian-based Christian Revival Crusade. The Pentecostal Church split again in 1946 after three American pastors introduced baptism in Jesus’ name. These American pastors led a breakaway group that became associated with the Latter Rain Movement and today is known as the New Life Churches. What remained of the Pentecostal Church in New Zealand disbanded in 1952 and affiliated with the Elim Pentecostal Church based in the United Kingdom. However, in 1963 the AoG, Apostolic, Elim and CRC joined to found the New Zealand Pentecostal Fellowship.
James Moore Hickson was an Anglican layman with a healing ministry, who visited New Zealand in 1923-1924, his campaigns receiving the support of the Anglican bishops. Healing Missions, St Matthews Church, Auckland. Sep 30-Oct 5, 1923. “Never before has Auckland witnessed a scene quite like that which took place at St. Matthew’s Church last evening, the House of God besieged by a crowd of worshippers so vast that it would have taken two or three churches to accommodate those who were turned away from its doors. The church being filled to its utmost capacity each day, and many applications had to be refused even then. There was no lack of willing helpers, and one noticed clergy and ministers of our own Church and of the Free Churches all working together, which was a very pleasing sight to behold.
On the first day of the Mission I received the Bishop’s commission and blessing, and then, as I ministered to the sick, the Bishop followed me, giving to each one the Church’s blessing. During the Mission I visited several bedridden people in their homes, and also the Knox Hospital and Costley Home, the Mental Hospital, and a private hospital.
One of the clergy present sends the following account of the Mission in Auckland:—
The day opened with every one knowing what to do and what was going to be the demand upon them. Eighty stewards were in attendance, thirty nurses, six doctors, several St. John Ambulance workers, a team of motorists, and the ambulances themselves. All worked without a hitch. After the laying on of hands, the patients passed out. Men, women, and children had met, all classes, creeds, and races, in a common sorrow, a common faith, and a common hope, and were leaving in a common joy. Their faces bore a wonderful testimony to the closeness of their approach to the Divine Healer.
One young woman, blind for eight years, was the centre of a group of rejoicing friends. She could see. Before, she could only tell light from darkness, but now, to use her own words, “I can see your spectacles, your eyes, the colour of your eyes, and the buttons on your coat.”
A child, whose legs were crooked and his feet turned in to one another, was gazing at his feet. They were straight, so were his legs; he could walk like other boys.
A man came in on a stretcher, he went away in a motorcar with the stretcher strapped on the back. As the car passed up the street, the motor-man on a tramcar shouted out: “Look at that! Someone’s healed. Praise God.”
One boy of twelve, who was quite crippled, went off to see his cousin, a youngster of four, and said to him, “Look, I can walk.”
“My daughter,” said one delighted mother,” is now twenty-three, and has been blind in her right eye ever since she had measles, nineteen years ago. The doctors said that the pupil had been eaten away by abscesses. Could we examine it? Certainly.” The pupil was there, quite round and large, and the sight was there also.
Paralysed in his left arm, blind in his left eye, and partially paralysed in his legs, was the affliction of a youth of twenty. At 8 p.m. his father rang up: “My boy can see colours at twelve feet with his blind eye, and his arm can be moved quite normally.” At 9.30 he rang up again, and, in an excited voice, cried: “My boy’s legs have gone straight, the huge knee-joints have disappeared, and he can walk as well as you or I.” Someone told him afterwards that it was due to mental suggestion, and that there was no reality in the cure. It was a highly-placed cleric who told him. His reply was: “I had a crippled boy, but now he is healed. What’s the use of your talking to me? You go through the experience of having a lifelong crippled son and see him call upon God and be healed and you’ll think differently.”
How many were healed? That we cannot say, nor ever shall be able. Were any cases other than functional disorders? That depends upon how the term is to be understood. But the writer can testify to this, that his own wife was a sufferer from cancer and spinal disease. She had had two severe operations, and another was pending. The doctors declared the cancer to have gone beyond the power of science, and the X-ray plates revealed the decay of the vertebra?. It would be a mercy if the cancer killed her before the spinal trouble got much worse. She was healed over two years ago, and lives and works as an ordinary woman and suffers neither pain nor weakness. If we worship God at all, we must worship Him as He has been revealed to us—able to save and heal “unto the uttermost.”
Men and women of Auckland have entered into a new experience. All life and being is bound up in God, and God is dwelling within us. He is the same “yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” The days of the Incarnation are these days, and the New Testament has become for many a domestic, a personal experience, not a record of ancient history.
“I’ve been a rotter,” said a father, whose paralysed child had been blessed. What did he mean? just what many others have thought of themselves, viz. that the man who lives without God is not doing his duty either to himself or to his loved ones, and he is spurning the love that is as boundless as Infinity itself. “I’ve been a rotter.” It is the penitence of one who has been up to the Cross.
James also travelled to Rotorua, Gisbourne, Wellington, Otaki, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Invercargill and Palmerston North.
In 1924 something happened that made Valdez take notice that God was calling him to a new adventure. A woman, named Molly Ayers, knocked at the door of his house and prophesied to him. She was an evangelist from Australia and she told Valdez that God was calling him to Australia to preach. The event was unexpected but was a confirmation of what God had spoken to him several years before. Although he did not have the finances to go on the trip Ayers told him to be ready to go shortly. After she left Valdez told God he would go but that God would have to provide the finances. That night God gave him a vision of a ship going to Australia via New Zealand. The vision even included the ship name Mongunewy. Within a few days Valdez had received a large gift, which allowed him to take his entire family, including his children and mother on the trip. They booked the first available ship – the Mongunewy.
When Valdez arrived in New Zealand he had no plans to stop, as they only had enough money to get to Australia. When they arrived there, however, a large group of people asked him to hold meetings. He ended up staying in New Zealand for six months! He saw many miraculous healings in large meetings.
The Assemblies of God in New Zealand were born out of the Smith Wigglesworth crusades in Wellington. Belief in the present day operation of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit was proclaimed at the first General Council meeting on 27th September, 1927.
Under Valdez’s guidance, and in cooperation with the American church, the Assemblies of God in New Zealand was formed on March 29, 1927. Within one month the new body had fashioned a constitution and a Statement of Fundamental Truths modeled after those adopted by the Americans. Many congregations, formerly with The Pentecostal Church of New Zealand, aligned themselves with the Assemblies of God. In the 1930s, the Apostolic Church entered the nation via Australia, and many disaffected Assemblies of God members and leaders left for the newer body. These losses cemented a generation of poor relations between the Apostolic Church and the Assemblies of God.
The Assemblies of God struggled during its first 20 years, probably never exceeding 400 members. The postwar years brought growth, as a significant number of British pastors moved to New Zealand in the late 1940s and brought integrity, passion, and fresh ideas. The church grew steadily and started a Bible school in 1951. Church growth picked up in the early 1960s as the Assemblies of God, then under the leadership of Frank Houston, identified with the emerging charismatic renewal.
A significant portion of the growth in the Assemblies of God was due to an influx of non-caucasians. The first ethnically-Samoan church affiliated with the Assemblies of God in 1965. By 1999, the Assemblies of God in New Zealand claimed approximately 27,000 adherents – including 16,000 people in European-culture churches and 11,000 people in churches of other ethnicities. By 2003, more than 80 Samoan congregations were affiliated with the Assemblies of God in New Zealand, although some 25 of them have left since 2003 to establish their own group of churches.
Arthur Henry Dallimore was a highly controversial figure in the healing and Pentecostal movements. Dallimore was born in Penshurst, Kent, England, on September 14, 1873. He was the son John Dallimore and Mary Ann Spanswick Dallimore. He evidently came from a religious family. They attended a Baptist and then an Anglican church. When he was seven he contracted typhoid fever but was healed when his parents prayed for him. In 1886 the Dallimore family immigrated to New Zealand. The family attended the Wesleyan Church in Opunake, under the ministry of the Rev. Hammond, a Maori Missioner.
Converted by a faith healer in Vancouver, he again experienced divine healing through Charles Price, an internationally famous Pentecostal preacher and protégé of the celebrated Aimee Semple MacPherson. In 1920, at a British-Israel movement conference, Pentecostal missionary John Graham Lake persuaded him to enter the ministry.
Dallimore returned to New Zealand as an evangelist in 1927. He joined with an evangelist named Bragg for a short time in Auckland. On December 4th he broke out on his own and started a healing and evangelistic mission in the East Street Hall. In many ways the area was prepared for Dallimore by the previous healing and evangelistic meetings of Smith Wigglesworth, James Moore Hickson, and T. W. Ratana the Maori healer. The beginnings were humble with 5-10 people coming to the meetings. Dallimore’s wife would lead singing and helped to pray for the sick. Remarkable healings occurred and within four years there were 1000 people regularly attending the meetings.
In 1931, prior to the publicity boom, Dallimore baptised 100 people at one time in the Auckland Tepid Baths. A year after this mass-baptism, another 71 were baptised at one time. By 1935 Dallimore indicated that he had baptised over 1100 people in his Auckland ministry (a period spanning a little over seven years).
A significant part of this growth came through Dallimore’s passion for evangelism. In outlining his plans in the first issue of his Revival Fire Monthly magazine, his primary stated aim was to talk about ‘God’s Plan of Salvation’. Dallimore’s passion for evangelism and healing led to his conducting weekly meetings for extended periods of time in places such as Hamilton, Ngaruawahia and Rotorua. A young mother, Thelma Irvine, was converted from nominal Christianity to a vital faith at a Dallimore meeting (the first and only Dallimore meeting she ever attended) in Hamilton in 1931. In her words, ‘When he called people to accept the Lord I couldn’t get up quick enough’; ‘the Lord was calling’. She felt the ‘warmth of the Spirit’ and fell down when prayed for.
The ministry was renamed to be the Revival Fire Mission. Finally the meetings were so large the only building that could hold them was the Auckland Town Hall. Dallimore’s ministry was extended through newspaper stories and radio sermons. He also prayed for handkerchiefs that were sent out all over the world. There was some criticism when it was publicized that people had taken anointed handkerchiefs and used them to heal their animals. There were also reports of the repair of mechanical fixtures when anointed handkerchiefs were used. Dallimore aggressively attacked medicine and medical practitioners.
The presence of God would cause many to “fall under the power” and people spoke in tongues. Surprisingly Dallimore did not identify himself as Pentecostal because he felt there was a culture of emotional excess in the movement. Dallimore emphasized Biblical statements concerning God’s promises to heal and he was heard to say over and over again `If I can lift anyone up or help them to make things worthwhile, by prayer or by the same means relieve pain, I am doing a service.” The years between 1927 and 1932 were known as the Dallimore Revival or Revival Fire Mission Revival. By 1932 he had two thousand people attending his meetings. A local magistrate estimated that between 20,000 and 40,000 people had “fallen under the power” in Dallimore’s meetings over a five year period and none of them had been hurt.
Dallimore came under attack by the religious, medical, political forces in Auckland. The government created a committee to investigate the healing claims of the ministry. They concluded that there were no verifiable healings. Church members raised complaints in the local papers when the committee refused to speak to those who were more than willing to give medical evidence of their healings. Dallimore did not participate since he viewed the entire proceeding as prejudiced and unlikely to give him a fair hearing. The outcome was that the church was no longer allowed to meet in the Town Hall. Within two months Dallimore’s supporters had rallied and forced the government to allow him use of the building once more.
Dallimore focused on two areas; divine healing and British-Israelism. The thesis of British-Israelism, also referred to as Anglo-Israelism, is that Great Britain was the geographical home of the lost tribes of Israel. The teaching identified the present day Anglo-Saxon people as God’s Chosen People. Charles Parham was a major proponent of British-Israelism. The teaching was popular at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th but has generally fallen out of favor. Dallimore believed that corrupting European philosophies, including communism were to be fought by men of God. In 1932 Dallimore wrote two books, the first was on healing “Healing by Faith, Including Many Testimonies of Healing Received by People in New Zealand” and then “Britain-Israel : chats about our empire, our people and our origin.”
Dallimore became increasingly unorthodox. His teachings on British-Israelism overshadowed other doctrines. In 1932 he predicted that Edward VIII would not marry but lead Anglo-Saxons into a new purity, which would then bring the return of Christ in 1936. He also shifted his story of being healed as a youngster to being raised from the dead by his mother. Dallimore spent a lot of time teaching that the Great Pyramid of Giza had special significance. Healings became less frequent and his converts started moving into more traditional churches. His congregation steadily shrank. Dallimore achieved more notoriety in the 1950s by becoming an anti-Trinitarian. It is interesting to note that his wife became an Anglican in the 1950s, evidently feeling that Dallimore had left the fundamentals of the faith by that time. He remained in ministry until 1960. The Revival Fire Mission closed its doors in 1968. A. H. Dallimore died in Auckland on July 23, 1970 at the age of 96.
Donald came to NZ in 1928, writing his book “Concerning Spiritual Gifts” on the trip out. He ministered here for six weeks.
Stephen arrived in Wellington October 22nd. Crowds met in the Exhibition hall with numbers of 2000 each meeting. He also travelled to New Plymouth and Christchurch to do meetings followed by the Annual Assemblies of God conference.
Conversions and healings accompanied him. He laid hands on a Maori chief emaciated with cancer and he shook from head to feet, got up from his bed and walked. The crowd fell on their faces and cried to God for salvation.
Len Jones founded the SOM in Wellington in 1932 and it later evolved into the “World Outreach”. It was a Pentecostal missionary agency and stocked and distributed books about the healing revivals and published a monthly magazine called “The Evidence” which ran testimonies of healing.
Frank and Ray begin healing meetings among rural Maori at Waiomio, Kawakawa – lasting till 1959 when Houston relocated to Lower Hutt.Ray moved to the USA and Canada but his way of doing things influenced Frank Houston who carried on the work in New Zealand. Frank became pastor of Lower Hutt Assembly of God in 1959. He played a decisive role in the development of the Assemblies of God and became its General Superintendent in 1966.
His opened to the independent Pentecostal churches and denominational churches greatly assisted the growth of the Charismatic movement, with help from Trevor Chandler, his assistant.
American Hicks conducted healing evangelism campaigns in Christchurch and Wellington. These inspired the likes of Rob Wheeler, Ron Coady and Norman White.
In 1957 Rob Wheeler resigned his church pastorate in Tauranga and set up a non-profit society “Word of Faith Ministry”. Wheeler acquired a 36×18 foot tent and launched an evangelistic healing campaign modelled off Oral Roberts. He was one of the first in New Zealand to do this – though others like Ian Hunt, Graeme Jacks, Mike Bensley and the White brothers soon followed suit.
A. S. Worley arrived from the USA in October to conduct healing meetings and had “spectacular success in Timaru in June and July 1960”.
During Graham’s 1959 campaign in New Zealand he claimed that he preached to “more people in 6 days than in any of week of my ministry”. 574,300 people attended the meetings and 17,493 “decisions for Christ” were made (one third of which were for “reaffirmastion of faith”.
Campbell was a noted Brethren speaker, and also spoke in Baptist and Youth For Christ circles. He conducted cottage meetings throughout New Zealand when he was invited to New Zealand by the Brethren but then they chose not to have him speak when they found out he had experienced an “infilling of the Spirit” in the late 1950’s in South Africa. He conducted another campaign in 1963 in New Zeland aiming to put a copy of the Gospel of John in every home.
Paul and Ron conducted a successful campaign in Gore in March. This, along with Worley and Wheelers campaigns marked a breakthrough for the success of the “Full Gospel” movement’s expansion throughout the nation. The main emphasis was on salvation and healing with baptism of the Spirit becoming more prominent after mid 1961. The vigorous growth of the campaigns right across NZ led to “Full Gospel” churches being set up to care for the converts. These were autonomous self-giverning assemblies sometimes collectively known as the “Indigenous churches”. They formed the nucleus of what was later to become the “New Life Churches of NZ”.
New Life Churches International is a Pentecostal Christian church denomination that was formally established in New Zealand in the 1960s. It was led for many years by Rob Wheeler and Peter Morrow. Early influences date from the 1940s when a series of meetings conducted by overseas ‘Bethel Temple’ missionaries resulted in the planting of congregations in New Zealand and Australia under the name “The Latter Rain Movement”. Some of its early leaders, including Morrow, attended a Bible college in Sydney in 1951. Further evangelistic campaigns and training occurred after 1957 and throughout the 1960s.
In 1960, meetings began in Timaru that led to the establishment of Timaru New Life Centre. Also many evangelistic campaigns took place throughout New Zealand. Peter Morrow began work in Christchurch in 1962 as the pastor of the church there, which was then known as the Christchurch Revival Fellowship. By 1964, thirteen “indigenous” churches had been established in the South Island. A number of congregations were planted in the North Island over the same period. Individual churches in the NLCNZ are autonomous and not governed by the central organisation. Bible schools were established in Tauranga, Auckland and Christchurch.
The New Life Churches, particularly in Auckland, were influential in setting up the Associated Pentecostal Churches of New Zealand, a pan-Pentecostal fellowship of church groups, in 1975.
In 1961 Rob and Beryl Wheeler held revival meetings in a large tent in Christchurch.
Arthur built upon the foundation that Campbell McAlpine laid in supporting the charismatic movement in New Zealand. He too was a Brethren speaker from Britain. He helped bring together Pentecostals and Charismatics.
He organised, alongside Frank Carlisle, the Palmerston North Massey University Conference in 1964, which also included Tom Marshall as a speaker, sharing testimonies of their infilling with the Spirit. This conference drew together participants from Baptist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Brethren churches. Trevor Chandler, Frank Houston, Rob Wheeler also shared.
Ian led the Awapuni Baptist church in Palmerston North which became a focal point for early connecting up of the Charismatics in that region in the early 1960’s. Ken Wright used to help out at their meetings. This also inputted into the future ministry of Ray Muller.
Leo Harris (Australia) left the AoG movement in 1944 when he embraced British Israelism to form National Revival Crusade which then became Christian Revival Crusade in 1963. The CRC Churches
Peter Morrow led the Christchurch Revival Fellowship which was augmented by an influx of young people via the Jesus Movement from August 1971 onwards. The initial vehicle for this was “Adullum’s Cave” – a coffee bar set up on the upstairs corner of Tuam and Durham Streets. Hundreds of people came through this cafe for classes on baptism in the Holy Spirit on Thursday evenings.
In 1965 Oral Robets held the largest evangelism meetings New Zealand had ever seen in Christchurch, Wellington and Rotorua.
A Conference on “The Building of a Spirit-Filled New Testament Church” at Massey, Palmerston North in 1964 was a seminal event for some three hundred New Zealanders. In 1965 Ray Muller, Ian Drinkwater, Ken Wright and Ian Hunt set up a tape library.
The group was responsible for the invitation of Charismatic speakers into the country, including David Du Plessis’s visit in 1966, as well as Dennis Bennett and Michael Harper the same year. From this arose Christian Advance Ministries in 1972 and their subsequent ‘Summer Schools’ from 1973, which became Anglican Renewal Ministries whose Summer camps are now known as New Wine. CAM spearheaded the charismatic movement in NZ from that time on.
It appears that in the early 1960s attendance at Brethren churches may have been similar to that of the 14,000 who attended Baptist churches.47 By 1986 Baptist attendance of about 26,50048 was considerably higher than the Brethren figure of about 11,000.49 One cannot explain the growth of one and decline of the other entirely in terms of their response to the charismatic movement, but as we have found the charismatic movement to have helped the growth of Baptist churches, so it seems the Brethren rejection of it was a factor in their decline. It made it difficult for them to change in ways relevant to the new cultural values and social attitudes of young postwar New Zealanders. In similar vein the Churches of Christ, who before 1960 were not dissimilar to Baptist Churches in form, have declined both in census figures and in membership from 4325 in 1961 to 2278 in 1986.50
John Wimber came to NZ in 1986 and delivered a conference called “Signs, Wonders and Church Growth”, which had a significant impact on many denominations in the country. It provided an alternative theology and practice for healing and other Holy Spirit-empowered works through the emphasis on Kingdom theology and “doing what you see the Father doing.” Vineyard churches in New Zealand were launched in March 1995 when the 10 New Zealand Harvest Christian Centres became Vineyard Christian Fellowships.
The first Harvest Christian Centre was planted in Mahurangi in October 1989 by Lloyd & Victoria Rankin. It quickly grew and was instrumental in planting the next nine Harvest churches. Vineyard College New Zealand was founded in 1996.