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Conference Marking 200 years of Methodism in Aotearoa

Rosalie's profile picture
Posts: 51

19 June 2019, 9:54 PM

Methodism in Aotearoa

Last month I attended a most enjoyable conference at St John’s Theological College in Auckland. The occasion was marking 200 years since the first Methodist Minister came to New Zealand.

The Wesleyan Methodist was Rev Samuel Leigh who had established a Wesleyan cause in Sydney and was friends with Anglican Rev Samuel Marsden. In 1819 Marsden invited Leigh to accompany him on a visit to the mission he had established in the Bay of Islands in 1814 with a view to establishing a Methodist mission in NZ. Leigh enthused, returned to England to gather the necessary resources to make the vision a reality three years later.

The Conference, Methodism in Aotearoa: origins and Impacts and was  organised by the Leigh Bicentenary Working Group made up of reps from the Methodist Church of NZ, the Wesleyan Methodist Church of NZ, & the Church of the Nazarene, among others, and the Wesleyan Historical Society, with input & contributions from Allan Davidson & Peter Lineham. Tickets were sold out and those of us fortunate enough to attend were treated to a feast of presentations by eminent Kiwi and Australian church historians, mixed with stimulating conversation and good food.

Friday was full on from 9 am to 9:30 pm. Presenters included: Dr Roshan Allpress (the British Context), Te Aroha Rountree (the Maori Context), Rev Dr Glen O’Brien (Samuel Leigh), Rev Gary Clover (Indigenous Evangelism), Rev Dr Susan Thompson (Pakeha Missionaries and their Wives), Rev Dr Lindsay Cameron discussed Methodist Beginnings in the Pacific and Rev Dr Allan Davidson chaired a panel of Pasifika ministers reflecting on these influences.

Saturday was more leisurely as we considered ‘Treaty and Tribulation 1840-1870’ presented by Dr Geoffrey Troughton, and ‘Maori and Methodism’ by Dr Arapera Ngaha and Ms Rowan Tautari and a ‘What Now, What Next’ panel chaired by Professor Peter Lineham.

The bookstall offered various weighty tomes and a selection of booklets. I contributed a 44 page booklet, Christian, White and Female in Aotearoa pre 1845 and in leaflet form, the play When the Treaty came to Mangungu, presented here at Raumati many years ago with Rev John Murray taking the part of a Methodist missionary.

Edits to this post:
David Bell's profile picture
Posts: 1067

19 June 2019, 10:02 PM

Thanks for this update Rosalie. The Methodist Survey always welcomes new insights to add to its collection of Methodist history and theology. Visit the About page of Methodist Survey here.

Rosalie's profile picture
Posts: 51

20 June 2019, 4:45 PM

Thank you David I'm selling my booklets at the cost price of $6 + postage if anyone wants one email me at with your address.

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