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To Plough or to Preach


LS72 To Plough or to PreachTo Plough or to Preach: Mission Strategies in New Zealand during the 1820s

by Malcolm Falloon.

The year 2014 will mark 200 years of Christian Mission in New Zealand. The mission began among Northern Maori of the Bay of Islands in 1814 with three ‘settler’ missionaries and their families. But it was not until 1825 that the first Christian convert was baptised, with the mission only finally flourishing in the 1830s.


The role that the missionaries themselves played in bringing about the remarkable success of the New Zealand mission is often down-played by contemporary historians who tend to view their endeavours as simplistic or coercive. During this early period, the mission was directed by Samuel Marsden (Senior Chaplain to the penal colony in New South Wales) but from the mid 1820s a change in direction was initiated by Henry Williams, the leader of the local missionary committee in the Bay of Islands.

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To Plough or to Preach
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This study identifies and explores the tension between the strategies adopted by Marsden and Williams and the implications of each for the conduct of the mission. What is revealed is an account of great tenacity in the face of many set-backs and an over-whelming confi dence that, under the providence of God, the Christian Gospel could indeed take root in the land of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Malcolm Falloon is the vicar of St Aidan’s, Bryndwr, an Anglican parish within the Christchurch Diocese, New Zealand. He also serves as the Honorary Warden of the Latimer Fellowship of New Zealand, a fellowship of evangelical Anglicans established in 1946.

Published January 2010: 82 pages

ISBN: 978 0 946307 73 9

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Churchman 2013 LS72

A review of LS72 "To Plough or to Preach?" in Churchman

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