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Last updated: 2 June 2009

Church Missionary Society

Collection | Ref # A10 | Held by Far North Regional Museum/Te Ahu Heritage

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Church Missionary Society


CHURCH Missionary Society

Level of description:



3 volumes

Reference number:


Former NRAM reference number:



The London-based Church Missionary Society began its missionary activities in New Zealand with the arrival of Samuel Marsden at the Bay of Islands in 1814. By 1839 the CMS had eleven mission stations in the North Island, under the general leadership of Henry Williams. The CMS withdrew from NZ around 1883-84 leaving the mission work to be continued by the Anglican Church.

Richard Davis was born in 1790 in Piddletrenthide, Dorset, England, the son of a tenant farmer. His farming skills, piety and interest in the foreign mission led to his acceptance by the Church Missionary Society in 1823 as a farmer for the missions in New Zealand. He arrived in NZ in 1824 with his first wife and six children, and settled initially at Paihia. He choose TeWaimate (now Waimate North) as the site for his farm, and from 1831 developed the land along model English farm and garden lines using Maori labour as he instructed them in agricultural and horticulture skills.

A self-taught scholar, he also worked as a school-teacher and lay preacher. He was the first Anglican to be ordained deacon in NZ in 1843. Appointed to Kaikohe, he established the mission there and was ordained priest in 1852. He died in 1863 aged 73.

Richard Davis's significance to the Far North is two-fold: as an itinerant minister he visited the district often, maintaining oversight of the Kaitaia mission; and two of his daughters married the Kaitaia missionaries, William Puckey and Joseph Matthews.

The letters and journals cover the period of Davis's life in New Zealand.

A10/1 1824-1838

A10/2 1839-1857

A10/3 1858-1863

Letters & Journals of Richard Davis

Dates covered:

1824 - 1863

Access conditions:

Hocken Library permission required for reproduction.

Format if not original:

(a) photocopy of original; (b) typescript

Location of original:

University of Birmingham Library, England

Finding aids:

Passages referring relating to Kaitaia are marked "Kai" in the margin of the typed volumes.

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