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Last updated: 8 September 2009

Butler, John Gare

Collection | Ref # ARC-0034 | Held by Hocken Collections - Uare Taoka o Hakena

What is it?


Butler, John Gare


Butler, John Gare, 1781-1841

Level of description:



0.09 linear metres

Reference number:



Butler was in business for twenty years in London before being ordained a minister. He arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1819, settling in Kerikeri. He was the first ordained missionary for the Church Mission Society and his title was Superintendent of New Zealand, under Samuel Marsden's supervision from Sydney. Among his achievements in New Zealand was was use of the first plough in New Zealand and that he was a successful gardener. When Samuel Marsden arrived to install Henry Williams in Paihia he was dissatisfied with Butler's performance, particularly with his inability to to prevent fellow missionary, Thomas Kendall, from selling muskets to the Maori, and Butler eventually returned to England. Butler worked in various church posts until his dual experience as a clergyman and a former magistrate during his time in New Zealand made him the ideal candidate for the for the role of native guardian for the New Zealand Company. He returned to New Zealand in 1840, where he died the following year. (from 'Dictionary of New Zealand Biography', 1940 ed.)

Scope and contents:

This collection includes a bound volume containing Butler's correspondence and journals. There are letters from Butler to the Church Missionary Society and letters to Butler from Walter Lawry, Reverend W. White, J. Shepherd, James Stack, Reverend Samuel Leigh, Reverend Samuel Marsden, and Captain James Downie. There is also correspondence relating to the dispute between Butler and the Church Missionary Society in 1824.

Also included in the collection is an index to the letters in MS-0058, a transcript of Butler's journey with Marsden from Whangaroa, a transcript of a letter from Marsden to Butler, and transcripts of affadavits involving Butler.

The collection includes a ground plan of Butler's house at Kerikeri, dated 1822.

Dates covered:

1819 - 1824

Archival history:

The letters and journals were bound into a volume by Dr T.M. Hocken. He also gave a number to each item in the volume.

Access conditions:

RESTRICTED : Preservation photocopies should be issued in place of original manuscripts.

Finding aids:

Listed on the 'Hakena' archives and manuscripts catalogue.

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Associated with:





Missionaries · Anglican Church · Missions

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