Religion in the Te Aroha district
Hart, P. (2016). Religion in the Te Aroha district. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 124). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10458
The Christians of the district were split into a variety of denominations, though only a few had strong followings. Opinions varied about the religious zeal of miners, and although the first services to be held after the initial rush to the new goldfield were well attended, this may at least in part have been out of curiosity. The Protestant denominations were notable for ecumenical activities, notably in the temperance movement, running societies for the young, and evangelical crusades. They encouraged religious education, and the only Sunday School, run by the Wesleyans, was attended by children from other denominations. Special meetings and entertainments held by Protestants to attract converts and to strengthen the faith of believers were regularly held and attended by many, even some Catholics. In general, relations between Protestants and Catholics were warm, and there were some ‘mixed marriages’. Details are given of the development of the Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Catholic churches, covering the erection and expansion of church buildings, their clergy, the expansion of their congregations, and special activities, both social and religious – the former because of the constant need to raise funds. It is impossible to prove the extent and depth of belief, but the moral behaviour of some residents meant that continual efforts were seen as necessary to get them to change their ways.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart