Breaking the Barrier: Maori religious and spiritual entanglements at Aotea
Klink, K. M. (2019). Breaking the Barrier: Maori religious and spiritual entanglements at Aotea (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13368
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13368
In 1889, Ngāti Rehua converted en masse to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). This surprising conversion is remarkable for various reasons. Māori across the country had not only converted to Christianity several decades earlier but by the late nineteenth century had already established their own religious denominations that renegotiated Judeao Christian teachings in new ways. The proximity of Aotea to the Bay of Islands and their own converted kin on the mainland made this very late conversion all the more remarkable. This was the first time that any Christian organisation found any meaningful success with native peoples on the island, despite the widespread impact of Anglican, Catholic, Wesleyan, and Presbyterian missionaries throughout the region. With so many converted iwi at their doorstep, and the widespread influence of early missionaries and Māori agents of conversion, why did Ngāti Rehua take so long to convert to Christianity? While other iwi were converting in large numbers to Christianity or renegotiating Christianity on their own terms, Ngāti Rehua remained isolated and aloof for much of the nineteenth century, maintaining traditional beliefs and practices that had disappeared or been significantly modified in other tribal regions. This thesis explores this question in three main chapters. Chapter One explores early Aotea history, beliefs and practices and examines how those on the island remained elusive from the onslaught of missionaries during the formative years of the establishment of Christianity. Chapter Two highlights the many Aotea inter-tribal connections, the ongoing isolated history of Aotea and early missionary influences. Chapter Three turns its attention to the arrival of Mormon missionaries in 1889 and discusses the ‘moments’ of conversion that have been maintained in successive generations.
The University of Waikato
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