The Plough, The Chalice and the Sword by Hugh McBain has been written to celebrate the bicentenary of the arrival of Henry and Marianne Williams in the Bay of Islands in 1823, followed by Henry’s brother William and his wife Jane in 1826.
Both Henry and William were Church of England missionaries. Henry is best known for his translation of the Treaty of Waitangi into te reo Māori and William was best known for his translation of the New Testament and for compiling the first te reo Māori dictionary. He was the first Bishop of Waiapu.
The book was launched in the garden of the Pukehou home built for the author’s grandmother, Lucy Warren, nee Williams. Guests gathered in the sunshine to celebrate and hear from Archbishop Emeritus Sir David Moxon, keen historian John Vickers and the author himself.
At more than 560 pages and with more than 600 pictures, The Plough, The Chalice and the Sword tells stories of the Williams family from their arrival in Aotearoa New Zealand in 1823. These stories offer an insight into Pākehā settler life with all the ideals and skills that called these people to the other side of the world in the early 19th century.
The book tells the stories of what happened to their descendants with the majority of the book detailing the family’s involvement with agriculture and horticulture – through all the changes that have taken place over 200 years.
The book also tells the stories of those who followed Henry and William into the Anglican Church and their involvement in establishing schools for both Māori and Pākehā. It tells the stories of those who have served in the armed forces from the Napoleonic Wars to present-day peacekeeping in the Sinai. Those members of the family who have excelled in their chosen careers and have received civil honours are also celebrated.
Hugh McBain was born in the North of England and is a great-great-grandson of both Henry and William Williams. After serving for six years in the British Army, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1970 and worked as a shepherd before attending Lincoln College. He managed the family farm, Kahotea, at Te Aute from 1974 to 2014.
This is the second book that Hugh has been involved with, having been chairman of the Te Aute Historical Trust that published Opening the Gate, a history of the Te Aute district, in 2006.
For those interested in the book copies can be obtained by emailing Hugh McBain at Langton@xtra.co.nz.
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