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Shipping News : “Active” sails

Ric Carlyon - Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kororareka, (Russell) Bay of Islands 25th July 1814

The brigantine “Active” sailed today for Botany Bay having been a familiar sight in Bay of Islands this past month. “Active “, Captain Dillon, is returning to Sydney-town having brought  missionaries  Thomas Kendall and William Hall to New Zealand, their task to ascertain the current native attitudes towards missionaries and settlers.

Long-time and sometimes impatient advocate of Christian missionaries here, the Reverend Samuel Marsden, commissioned both the ship and the persons as an “advance party” to make certain future European visitors won’t meet the same dreadful and unforgettable fate as the ship “Boyd”, 6 years ago sacked by the natives and its crew and passengers, most killed and some cannibalised.

Kendall returns to Marsden with favourable signs that a mission might be established. Since their arrival here both Misters Kendall and Hall have travelled throughout the Bay of Islands, and a little inland, meeting Maori chiefs. The visitors have been amicably received throughout and have persuaded a number of chiefly personages to return with them to Botany Bay aboard the “Active”, namely Ngapuhi chiefs Ruatara, Hongi Hika, Korokoro, Te Nganga, Punahou and Hongi's son Ripiro.

Their appearance in Sydney-town will almost certainly persuade Governor Macquarie to allow departures for New Zealand and to encourage Marsden to bring Christianity to these islands. This  will be greatly assisted if, as envisaged, the natives give assurances of a peaceful reception for all future missionaries and settlers.

Before departure Captain Dillon estimated the voyage across the Tasman, given favourable conditions, would take about a month.

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