White, William
1794 -1875; e.m. 1822

WM missionary, born at Ingleton, Co. Durham, on 11 February 1794. He accompanied Samuel Leigh to New Zealand in 1823, where they established the mission at Wesleydale. Despite his inexperience, he assumed leadership on Leigh's departure at the end of 1823. The following year he made an exploratory visit to the Waikato, possibly the first European to have done so. He returned to England in 1825 in search of a wife, and in his absence the Mission at Whangaroa was sacked and the missionaries took refuge in Sydney. In 1830 he was appointed Superintendent of the new Mission at Mangungu on the Hokianga Harbour and was instrumental in founding several stations on the west coast of the North Island. But his intractable, sometimes choleric character led to soured relationships with his own and his CMS colleagues. His dismissal in 1838 was as much for his trading activities as for alleged improper relationships with Maori women. He continued in business in and around Auckland until his death on 25 November 1875.

  • M.B. Gittos, Mana at Mangungu (Auckland, NZ, 1982)
  • M.B. Gittos, Give Us a Pakeha (Auckland, NZ, 1997)
  • Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Entry written by: DJP and MJF
Category: Person
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