Creed, Charles
1812-1879; e.m. 1839

Missionary in New Zealand, born at Hembridge, Somerset on 8 October 1812. The son of a Somerset farmer, he became a local preacher in the Glastonbury Circuit and trained for the ministry at the Hoxton Theological Institution 1836-1838. Having married Eliza Harris, a member of an old Somerset Methodist family, he went out to New Zealand with John H. Bumby, Samuel Ironside and John Warren.

After a period of preparation at Hokianga and Kaipara in the north, he was appointed to open the new mission station at Ngamotu (now New Plymouth), with responsibility for the whole of the Taranaki area. He attained considerable fluency in Maori during his four years there and was prepared to walk long distances around his extensive circuit until an assistant was appointed.Indiscreet behaviour, according to strict missionary standards, with a young Maori woman led to his transfer in 1844 to Waikouaiti, where he remained until 1853. During his time there he also travelled widely and energetically, covering the coastal area from Banks Peninsula to the mouth of the Clutha River. His concern for the recording and transmission of Maori language and culture led to an unsuccessful attempt to establish a school for that purpose in the late 1840s. He nevertheless ensured that at least some of the traditions of the South Island Maori (Ngai Tahu) were recorded for posterity. These were published, though without acknowledgement, in John White's Ancient History of the Maori.

From 1848, the founding of the Free Church settlement in Dunedin engaged some of his time. He ran foul of the settlement's principal leader, William Cargill, by conducting services for the Anglican immigrants in the Court House. He remained an advocate for the Maori when their traditional land rights were threatened by the needs of the new colonists.Failing health led to a move in 1853 to Wellington, where he continued to have the prime responsibility for the Maori population around the Port Nicholson area, along the west coast and in the Wairarapa. He was also the minister for the growing Methodist settler population in the Hutt Valley.He then obtained leave on medical grounds to transfer in 1856 to New South Wales, where he served in the Yass, Windsor, Newcastle and Penrith Circuits. In 1867, the year of his retirement to Sydney, he visited Otago. He died at Rookwood, NSW, on 18 February 1879.A colleague remarked of him: 'As a Missionary he is one of the best qualified, by knowledge of the language, customs and traditions of the people, in the whole of this New Zealand District and is much beloved.'

  • William Moister, Missionary Worthies 1782-1885 (1885) pp.306-7
  • Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (Wellington, 1966)
  • G.I. Laurenson, Te Hahi Weteriana: Three Half Centuries of the Methodist Maori Mission 1822-1972 (Auckland, 1972), passim