Hobbs, John
1800-1883; e.m. 1824

Kentish blacksmith and lay WM missionary, who made his own way to Tasmania in 1822 and accompanied Nathaniel Turner to the newly founded New Zealand mission in 1823. In full connexion from 1828, he became fluent in the Maori language, which was significant in the establishing of New Zealand Methodism. All his ministry was in the North Island, where he became the senior missionary. He survived the sacking of the first station at Kaeo and was in charge at Mangungu on the Hokianga, where a fresh start was made in 1827. His building skills and medical knowledge were enhanced by resourcefulness. Difficulties with William White led to his moving to Tonga in 1833, where he acted as the Mission's printer. Returning to New Zealand in 1838, he accompanied John H. Bumby on a journey round the North Island coast in search of new openings, especially around Port Nicholson. He was active in promoting the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) among the chiefs of the Hokianga. In 1855 he became Governor of the Three Kings native training institution in Auckland. Despite difficult relations with some colleagues, he was respected and loved by both Europeans and Maoris.

He died at Auckland on 24 June 1883.

  • Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
  • T.M.I. Williment, John Hobbs 1800-1883 Wesleyan Missionary (Wellington, NZ, 1985)