Kirk, William
1825-1915; e.m. 1846

WM missionary in New Zealand, was born at Owston Ferry, the son of a WM local preacher. He himself began preaching at a relatively early age and was selected for mission work before he had turned 21. He sailed on the first voyage of the John Wesleyin 1847, the last missionary, in effect, to be sent to New Zealand by the WMMS. Aftert three months assisting Thomas Buddle in Auckland, he moved north to the Newark Station on the Hokianga to improve his fluency in the Maori language and a year later was appointed to the new station at Ohinemutu on the Wanganui River.

His wife Emma was the daughter of John Hobbs, the senior missionary at the Hokianga. In October 1848 they moved into an area virtually unknown to the Europeans at that time, and for most of the local Maori this was their first encounter with Christianity. Churches were built and he travelled as far afield as Taupo. From 1853 to 1857 he was stationed at Waikouaiti in South Island; then returned to Wanganui, where he was responsible for the Training Farm for young Maori at Kai Lwi. After finishing his missionary service at Mongonui in the far north of North Island, he served in a number of major circuits. He was elected District Chairman on a number of occasions in recognition of his administrative ability and was President of the Conference in 1877. He was noted for his strongly evangelical preaching. At the time of his death at Petone on 9 May 1915 he was the Connexion's senior minister.

  • New Zealand Methodist Times, 29 May 1915
  • G.I. Laurenson, Te Hahi Weteriana: Three Half Centuries of the Methodist Maori Mission 1822-1972 (Auckland, 1972)

Entry written by: DJP
Category: Person
Comment on this entry