Whiteley, John
1806-1869; e.m. 1831

WM missionary to New Zealand, born at Kneesall, Notts, on 22 July 1806. After moving to Newark, he joined the Wesleyans and became a local preacher. Posted to New Zealand in 1832, he succeeded John Hobbs at Mangungu in 1833, but also served on the Kawhia station in the Waikato. Travelling extensively, he gained the confidence and respect of local tribes. In 1856 he took charge of the work in the Taranaki area at a time of prolonged disturbances over land ownership. He encouraged the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, but joined his colleagues in 1846 in protesting against governmental land policy, which he believed contravened Treaty principles. He was much in demand as an interpreter and adviser and acted as an unpaid commissioner for native lands, but then became an advocate for settler land rights, which hampered his work as a missionary. Following an attack on a settlement north of New Plymouth, he was caught up in an incident and murdered on 13 February 1869. The shock of his death caused the Maoris to take stock and desist from further action.

  • William Moister, Missionary Worthies, 1782-1885 (1885) pp.149-50
  • G. Brazendale, John Whiteley - Land Soveriegnty and the Land Wars of the Nineteenth Century (New Zealand, n.d.)
  • Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Entry written by: DJP and MJF
Category: Person
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