Workers, Friends, Home Church, The Truth, The Way, Meetings, Gospel, Cooneyites, Christian Conventions, Hymns Old & New
Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine

Introduction Index of Chapters
Chapter Links
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Bio Truth?

Chapter 33
Revised February 22, 2018

New Zealand

NOTE: There are conflicting dates given in some Australian historical accounts. In such cases, since memories are not totally reliable, the Author has chosen to use the dates shown on Ship Passenger Records from The information for this chapter was taken largely from the following New Zealand historical accounts about the activities of the first Workers to go to NZ.

A. Australia & New Zealand - The Gospel Coming to Australia and New Zealand

B. Australia & New Zealand - FIRST Pioneering Workers to Australia & New Zealand
C. Australia & New Zealand - John Hardie - Concerning His Arrival in Australia and New Zealand
D. Australia & New Zealand  - Ralph & Rene Beattie, Married Worker Couple

E. New Zealand - First Missions, etc
F. New Zealand
- Friends Who Lived in the Hutt Valley 1901-2006
G. New Zealand - A Brief Summary of the First Days of the Work in N.Z.

TTT Photo Gallery for New Zealand

Read New Zealand Newspaper Articles

1901 FIRST FRIENDS ARRIVED IN NEW ZEALAND: Two Irish families immigrated to the North Island of NZ to be a help to the Workers when they arrived. One was Tom and Emily Hastings who moved in 1901 to Petone, Lower Hutt, in the Wellington Region. The other was Jack and Dot Lowe who made their home at Buckland near Pukekohe in the Auckland Region. John Hardie wrote: "Jack Lowe and his wife Dot came from Ireland, to live near Pukekohe East and had a little farm there. It was the only open home in that part, they were a great help to us all. After a number of years they returned to Ireland and were faithful to the end."

1904 FIRST WORKERS ARRIVED IN NEW ZEALAND:  John Hardie (age 33, Scotch) (often misspelled Hardy) and Alex (Sandy) Alexander (age 28, Irish) departed from Liverpool, Eng., aboard the SS Medic on June 1, 1904, and arrived in Melbourne, New South Wales, Aust. on July 24, 1904. John was born in 1870, was from Kilsyth, Scotland and was an engineer. Both John and his companion Sandy had entered the work in 1900. After preaching two months in Melbourne, Aust. with no interest, Sandy became discouraged and left. John then went to Wellington, NZ where his Irish friend, Tom Hastings and his wife Emily, were living. John Hardie was the very first Worker to set foot on New Zealand soil, and it is possible some professed in NZ through John at this time.

"Mr. Tom and Mrs. Emily Hastings...immigrated from Ireland, via Sydney, to N. Z. in 1901, to have an open home for when the Workers arrived. Tom, a builder by trade, built a home in High St., Petone [North Island]. There they waited three years, when in 1904 John Hardie, who knew the Hastings in Ireland, arrived there after being three months in Melbourne. He had a few meetings in Alicetown, Lower Hutt, before he returned to Australia…"

Tom, Warren and Margaret Hastings were siblings who grew up in Rathmolyon, Ireland. Tom was born in 1872; Warren in 1873 and Margaret in 1875, and all were baptized in the Church of Ireland. When Warren was 26, he went on Irvine's famous Bicycle Trip to Scotland in 1899, but did not enter the Work. Around 1900, Warren married Elizabeth Winter, remained in Ireland until his death in 1917, aged 44, and was buried in the Rathmolyon Church of Ireland graveyard. The Author personally visited his grave in August, 2004. In 1901, Tom and his family immigrated to NZ and also in 1901, Margaret married Bill Carroll, who later became the Overseer of Victoria, Aust.

1905, OCTOBER: EIGHT WORKERS ARRIVED IN NEW ZEALAND and disembarked at Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland. On August 25, 1905, seventeen Workers boarded the SS Geelong in London. Eight disembarked in Cape Town, South Africa, Wm Irvine disembarked in Adelaide, SA, and the remaining eight arrived in Melbourne, VIC, Aust. on Oct. 11, 1905.

Annie Smith (28) and Fanny Carroll (24) disembarked there and boarded the SS Monowai for Dunedin, South Is. NZ. The rest stayed aboard the SS Geelong and arrived in Sydney, NSW, on Oct. 15, 1905. Adam Hutchison (28), Joe Williamson (32), Maggie McDougall (31) and Francis Hodgins (26) disembarked and boarded the SS Warrimoo, and arrived at Wellington, North Island, NZ on Oct. 25, 1905. John Fraser (27) and Jim Hodgins (29) disembarked in Sydney and boarded the SS Zealandia, and arrived in Auckland, North Island, NZ on Oct. 18, 1905. Adam and Joe, Annie and Fanny worked in the South Island. Soon after his arrival in NZ in 1906, James (Jim.Jimmy) Hodgins was diagnosed with tuberculosis and passed away after ten months, on May 15, 1907, aged 23. However, the passenger records for SS Geelong gave his age as 29 on Aug 25, 1905, which would make him 31-32 when he died.

"Adam Hutchinson and Joe Williamson went to Canterbury, Annie Smith and Fanny Carroll to Otago. Maggie McDougall and Francis Hodgins, stayed in Wellington, the Hutt Valley and the Manawatu. John Fraser came North alone, because Jim Hodgins was in hospital, where he died."

"John Fraser went north to wait for another companion and stayed with Jack Lowe and his wife at Buckland near Pukekohe, who had also immigrated from Ireland to have an open home in NZ. There, he held a most successful mission in Pukekohe East and later at Glenmurray, Tuakau,"

"John Frazer [Fraser] and Jimmy Hodgins went to the Auckland Province and worked a mission at Pukekohe, about 40 professed. Among them were Teenie Walker, Alice Begbie, Percy Hartland and many others. Maggie McDougal and Frances Hodgins had quite a few to profess in Wellington, among them was Jim McCleod. Adam Hutchinson and Joe Williamson went to the Canterbury province the same year–1906 and worked a big Mission at Oxford, a few miles out of Christchurch. Then Annie Smith and Fanny Carroll worked in the Otago province, started a Mission at Berwick, 30 miles from Dunedin."

Fancis Hodgins professed through John Hardie in Ireland. She returned to England in 1910, preached several more years and then married. Her sister, Polly Hodgins (age 25), went to preach in QLD in 1907.

FIRST NZ PIONEER WORKERS - Sisters: Maggie McDougall, Francis Hodgins, Annie Smith and Frances (Fanny) Carroll, all from the UK. Brothers: Adam Hutchison, Joe Williamson, John Fraser and James Hodgins, all from the UK.
FIRST NATIVE WORKERS - Sister Worker: Alice Begbie, only 19, was one of the youngest to go out in 1907. Brother Worker: Archie/Arthur? Murray in 1907 was one of the first New Zealanders to go in the Work (there were others who went out in 1907 also).
SOUTH ISLAND PIONEERS - In 1905, Adam Hutchison, Joe Williamson, Annie Smith and Fanny Carroll, all from the UK.
NORTH ISLAND PIONEERS - In 1905, Joe Fraser, Jim Hodgins, Maggie McDougall and Francis Hodgins, all from the UK.

The pioneering Workers faced many hardships but had some good Missions. About a hundred people made their choice that first year, and 20 of them entered the Work within the following one to three years, most of whom continued in the Work into their old age.

1905 HUTT VALLEY MISSION: Maggie McDougall and Francis Hodgins arrived October 25, 1905 and stayed with the Hastings. They worked in the South region of Hutt Valley, and had a mission at Epuni, a suburb of the city of Lower Hutt. In 1905, Nellie Fake, age 15, was the first person in New Zealand to profess. Five other women also professed in that Mission. Also in 1905, several others from the Fake, Lawson and Berryman families professed. In December, 1905, John Hardie and Sandy Alexander returned to baptize and help bring along the newly professing ones.

"In Dec., 1905, John Hardy (sic), this time accompanied by Sandy Alexander, visited the Hutt Valley for the second time, from Sydney, to help Maggie McDougall and Francis Hodgins establish those who had just professed...However, Mr. Lawson never got free of the [Plymouth] Brethren and stuck to their doctrine. He influenced Sandy who forsook John and became a preacher for the Brethren. So for the second time, Sandy forsook John" (Hutt Valley Account).

1907, JANUARY 30: These eight workers left Liverpool, Eng. on the SS Orwestry Grange on Nov. 13, 1906, arriving in Wellington, NZ on Jan. 30, 1907: Wm. Hughes (26), Chas. Dubman (22), Richard (Dick) McClure (24), Duncan McLachlan (28), George Harvey (21), James (Jim) Corcoran (23), Ida Davis (22) and Sarah Kelly (22). Enroute to NZ while the ship was in port, they held meetings in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. In 1918, Jim Corcoran married a NZ lady and they made their home in NZ.

1907: Archie/Arthur? Murray professed in NZ in 1907 and soon after left with Adam Hutchison, Willie Hughes, Charlie and Dubman to pioneer the Work in Victoria, in 1907. After some years in the Work, he left and married. In 1908 or 1909, his brother, Jim Murray, started in the work, and in 1912 he went to preach in NSW.

1908-1910: Fanny Carroll and Annie Smith left NZ to pioneer Tasmania. They returned to Ireland in 1910 for a visit.


1907, MARCH: FIRST NZ CONVENTION - The FIRST Convention took place in the South Island of New Zealand in Harper Street, Sydenham, Christchurch, and 70 people attended. There had been much response in NZ and several started in the Work at this time. Alice Begbie, only 19, was one of the youngest to go out. Eight Workers from the UK had arrived just in time for this Convention, after which the Brother Workers left for Australia. These were John Hardie and Dick McClure - the first Workers to pioneer New South Wales; Adam Hutchison, Archie/Arthur? Murray (NZ), Willie Hughes (26) and Charlie Dubman who went to pioneer Victoria. After the Convention, Jack Craig began preaching. Harry McNeary came to New Zealand in 1908 from the UK.

"My grandmother was among the first converts in NZ, and John Hardie was one of the two Workers. She only had about four Meetings before they told her she was right, and moved on. The women all cast their wedding bands into a pond on the South Island convention grounds, as the wearing of gold was 'not of God'...the shedding of wedding rings was quite common in NZ in the early 1900s, and it also happened on the Dandenong, Aust. Conv. grounds" (Colleen Phelps' personal comm. Mar. 31, 2000).

1908, MARCH: SECOND NZ CONVENTION in the South Island took place at Christchurch. Another eight New Zealanders went into the Work afterwards.

1909: FIRST CONVENTION IN THE NORTH ISLAND was held in Wellington in an empty shop on Adelaide Road. The accommodations were in two nearby barns.

1910 CONVENTIONS: The North Island Convention in 1910 was held at Alfred and Daisy Berryman's farm between Woodville and Manawatu Gorge; only one convention was held there. Another South Island Convention was held at Christchurch.

NEW ZEALAND HEAD WORKERS were: John Fraser: 1905-1909; John Wilson McClung: 1914-1944; Willie John Hughes: 1944-1963; Willie Phyn: 1966-1985; Nathan McCarthy: 1985-2006; Alan Richardson: 2004?-current

John Fraser (27) left London aboard the SS Geelong on Aug. 25, 1905 and arrived in Auckland, NZ on Oct. 18, 1905 with James (Jim/Jimmy) Hodgins (29). Soon after his arrival in NZ, Jim contracted tuberculosis in 1906 and passed away on May 14, 1907. He was buried in Greytown Public Cemetery, NZ. John was possibly the Head Worker of NZ through 1909. Willie Hughes assumed the NZ oversight for the years 1910-12.

John Wilson McClung and his wife, Annie (nee Kerr), entered the work in Nov. 1903 as a married Worker couple from Co. Armagh, Ire. He had been a prison warden. They professed through Wm. Irvine in 1898 in Galway, Ire. Wilson was born in 1868 and died in Auckland on May 15, 1944, aged 76. Annie was born 1871 and died in Auckland on Jan. 29, 1945, aged 73. They had no children.

Wilson McClung (26) and his wife Annie (24), along with Hannah Alexander (23) and Queenie (27) aka Eugenia Victoria Higgins departed on Oct. 12, 1908, on the SS Geelong from London to Cape Town, South Africa. After spending two months there, they sailed on to Sydney, Aust. where they stayed a month. They arrived in New Zealand on March 4, 1909, just in time for the NZ Convention. After attending a number of the 1909 Australia Conventions, the McClungs went to VIC, where Wilson assumed the position of Head Worker of VIC and TAS from 1909-1914, or until sometime after Bill and Maggie Carroll arrived from Ireland at the end of 1913. Bill Carroll assumed the oversight of VIC after the 1914 VIC Conventions, McClungs moved to New Zealand, where Wilson had the oversight until his death in 1944. At this time, New Zealand was a significantly larger responsibility than any single Australian state.

Willie John Hughes was born April 23, 1880 in Rathmolyon, Co. Meath, Ire. and was a purser in the navy. He professed in 1898 and entered the Work in 1906.  He and seven other Workers went to NZ just before their first convention in Feb., 1907. Afterwards, he crossed over to VIC with Adam Hutchison, Charlie Dubman and Archie Murray, where he spent three years (1907 -1909). He then went back to New Zealand and was Head Worker there for three years from 1910 to 1912. During 1913, he visited his home in Ireland. He went to Canada for a few years in the Maritime Provinces, but could not take the cold, so returned to Australia in late 1917. He went to the SA Conventions in 1918, and at age 38, remained there as the South Australia Head Worker until 1944. By this time, SA was a significant responsibility with two conventions and about 500 friends.

Willie spent substantial parts of 1936, 1937 and 1938 in New Zealand assisting Wilson McClung, Overseer of NZ. Before Wilson passed away, he had personally selected by Willie Hughes to take his place. Willie was the NZ Overseer from 1944 to 1963. He visited Conventions in Australia several times during the 1940s and 1950s and was active until about 1963, when he had a stroke. He died Oct. 5, 1966, aged 86, and is buried in Pukekohe, NZ He wrote some hymns in Hymns Old & New. His brother, Charlie Hughes, was Overseer of the New England States in America for many years, and his sister, Annie Hughes, was in the Work in the UK. A surge of new Workers offered for the Work under Willie's oversight.

Edward William Wallis ("Willie") Phyn was born in 1902 and died April 15, 1985, aged 83. He had the oversight of New Zealand from 1966 when Willie Hughes died, until his death in 1985. He was from NZ and started in the Work in 1927. In 1929 , age 27, he went to Greece, then Cyprus, then Egypt, and back to Greece. In 1934 Willie went to England for a year then returned to Egypt. In 1937 he made a home visit to New Zealand. He remained in Egypt until the Suez Crisis of 1956, returning to New Zealand when all foreigners had to leave the country.

Nathan James McCarthy from New Zealand started in the Work in 1948 and apart from 1969-1970 in VIC preached in NZ. After 1985, when Willie Phyn died, he became the Head Worker. Nathan was born April 28, 1921, and died June 4, 2006, aged 85 years. He is buried at Pyes Pa Cemetery, Tauranga, NZ.

Alan Richardson is from Dannevirke, NZ, and became Head Worker around 2004. He was 30 years old when he offered for the work.

1906: Jack Craig from NZ professed in 1906 or 07, and was one of the first to go out to preach from there in 1908. He labored in many places. He went to NSW in 1910 then returned to NZ in 1916. In 1922 he went to VIC, then in 1924 to Western Australia before going to South Australia in 1925. He went to Europe in 1926, where he spent the next 45 years, dying in 1974, aged 89.

Around 1908, the Wix family professed at Purakanui, near Dunedin, South Island. Shortly after, George, Lottie and Mabel Wix went in the Work; and the youngest, Alice, also entered the Work in 1914. George Wix started in 1911, went to NSW in 1916, to the USA in 1920, to Germany in 1925 and then to Switzerland in 1927 as one of the pioneers there, where he continued until his death in 1956. Mabel Wix was in the work in NZ by 1911. In 1914, she went to NSW and returned to NZ in 1925, where she preached til her death at Timaru on Dec. 30, 1971, aged 84. 

1909: Two UK Sister Workers entered the work in 1905 and came to NZ in 1909. Hannah Alexander (sister to Sandy Alexander) preached in NZ from 1909 to 1914. She then went to Australia where she preached until her death in 1954. Hannah was one of the few "originals" of the sisters to come from the British Isles and remain preaching in the country for any length of time. Queenie Higgins was from Avoca, Co. Wicklow, Ire. and had professed through John Sullivan. She preached in NZ from 1909 to 1912 before going to NSW. In 1920, she and Brother Worker Alexander S. Walker married. Alex was born in NZ, professed 1907, and was in the Work from 1910 to 1920 in NZ and NSW. They made their home in NZ, and their daughter, Florrie, was a NZ Worker who preached in Malaysia for much of her life

1910: After convention in April 1910, Adam Hutchison, Fanny Carroll, Annie Smith and Laura Falkiner went home to the "Old Country" for Conventions and a visit. Fanny returned to California where she labored under her brother, Jack Carroll, until she died there on Nov. 13, 1980, aged 96. She visited Australia again in 1964 and attended the Workers' Convention that year.

1903-1919: Wm. Irvine's Annual Trips around the World - Irvine went on nine worldwide trips, during his time as the World Leader of Workers. Oon his trips, he attended Meetings and Conventions in Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. There are no lists of the Conventions or dates he attended, but it is reasonable to assume his trips were scheduled so that he was present at Conventions in English speaking countries and that he visited New Zealand on most, if not all of his trips. View List of Irvine's travels 1903 - 1919.

1913 New Zealand Workers List: Strangely, no Sister Workers were listed on the 1913 NZ Workers List, whereas the 1912 list included 10. After Wm. Irvine attended the NZ Convention in 1912, the rumor was that the NZ Sister Workers all left the work until it was determined if any were pregnant. Another possible reason for their disappearance was a concern as to whether Sister Workers were scriptural, so it was decided for the Brother Workers to continue without them. When the Brother Workers had no converts that year, the Sisters were recalled. The following year, 1914, there were six Sisters on the Workers List.

In reply to a request from Willie Gill, Overseer of England, Wm. Hughes, Overseer of NZ, wrote a two page letter (view letter in TTT Photo Gallery) dated February 12, 1913, providing the location and occupation of all the NZ Sister Workers. It seems the Sisters from the U.K. had been moved to Australia in 1913, and he explained the absence of the others. Read 1913 testimonial letters by NZ Sister Workers: Fanny Carroll, Annie Smith, Annie McClung, Hannah Alexander and Queenie Higgins.

NZ Wm Hughes 1913 List of NZ Sister Workers (typed)
NZ Comparison 1912 & 1913 Sister Workers List
NZ Workers Lists for 1905-1921

1914 Adam Hutchison left SA and went to NZ for the year of 1914. From there he went to Tasmania where he was the Head Worker for both TAS and SA until 1922, when he went to India.

1919: Teenie Walker from NZ started in the work in 1908. She went to South Africa in 1919 (the same year as Colin Watt) and then to India in 1925 with Gertie Barandilla and Doreen McKenzie as the first sister workers to that country. She continued there until 1957 when she returned to New Zealand and continued in mission work until 1963. She died in 1967.

In the 1920s, there were approximately 50 new Workers in New Zealand, which was slightly less than at its peak in 1953. Large numbers of young Workers from both NZ and Aust. went overseas to preach. This included about 40 who went to the USA or Canada (some went before 1920, and some eventually moved on to Europe); over 30 went to India, Ceylon or Burma; and about a dozen who went directly to Europe. The 20 years between 1940-1959, were the most productive years ever for Workers going overseas, even exceeding the 1920s.

1939: Robert Barbour from New Zealand started in 1939 and went to South Australia in 1946. He was given the oversight of SA when John Baartz died in 1964.

MARRIED WORKER COUPLES IN NZ: Ralph & Rene Beattie (nee Amy Constance Irene Lester) married on April 2, 1907, and their first child, Archibald, was born Oct. 3, 1909.  They professed in 1909 and decided they wanted to enter the work. "the decision was made...known to William Irvine who gave it his blessing, but with this condition, that you leave your son behind." They entered the Work on May 23, 1911, in Victoria, Aust. and 18 month old Archie was left behind with Rene's brother, Clyde Lester and wife. Their first year in the work, Ralph preached with Wilson McClung and Rene with Annie McClung. After that, they preached together some of the time. In 1920, they went to New Zealand to preach under Wilson McClung. After Wm. Irvine was excommunicated in 1914, the Beatties had three other children born in 1915, 1922 and 1930, who remained with them most of the time they held Missions in NZ. "Through her childhood, Jean attended no less than 28 different schools, Esther 21, and only 13 for Joseph."  After Ralph died in 1958, Rene went to live with her son Joseph, and passed away in 1969. As of 2016, none of their children were living. Rene Beattie wrote some Hymns in Hymns Old & New. See Photo #1     Photo #2      Read Story written by their children.

Wilson McClung, who had the oversight of NZ, was married when he and his wife entered the work in Ireland in 1903. The Beatties came to NZ in 1920. Another married couple came to NZ to preach in 1946, Frank and Hilda Quick. Frank Quick started in the VIC Work in 1917. In the 1920s, he left the Work and married Hilda Vogt. Then in 1937, the couple was accepted in the Work in South Australia where they preached for about eight years; then preached for 18 months in Western Australia. In 1946, they went to NZ, where they preached together until 1972, when they returned to SA where Frank died in 1975, aged 85, and Hilda a year or two after.

WORLD WAR I began July 28, 1914 and ended November 11, 1918. At that time, any declaration of war by the United Kingdom automatically included New Zealand and Australia. As World War I loomed on the horizon, countries began requiring all men of military age to register. Since ancient times, governments have conscripted men when they needed larger military forces than there were voluntary enlistments.

ADOPTING A NAME: In Great Britain, the Friends and Workers chose to register as Conscientious Objectors (aka C.O.). To do so, it was necessary to provide a recognized religious affiliation. Therefore, in 1914, the name, "The Testimony of Jesus" was registered for the 2x2 Church in Great Britain (Author has not located the official registration document). However, this name was not widely known to all the male Friends and many encountered difficulty and persecution when applying for exemptions. Ed Cooney represented Great Britain before a judge in London to obtain exemptions for male 2x2s of military age. He was successful in securing an exemption for the Workers, but not for the Friends.

The senior Worker over NZ, Wilson McClung, did not register a name for the sect in New Zealand. Newspapers in New Zealand reported about men using “The Testimony of Jesus” as their Church name for military exemption applications and hearings. A 1917 newspaper article mentioned "Wilson McClung, head evangelist of a body known as The Testimony of Jesus Christ," (also referred to as "Overseer" and "principal representative of the body in NZ") who stated to the Military Service Board that there were between 700 and 800 adherents in New Zealand and 24 evangelists (The Dominion, July 26, 1917, p. 9). Concerning NZ military service: 

“Compulsory military training began in New Zealand  in 1911. During World War I, the law exempted only those who were members of a religious body having as one of its tenets objection to arms-bearing; and even then noncombatant service in the army was required. Altogether, about 400 were sentenced to prison, for terms ranging up to two years…During the second World War, all those who held ‘a genuine belief that it is wrong to engage in warfare in any circumstances’ were exempt; and provision was made for alternative civilian service” (Conscription of Conscience – The American State and the Conscientious Objector 1940-1947;  by Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1952;  p. 7).

In some of the appeals by NZ professing men, it was mentioned that this church was recognized as a religious body in England. However, since the New Zealand professing men were Absolutists and refused to perform ANY service in the military, including noncombatant, they went to prison. 

Robert Clayton Patton applied to the Military Appeal Board "for exemption on the grounds of his religious scruples...stated that his religious beliefs would not allow him to take up arms.  His religion was that known as, 'The Testimony of Jesus'...He had been preaching its beliefs for five years, and had been successful in making a number of converts. He called the sect, 'The Testimony of Jesus.' The body was recognised in the Home Country by the War Office" (Ashburton Guardian, NZ, Jan. 4, 1914).  However, proof of the registration in the UK was very slow to make its way to New Zealand. The 2x2 History website contains numerous newspaper accounts regarding applications that were denied for exemptions to military service in which they would bear arms. 

The March 23, 1917 London Daily Mail reported a London Police Court session in which  the "Testimony of Jesus" was recognized as a religious denomination. Therefore, finally, in 1917, Brother Worker Hay Halkett was granted an exemption from military service. Possibly, this court recognition was that referred to in the NZ appeals below. Sir John Frindlay was the solicitor/lawyer used by some 18 or more professing NZ men to appeal their sentences to prison.

Sir John added that the society had a large membership in other parts of the world, and it had been recognised in England that it was a religious body within the meaning of the Act (The Evening Post, July 25, 1917).

Sir John Findlay announced that the English Courts have decided that the Church of the Testimony of Jesus is a religious body to be officially recognised... (The New Zealand Free Lance,
Nov. 2, 1917). 

Ernest John Holtham said he was a preacher in the sect. He had known of the existence of the religion for about seven years...The sect was known as “The Testimony of Jesus.” In the old Country it was recognised by the War Office and its preachers exempted from military service. The sect had no written teachings, but relied upon the New Testament, which they claimed was opposed to war  The Press,
January 4, 1917).

In New Zealand, 28 men of military age bearing the name of the “Testimony of Jesus,” were imprisoned. Paul Baker wrote:

"Only Quakers and Christadelphians could produce the necessary written constitution opposing military service.  After importing written evidence from America, in July, 1917, Seventh-day Adventists joined this select group.  Other sects possessed only an unwritten tradition of pacifists biblical interpretation which, when it was later ruled that written evidence was not necessary, the relative autonomy of their churches and theological idiosyncrasies of many of their members made it impossible to substantiate. The largest of these, the Testimony of Jesus, had 28 imprisoned objectors by the war's end" (King and Country Call - New Zealanders, Conscription and the Great War by Paul Baker p. 170-175; Auckland University Press, 1988).

WORLD WAR II OCCURRED September 1, 1939 - September 2, 1945. During WWII, the church name "Christian Conventions of Australia and New Zealand" was used by Workers and Friends to register (Evening Post, NZ, Dec. 12, 1940, p. 15). In this article, the Appellant's name was not specified, so the outcome of his request is unknown. The Friends in New Zealand were known as "Christian Assemblers," and called "CA's" for short, and many were imprisoned. David Grant wrote about them:

“The vast majority of military defaulters tolerated and learned to live within the detention camp system. Christian fundamentalists, particularly, accommodated themselves with ease. The Christian Assemblies, a scattered, largely rural-based sect, had the largest number of men in detention from any church group. While nominally free to make up their own minds, the 122 Christian Assembly conscience appellants represented nearly 100 percent of members who had been called up in the ballot. Of those whose appeals were denied, only two opted for noncombatant service when they had the chance. The rest went to camp. One Christian Assembler arrived at Strathmore in the middle of 1942 and spent three years dispensing and collecting clothes in the camp store:

" ‘Our appeals were not allowed by a properly constituted court, so we accepted the next stage as gracefully as we could. Our attitude was one of cooperation. We didn't see anything in the detention camp setup that conflicted with our conscience. We were there by choice, not force...we could have gone to the war. We accepted our position. I guess there was a kind of  'follow the leader' attitude amongst newcomer CAs.  We were working hard. The newcomers did too. We were influenced partly in this by a Bible scripture that read: 'I've learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content'" I worked hard on the fencing gang and in the store. My attitude was that I had to go back into society one day and I didn't want to be dejected, or morose, but keep my mind alert so I would be well fitted when I got out’”  (Out in the Cold, Pacifists & Conscientious Objectors in New Zealand during World War II by David Grant, Reed Methuen Publishers Ltd, Auckland, NZ, ISBN 0474001210).

Read an interesting Commentary on the New Zealand Newspaper Articles about the Fellowship for this time period

LINK: 1905-1921 NZ Workers Lists

Offsite LINK to Graphs of New Zealand Local and Overseas Workers 1905- 2013: New Zealand is a relatively small country but has had a significant number of Workers who have preached in NZ and many other countries as well. Workers Lists since 1905 provide an interesting record of the significant growth in the number of Workers up to 1970s. However, there has been a decline in the number of Workers as a percentage of the country's population since a peak in 1953.

INDIGENOUS NATIVES:  The native people in NZ are the Maoris, who are dark skinned or black. At one time, there was a part-Maori worker, Isabel Honeycomb, who is shown on the 1940-41 NZ Workers List. The Workers have made very few converts among the Maori, perhaps two or three couples. On the other hand, many Maoris, have been converted by the Mormons.

On March 16, 1881, the Maori Ngati Kahungunu tribe prophet Paora Te Potangaroa predicted a new church would come for the Maoris within 40 years: "There is a religious denomination coming for us…the Maori people…You will recognize it when it comes. Its missionaries will travel in pairs. They will come from the rising sun. They will visit with us in our homes. They will learn our language and teach us the gospel in our own tongue." Shortly after uttering his prophecy, Potangaroa died.

Later that year, Mormon missionaries made contact with the Maoris and many converted to Mormonism, believing the coming of the Mormon missionaries fulfilled Potangaroa's prophecy. The Mormon missionaries had come in pairs, from "the rising sun" (the U.S., in the east), and they taught in the Maori language in their own homes. By 1883, hundreds of Maoris had joined the LDS Church in the Wairarapa. The Workers arrived in NZ in 1905. Had they contacted the Maoris within the 40 year period, between 1881 and 1911, there might have been more Maori converts today.

Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted with an asterisk (*).

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