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History of Quakerism in New Zealand

Quakers have been part of the European connection with New Zealand from the beginning. Early Quaker involvement includes Sydney Parkinson,who was a graphic artist on Capt Cook's first voyage. Thomas and Jane Mason were among the first settlers in Wellington, and there were several Quakers who worked in Nelson for the New Zealand Land Company when the town was being established. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, whose initiative was crucial to the New Zealand Land Company settlements, was from a well-known Quaker family although he was not himself a member of the Society.

Regular Meetings for Worship began in Nelson in 1842 (but discontinued after twenty years) and in Auckland in 1885 (and have continued since). Read more about the interesting history of Quakers in Nelson, where the first New Zealand Meeting House was established. Quaker History in Nelson

One name that stands out in the history of early Quakers in New Zealand is that of Ann Fletcher Jackson. She came to New Zealand with her husband Thomas in 1879, and they settled on bush-covered land north of Whangarei. For the rest of her active life Ann travelled extensively around New Zealand on Friends' business, sometimes with her husband Thomas but often alone. At this time most roads were poor to impassable (to nonexistent!), so her journeys involved coastal ships, horseback, and a great deal of time. She was instrumental in the establishment of a nationwide network of Friends, and in encouraging the establishment of regular Meetings for Worship in a number of places.

See: "The Story of New Zealand Quakerism", M. West & R. Fawell, in NZ collection, Christchurch Public Library: a history of Quakerism in Aotearoa/New Zealand.