Octavius Hadfield On Screen

A Rangatira every inch of him. Maori tribute to Octavius Hadfield

Production beginning shortly!

By Roger Childs

Octavius Hadfield, was the son of a rich English merchant, and he came to New Zealand in 1839 as a missionary aged 25.

His life to that time had been dogged by illness, and it was uncertain how long he would live.

It turned out to be an unexpectedly long time: in 1890 he became Anglican Archbishop of New Zealand and died 14 years later at the age of 90.

He is unquestionably one of the great New Zealanders of the 19th century.

Learning Te Reo from early in his missionary days, he was able to mix easily with Maori, as well as British settlers.

He is a key figure in the history of the Kapiti area and his great, great grandson, Barry, became the first mayor of the Kapiti Coast District Council.

Next month, Eternity Media Productions Ltd will begin filming three half hour programmes, one of them on Octavius Hadfield’s remarkable life. It is a story that needs to be told.

Following up a book series

Few people know much about him. Gina Taggart

Gina Taggart was a co-author of the fifteen Chronicles of Paki.

The second series of these beautifully illustrated children’s books on 19th century New Zealand history, includes the story of Octavius Hadfield and his family.

It was a logical jump from writing to filming. Gina is determined to spread the word about the great churchman and writer, who has been seriously neglected in the history books.

Hadfield was a remarkable man by any standards.

During his early years as a missionary on the Kapiti Coast he was a key figure in turning the brutal Ngati Toa Chief, Te Rauparaha, away from killing and cannibalism, to an acceptance of Christianity and peace.

Te Rauparaha

Tamihana, the son of the old warrior, was baptised by Hadfield and travelled as a missionary to  the South Island to work among the Ngai Tahu people.

In later years, Hadfield was a great champion of Maori rights and, at times, was a thorn in the side of his superiors, and successive governors and premiers.

He was a man of principle with a strong belief in justice, peace and living the Christian life.

Maori paid him the ultimate accolade in calling him a rangatira.


The schedule


Octavius Hadfield preaching in Otaki

Filming will begin on March 4, and the settings include:

  • Paraparaumu Beach and Otaki Beach
  • Rangiatea Church in Otaki
  • the homes of the Hadfields in Paraparaumu and the Browns in Otaihanga.

The Octavius Hadfield programme is part of Eternity Media’s Incredible Journey series which look at the history of the outreach of Christianity. Gina is hopeful that they will feature on New Zealand television about the time of Waitangi Day next year.

They will also be filming the Tarore story in Matamata, and the third, set in Northland, will cover the introduction of Christianity to New Zealand through Marsden, Te Pahi and Ruatara.

(Thanks to Gina Taggart for information about the project. We’ll have more on the Octavius Hadfield programme in March.)