David Edwards on Christianity in Aotearoa-New Zealand

While browsing through David L. Edwards’ 664-page Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years (1997), I noticed that it was not until page 599 that New Zealand even rated a mention (which is fair enough), and even then very little ink (113 words) was spilt (which is, I guess, understandable in such a volume). But the bromidic summary is unforgiveable, and it’s hard to believe that this was written – and published – in the 1990s!

‘The history of Christianity in New Zealand is not unlike that story [of Australia]. Here the original inhabitants were the more ‘developed’ Maoris who arrived from Polynesia and the intruding British were settlers who acquired their land (after stout resistance) by treaties which were formal although unequal; these agreements were subsequently broken. American and Asian influences have so far been less strong than in Australia, Man has been less able to damage islands much smaller but more fertile and more beautiful, and the position of the churches is stronger. However, although relatively conservative New Zealand is in significant ways postmodern. The days when missionaries hoped for a nation of Christian Maoris without settlers are distant.’

Now I consider myself a very generous and fair reader, but with this kind of drivel it’s hard to understand why Edwards bothered mentioning New Zealand at all.

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