Charles Creed was born in Somerset in 1812. Entering the Wesleyan Ministry in 1837 he was accepted for the mission field and, in the following year, sailed for New Zealand, reaching Hokianga in February 1839. After two years at Hokianga and Kaipara he then proceeded with a mission party to Taranaki, where he spent three years in charge of the Maori population between Cook Strait and the Waikato. They were the first resident missionaries in Taranaki, and Mrs Creed was the first European woman to settle there. Transferred to Otago in 1844 to succeed Watkin at Waikouaiti, Creed found that his new circuit was even more extensive, for it stretched from Stewart Island in the south to the Kaikoura Mountains. A tireless traveller, physically strong, and with great missionary zeal, Creed regarded the mission station at Waikouaiti as a base, and from there he visited Maori settlements in all parts of his district. In September 1845 he visited Banks Peninsula, preached there both to Maoris and to Europeans, explored the site afterwards occupied by Christ-church, and returned to Waikouaiti by way of Lake Ellesmere and Temuka. The extent of his circuit hampered his missionary work and, eventually, the privations endured on pastoral journeys took their toll. In 1852, when he was transferred from Waikouaiti to the Hutt, Creed looked on his departure from the south as a deliverance.
Physical hardship was not his only trial. Although the Waikouaiti whaling station was past its heyday, when its reputation for wickedness and infamy was widespread, Creed still believed that the influence of the European community threatened to destroy any good the mission might achieve, especially among the Maoris. He realised too that the arrival of the main body of Scottish settlers in 1848 for the Otago settlement was a new threat to Maori welfare. After the arrival of the Scottish Free Church settlers, Creed held services in Dunedin for the Anglicans among the immigrants, which offended Burns and antagonised Cargill, who resented Creed's influence and argued that his action would create division and disturb discipline. These differences became a minor sensation throughout New Zealand, but Creed continued his work until the arrival of the first Anglican minister (Rev. J. A. Fenton) early in 1852.
After a term at the Hutt Creed moved to Glebe, New South Wales, where he died on 19 February 1879.
by Timothy Holmes Beaglehole, M.A.(N.Z.), PH.D. (CAMB.), Senior Lecturer, Department of History, Victoria University of Wellington.
- The History of Otago, McLintock, A. H. (1949)
- History of Methodism in New Zealand, Morley, W. (1900).