Apart from cults evolved by the Maori people themselves, all the main Christian denominations show fluctuations in the number of their adherents over the past 30 years. The Anglican church had the greatest proportion in 1956, amounting to just over 32 per cent of the total Maori population, but it has shown a recent decline while the next largest sect, the Roman Catholic, stood at nearly 16 per cent in 1956. Both the Methodist and Mormon faiths comprise about 7 per cent of the Maori population and both have shown a slight but steady increase over the 30-year period. The Mormon church has a large number of youthful followers and the vigorous policy of that church seems to appeal to young Maoris. Young missionaries from the United States engage in community projects, sports activities, and church social meetings. Their work seems more closely attuned to the outlook of the younger section of their following. The most spectacular of their efforts are the erection of a great carved meeting house at Nuhaka and a fine, multi-purpose school at Tuhi-karamea, near Hamilton. Although all the religious faiths have done sound social work, the Presbyterian and Methodist – and more recently, Baptist and Brethren – Maori missions have worked quietly and successfully without much publicity. All, however, are helping in a difficult period for the Maori people when their future may be more with urban societies than in rural, partly tradition-directed communities.
|Religious Professions of Maori Population|
|Denomination||Adherents||Increase/Decrease Per Cent|
|Church of England||44,257||51,148||15·6|
|Roman Catholic (including Catholic undefined)||22,051||28,656||30·0|
|Seventh Day Adventists||462||622||34·6|
|Commonwealth Covenant Church||301||390||29·6|
|Absolute Maori Established Church||179||85||-52·5|
|Church of Christ||93||178||91·4|
|No religion (so returned)||654||891||36·2|
|All other religious professions||578||1,115||92·9|
|Object to state||17,043||21,814||28·0|
by John Bruce Palmer, B.A., Curator, Fiji Museum, Suva.
- New Zealand Wars and the Pioneering Period (2 vols.), Cowan, James (1955)
- Pictures of Old New Zealand, Cowan, James (1930)
- The Upraised Hand, Greenwood, W. (1942)
- Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 62 (1953), “The Doctrine of Hauhauism”, Winks, Robin.