The period between 1860 and 1890 in the North Island was a time of slow progress due largely to Maori troubles and bad communications. During these years the Church followed the settlers into the developing farm districts of the Waikato and Taranaki, at the same time endeavouring to keep pace with growing urban populations.
In 1862 the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church north of the Waitaki (the Northern Church) was constituted. In the South Island in Canterbury the Church continued to extend, particularly in South Canterbury where the Rev. George Barclay gave leadership both in church and in public life. In Otago, 1860 to 1890 were the years of the gold rushes with a resulting increase in population and consequent strain on all the resources of the Church. New parishes were established on the goldfields and in the developing rural areas of Clutha, Mataura, North Otago, and Southland, the pioneer of Church extension being the Rev. D. M. Stuart, the first minister of Knox Church, Dunedin.