This quote by Presbyterian missionary Dr Adam Harvey from the 1920s was used as a title of a lecture to the Presbyterian Historical Network this week by Hugh Morrison, senior lecturer from the College of Education at the University of Otago.  He has an interest in the History of Missions from a New Zealand perspective.  He has made presentations to the Network in earlier years and participated in the Seminar on the Rev. Rutherford Waddell last year.  His current study on children in mission studies the record comparing Presbyterian children in New Zealand, Scotland and Canada.

My notes:

Ninety-four children from New Zealand travelled overseas as members of Presbyterian missionary families in the period he is studying.

New Zealand Presbyterians began educating children about missions in the 1880s through the New Zealand Missionary Record.  It was inspired by similarly titled Missionary Records published by the Scottish Churches.  This briefly flourishing periodical was later succeeded by the Break of Day.  The Break of Day continued to be published until the 1970s and survives in the popular memory of its readers.

The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand was active in four mission fields: Vanuatu, Punjab, Canton, and the Maori Mission, especially Tuhoe.

The children’s mission support group was the Busy Bees.  It survived long enough that I have memories of it in my childhood.  Interesting enough the memory of it was the making and selling of craft and other activities, not its mission education.

Interest in mission is sporadic and can be restarted by interested persons.  It is not consistently maintained through the period.

Collections of materials used mission history have been preserved.  They appear to the later student to be disparate and unconnected.  The most important element cannot be re-created, that is the teacher who drew this collection together and used it for teaching in ways that are unknown to us because that information has not survived.  This is not uncommon in personal collections.

Children often returned to their home countries for their higher education.  This was not a fear that remaining on the mission field would make them go native.  Rather the fear was that their education was being provided by migrant American schools for missionary children.  Parents did not want their children picking up this ethos, or accent.  Many preferred to return them to their home country for this education, or even to suspend their missionary activities so their children could have this opportunity.

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