Special Issue/Édition spéciale 1994

Missionary Women as Educators: The CMS School in New Zealand, 1823-1835

Tanya Fitzgerald
University of Auckland
Published November 30, 1994
How to Cite
Fitzgerald, Tanya. 1994. “Missionary Women As Educators: The CMS School in New Zealand, 1823-1835”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 6 (3). https://historicalstudiesineducation.ca/hse/index.php/edu_hse-rhe/article/view/4621.


Much of the literature on the early period of British colonization of New Zealand has assumed that missionary men participated in the public world of work while their wives participated in the private world of the home. As women have been seen as occupying the domestic sphere of the home, historians have further viewed their work as relatively unimportant. Across this literature it is also usually assumed that—probably because men were engaged in the 'public sphere'—it was the missionary men who were responsible for providing education. This paper concentrates on the activities of two early missionary women, Marianne Williams and her sister-in-law, Jane Williams. There is concrete evidence to suggest that these women were sent to New Zealand as part of the first wave of missionary women to 'civilize' Maori by converting them to Christianity. As women and educators, Marianne and Jane played critical roles in the success of the mission and, as will be argued, their presence in the mission station permitted missionary men to undertake their duties.