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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



Charles Baker (born in Yorkshire in 1803) was trained in agricultural and industrial pursuits. Upon the death of his first wife, he entered the C.M.S. College at Islington. With the second Mrs. Baker, and the daughter of the first marriage, he landed at the Bay of Islands on 9 June, 1828. He was stationed first at Kerikeri and then at Paihia. In the temporary absence of the Rev. H. Williams he played a not unimportant part in making the arrangements ashore for the proclamation of British sovereignty over New Zealand. Lieutenant-Governor Hobson requested him to have copies printed of an invitation to the chiefs to meet him, and arranged with him to send messengers to deliver them. He also sought permission to use the church on the occasion of the reading of the official documents relating to his appointment, etc. On Christmas Day, 1835, Charles Darwin (the eminent naturalist) and Captain FitzRoy (of H.M.S. Beagle and, later, successor to Governor Hobson) attended a service conducted by Mr. Baker and made donations towards the cost of the historic church which was built at Paihia under his supervision and which is still standing. Mr. Baker was stationed at Waikare (1840–2), Tolaga Bay (1843–51) and Rangitukia (1854–7). Whilst he was at Tolaga Bay his family of nine was increased on 11 April, 1843, by the birth of a son, Henry Williams, who might have been the first white boy born at Uawa, and on 3 September, 1844, by the arrival of another daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth, who might have been the first white girl born there. In 1860 Mr. Baker and the Rev. E. B. Clarke were stationed at Tauranga, but, in 1863, they had to leave when the natives began openly to sympathise with the Waikato rebels. Returning to Auckland, Mr. Baker paid regular visits to the stockades, the gaol, and the hospital and to the hulks on which rebel prisoners were being detained. He died on 15 February, 1875.