Settler Childhood, Protestant Christianity and Emotions in Colonial New Zealand, 1880s–1920s

  • Hugh Morrison
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions book series (Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions)


In November 1880 Protestant settler children and their teachers gathered in the southern New Zealand city of Dunedin to celebrate the centenary of the British Sunday school movement. The first event was a ‘mass meeting of children’ that incorporated hymns from Bateman’s Hymn Book ‘sung with very great spirit by the children’, Bible readings and a series of addresses.2 One speaker lamented that many children thought that being a Christian meant they had to become a ‘parson’ or ‘very old men and women’. That was a mistake; to be true disciples of Christ, they ‘must get to be like Christ was when he was at their age’. He then observed that:

It would not be a very desirable thing that the clergymen on the platform should go away playing leapfrog all down Princess street [sic], but he would not think it at all a wrong thing for the boys to do it, but would think they had enjoyed the meeting and were in really good spirits. He wished boys and girls to understand that they had not to give up play, but to be like Christ when He was a child. They were not asked to be Christ’s men and women, but Christ’s boys and girls, and they had Christ’s example as a boy, and would have His help.3


Christian Faith Archive Research Emotional Community Sunday School Good Soldier 
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© Hugh Morrison 2015

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  • Hugh Morrison

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