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Adjusting the mission: Women missionaries, motivations, and Maori in Aotearoa/New Zealand, 1823-1867

Richmond, Allison
This thesis examines the motivations of British female missionaries and missionaries' wives in Aotearoa/New Zealand, closely examining the time period of 1823-1867. While contemporary British Imperial history fails to separate the experiences of women missionaries and those of their husbands, this paper seeks to analyze both married and single women as their own agents with their own personal aspirations in ministering to the Maori population in New Zealand. Centralizing the argument mainly through a gender and race-based historiographical lens, I contend that rather than possessing a sense of duty to Britain and the Crown like their husbands, the journals and letters that missionary women like Marianne and Jane Williams left behind demonstrate their deep sense of religious conviction to the missionary cause. For my methodology, I employ primary sources like letters and diaries from missionary women, as well as similar sources and conversion narratives from missionary men to compare and contrast the motives. The paper focuses on the experiences of missionaries in the Church Mission Society, a missions organization based in England, and concludes that the experiences of missionary women emphasize the dynamic nature of Imperialism and the "civilizing mission."