Updated on 18 February 2021
The Bell at the Quaker Settlement, New Zealand, was a gift from Philadelphia Friends who had it transported in 1950.
The plaque below the bell reads:
The Quaker Settlement, established in 1976, is also known as Friends Settlement and locally as Quaker Acres. A community with a residential seminar centre at its heart, the settlement is set in 20 acres of farmland and planting on the outskirts of Wanganui, a provincial city of 43,000.
The settlement prefers to spell the city ‘Whanganui’ in keeping with local Maori wishes. Currently 23 Settlers range in age from preschool to Friends in their 70s. The site is noted for its quiet, peaceful atmosphere.
The seminar centre is surrounded by 16 individual houses occupied by the Friends who comprise of the community, care for the centre and run an annual Quaker programme, all on a voluntary basis.
There is no individual ownership of land. Tenure is therefore not ‘ownership’ rather ‘guardianship’. The Settlers share all management responsibilities and work cooperatively using spiritually discerned decision-making. Part of the settlement’s mission is to find more sustainable ways of living together and resourcefully sharing the land.
The bell is still used for calling people back in during seminars or back in from communal outdoor work for meals.
Aotearoa (meaning land of the long white cloud ) is the Maori word for New Zealand and is Panel 68 (opens in a new tab) of the Quaker Tapestry.
Quakers In Australia & New Zealand
in 1770, the first Quaker to arrive in Australia was Sydney Parkinson, who sailed with Captain James Cook. Two further Quakers, both convicts transported from England, arrived in 1828. However, it would be another four years before Quakers became established across the county.
In 1832 two prominent English Quakers, James Backhouse and George Washington Walker came to Australia preaching Quakerism. By 1838, there were about 80 Quakers in Tasmania alone.
During the 19th-century, Quakers in London were sending out prefabricated timber Meeting Houses to the far-flung parts of the British Empire. Several made their way across Australia & New Zealand and are still in use today, such as the Meeting House in North Adelaide.
Places in Australia that presently have meetings include Canberra, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania.
Currently there are between 1,000 – 2,000 Quakers in Australia.
Similarly with Australia, Quakerism began In New Zealand with the early settlers. Regular meetings began in Nelson, 1842, but discontinued after twenty years. Meetings next began in Auckland, 1885 and have been continuing there ever since. Other places in the country that presently have meetings include Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North as well as the Quaker Settlement in Whanganui.
Currently there are between 600 – 1,400 Quakers in New Zealand.
Images from quaker.org.nz