The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Hadfield, Right Rev. Octavius

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Hadfield, Right Rev. Octavius, Bishop of Wellington and Primate of New Zealand, son of Joseph Hadfield, of Bonchurch, Isle of Wight, was born in 1816, and matriculated at Pembroke College, Oxford, on Feb. 19th, 1832, but was obliged to leave the University because of ill-health. He proceeded to Australia, and while in deacon's orders accompanied the Bishop (Broughton) of Australia to New Zealand in 1838 in H.M.S. Pelorus. Upon the application of Rauparaha for a missionary to be sent to Otaki, in Cook Straits, Mr. Hadfield volunteered. He was accordingly admitted to priest's orders by the Bishop, and sailed with Rev. Henry Williams to Port Nicholson. Here he settled and laboured for many years. In 1843, after the slaughter of Captain Wakefield and others by Rauparaha, at Wairau, that chief roused his tribe to arms to prevent the enslaving of the Maori race, and had it not been for the intervention of Mr. Hadfield and Te Rangitake, the Ngatitoa would have descended upon the new settlement of Wellington. Later in 1859-60 he protested against the treatment of Te Rangitake by the Government over the Waitara affair, and in April 1860 sent a petition, signed at Otaki by the Maoris, praying for the removal of Governor Browne on account of the seizure of Waitara. This he was accused of having inspired, but was able to show that it was spontaneous on the part of the natives. Mr. Hadfield, who was appointed by Bishop Selwyn Archdeacon of Kapiti, remained at Otaki from 1839 to 1865. When the Hauhau fanaticism broke out, and the missionary Volkner was murdered, he stood to his post at the imminent risk of his life, declaring that he was ready to lay his bones where he had so long laboured. Archdeacon Hadfield was commissary to Bishop Selwyn for ten years, and was subsequently commissary to the first Bishop (Abraham) of Wellington. In Oct. 1870, upon the resignation of Bishop Abraham, he was appointed to succeed him, the election being by the colonial episcopate without the Queen's mandate. In 1889, when the Bishop (Harper) of Christchurch, who was also Primate of New Zealand, retired, Bishop Hadfield was elected to the primacy. As there was considerable doubt as to the proper constitution of the electing body, the validity of the election was disputed, and Bishop Suter, of Kelson, was nominated by the dissentient party. In the end, however, the claims of Bishop Hadfield were acknowledged.