Richard Taylor

Birth: 1805


Richard Taylor (21 May 1805 - 10 October 1873) was a Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionary in New Zealand. He was born on 21 March 1805 at Letwell, Yorkshire, England, one of four children of Richard Taylor and his wife, Catherine Spencer. He attended Queens' College, Cambridge and after graduating BA in 1828, he was ordained as a priest on 8 November 1829. In 1835, he was appointed a missionary in New Zealand for the CMS.

He was present at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840. In 1840 he was appointed as head of the school at Te Waimate mission, then in 1842 joined the CMS mission station at Whanganui. By 1844 the brick church built by Revd John Mason was inadequate to meet the needs of the congregation and it had been damaged in an earthquake. A new church was built under the supervision of Revd Richard Taylor with the timber supplied by each pa on the river in proportion to its size and number of Christians. His travels as a missionary extended into the Taranaki region along the coast to the north of Whanganui. in March 1846 he hosted Governor George Grey when he visited Whanganui.

In 1848, Taylor wrote A Leaf from the Natural History of New Zealand (1848). In 1849 he travelled back to Whanganui via Taupo from meeting of CMS missionaries in Tauranga. His missionary travels include traveling up the Whanganui River to settlements such as Pipiriki and to Lake Rotoaira at the base of Mount Tongariro. He named settlements along the Whanganui River Atene (Athens), Koriniti (Corinth), Hiruharama (Jerusalem) and R?nana (London) and the Wanganui suburb of Taylorville is named after him. After his death on 19 October 1873, his son, the Revd B K Taylor, took over the Whanganui mission. He wrote numerous books about the natural and cultural environment of New Zealand in his time.

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