Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


Labors in New Zealand

At the close of the Australian Conference, Mrs. White decided to undertake the long deferred visit to New Zealand. She was accompanied by Emily Campbell, who assisted her both as secretary and as nurse. Her son, W. C. White, and Elder and Mrs. Starr were also with her during much of the time. LS 341.2

Arriving in Auckland February 8, they were met by Elder M. C. Israel, and conducted to a furnished cottage which the Auckland church had placed at their disposal. LS 341.3

During the twelve days spent in earnest labor for the Auckland church, Mrs. White spoke eight times. After this she spent three weeks with the brethren and sisters in Kaeo, the oldest Seventh-day Adventist church in New Zealand. Here she found a number of promising young people, for whom she labored earnestly. LS 341.4

Both in Auckland and in Kaeo Mrs. White urged the brethren and sisters to go with their families to the annual conference which was to be held the last of March, in Napier. This conference was to be a camp meeting, the first undertaken by Seventh-day Adventists south of the equator. Regarding this experience she wrote: LS 341.5

“We felt that this first camp meeting must be, as far as possible, a sample of what every other camp meeting held in the future ought to be. Over and over again I said to the people: ‘See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.’ Hebrews 8:5.... Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ Matthew 5:48.” LS 341.6

But regarding this proposed camp meeting it seemed impossible to arouse much enthusiasm. Logging camps, and groups of tents for road builders, were well-known institutions, not much to be desired; but a comfortable camp for a company of people gathered to worship God, was an entirely new thing for New Zealand. LS 342.1

On account of the financial depression, it was unusually difficult for many to attend. Up to the beginning of the meeting, there was little promise that more than thirty would be encamped on the grounds. For that number tents were provided. But just as the meeting was opening, the people from the different churches came in, unannounced, until there were twice as many as had been expected. During the last week of the meeting there were eighteen tents in the encampment, occupied by fifty-three persons. Many others occupied rooms near by. These, with the membership of the Napier church, made a good sized congregation during the day. Every evening the large tent was well filled. LS 342.2

As the meeting progressed, the camp meeting plan was heartily approved, and it was voted that the next annual conference be held in camp. Resolutions were adopted endorsing the Australasian Bible School, and funds were contributed,—five hundred dollars for the furniture, and four hundred dollars as a students’ aid fund. Two hundred and seventy dollars was subscribed as a camp meeting fund. LS 342.3

“After the close of the camp meeting in Napier,” wrote Mrs. White, “we decided to visit Wellington, and also to spend a few days at Palmerston North to labor for a little company of Sabbath keepers there who were pleading for help. Although infirmities were still my companions by night and day, the Lord gave grace to bear them. Sometimes when I felt unable to fill my appointments, I would say, ‘In faith I will place myself before the people;’ and when I did this, strength was given me to rise above my infirmities, and to bear the message the Lord had given me.” LS 343.1

At Wellington, Mrs. White was welcomed to the home of Mrs. M. H. Tuxford, where she spent several months, and from which headquarters she went out from time to time to speak to little companies of believers in Petone, Ormondville, Dannevirke, Palmerston North, and Gisborne. LS 343.2

Before returning to Australia, Mrs. White attended the second New Zealand camp meeting, held November 30 to December 12, 1893, in a sheltered suburb of Wellington. There were in attendance double the number that had been present at the Napier meeting. Elder O. A. Olsen, president of the General Conference, arrived during the early days of the meeting, and his labors and timely instruction were of untold value. He brought cheering reports from the great mission fields that he had recently visited; and he appealed to the young people to fit themselves for service in the closing work of the gospel. LS 343.3

From Wellington, Mrs. White, in company with Elder Olsen and other laborers, hastened to Melbourne to attend the first camp meeting in Australia. LS 343.4