Country of origin:
Area in New Zealand:Bay of Islands, Rotorua
It is our melancholy duty to record the death, of another of our band of early missionaries of the North Island. This zealous servant of the Church Missionary Society entered upon his promised rest on the 22nd , at the advanced age of 85 years, nearly 46 of which have been passed in the missionary field of New Zealand. The first missionary station, established by Mr Chapman was at Te Koutu, on the western bank of the Rotorua Lake, and was destroyed on the 6th of August, 1836, during the war of Waharoa, or, as it used to be called, the "Southern War." We next find him pitching his tent on the island of Mokoia, situate in the middle of Lake Rotorua, but finding his sphere of usefulness contracted, he, in about two years moved to Te Ngae, on the eastern bank of the lake, on the ground now in the occupation of Messrs Scott Bros., and which after being left unoccupied for many years, bears lasting evidence of the ameliorating effect of the indomitable courage and ardent enterprise of its former tenant. The last place Mr Chapman was stationed at in this district was Wharekahu, in Maketu, now the residence of his colleague and friend, the Rev. S. M. Spencer. The material at our disposal will not permit us to give more than a very brief outline of Mr Chapman's life while in this district. He came here with the estimable partner of his joys and sorrows, with all the buoyant spirit and hope of youth; counting his life as nought, he fearlessly faced death in its worst form, so that he might win souls for Christ, and spend and be spent in his service.
He was one of the most successful missionaries, an Israelite indeed in whom was no guile. His people loved and venerated him as a father, and Mrs Chapman's life among them can be gathered from the touching inscription on her gravestone; no high flown language or false adulation here, nothing but the rending cry of bereaved children "Mother" "Ko Mata. 1855; Ever ready and waiting to be called, but still anxious to be found working, Mr Chapman returned about a month ago to his old station at Rotorua, and as his strength would permit, he commenced teaching, the children and grandchildren the same lessons he had taught their fathers in years gone by. But his Master had need of him, and called him to spend his Christmas in his Father's house. On Wednesday, While in conversation with Mr Spencer, a desire was expressed by Mr Chapman that in the event of his death, his remains should be taken to Maketu, and placed beside, those of Mrs Chapman, and also that as Mr Spencer had read the burial service on that occasion, he would perform the same duty for him. At this time Mr Chapman seemed as well and as strong as ever he was during the last 15 years. On Friday, December 22, Mr Chapman went to Mokoia Island early in the morning. After having had his tent pitched, the resident natives assembled, had conversation with him about old times and old friends; he then dismissed them under the plea of going to sleep, retaining only a small boy, 10 years of age to wait on him. He then prepared himself for the bath, and was seen by the boy going into it, and was watched by him; but this annoying, the deceased, he sent the boy away, who then went up a hill about a quarter of a mile to get firewood; on his return he again peeped over some stones into the bath, and was again sent away, and joined the rest of the people about a quarter of a mile off round, a point of land. Some time after, how long is uncertain, a woman passing by looked into the Rev Mr Chapman's tent, and finding he was not there, went towards the bath and found his body floating in the water. She gave the alarm, when another woman came down from a rise 100 yds from the bath and called some men to lift the body out of the water, when they found that life was extinct. News was then sent to Ohinemutu and forwarded to Tauranga.