country of origin; England
areas in New Zealand; Kaitaia, Wanganui, Awanui
sources; The Community Archive Te Ao Hou
Richard Matthews was the brother of Rev Joseph Matthews of Kaitaia. He served on the 2nd voyage of Darwin's Beagle as a lay missionary. He left the ship when it called at New Zealand, and joined his brother Joseph Matthews in Kaitaia. He married Johanna Blomfield, sister of Mrs Martha Blomfield Clarke, in 1838 at Waimate North. He served the Church Missionary Society in Kaitaia, then was asked to help set up a missionary station at Wanganui.
On 20 June 1840, the Revd John Mason, Mrs Mason and a lay catechist, Mr Richard Matthews arrived in Wanganui to establish the Mission.
Richard and Johanna Matthews later lived at Awanui, Northland. They had 2 daughters, Serena Hannah born about 1840, and Bertha born 1846 in Wanganui
Wanganui Herald 26th May 1906
The first white child born in Wanganui. Sir- In last evening’s paper I saw a paragraph stating that Mr Anthony Nathan was the first white child born in Wanganui. This is a mistake. He was the first child born to the New Zealand Company’s settlers who came here in 1840 or 1841; but a lay Evangelist of the Church Missionary Society, named Matthews came here with his wife in 1836 or 1837, and started a mission station just where the Moutoa monument now stands, and they had two or three children born to them before the settlers arrived, the oldest of such children was a girl. When the Matthews family left here in 1843 or 1844, they journeyed to Hokianga in a whaleboat, travelling by day, and camping on the beach at night. I had occasion many years ago to enquire into this subject, and my principal informant was Mr A Nathan’s mother, who had known the family well, and who spoke very highly of the courage of Mrs Matthews in coming to a place where she could have none but Maori assistance in her confinements. I am, etc., H C Field. Aramoho May 25th 1906