“Thomas” (a working title) covers the life of Thomas Kendall, one of the earliest missionaries to settle in Aotearoa. While I would describe the work as a novel, the great majority of characters and events are historically based – with occasional tweaking (e.g. dates around the battle of Moremonui, the saga of the Venus and the execution of John Cashman). Because the story covers 82 years, information tends to be collapsed into scenes or events; e.g. much of the quality of Thomas’ early childhood is to be inferred from a shopping expedition he and his mother make to the local village.

The flow starts from p.16 where Thomas is engaged as a tutor in London. He falls into sin, then into depression, recovers, meets Jane Quickfall (Historical) and is manipulated into marriage with her. He moves with Jane and the beginning of an eventually large family to Thoresby, becomes disenchanted, has an epiphany at the Bentinck Chapel where he meets Basil Woodd (H) and resettles in London as a school teacher. Through Woodd he makes a connection with the Church Missionary Society, hears the call and is engaged as a missionary. In 1813 he and his family cross to Port Jackson and then on to Rangihoua where he becomes part of the mission settlement.

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Barrie Allen was born in Australia, but raised in Aotearoa New Zealand. After five years of academia (BA – Bachelor of Arts, LLB – Bachelor of Law) he fell into teaching and found his vocation there. On retirement he and his partner Kim moved to the country where they pursue a self-sufficient life style, partly with some apprehension of social instability but primarily because they find that providing for themselves (and others) brings a deep satisfaction and adds a spiritual dimension to their lives.


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