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MORE THAN WIVES: Helpmeets, Heroines or Partners?

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image of Mission Studies

This article summarizes and reflects on two women who were missionaries in New Zealand in the nineteenth century. Anne Catherine Wilson was a native of the island of Jersey off the coast of Britain and came to New Zealand with her husband, John Alexander Wilson. Anne died tragically young, probably of breast cancer, in 1838. Elizabeth Colenso, on the other hand, was born of New Zealand missionaries in 1821 and lived until 1904. Married to, and then separated from, William Colenso, Elizabeth ministered for several years in England after seventeen years working in New Zealand. Returning to her homeland, she was asked to work as a missionary on Norfolk Island in Melanesia and served there for twenty-three years. Both women, author Catherine Rae Ross demonstrates clearly, were "more than wives;" they were actors-even heroines-in their own right.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Global Mission at the Bible College of New Zealand, Private Bag 93104, Henderson, Auckland 1231, New Zealand


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