In 1842 the prospect of sending Primitive Methodist missionaries to Australia and New Zealand from England, seemed impossible. How could a movement of poor, working class people raise the considerable sum of money needed?
Then, someone had an inspirational thought: ask 70,000 Sunday school children to fund missionaries to Australia, at one penny each for a year.
This idea led to the means of a funding a mission to New Zealand. A missionary meeting at Cramlington in the North Shields Circuit suggested that the Sunday School teachers take responsibility for sending a missionary to New Zealand. The idea was taken up with enthusiasm.
“We approve of the suggestion concerning each Sunday school teacher raising the sum of one shilling, during the ensuing year, to aid in missionary labours in New Zealand.”
In August 1844, Robert Ward and his family landed at New Plymouth. He arrived as “a stranger amongst strangers uninvited and unexpected”. Six weeks later Joseph Long and John Wilson arrived in Adelaide as the first missionaries to Australia.