ATWC’s 160th Celebrations

A service to celebrate the work of the Anglican Trust for Women and Children

On the 20th November 2018 we celebrated together at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell to commemorate 160 years of the Anglican Trust for Women and Children.

It was a lovely way to remember all those who have worked tirelessly throughout the decades of ATWC

The founders of the trust were present, their prints and bios dispayed on easels at the front of the chapel:

William Garden Cowie (1831–1902): William Garden Cowie was born on 8 January 1831 at St John’s Wood, London, England. His parents were Alexander Cowie, an advocate, and his wife, Elizabeth Garden, both originally from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. William Cowie was a scholar of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, taking Latin and English prizes, and passing first class in the civil law tripos and the voluntary theological examination. He gained his BA in 1855. Cowie had his MA conferred in 1865 and his DD in 1869. Selected by G. A. Selwyn, formerly bishop of New Zealand, to become the first bishop of Auckland, he was consecrated at Westminster Abbey on 29 June 1869. On 20 July he married Eliza Jane Webber at Spring Grove, Middlesex. They arrived at Auckland in February 1870. Their six children were born within the decade. Cowie’s long episcopate in New Zealand was marked by regular visits throughout his diocese, often under difficult conditions. Under his leadership the number of clergy increased from 28 to 85 and many churches were built. He created the Home Mission Fund to support church extension and also sometimes served as a parish minister to supply vacant parishes. Lay leadership was encouraged through the bishop’s licensing of lay readers and the support he gave to the Lay Readers’ Association. He started the Church Gazette in 1872. Published monthly and initially edited by Cowie, it was an important means for sharing information throughout the diocese. Bishop Cowie was also involved in a variety of community organisations, including the YMCA, the Auckland Institute and the Parnell Shakespeare Club. He organised the establishment of the Auckland Sailors’ Home in 1882, serving as president of its council, leading the appeal for the erection of a new home and laying its foundation stone in 1887. Together with the Reverend Joseph Bates he founded the Association of the Friends of the Blind which merged with the Jubilee Institute for the Blind in 1890. He was involved with Eliza Cowie in establishing the Women’s Home. Bishop Cowie was noted for his careful, conscientious oversight of his diocese and his involvement in education, social work and community organisations. His ability was as a pastor and not a preacher. Farewelling Bishop Cowie before his departure to England in 1888, the Maori clergy of his diocese indicated their appreciation of his ministry: ‘The sheep of the flock, of which you are shepherd, are of two colours – European and Maories, and you have fed us all alike, impartially; none have been starved. For this we thank you.’ A big man with a handsome face, long beard and fine figure, Cowie was approachable despite his military bearing. His achievement was in helping the Auckland diocese in the post-Selwyn era consolidate and expand both its Maori and Pakeha work.*

Eliza Jane Cowie (1835-1902): Eliza Jane Webber was born in England, probably on 6 October 1835, the daughter of William Webber, a surgeon, and his wife, Eliza Preston. On 20 July 1869 at Spring Grove, Middlesex, she married William Garden Cowie, who had recently been consecrated bishop of Auckland, New Zealand. Arriving in Auckland on the City of Melbourne on 3 February 1870 with her husband, she resided at Bishopscourt in Parnell for the rest of her life. Eliza and William Cowie had one daughter and five sons, two of whom died in infancy. Eliza Cowie became well known for her social and welfare work among the less fortunate in Auckland at a time when social services for women were almost nonexistent. In 1884 she founded and was superintendent of ‘a retired and peaceful’ women’s home in Parnell set up ‘to receive young women desirous to return to virtuous living.’ The home provided shelter and the opportunity for single mothers (some as young as 15) to be reinstated into society ‘without the ineradicable brand affixed’. They were expected to remain for six months, the intention being to change their living habits and to teach skills of sewing, laundry and household work. Eliza Cowie also took a leading role in the work of the Auckland Ladies’ Benevolent Society and as president of the Girls’ Friendly Society. The children’s home in Parnell (founded in 1893) and another in Ponsonby (1896) also owed their existence to her efforts. She was a member of the committee of the Mission to the Streets and Lanes, and of the ladies’ committee of the Association of the Friends of the Blind, and also the first president of the Auckland Anglican Mothers’ Union. Taking a deep interest in her husband’s work as bishop, Eliza Cowie entertained large numbers at Bishopscourt (up to 700 on one occasion). She travelled a good deal with the bishop in his visits to various parts of the diocese of Auckland, calling on the wives of clergy – both European and Maori – and travelling in unpleasant conditions over rough roads by horseback. She was said to be the first Pakeha woman to make the journey from Wellington to New Plymouth on horseback. Around 1895 she suffered a stroke and was paralysed on one side. Confined to her home she continued to receive visitors. On 26 June 1902 Bishop Cowie died. Eliza Cowie remained at Bishopscourt until her own death on 18 August of the same year. She was buried in St Stephen’s cemetery, Parnell. The women’s home (now known as St Mary’s Family Centre) remains as her most enduring achievement. Her work with distressed women and children was significant in the context of that period in Auckland’s history: she was indefatigable in her organisation of and fundraising for the women’s and children’s homes. She was described as ‘one of those gentle Christian women whose loving deeds and good example can be ill-spared’, and by Maori clergy as ‘our mother, Mrs Cowie’.**

Dr. Thomas Brutton Kenderdine (1828-1894): Kenderdine arrived in Auckland in 1855 on the “Josephine Willis”. Dr Kenderdine was the first president of the Auckland Medical Association and the Director of the Mutual Life Association of Australasia. In 1881 with the vicar of St. Paul’s Church, John Floyd, he established the Anglican Children’s Trust and the Papatoetoe Orphanage. Kenderdine was extremely well known for his good works which was probably why he was asked to lay the Foundation Stone despite being an anglican. Thomas Spurgeon, like his father was intent on creating bridges between the different Christian denominations. His wife Eliza Jane Preece (1836 – 1910) Born on a Missonary Station in the Bay of Islands, her diary is one of the primary sources for research on the period. The Kenderdines married in 1859 and had 11 children.***

Eliza Jane Kenderdine (nee Preece) (1836-1910): Eliza was the daughter of James Preece, a missionary with Church Missionary Society who had arrived in New Zealand in 1829, and his wife, Mary Ann Williams. Eliza was born when her parents were living in Pūriri, south of Thames. When James and Mary Ann Preece were posted to Ahikereru in the remote Urewera district in 1847, Eliza and her siblings were sent to Auckland to attend Mrs Tucker’s School in Symonds Street. In 1854 the Preeces moved to Whakatāne, and then to the Coromandel area in 1856. Eliza met her husband, Dr Thomas Brutton Kenderdine in Ōtāhuhu – family legend has it that Eliza went to Thomas’s surgery, and after her visit, he said, ‘That is the girl I am going to marry!’ The couple married in St Paul’s Church on 1 September 1859, and had 11 children, two of whom died as infants. As well as her long involvement with the Women’s Home, Eliza was a founding member of the Auckland Ladies’ Benevolent Society and of the Young Women’s Christian Association. Her husband, Thomas, was one of the founders of the Orphan Home, and honorary medical officer for the Women’s Home in its early years. Thomas died in 1894, and Eliza in December 1910.

Marianne Celia Kinder (1837-1928): Marianne Celia Brown was born in Paihia in 1837, the daughter of Alfred Nesbit Brown, a Church Missionary Society missionary, and his wife, Charlotte. The family moved to Tauranga soon after Celia was born, and then to Auckland. In 1859 Celia married John Kinder, who had come to Auckland in 1855 as the headmaster of the Church of England Grammar School in Ayr Street, Parnell. Celia and her sister Fanny taught the younger boys at the school, and the Kinders cared for the two orphaned children of John’s brother Henry. After St John’s Theological College was re-opened by Bishop Cowie, John Kinder became Master there. The Kinders moved to St John’s in 1872 and lived there until Kinder resigned his position in 1881. They then moved to Arney Road in Remuera. Celia — lively, witty, intelligent and good fun — was a great support to Eliza Cowie during their years on the Women’s Home committee. John Kinder died in 1903, and Celia in April 1928.

Rev. John Frederick Lloyd (1810-1875): The Rev. John Frederick Lloyd was a fellow of St John’s College, Auckland, 1849-1853, vicar of St Paul’s, Auckland, 1853-1865 and archdeacon of Waitemata, 1865-1870. Owing to ill health he returned to England in 1870 where he became rector of Kirk-lreton, Wirksworth.

The 16 Candles

16 candles were lit to represent the 16 decades of ATWC. You can read more about it here.



* Bishop Cowie Biography –

** Jane Cowie Biography – 

*** Dr Kenderdine Biography –