In November 1950 Tumuaki Cowley wrote the history of the New Zealand Mission for his missionaries. He told of a convention that was called for representatives of certain tribes of the Maori race in March 1881. Many problems were discussed at the meeting, but the problem of greatest concern was the need to decide which church the Maoris should join so there would be a unity of religious belief among them.
Those attending the convention could find no answer to this great problem, so it was agreed that the matter should be decided by Paora Potangaroa, the wisest chief and the most learned man they knew. His immediate answer was just one word, “Taihoa” (wait). He wanted three days to think about the problem.
For three days Paora Potangaroa fasted and prayed for direction. Then he went before the people and said, “The church for the Maori people has not yet come among us. It will come soon. You will recognize it when it does, for its missionaries will travel in pairs. They will come from the rising sun. They will visit with us in our homes. They will learn our language and teach us in our own tongue.”
At this time the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had not yet taught the Maori people, although a few missionaries had been teaching the gospel to Europeans living in New Zealand.
In that very year, 1881, W. M. Bromley of Springville, Utah, was sent to preside over the New Zealand Mission. Before leaving home, he was told that the time had come for the missionaries to take the gospel to the Maori people.
When Tumuaki Cowley returned to New Zealand as mission president, he adopted the words Kia Ngawari as a slogan for all the Saints there. He had the phrase printed on little signs that could be taken into every home. Each talk Tumuaki Cowley gave ended with these stirring words. There is no exact translation for them in English. Some say the meaning is “be sincere”; others, “be loving and kind.”
We hope the missionaries effort to be sincere, loving and kind as they teach the doctrines of Christ we help us achieve our goal of bring others unto Christ.