The Revd. Henry Handley Brown  took his B.A. degree at Oxford in 1836 and was ordained the following year by the Bishop of Lincoln. He married Sophia, daughter of  the Revd. John Morris. At the invitation of Archdeacon (later Bishop) Abraham, he came to Taranaki as a missioner to the outlying districts. The family arrived aboard the Eclipse in 1859, settling at Omata. He quickly became beloved and trusted by local Māori, and earned the nicknames "The backblocks clergyman" and "The galloping parson". When war broke out in 1860, a panui signed by four chiefs was pinned to his farm, Brookwood, giving protection from hostilities. He remained at Brookwood during the battle of Waireka, then bought carts from friendly Māori in order to convey Omata settlers and their belongings into New Plymouth. The following Sunday, at his request, those he had helped went to St Mary's church to offer thanks.

There are also memorials to "Parson Brown" and his family at St Andrews Church, Inglewood.

  • Puke Ariki museum holds various items relating to Henry Handley Brown including the panui and his family bible.




Revd. HENRY-

Born at Welbourn
Novr 26th 1813

Died at New Plymouth
Sept 7th 1893

For 33 Years Minister in
This District

"He tried to do his duty"

Erected by Loving Friends


Sophia W. Brown
Wife of above

Born 12th Aug. 1814
Died 14th May 1891



< 18 BROWN, Francis Index of Graves 20 MESSENGER