Given names: 
H. W.
Given address: 
Three Kings College
Sheet No: 18
Mt Roskill

Biography contributed by Colyn Storer (née Morley)

Hannah Watson Buttle was born at the Wesleyan Mission Station, Waipa, New Zealand, on 24 January 1845, the eldest child and only daughter of Rev George and Jane Buttle (née Newman), pioneer missionaries in the Waikato. Hannah was educated at Wesley College in Auckland. Her mother died in childbirth in 1857 and soon after her father took the family to England for four years. They returned to New Zealand in 1863 and lived at Spring Farm, Otahuhu, where her father was a farmer.

Hannah married a young Wesleyan minister, William Morley, at her father’s home on 10 April 1867, after they signed their intention to marry on 8 April. Their children were: William born in 1869; Mabel in 1871, later Deaconess Sister Mabel Morley; Ethel in 1873; Lilian in 1875; Sydney in 1878; Harold in 1880-1882 and Frank in 1883.   

Her Christian faith was central to all of her life.  She was a described as 'a model minister’s wife' and because of her upbringing on the mission station, was always deeply involved with and supportive of Māori and foreign missions.  Along with her family and home duties, she was a Class leader and worked along with the ladies of the congregations and especially visited the poor and aged.

As Methodist ministers usually moved churches each three years, Hannah and William lived in Wellington, Wanganui, Lyttleton, Christchurch, Auckland and Dunedin. They had a ministry trip to England in 1888. Her husband became one of the senior leaders in the Wesleyan church, making her life was busier than ever.

They were living at Wesley College, Three Kings College, Auckland, when the 1893 petition was signed, where Hannah loved spending time with the Māori boys. They returned to Christchurch in April 1893, and lived at 336 Colombo St as recorded in the 1893 Electoral Roll.

She and her family knew for more than three years that she had a serious heart condition and she gradually grew weaker till she died on 11 June 1898. There was a large funeral at Durham St Methodist Church, followed by burial at Linwood Cemetery and a detailed obituary in the Methodist magazine. Hannah was remembered with a plaque in Durham St Methodist Church in Christchurch, which was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake.


Alexander Turnbull Library (Diary of Rev George Buttle, Ref: Micro-MS-0612-01; William Newman Papers, MS-Papers-2507)
Methodist Church Archives New Zealand
BDM Online NZ (New Zealand cemetery records, 1800-2007)
Bernard Gadd, William Morley, 1842-1926: a statesman of God among Australasian Methodists: his work in New Zealand (1964)
Family Search (Archives New Zealand Probate records)
Obituary, The Advocate, 25 June 1898
Family Bible records

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

How to cite this page

'H. W. Morley', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 27-Feb-2019

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