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On the old memorial stone in Blackbridge cemetery is the name of William Rodd. The name Rodd does not appear in the area at that time, and it is clear that the name should be William Rodger, father of the then minister at the Presbyterian Chapel (later to become Knox Church.) 

William Rodger died in 1886.

On the 5th February, 1886, at the Presbyterian Manse, Blackbridge, Lower Hutt, William Rodger, father of Rev D. Rodger, aged 73 years.           (Evening Post, 6 February 1886)

Funeral Notice. The friends of the late Mr. Wm. Rodger are kindly invited to attend his Funeral, to leave the Presbyterian Manse, Blackbridge, Lower Hutt, on Sunday afternoon, the 7th February, at half -past 3 o'clock. Joseph Hall, Undertaker, Lower Hutt, 6th February, 1886.   (Evening Post, 6 February 1886)

William Rodger was born in Pittenweem in Fifeshire on 6 May 1813, son of Andrew Rodger and Isabella Morice. He married Margaret Anstruther 1 June 1838. The marriage was recorded in the parishes of Dundee in Angus and Leuchars in Fife, the latter being the hometown of Margaret. They were to have eight children, seven of whom were born in Dundee, and the youngest, David, born in Alloa, Clackmannanshire on 18 December 1855.

A descendant of Willam Rodger has told me that he was a blacksmith.

In the 1861 Scotland Census for the Dundee First District we find the family at No 23 Gellatly Street. The household consists of:

David Roger    age       5, son                                                                                                            

Jas Roger             age       11, son                                                                                                                    

John Roger             age       19, son                                                                                                                 

Margt Roger             age       42 head b. Leuchars, Fifeshire, occ: Engineer's wife.

William was working in Perthshire at the time.

In the 1871 Scotland Census for the town of Perth, Perthshire we find the family.

Street Address: 45 Kinnoull Causeway                                                                                     

David Rodger,             age 15,             son, b. Clackmannanshire, Alloa                                                       

Margaret Rodger,             age 55m          wife, b. Forfarshire, Leuchars                                                

William Rodger,         age 56,       head, b. Forfarshire, Pittenweem, occ: Ship Blacksmith.

Margaret Rodger died at Alloa in 1882. In 1883 William, accompanied by David’s future bride, Margaret (Maggie) Murray to New Zealand on the “Waihora.” Maggie was also originally from Alloa. David had arrived in New Zealand on the “Zealandia” in 1877.

The Presbyterian Church records give us a lot of information about the Rev. David Rodger.

He is shown as arriving in New Zealand from Scotland as a student from the Free Church of Scotland. In 1877   he is recorded as studying preaching at Riwaka near Nelson. By 1881 he is studying preaching and classics at   the Anglican Ministry of Theological Studies under Rev P. Calder at Port Ahuriri  in Hawkes Bay.

He was recorded as being ordained at Lower Hutt on 13 June 1883. Later parishes in which served were Cust in Christchurch Presbytery in 1888, Waikari in the same Presbytery in 1898 and Papanui in Christchurch in 1911. He retired from this last parish in 1921 and moved to St. Heliers in Auckland where he served as a hospital chaplain in Auckland for seven years.

David Rodger died in Auckland on 30 September 1933.

New Zealand Herald, 2 October 1933, RODGER. On September 30, at his late residence, 68 Mountain Road. Mount Albert, Rev. David Davidson, beloved husband of Margaret Rodger; aged 77 years. A service will be held at the Mount Albert Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m., thence to Waikumete Cemetery. No flowers by request.

23 April 1883 David Davidson Rodger had married Margaret Murray. There were three known children of the marriage: David Davidson and William John 1886, Charles Ogg 1890.

The Rodger family very quickly became involved in the local community, both in Lower Hutt and Wellington.

 The Lower Hutt Presbyterian Church Bazaar, Preliminary Advertisement. A Bazaar, in aid of the New Manse Building Fund, will be held in March, 1884. The following ladies will gladly receive contributions Mrs. Graham, Mrs. D. Speedy, Mrs. Caverhill, Mrs. M'Ilvride, Mrs. Broadfoot, Mrs. Bruce, Mrs. Copeland, and Mrs. Rodger.   (Evening Post, 18 October 1883)

Bazaar. Lower Hutt Presbyterian Church. A Bazaar, in aid of the New Manse Building Fund, will be held in the Oddfellows' Hall on MONDAY, 17th March (St. Patrick's Day). Four fancy and useful Goods Stalls, a Live Stock Stall, a Refreshment Stall, a Christmas Tree, and Punch and Judy. Contributions to the above stall will be thankfully received by any of the ladies of the committee, or by Mrs. Rodger at the Manse. The Bazaar will be opened at 11 a.m. Music and singing during the evening. Admission Adults, 6d; children (under 13), 3d        (Evening Post,            11 March 1884)

Services will be held to-morrow, at St. James' Presbyterian Church, Adelaide road, by the Rev. Mr. Rodger, Lower Hutt.            (Evening Post 5 June 1886,)

A very successful tea meeting to celebrate the anniversary of the Band of Hope in connection with St. James' Presbyterian Church, Newtown, was held in the church last evening. Over a hundred members sat down to a substantial tea, to which the young folks did ample justice. At the public meeting following the attendance was very large, the building being packed to the door. Excellent and appropriate addresses were given by the chairman, the Rev. D. D. Rodger, and by Messrs E. Hopkirk and E. Baker, and a long and varied programme of singing, recitations, and dialogues, was very ably rendered by the members of the Band of Hope, some of the items being particularly clever, and the whole eliciting prolonged and loud applause. (Evening Post, 16 July, 1886,

The Presbytery of Wellington met last evening in the Kent Terrace Church for the purpose of inducting the Rev. J. K. Elliott to the charge of the congregation which has been formed there recently. The Rev. D. D. Rodger conducted the service, and after the sermon stated the history of the call given by the congregation to Mr. Elliott. The questions prescribed by the Rules of the Presbyterian Church were then put to the congregation and to Mr. Elliott, after which the induction was completed in the usual form. (Evening Post, 6 October 1886)

There is some doubt as to when David Rodger was actually ordained as a minister. If the following account of a church meeting in Hawkes Bay is correct, he was ordained prior to his arrival in Lower Hutt.

Hawke's Bay Herald, 18 October 1882. The annual tea meeting in connection with the Port Ahuriri Presbyterian Church, was held last evening in Mr J. Stuart's warehouse, which was kindly lent for the occasion. The room was exceedingly well arranged, with a convenient and roomy platform, and the whole was tastefully decorated with flags, flowers, and evergreens. The lighting was very good, and a number of Chinese lanterns added to the general pleasing appearance. Tea was provided in a sumptuous manner by Mrs Bell, the landlady of the Crown Hotel, to which over two hundred persons sat down. After the tea a sacred concert was given, interspersed with addresses. The Rev. David Rodger occupied the chair, and there were over 300 persons present. The following solos were sung: “Consider the Lilies," by Miss Lamb, “Fear Not” by Mr Dodimede; "Angels ever bright and fair," by Miss Kennedy, "On the bright golden shore," by Miss Pirani "He wipes the tear from every eye," by Mr Hanna; and "Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers," by Mr Rodger. Choruses were rendered by the choir, including "The World's Jubilee," "Praise the Lord," Lord of all power," 'and He that goeth and weepeth." A quartette by Misses Kennedy and Denholm and Messrs Walker and Rodger, and a pianoforte selection by Miss Kraeft were included in the programme. Miss Pirani and Messrs Dodimede and Hanna received encores and responded by repeating the last verse of their songs. Addresses, which in some instances had the fault of being too long, were given by the Rev. David Sidey, on some phases of Scotch character, by the Rev. J. J. Lewis; on the secret and standard of a successful life, by the Rev. W. Nichol, on ecclesiastical stock-taking and by the Rev. Mr Douglas, chiefly directed to the young, urging upon them the advantage of doing well whatever work they had to do. The evening hymn brought a successful meeting to a close. A sale was then held of the pretty bouquets of flowers which had tended to set off the tea table, and which realised a good sum.

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