The church was packed as United Church followers congregated from three church circuits in the region.
George Brown was a Methodist missionary born in England but migrated to New Zealand in 1855. In 1874-75, he travelled in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and New Zealand, canvassing support. He then visited Fiji and Samoa for volunteer missionaries then later arrived in New Britain.
In 1878, New Britain locals allegedly murdered and ate a Fijian missionary and three teachers but this did not deter Brown from his mission.