The Rev. Father A. Venning, S.M., died in Hastings on June 21st after a brief illness, at the age of 78.
Father Venning was well-known to the Maori people, especially in Wanganui. From 1914 to 1936 he was the superior Maori missionary at Jerusalem, the first New Zealander to take up that position. Up until that time all Roman Catholic missionaries had been Frenchmen.
In 1936 Father Venning was transferred to Otaki where he stayed until 1945. He then spent 17 years at Waitara, before going to Paki Paki, where he was stationed at the time of his death.
Father Venning's district was a wide one. He used to ride a horse to Taranaki to visit parishioners, and often travelled as far as Taihape and Owhango using both rail and horse transport on these journeys.
At Greenmeadows in 1959, he celebrated his 50 years of priesthood.
A distinction in the law relating to adoptions as in affects Maoris and Europeans is made by the Adoptions Amendment Bill introduced to the House of Representatives.
At present where an applicant for an adoption order is a Maori and the child is a Maori, the application is made to the Maori Land Court and any appeals which may result are made to the Maori Appellate Court. European adoptions are handled by the Magistrates' Court.
With the passing of this Bill, all applications, Maori or European, would be made to the Magistrates' Court and appeals would be to the Supreme Court.
The only provision remaining which distinguishes between Maoris and Europeans permits a magistrate, at his discretion, to direct that in cases affecting Maoris, the functions of the child welfare officer may be exercised by a Maori welfare officer.