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Arohanui: Letters from Shoghi Effendi to New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Suva, Fiji Islands, 1982 edition
  • Pages:
  • 104
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Pages 94-95

Note 2. (Letter No. 1)

Born in London in 1855, Hyde Dunn was engaged in business in Britain and continental Europe before emigrating to the United States. In 1905, whilst at a tinsmith’s shop in Seattle, he observed the shopkeeper in excited conversation with a man who had just returned from the Prison of ‘Akká and the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá; he overheard the quotation “Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country, but let him glory in this, that he loves his kind”. Hyde Dunn later recalled that “The words reached me with dynamic force, its truth and power crystallised in my heart—a new consciousness awakened… That one glorious utterance magnetised my whole being, appealed as a new note, sent forth from God to His wandering creatures—a Message from the Supreme to the sons of men”. 1 Recognising the Truth, Hyde Dunn interrupted the conversation, and accepted immediately the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. The year was 1905.
In 1912, he was present at a meeting with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in San Francisco and declared it was the Master’s “penetrating glance, his life giving words, he felt gave him the power that enabled him later to become the spiritual conqueror of a continent”. Accompanied by his English born wife, Clara, he answered the call of the “Tablets of the Divine Plan” and on April 18th, 1920 reached Australia whence they travelled to New Zealand in 1922–3, not knowing there was already a believer there (Margaret Stevenson). With their arrival in Auckland, the Cause grew in that country and when Hyde Dunn left to return to Australia, Clara remained for a time to organise a study group in New Zealand.
Known affectionately among Bahá’ís as “Mother” and “Father” Dunn, they carried the Message of Bahá’u’lláh from New South Wales to Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, across the desert to Perth and to tropical Queensland and became the spiritual parents of Australia. After “Mother” Dunn returned from a lone pilgrimage to the Holy Land, “Father” was elected a member of the first National Spiritual Assembly of 95 the Bahá’ís of Australia and New Zealand in 1934. After his passing on February 17th, 1941, “Mother” Dunn’s dedication to the Bahá’í Faith continued unabated and in 1952 she was elevated to the station of Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith: “Father” Dunn was subsequently elevated to the same station posthumously.
Despite her advanced years, “Mother” Dunn returned to New Zealand in 1957 as representative of the Guardian at the formation of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand. In March, 1958, at the request of the Guardian, she placed plaster from the Castle of Máh-Kú in the foundations of the Australasian Bahá’í House of Worship in Sydney during the Australian Inter-Continental Conference. Until her passing to the Abhá Kingdom in 1960 at the age of 91 years, “Mother” Dunn retained her memory of many Bahá’í prayers and was reciting these at the time of her death.
1. “The Bahá’í World, Vol. IX, 1940–1944”, pp. 593–596. Bahá’í Publishing Committee, Wilmette, Illinois, 1945   [ Back To Reference]