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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 95-96

Note 3. (Letter No. 2)

The Blundell family: Mrs Sarah Blundell was born at Burwell, Cambridgeshire, England in 1850, a year sacred in Bahá’í history as that of the Báb’s martyrdom, and was destined to become one of the pioneers of the Bahá’í Cause in New Zealand. She received her early religious training from her “Non-Conformist” father, a man whose strong convictions led him to withdraw his seven year old daughter from religious instruction classes at her boarding school. The feeling of isolation which followed caused her to think for herself and she had the rare distinction of being one of the first women to enter the Cambridge University Examinations in an age prejudiced against the education of women.
In 1886, with her husband and seven children, she arrived in New Zealand where she endured hardship and difficulties in a strange country. She persisted in her unfettered search for truth and rejected several dogmas until, with an open mind and a prepared heart, she read in “The Christian Commonwealth” of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to London in 1911 and sent overseas for additional literature. When Mr and Mrs Dunn arrived in Auckland in 1922–3, Mrs Blundell invited them to her home, “Lymbury”, Ridings Road, Remuera to meet a group of twenty people whom she thought might be interested. This was the first Bahá’í meeting held in New Zealand and shortly afterwards Mrs Blundell accepted the Bahá’í Faith.
On hearing from Martha Root that Shoghi Effendi and the Ladies of the Household were eager to welcome the New Zealand friends, Sarah Blundell arranged to make the journey to the Holy Land in 1925 visit the Holy Family, and the Shrines of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and to meet in person many other Bahá’ís—this was “a crowning gift to 96 one whose spiritual path had been travelled alone.” 1 She returned to New Zealand after first going home to England to see her relatives and, at the Guardian’s suggestion, make personal contact with the English Bahá’í community. She continued to work unsparingly in New Zealand to serve the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh until her passing at the age of eighty-four years on December 20th, 1934.
One of her daughters, Ethel Blundell who accepted the Bahá’í Faith in 1925, was a delegate to the first Bahá’í Convention and was elected as a member of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Australia and New Zealand in May, 1934.
Mrs Blundell’s son, Hugh, was also destined to serve the Bahá’í Cause. Although not at that time a Bahá’í, Hugh accompanied his mother and sister on their pilgrimage to Haifa in 1925 and accepted the Faith the following year. A tireless worker for the Cause, he was New Zealand’s first Auxiliary Board Member and passed to the Abhá Kingdom on October 16th, 1976 in his ninety-second year.
1. “The Bahá’í World, Vol. VI, 1934–1936”, pp. 496–498. Bahá’í Publishing Committee, New York, 1937   [ Back To Reference]