The Emma Beckingsale diaries are a unique resource in New Zealand religious and social history. Key to their significance is their continuity across several decades. The diaries are not inner-life private confidences but were written to inform the churches and interest groups providing support for Emma Beckingsale’s work. As such they reveal both the history of an important aspect of New Zealand’s engagement with the wider British empire, but also the interests and concerns of religious New Zealanders at home. The diaries, in addition, are full of detailed incidental observation of life and customs in Britain and in East Bengal, where she worked.