John Morgan came to New Zealand from Ireland in 1833. Ordained deacon in 1849, and priest in 1853, he was among the first missionaries to enter the Waikato region. From 1841 to 1863 Morgan ran the Otawhao Mission Station and Maori boarding school in Te Awamutu. During this time he also helped organise a postal service and roading projects.
Morgan did not approve of local Maori support for the King Movement in the late 1850s. Without the support of his superiors he supported government war efforts and acted as an unofficial government agent - sending intelligence about Maori activity to officials. In 1863, Morgan was expelled from the region by Maori. He resigned from the missionary service in October 1864 and become chaplain to the British forces in the Waikato. He died shortly afterwards in Auckland.
John Morgan was inducted into the Te Awamutu Walk of fame in 2004.