Project Canterbury












Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2007



AS Chairman of the English Committee of the Melanesian Mission, I am asked to write a few lines of introduction to this book, which is intended to promote a fuller acquaintance with the Mission and its work, by means of Study Circles. I do this with the greatest pleasure and fullest confidence in the value and the accuracy of the account given in these pages. Various members of the staff have contributed information from their own departments of work. The compiler, the Rev. Arthur Innes Hopkins, is exceptionally qualified for his task. He joined the Mission in 1900. At that time, N. Mala in the Solomon Islands was the most difficult problem in its whole area. A large island with a population of over 60,000, it was known to contain the wildest lot of cannibals in the Pacific. No white man had ever stayed on the island. With a few native teachers he established himself in the face of great dangers. The bush people continually raided and killed his teachers and converts. He was on Mala when the Queensland Government returned the Kanakas, the majority of whom belonged to Mala. It was a very difficult and dangerous time. Gradually he obtained an influence over the natives, and [iii/iv] established schools. As a result, Mala is now becoming Christian, cannibalism no longer exists, and the island is one of the Government centres, with a Resident Deputy Commissioner. In 1919, Mr. Hopkins became Principal of the Theological College at Siota, and until 1926 was responsible for the training of all Ordination Candidates.

I mention these facts as a typical example of the devoted work carried on by the white missionaries and native teachers. The whole story of the Melanesian Mission is one of the most romantic and stirring in the annals of Christian adventure on the part of the Church of England. I trust that by means of this little volume it will be more widely known and better supported than is at present the case.




THIS book is the work of many of the Melanesian Mission Staff. As far as possible, chapters were secured on their own particular work from those concerned. The Compiler is very grateful to those who sent contributions. He has had to fill in the gaps as best he could. Those to whom thanks are due are the Rev. W. C. O'Ferrall, the Rev. H. L. Hart, the Rev. G. Warren, the Rev. R. Hodgson, Mr. F. R. Isom, Miss Wench, Miss Hurse, Miss Hardacre, Miss Bayly, and Mrs. Warren.






IN the wonderful sixteenth century it was discovered that in the far South Pacific, West of South America, there were groups of islands inhabited by a race of brown-skinned natives of a kind hitherto unknown. Spanish adventurers were the discoverers. They sailed forth from South America seeking gold, and with visions of making settlements. If they had not hit the Solomon Islands they would probably have voyaged on, and found Australia. It would be interesting to surmise what would have happened then--but that is another story!

Mendaña was their leader; with him were five ships, sixteenth century small craft, officers, priests, arms, and as many supplies of all sorts as they could carry. They were ardent to claim their discoveries for the King of Spain and the Church, and had visions of converting the cannibals. But all came to nothing; native and Spaniard found no way of mutual approach. The gigantic canoes of the strange white men, and the awesome thunder of [1/2] their firearms must have appalled the natives--as a visit from the people of Mars would appal us. To the Spaniards the natives, at first attractive, became objects of fear and dislike. They seemed treacherous, and were cannibals, ignorant of the most rudimentary culture in Spanish eyes, and so all efforts at settlement failed. After various losses of ships and renewed attempts to form a permanent base, the last Spanish ship sailed away; their journals were stowed away in Spanish archives, and the Solomon Islands disappeared again from the white man's ken. Singularly little, if any, trace remains of the Spanish visitors. The names only of various islands, Guadalcanar, Ysabel, Santa Anna, San Cristoval, tell of their visits. Many a crucifix was erected wherever they landed, many a Mass celebrated on the beaches, but it was all Spanish and vanished with those who brought it.

Nearly two hundred years later further discoveries and rediscoveries were made by French explorers, such as Bougainville, and then by Captain Cook, and the South Sea Islands began to be known, and the tales therefrom to be the delight of romantic minds. Captain Cook made friends when he could, and distributed pigs wherever he went. Then the discovery of sandal wood brought traders, men of daring, unscrupulous and greedy for the most part, who went here and there in their schooners getting the coveted sandal wood by force or by fraud.

But where are these islands, thus discovered and exploited? A map of Australasia will show you their vast numbers and distribution. But our [2/3] concern is with the islands of the Diocese of Melanesia. Look at the map, there you will see, roughly following at the respectful distance of over 1,000 miles the bend of the North-East Australasian coast, a chain of groups of islands. To the south a big group labelled "New Hebrides." Of all that group Raga, Opa, and Maewo belong to the Diocese of Melanesia. Then you will see, at intervals long or short following north, small groups, the little Banks Islands, Torres Islands, Santa Cruz and Reef Islands, then a longer stretch of empty ocean and the Solomon Islands emerge. These are bigger, loftier, more thickly inhabited and stretch almost up to New Guinea. Two big islands the furthest north, Choiseul and Bougainville, are the last in the Diocese of Melanesia, unreached as yet by our Church, but now the subject of plans for missionary pioneering.

It is a long chain of various sized links about 1,000 miles in length. It is known as Melanesia, "the dark man's islands." What of the people and how came our Church among them?

The people are of mixed origin, and the mixture is uneven. Probably two races in far-off days came to the islands, Melanesian and Polynesian, and have more or less mingled. A still earlier race we are told were the first inhabitants. The Melanesian is a man of dark skin, with black up-growing hair; he still carries a stiff bush on his head, not a cascade; he is short of stature, strongly built, with a dull and heavy carriage and slow-moving wits; his temper is "smoky," and outside of his little tribe, unsocial. The Polynesian, who came [3/4] later from his home eastwards, is a bigger, fairer man, of huge limbs, and silky down-falling hair, of light colour. His features are finer than the Melanesian, his temperament lighter and more gusty. He is more "fiery" and less "smoky" in disposition. These two races are now mingled in various proportions, and the average Melanesian is the product. In some islands there is little or no mixture, for example Tikopia and Anuta are Polynesian entirely, Santa Cruz mainly so, Bugotu and further north mainly Melanesian. However they came they found a home well suited to their simple needs, cut off, till lately, from all outside intercourse.

These South Sea islands offered them an easy life, a hot sun, a warm sea, thick tropical bush for shade, lagoons swarming with fish and turtle, also sharks; ashore everywhere, the coconut for meat, drink, and sometimes clothing, or the sago-palm for timber and thatch. There was no need of clothing, and a very light easily built hut sufficed for shelter, with a few mats for furniture. A pointed stick was a good enough spade with which to plant their yams and taro, a stone adze or axe in their hands could slowly fashion a canoe or a bowl. There were no wild beasts to fear on land, a very little labour could give them all they wanted, time was of no account, the past soon forgotten, the future left to itself. And the result? Stagnation, division, strife, superstition, fear and yet again fear and a third time fear. They were afraid of each other, afraid of every stranger or new happening; afraid from birth to death of evil spirits. By [4/5] nature they are kindly, averse from even seeing pain manifested, great lovers of children; timid and irresolute, but fear-driven, they became a collection of warring little tribes, cannibals, bloodthirsty, liable to "see red" at any moment of panic, ready to do anything however mean and nasty to propitiate angry spirits or exultant conquerors. And so one visitor even to-day speaks of the Melanesian as of some vile creature hardly human, at best moderately useful for labour; another of the Melanesian as a happy laughing child, innocent of evil, a simple follower of nature. The Missionary's personal experience shows him how far from the truth both extremes have diverged. "Little better than animals, or even inferior to them," cries one party. But these "animals" make many beautiful things for the joy of making them, with stone tools too. Their inlaid work set into canoes, clubs, sticks, etc., their woven work in colours, their shell ornaments show a sense of colour and beauty, and need both brains and pains to accomplish the set task.

"Simple children of nature whose life is all joy," says another party. There may have been excitement in a life predominantly filled with fear, but not much joy, in living in fear of death or disaster from man or spirit any day at any moment. None had hope for the future, the only thing was to enjoy such present moments as were free from actual alarm, and make feasts and dances and songs, and enjoy them intensely by the flickering weird light of great fires flaming in the dark bush.

[6] Some eighty years ago came to these folk the white man. Four kinds of ships began to visit them. One they called "the thief ship," whose object was to get somehow as many as possible of them on board and carry them off to Queensland or Fiji to work on the sugar plantations. The more adventurous of the natives dared the risk, the greedy were enticed by hope of much goods of the white man's, the timid were trapped by trickery, and oft the ship sailed. By and by she would return, or another one appear, to meet with opposition; the missing men must be avenged, the white men killed if possible--any white men would do.

Another kind of ship that began to appear was the man-of-war, and her errand was hard to understand, but for whatever reason she came she was an awesome thing. Sometimes justice had to be done, and a lesson of respect for the white man's life taught, sometimes difficult inquiries had to be made with the purpose of redressing wrongs, but that was very hard to grasp. By and by they were told that they were under the protection of the great white Queen and must learn to stop killing and fighting and set to work.

Then came another kind of ship, sometimes in advance of all these, the Mission schooner. The Presbyterians began in the New Hebrides, and then Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand finding Melanesia in his Diocese, by a mistake in drawing its boundaries 30° north instead of 30° south of the Line, took schooner and came among the islands from the New Hebrides to the Solomons. This ship was "our ship," i.e. the ship of God and of man, white [6/7] or brown; the name of the first was Undine, precursor of successive "Southern Crosses," on native lips Akanina, "our ship."

For over seventy years a succession of "Southern Crosses" has been at work, travelling twice a year the island chain, starting from Auckland. The first mission ship too wanted "boys" and got five on her first voyage, to take to Kohimarama by the beach near Auckland, New Zealand. And "boys" thus taken, clothed, taught, trained physically, morally, and spiritually, became a successive band of island teachers and missionaries sending others, very ready to go, to Kohimarama, and later to Norfolk Island. That famous little island became mission headquarters and so remained for over fifty years. It lies on the route to the islands from New Zealand, is sub-tropical, and out of the whirl of modern civilisation. Almost with Norfolk Island began the Episcopate of Bishop Patteson, ended by his martyrdom at Nukapu, and that martyrdom brought to an end the infamous "steal-man ships'" evil career. The public conscience was roused and the labour traffic came under Government control.

And now in these days a fourth class of ship is increasingly in evidence. This is a large class; it includes the big Sydney steamer and the trader's launch. And its export is "copra," dried coconut; its import tinned goods, calicoes, clothes, and tools for plantation use. On these steamers and launches the Melanesian is glad to do work; it is well paid and short in period and so attractive.

But this takes us too far forward. Let us hark [7/8] back. Picture the "Southern Cross" in successive stages, first on voyages of discovery, landing on unknown islands, at great risk, often, but contact once made friendship followed. Then stage two, visits to villages where the Teachers were at work and to the Missionary in charge, putting the latter down one voyage and bringing him back to Norfolk Island the next. As to other outside contact the labour ship and the men-of-war were occasional visitors. Next the stage of increasing settlement. The Government arrives, the first Resident Commissioner builds a house at Tulagi, an islet before uninhabited off the Florida Group, even then mainly Christian. To-day Tulagi has about sixty white men, officials in Government service engaged in administrative and office work, and on each island is a District Officer, in charge of his island to administer justice, collect taxes, see to the making of roads, the fencing in of pigs, the cleanliness and order of villages and so forth. The Government hand with ever increasing pressure is felt everywhere to-day. It is not an easy job, but it is a fine one for a man of tact, sympathy and unselfishness, who can set an example of straight, clean living.

Then further, and of vast influence, is the settlement on plantations. Thousands of acres of coconuts are now planted, almost every island coast is being cultivated. There lives the white manager, often a married man, perhaps with an assistant or two, and under them works the Melanesian labourer. Nearly every young Melanesian has been or is a plantation "hand" for good or ill. The youths [8/9] of the villages, especially from Mala, the chief reservoir of labour, go in succession for a two years' spell; many renew their engagement after a return home. So the plantation system affects all. Then there is casual labour. The people near a plantation take work for as long as they choose, and live half in the villages and half on the plantation. They like, say, a month or two of work and then a spell off, and then a spell of work again. The plantation regulations as to houses, food, hours of work, etc., are excellent, and there is an itinerating inspector to see that they are kept. But even if every planter was a pattern of strict kindness and keen sympathy, that would not make the system good for our people. Apart from commercial considerations it would be far more natural, and so far better, for them to live in their villages and learn to supply themselves an increasing quantity of copra; for a man does not learn to be industrious by reason of a two years' course of 8 to 9 hours a day work, suddenly begun and suddenly ended; his absence, too, from home, separated perhaps from his wife and family, is unwholesome and unnatural.

Settlement too is now the Mission's law. Before, in Norfolk Island days, under Bishops Patteson and John Selwyn, only the men missionaries visited their districts from Norfolk Island for half of each year. In Bishop Wilson's days the change began. Missionaries began to live in Melanesia, and women went down there to work. Now all, men and women, wives, nurses, teachers, live in Melanesia. We are either at a school station [9/10] or on district work, that is, settled on one station with regular routine and hours, or doing the work, harder physically but more attractive, of travelling a district, by canoe, launch, or on foot.

Anyhow here we are in Melanesia. The sad uprooting from Norfolk Island as Mission centre is over, and surely, even to conservative, sympathetic minds, justified. And now the Mission headquarters is at Siota, in the middle of the Solomon Islands group. This work fell to Bishop Steward to accomplish and consolidate. Norfolk Island is a memory, and would that those who come now to Melanesia could know all that that means. What will the "Southern Cross" become? For her fate too is in debate, and it is a question whether two smaller local steamers, one in the New Hebrides, the other in the Solomons, would not do the work better, and at less cost. The "pros" and "cons" are many and intricate but a decision will have to be made soon, for the years of the present "Southern Cross" cannot be many more. Two smaller steamers always in the islands is a suggested solution of the problem. For now Melanesia has an assistant bishop living at Lolowai, Opa Island, in the New Hebrides, and he will need a small vessel to get about in. And in the far north, where the ex-German Solomon Islands are now an Australian mandate, there is need for another assistant bishop, to open up work among 150,000 people. The Australian. Church is to take up this work, with help from the too slender resources of the Melanesian Mission, and to find Bishop and staff. The Australian Government [10/11] has taken up the task in earnest, and wants to help in all that is for the natives' welfare. As to Missions, it will be a case of "first come, first served." Where will the Church be? Not last we hope. To avert that she must act now.

This short survey shows us then a people who cannot remain animist, primitive, any longer, whose old isolation is ended, and whose one hope, as they come into civilisation, is Christianity. It is that or rapid extermination. And the answer rests with us. The Melanesian Mission must grow, as her people's needs grow--or pine away. Its past forbids that thought, but we cannot live on a glorious, romantic past, or like the Spaniards plant the Cross and leave the people untouched. Spaniard, sandal-wood trader, labour recruiting vessel have gone; animism, tribal warfare, cannibalism, are perishing. Government, plantations, trade, are taking possession; by means of roads the once inaccessible bush is being opened-up, and the old isolation ended. Never were possibilities of access and influence so many. Much depends on the building up of a native ministry, and that means white men to train them, white women to teach and guide the wives and families, white priests in the islands to supervise them. It does not mean therefore less need for a white staff, but more. If a native Church with, in days to come, a mainly native ministry, is to be built up as the strong refuge of a native race from the old tyranny of fear, and the new one of godless civilisation, the work must be done now with adequate means.



1568. Mendaña, the Spaniard, in February arrived at Ysabel. Returned 1569.
1595. Mendaña with colonising party reaches Santa Cruz. Mendana dies, settlement fails.
1606. Fernandes de Quiros, Mendaña's chief pilot, discovers the New Hebrides.
1767. Captain Carteret rediscovers Santa Cruz.
1768. Monsieur de Bougainville rediscovers and names Bougainville and Choiseul.
c. 1830. Period of visits by whalers and traders in beche-de-mer and tortoiseshell.
1845. French R. C. Mission to San Cristoval abandoned after murder of bishop and three others.
1850. Bishop George Augustus Selwyn's first visit.
1871. Murder of Bishop Patteson.
1860-1903. Recruiting vessels carry labour to and fro between South Melanesia and Queensland or Fiji.
1903. Recruiting to Queensland ended. Natives repatriated.
1893. British Protectorate declared over the Solomons.
1897. First Resident Commissioner established at Tulagi.


1926. White residents. About 500.
Chinese, etc. [About] 100.
Natives. [About] 150,000.
On plantations. [About] 3,000.
Revenue. [About] £65,000.
Exports. [About] £330,000.


1849. The Mission founded by G. A. Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand.
1861. The Rev. J. C. Patteson consecrated first Bishop of Melanesia.
[13] 1867. The training college moved from Kohimarama, Auckland, to Norfolk Island.
1871. Bishop Patteson killed at Nukapu, Santa Cruz group.
1877. The Rev. John Selwyn consecrated second Bishop.
1880. The Memorial Chapel to Bishop Patteson consecrated at Norfolk Island.
1892. Resignation of Bishop John Selwyn after long illness.
1894. The Rev. Cecil Wilson consecrated third Bishop.
1910. First Conference of the Mission staff held in the Islands at Siota, Florida.
1911. Bishop Wilson resigned.
1912. The Rev. C. J. Wood consecrated fourth Bishop.
1913. Training College for Teachers and Ordinands founded at Maravovo, Guadalcanar.
1918. Bishop Wood resigned.
1919. The Rev. J. M. Steward consecrated fifth Bishop.
1920. The Mission Headquarters moved from Norfolk Island to Siota, Florida; the Training College brought there.
1921. The First Synod of the Diocese constituted at Siota.
1925. The Rev. F. M. Molyneux consecrated Assistant Bishop.
1926. Call to take up work in the ex-German Islands, under Australian Mandate.

1. Where is Melanesia?
2. By whom were the Islands first discovered?
3. By what stages have they become known to the world?
4. What races inhabit them?
5. What are their physical characteristics?
6. How did Missionary work by the Church begin in the Islands?
7. Why was Norfolk Island so suitable for Headquarters?
8. What other white men's influences are changing the old native life?
9. What Islands are still unreached?
10. Whose work should it be to go to them?

[14] BOOKS

Life of Bishop G. A. Selwyn Tucker, H. W.
Life of Bishop Patteson Yonge, C. M.
Life of Bishop J. R. Selwyn How, F. D.
History of the Melanesian Mission Armstrong, E. S.
Islands of Enchantment Coombe, F. E.
The Discovery of the Solomon Islands Amherst and Thomson.
A Naturalist among the Head-hunters Woodford, C. M.




NOTICE the combination of religion and customs.. We have many customs which are non-religious, but it is not so with the Melanesian., All he thinks, and says, and does, has close reference to, deference to, allegiance to, fear of, a spiritual world close about him. He is in religion what is called an animist--a man who thinks of objects in terms of soul, not a materialist; perhaps if the word were not already appropriated we should call him a spiritualist. To the animist there is soul in everything, some sort of mysterious life or power, in tree and wood, in stone, in bird, fish, food, tiniest scrap of anything or huge block. This "mana," spiritual power, either friendly or hostile, strong or weak, may be made available for help if properly used, or if hostile made helpless, by availing oneself of superior "mana." So he prays, sacrifices, uses innumerable charms, enslaves himself to witchcraft and superstition. His world is peopled with ghosts, before whom he trembles; but some of them are friendly, and so he gets hopes of help, and relief from hosts of ghostly enemies. [15/16] It is a religion that, in its practical working, makes him a vengeful cannibal, for his eating of human flesh was to absorb the "mana" of the eaten man, and also that of his tribe, for individual and tribe could not be separated. It has a tender side, too, for see the same cannibal animist offering sacrifice to the spirit of his dead little child that he may do what he can from the spirit world to help his father. Morally animism is thick with unreasoning superstitions, and very vengeful: Death is the great disaster, and like every other disaster is caused by a hostile spirit, set in operation by an enemy, who must be sought out, and his power destroyed, by means of witchcraft. Recovery from sickness, or any sort of thing that is good, e.g. a good day's fishing, is due to friendly spirits, to whom thanks and sacrifice are due. So the Melanesian goes nowhere, does nothing, plans nothing, without prayer and sacrifice. All his customs, then, are religious and bound up with his religion, for they are one. His religion is the worship of discarnate spirits; and those spirits are ever round about him.


Let us look at a few of the main words of his religious vocabulary, using the "Mota" language, and try to get a glimpse through them of his religious life.

"Mana."--power or influence, not physical but showing itself in enabling a man to do or to get what he wants. This "mana" may be in [16/17] anything, men, wood, trees, animals, stone, or any object large or small, and can be invoked by charms for use. Living beings, spirits or men, liberate it and set it free for use through prayer and sacrifice or charms. Certain things have "mana" for particular purposes; a stone, for instance, will have "mana" for making yams grow big; a charm, a form of words, has "mana," e.g. to bring rain. Some spirit has associated itself with the stone or bit of bone, or whatever it is, and works through it. So men have "mana" because of some spirit whose power they can use.

"Prayer" (Tataro).--This is more invocation than prayer. The Melanesian invokes the spirits in every kind of necessity. It may be an informal call to his father's spirit, or it may be a formal invocation with a proper form of words. There is no seeking for holiness in these prayers; they are often ended with curses invoked on enemies; they are to get something desirable, or to avert something feared. A Melanesian prays thus for rescue from danger, success in gardening, planting, or fishing, or pig-breeding, courage in fighting; and for his enemies' failure. His prayers are not for wisdom, or goodness, or any advance morally or spiritually. But they are very real and earnest and link him closely to the spiritual world.

Sacrifice (Oloolo).--Sacrifices are constantly being offered, in many ways and in many places. They may be offered anywhere, at any time, on land or sea, but there are also definite places of sacrifice. There are tales told of human sacrifices, but this even in old days must have been [17/18] rare. The usual sacrifices are pigs, fish, vegetable food, nuts, kava, mats, leaves, almost anything may be offered in large or small quantities. By them the spirits of the dead are remembered and pleased and made willing to help, or appeased if angry or neglected, or thanked for help given. The offerings are made often not to the spirit directly, but to the man who is connected with the spirit and can approach it.

Images (Totogale).--Melanesians are not idolaters, image worshippers. When they lay offerings at the foot of a carved image, they do not worship the image, nor is the image itself holy, but it is by way of remembrance or memorial. The spirit invoked is not in the image, but the image represents the spirit, some dead chief perhaps who has become a powerful spirit; the offering laid before such an image is not to the image, but to the spirit whom the image recalls or represents. These images are given up by Christians as a sign that they no longer worship the spirit concerned, which is independent of the image.

Sacred Places, Shrines.--These are very numerous. There are places, perhaps an isolated islet, where no heathen dares to land, for it is an abode of spirits, and a place of awe. The spirit of the dead goes to "Hades." "Hades" is some spot distant from the dead man's home to which the spirits go. Different islands localise their "Hades" differently. There are sacred places in or near the village where they sacrifice to, and worship, the spirit of the place; there is the skull house, which only the witch-doctor may enter, [18/19] as its guardian; there are stone altars outside the chief's house, or on the beach, or in a bush clearing connected with the tribal spirits. Sacred places are fenced off and sacrifices offered there to the spirit, and in it may be a shrine. Such places are treated with great respect, and can only be approached or led into by a priest, or one who knows the spirit, and the right approach by sacrifice and incantation.

The Head.--To the head is attributed a natural sacredness. No young man can take anything from above an elder's head. After death great power is attributed to the skull of the dead man. The heads of enemies killed in fight were preserved as trophies, and a powerful chief would make large collections of the skulls of those killed by or for him. The heads of the deceased were kept by their own people in skull houses, and preserved as memorials, worthy of worship. The loss of such skulls is much felt. To recover a skull from a hostile tribe who have possessed themselves of it, is worth years of planning and effort. Head hunting as a regular practice was not a custom east of Bugotu, but throughout the Solomons the heads of enemies killed in battle were kept as trophies.

Cannibalism. --This never was universal but peculiar to certain districts. Nor was it practised for the sake of eating flesh, but as a mark of extremest vengeance, and to absorb the "mana" not only of the eaten one, but of the tribe. It is a religious practice done ceremonially.

Magic and Magicians.-There are a great host of wizards, witch-doctors, diviners, who work by [19/20] magic; who make rain, or sunshine, cause or cure disease, bring luck or disaster, by magical arts. They know how, by enchantments, spells and sacrifices, to set free the "mana" required. Generally one man practises one branch of the profession. One specialises in rain-making, another in healing. The magicians have pupils whom they train to succeed them in one or many branches of the profession. There are "high-priests" in some islands, to whom a whole district turns for magic beyond the compass of the local practitioner. They have no special influence apart from their practice, but live the ordinary tribal life. Dr. Codrington classifies their practices under heads of sickness, weather, witchcraft, dreams, prophecy and divination, ordeals, poison, curses. He writes: "In all these whatever is done is believed to be effected by the 'mana' of spirits and ghosts, acting through various media, and brought to bear by secret forms of words to which the power to work is given by the names of the spirits or ghosts, or of the living or lifeless things to which this mysterious influence is attached." When the hoped-for result follows the wizard gets credit and money; if it fails it is because a still stronger spirit with stronger "mana" has opposed, and then the wizard loses no credit.

Private individuals sometimes practise black-magic to destroy an enemy. They use poison, or rather attribute poisonous power to charmed objects, or practise secretly by enchantment in their huts. They kill by suggestion. This black-magic is feared and detested, and its practitioners, real or suspected, are liable to be killed. Even [20/21] their own tribe avoid them, and do not actively resist or resent their being killed by those of another tribe paid to do so.

"Tapu."--This is forbidding certain actions under penalty of a curse, or putting things under the protection of some spirit, who will avenge any breach of the "tapu" A "tapu" is respected in proportion as it is believed that the "tapu"-maker has some spirit behind him. When this is doubted or braved the unbeliever or bravo breaks the "tapu" and risks the consequences. But for the majority it seems better to keep on the safe side. So trees, or huts, or gardens, or bunches of fruit are "tapu'ed," so as to protect them for their owner. In fits of vexation Melanesians will impose "tapu's" upon themselves sometimes for life, swearing by something holy never to eat such and such a food, or enter a "tapu'ed" house or canoe, or lift a hand to help a "tapu'ed" parent or friend. A man, for example, seeking vengeance will "tapu" a favourite food till he has attained his object, and may die with the "tapu" still in force. Such "tapu's" are very binding. A little child will put a "tapu" mark on something he wants or claims for himself, and it will be respected, for there may be at any rate some little "mana" behind it. A big chief's "tapu" is formidable, not because of himself, but because he is likely to have a powerful spirit behind him.

Chiefs.--These are found in every village, but in different islands their position and power vary much. They are often chiefs by inheritance, strictly through the mother, but in many places [21/22] son or brother succeeds on the death of a chief. The tribe sometimes choose their headman. Occasionally a man famous as a fighting man, or for cunning, who has acquired money, will become a chief. Behind the chief and cause of his authority is the belief that he has control of the "mana" of some powerful spirit or spirits. By ability and character he may obtain very considerable influence in a district and act as master of numerous allied tribes who obey his will. He has young men retainers who fight for him and work for him, execute his threats, and share his money and prestige. A chief has power to fine, or order the death of, the contumacious, if his "mana" is great enough. As his personality is strong or weak, so he leads the tribe, or merely expresses their will, or when that is doubtful sits on the fence. When unable to impose his will he sulks, in hope that fear of his "mana" will bring opposition to an end in time. If successfully defied he loses "mana"--the spirits are not with him, and he need not be feared.

Elders.--Considerable respect for the older men was the rule in heathen Melanesia and is not wholly lost yet. They formed a sort of informal village council and with the chief controlled its affairs. The respect for them was at bottom religious, for they were the men who knew most about the spirits and how to use them, and so had "mana"; they held, too, the purse strings and could pay for magic, sacrifices and so forth; and it was best to treat them with respect, go on their errands, and in tribal matters obey them. The young man's turn [22/23] would come soon, when he accepted marriage and settled down. As a married man with a hut of his own he soon acquired status and position in his tribe.

Marriage.--Marriage is always into another tribe, never within the native tribe, and descent is through the mother, not the father (but in the S.E. Solomons descent in practice follows the father). So a man's children are not his kindred, but his sister's children are. The adoption of children is very common. These will often be of the wife's kin, and treated as though her own. A marriage is made valid by payment which varies in amount, made in pigs, porpoise teeth, and shell money. Infant betrothal, with a small sum to bind it, was very common. Divorce was made regular by repayment of money. If this was refused there would be trouble. Adultery rendered the man liable to be killed, though he might save himself by heavy payment of compensation if the aggrieved party accepted it; for the woman it meant, if not death, degradation to an immoral life. Polygamy was quite regular, but common only in the case of chiefs or older men who could afford it. The chief feature of the varying marriage ceremonies was the public handing over of the monies, with many speeches from the donors and others. This payment was raised often by the tribe who bought a wife for one of their young men. He might not even know who was being bought; it was one of the girls of a particular tribe. Tribes remembered these transactions, and if tribe A had bought a wife from tribe B for 3 pigs, 10 strings of money, [23/24] and 1,000 porpoise teeth, it was due to tribe B eventually to buy a wife from tribe A for the same amount. This was why an independent choice was disapproved of, and gave so much trouble. However, often a young man would run away into the bush with the girl of his choice, and leave it to his relations to settle the matter. On his return a very complicated adjustment of accounts between the people of the girl run away with and the people of the girl whom he was to have married and the boy's people followed, and would be a long and noisy affair. The majority of married couples settled down to a life union, but there were always the minority causing trouble and scandal, and these were a fruitful cause of fightings and quarrels in which all took part.

Death and Burial.--After the separation of soul and body in death, the great man's soul becomes a great ghost, to be much feared and venerated, its help sought and its displeasure feared. This may last, in the case of a powerful chief, for a generation or a few generations, but the memory gradually dies out, as new claimants for honour die and are held in honour. A little man's ghost will be of concern only to his nearest relations, except for a few days. For every death is upsetting to the whole village at the time.

Death by accident, or violence, or above all by suicide is very terrifying. The ghost will be restless, uneasy, vengeful, and need much appeasing. A jealous wife or husband will sometimes commit suicide that the ghost or spirit may be free to take that vengeance for the wrong he or [24/25] she was too feeble, or unable, to exact on earth. As to the disposal of the body, there are many various methods and ceremonies. Earth burial in a shallow grave in the garden or near the hut of the dead is common. Later on the skull is dug up and placed in the hut, or skull house. Throwing into the sea is the custom in some places. In others the body is placed on a rock out at sea, or in a tree, or hung up in the hut, in a coffin, over the fire. The head or other relic, such as teeth or finger bone, is eventually taken and stored in a shrine for veneration. If the dead man is held in honour, his fruit trees, coconut trees, and others will be cut down. In the case of a chief, if his own village do not do this, hostile villages will raid the trees or gardens. If so, the village loses prestige, and the balance of power is changed between the villages. A succession of funeral feasts is made, till the tale of pigs promised is completed at a big final feast months after the death. After a death there is much dread of his ghost appearing, and consequently reports of its being seen are numerous. This portends death to the seer, who may die of fear if convinced that his time has come. The abode of the ghost is some distant islet aboveground, or some dim Hades underworld, but, for a short time after death, the ghost is close at hand. The women weep and wail, and these demonstrations are renewed on the arrival, perhaps years later, of some absent near relative. In the case of an important death the burial is deferred till those expected from some distance have arrived; in other cases the body is quickly disposed of.


This is a very compressed and generalising summary of native religion and customs. Space does not allow of more. Full and detailed accounts must be got from books such as Dr. Codrington, Dr. Fox, Dr. Ivens have written, which reveal what patient and accurate research has discovered on these matters.


1. What is the meaning of the word "animist"?
2. What is the meaning of the word "mana"?
3. Is the Melanesian an idolater?
4. How and where does the Melanesian sacrifice?
6. Show the veneration of the Melanesian for the head.
6. Show the great influence of magic in the lives of the people.
7. What is "tapu"?
8. To what extent is the chief powerful?
9. What makes a valid marriage in Melanesia?
10. How do they deal with their dead?
11. Why are they so full of fear of ghosts?


The Melanesians--Their Anthropology and Folklore Codrington, R. H.
The History of Melanesian Society Rivers, W. H. R.
On the Threshold of the Pacific Fox, C. E.
Melanesians of the S.E. Solomon Islands Ivens, W. G.




WHAT is a "district" as a Christian term? It is probably one large island like Bugotu or Raga, or several small ones as in Banks' Islands. It is the area entrusted to a Missionary to supervise, generally big enough to employ two or three men, and many districts are vacant even among the Christians, whose needs are still more urgent than those of the heathen. It may be impossible to send a missionary to a heathen island, but to leave Christians unshepherded is a disaster, a. crying reproach to the Church. Parents who neglect their own child cannot atone for it by helping the Society for Waifs and Strays. But that is what leaving the Christians to go to the heathen would amount to. So District Work among Christians has a first place, though not the most romantic one, in Missionary work. A Missionary, after a year or two at a school or with an experienced colleague, is given a Christian island to look after. It is his district. He will find established so many villages, each with its teachers, schools, church, daily services, classes, [27/28] and perhaps Native Clergy. His work will be to supervise all these, to move from village to village, by launch, boat, or on foot, round the coast or up in the hills, to take the Sacraments, to see those preparing for Baptism and Confirmation and complete their course, to exercise discipline, stir up the teachers, encourage church or school building, receive back penitents or exclude the unworthy from Church life, hear all the village troubles and scandals, reconcile the quarrelsome, arrange marriages, hear mutual accusations and suspicions between husbands and wives, act as go-between for native and official or native and trader, listen to interminable tales and try to get at the truth, visit the sick, do simple medical work; in short, try to apply Christianity and its principles to the details of daily life--"You are Christians, therefore . . ." must be his unwearying appeal. A man in a district may be compared in some ways to an Archdeacon at home, or to a Parish Priest with many district churches. He is also unpaid lawyer, doctor, bookseller, church builder, general handy man, in one word, pastor of his district.


From his centre, where he ought to have a timber-built house, with its corrugated iron roof, and tanks to ensure him a water supply, he will be incessantly going out to his district, by launch, or boat, or on foot, from village to village. When he is at his centre there will be a stream of messengers from villages near or far asking for his [28/29] help and a visit. Their errands may vary from some important matter which will necessitate a letter or a visit to the Chief Commissioner, or to the Bishop, down to a Prayer Book to be mended or a sore finger to be dressed. On his rounds it will be much the same thing, only still more so. He arrives at a village. There ought to be a clean empty hut ready for him and his gear. The first thing is to hear the news, births, deaths, marriages, village scandals, village enterprises, church or school building, villagers' grievances, taxes, native police, boys gone on plantations, petty quarrels, domestic and village, all the varied wants and wishes of the community, and the troubles of the sick and the sorrowful.

Then to church, a service and a sermon, or a preparation class for next day's Holy Communion; some confessions to hear, some penitent to restore, some sinner to exclude from Church life till he or she mends his or her ways; some sick to visit, catechumens, or Confirmation candidates, to interview, especially if a Baptism or a Confirmation is imminent. (In a Christian District, of course, adult Baptisms are now very rare.) Then at night, till as late an hour as he can endure it, there will be a gathering in his hut of all who choose to come, and general talk, and social intercourse. Next morning a Celebration of the Holy Communion, perhaps Baptisms and Marriages, a visit to the School, to the new Church being built, more interviews with fresh arrivals. So he may stay for a few days, before moving on to the next village, as the village needs require. He visits villages good, [29/30] bad and indifferent, cheering, scolding and clearing up--often feeling that he himself needs all three but has no one to minister to him.

But now this general sketch must be worked out in more detail.


The Missionary works through his teachers; his relations with them are of first importance. There will be two or three of them in each village; and like teacher like people is always the case. The state of the village depends mainly upon them. They are the pastors and schoolmasters of their villages. There are never enough of them, and some are always unsatisfactory, but as a class they are as indispensable and admirable in their Christian villages, as are their brothers in heathen districts. They are in the main a body of faithful men, doing their best. They are the backbone of the whole work. The Missionary's contact with them is very close and constant. He has to keep them in their places, literally, for they are over-fond of gadding about; also to move them from their places by promotion, degradation, or, best of all, transfer to Missionary work elsewhere. In every village there will be need for his encouragement, rebuke, discipline, help, knots to be cut, tangles to be untied, and a thousand and one other things to do. The saddest problem of all is the teacher who falls into sin, a scandal in his village. Whatever he is accused of, the investigation is a long and weary process, and the truth hard to get [30/31] at. In the Melanesian mind suspicion and proof are often confused, and "I think it is so" or "they say" taken as conclusive evidence. These are after all only occasional cases, but they occur in every district and loom large. Then there is the square peg in the round hole; perhaps he wants to remain there, though there is a square hole ready for him; or the old teacher of many years' good service, past his work but still clinging to it; or the post vacant by death with no one available to fill it; or the village for a time bereft of its teacher because he is having a term at College, to be freshened up, or prepared for higher work; or perhaps two teachers fall from harmony, and there is faction in their village. Much of the Missionary's work in a Christian Island may be termed Episcopal, for he is Over-seer of his flock and pastors.


In a Christian District the schools are, of course, of quite first-rate importance--every village has its school and should have a school house. The Missionary has general oversight of these, and it is his part to visit them, see to the apparatus, the supply of which falls to him. It is very simple registers, A-B-C sheets, chalk, blackboards, reading books. The rest the people can supply themselves. He has to examine the children and the registers, inquire as to attendance and regular teaching and the standard of work. It is not reasonable to expect of the teachers a high technical standard, or much teaching ability, but they [31/32] can at least be regular and teach the three R's in a simple, rather primitive fashion; and have some scholars ready to go on to a Central School for preparation for the post of teacher. The teacher needs help badly here. The work is not naturally congenial to many a Melanesian; there is no compulsory attendance, and practically no parental backing-up. The teacher has not an inexhaustible fund of knowledge himself and may be losing what little he had, so he needs encouragement and the showing of interest. A first teacher with a minimum of twelve pupils is exempt from the Government poll tax, but he must have his exemption paper in order, another little job for the Missionary to see to. Perhaps the school house needs repair, or a new one is in building; here is a subject for exhortation to the villagers, for it is their business. The same may apply to the village church; a still larger question this, lest they begin well and finish badly. What of the staff? Is So-and-so, a promising boy, but only village-taught, who has never been to a Central School, to be tried as an assistant teacher? Is the register properly kept? Is a new one wanted? What of the slates? "Oh, they pilfer them and use the broken pieces to cut with, or shave with," pleads the weak teacher; "please tell them they must not." "That's for you to see to," is of course the answer.

These and other like trifles make all the difference between an efficient and a slack school, and find place in the Missionary's day's work. The Missionary cannot, of course, take any regular,part in the daily teaching, but a visit, wherever he [32/33] is, to the school, to inspect or take a class, is a very valuable bit of his work. It stimulates and reveals. A personal knowledge of every school is part of his programme.


Church law to the native is a real thing, and its discipline a factor in his life. And the Missionary has to apply this. There may be a confusion between State and Church law and the exact boundaries of each to clear up sometimes, even in a Christian Island, though it will not be quite so crude as in the heathen island where a request was once made to send for a man-of-war to make those naughty girls come to school.

The Church's discipline is not less real because it is voluntary. Before the days of an established Government in the Islands, there was only Native law and Church law. A Christian, say, who stole could only be punished native fashion, or by being put out of Church till he repented and made restitution. He was then in disgrace and that publicly, and, even if worship meant little to him, did not at all like exclusion from it. For the reaction to "You must not" is usually "But I want to." When the Melanesian comes to the Missionary to confess some fault, or is charged with some sin, he has many words to describe his state. There is something objective inside him that is affected. His "toqai" ("heart," "stomach," "seat of feelings") is bad; or "tinai" (middle) is hard; or his "loloi" (interior) is bitter; [33/34] or his "malai" (that which is startled within) is jumping; or his "vui" (spirit) is foul, and so he is "mero" (gloomy, unapproachable, brooding). He wants appeasing. Gradually he listens to reason, argument, rebuke, if young enough chastisement is very wholesome, and his "togai" becomes at peace; his "tinai" firm for good, zealous; his "loloi" sweet again; his "malai" settled; his "vui" cleansed; he is penitent to tears and ready to accept his sentence.

For small faults he is forbidden to come to church for Matins or Evensong for a short period. If a Communicant, he is forbidden to approach the Altar. For a grievous fall, he may be suspended for possibly two years. If a teacher, he has to work his way back eventually to congregation and teacher's work elsewhere, not in the village where he has caused scandal. He must, of course, make restitution if that be possible to whomsoever he has wronged. His conduct during his suspension is the test of the reality of his penitence. Restoration is public, before the whole congregation, if possible, in the place where he has sinned, after confession of his fault and sorrow.

In the very rare cases of obstinate, wilful defiance, the case goes to the Bishop, and the extreme penalty of major excommunication follows conviction. This very seldom happens.


An important bit of work falls to the white Missionary, especially in Christian islands, in acting [34/35] as intermediary between the native and the Government or trader. It is a delicate task, needing great tact if he is to be of any real use. The white man is prone to think the Missionary too pro-native, and easily deceived; the native is apt to think the Missionary too pro-white man, and slack to press his (the brown man's) cause. This is inevitable. The Missionary can only do his best, interfere as little as he possibly can, and only when he has a case to represent really needing his help. Two illustrations may save many explanations. Suppose a land dispute between a heathen and a Christian. It will probably be extremely complicated and hard to disentangle, the evidence confused and uncertain. The Christian will appeal to the Missionary to write to the Government, or go in person, about those wicked heathen who are trying to steal his land. He must be told that that is the Government's business, that justice will be done, and that he has only to go and speak the truth and his case will be fairly dealt with. Or there may be a case where the Missionary really can serve both sides. A native, we will suppose, is wronged by a white man. Without aid he is afraid and unable to present his case properly. He may not know how to get the wrong righted. Here tactful help is useful. A bald statement of provable facts in a letter to the Authorities and assurance to the native that he has only to tell the truth fearlessly, will usually be enough. The rest may be left to the Government. Possibly in a case where some mitigating circumstance, that would otherwise never emerge, [35/36] is known to the Missionary, he can usefully appeal for mercy or consideration. The more the native in Christian islands, where peace is the rule, learns to trust the Government, the better for both parties. Again, the Missionary can often serve both Government and native, by explaining some new law or rule, that is disliked or misunderstood, showing the reasons for it and urging its cheerful acceptance. Or suppose a law is announced that seems impracticable, or even unjust, as may well be the case, especially under the unsatisfactory state of things in the New Hebrides where the Condominium functions so badly, then it is the Missionary's business to act vigorously and press the native case before the highest authorities he can reach. All such work is difficult and unpleasant, but there are times when the Missionary must face it, neither pro-white nor pro-brown, neither anti-trader nor pro-trader, but pro-truth and pro-right all the time.


This is told of in detail in another chapter. So this will only deal with it in a few words in reference to Christian districts.

Its importance is evident. For women's work is essentially concerned with native family life, and so goes to the roots of native welfare.

It is essential, if the Christian life is to be a real thing, not lop-sided, if men and women are to rise evenly in their new life. The lower will inevitably drag back the higher. And so the white women [36/37] in Melanesia, living and working among the native women and children, have a most vital task to perform. To the Melanesian man the woman is an inferior creature, made to serve and obey him, with little personal freedom. This is very evident on the outside. Looking deeper into native life one sees that the influence of woman is much stronger and more effective than appears on the surface. She is not merely the child-bearer, garden-tiller, and water-carrier, and server of his desires and whims that she seems to be at first. But still, on the average, she is behind in intellect, and faster bound by superstition and tradition. She needs a very long and patient teaching to become a good wife and mother, and that she can only get from white women living in or near her village, knowing practically her daily life and difficulties. The white woman, too, may be the trusted confidante of the men, especially the native teachers and clergy, helping them, as invisibly as possible, and encouraging and steering wisely their course. How this is done is shown in the later chapter referred to above.


The layman's work will usually be at a centre, among Christians. He may be printer, a big job this; or carpenter, or teacher, or Bishop's Secretary, or helper in industrial work, or general handy man, or Candidate for Ordination. For in the Mission there is room for all these; the Bishop's Office at Siota; the printing press at Maravovo; [37/38] the many places requiring new houses; the still more numerous places needing house-repairs; the school where a young vigorous layman can teach and lead in games; the Industrial School where boxes, church furniture, and native work (this is most important) are on hand; the launch or boat of a district; the plantation with its workboys; all these need the layman's help.

All on the staff get equal pay, enough for modest needs, and a little over for furlough; but there is no lay pension secured as yet. What is wanted is laymen who will be content to remain laymen, happy in that honourable useful estate; there is room too for young laymen who have had training and some of the preparation of ordinands, but the training and preparation should be outside of, not in, Melanesia as a rule. It is the layman's task especially to spread the Gospel of work among a people who are not to be condemned off-hand as utterly lazy, but who sorely need help, as civilisation destroys their old labour and toilsome methods, in learning to adapt themselves to and use new ones. The layman will have his little band of "boys" with him to teach and train, how to use tools, repair, house build, book bind, box make; and, here is a much to be desired development, how to use their own native arts and crafts, their own native materials to the best advantage--e.g. what they can make with bamboo, turtle-shell, pearl shell, and how to do inlaying or plaiting work and the like.


1. What is a Christian District in Melanesia?
2. Describe a visit to a Christian village.
3. Sketch the relations of Missionary and native Teacher.
4. Show what the Missionary has to do in the village school.
5. How does the Church in Melanesia exercise discipline?
6. Explain the Missionaries' relations to the Government.
7. Explain why (a) women workers, (b) laymen, are necessary in Christian Districts.


In the Isles of the Sea Awdry, F.
Islands of Enchantment Coombe, F. E.
The Isles that Wait Wilson, E.
The History of the Melanesian Mission Armstrong, E. S.




SUPPOSE a Missionary, landed on a heathen island--however does he begin? Whatever does he do? To start with, he cannot be landed at haphazard. He must have a base of some sort to start from. His base will be a little community, making, or already living in, a village, pledged to receive him. They have come in contact with the "Southern Cross," or have returned from Queensland or Fiji; they are Christians, or have heard from native friends of mission work, and ask for, or consent to, his coming. He lands with a boat, food for six months, some tobacco, calico, knives, etc., for presents and payments. He does not know a word of any of the languages of the island, only a few of the island men know at most a little "pidgin" English. The "Southern Cross" steams away with her farewell three blasts on the whistle, and the Missionary has to begin somehow. It all seems rather hopeless. And so it would be save for the fact that with him are a little band, two or three or a few more, of native teachers. They may not belong to the island, they may not [40/41] even know any of the languages, they too are cut off from kith and kin. But they are Melanesians. One of them anyway will have some point of contact with the place and people, and they will be able in a very few weeks to talk freely to the people, months before the Missionary can, far less effectively, do so. They are the invaluable necessary go-betweens that make his work possible. They are volunteers, more hopeful than persistent, it may be; sometimes, more well-intentioned than efficient, now and again more easily discouraged than self-sacrificing. But they are indispensable, and the best of them admirable.

The first need of the pioneer is somewhere to camp. His hosts have already, or soon will, put up a native hut to start with. There he will bestow himself and his boxes, and perhaps for a while his teachers. In a primitive community he will be an object of intense curiosity and expectation, and his goods perhaps even more so. He will not lack for company. Continuous streams of visitors, often with their chief, duly pointed out on arrival, "this is the big man," will come and go at all hours. They are very inquisitive about the Missionary's habits, clothes, food, and the contents of his boxes. They are very hopeful there will be something for them. Each one insinuates, or shouts, that "Codlin is the friend, not Short." You long for privacy and quiet, but it seems far off. You certainly do not begin by preaching the Gospel to the mixed crowd. You unpack your boxes, get a meal, make some presents, and (as soon as possible) go to bed.


The first step then is to make friends. Some of your many visitors are obviously at first impossible people, but some you will find approachable. The friends of the people who received you will want a visit. So you collect a boat's crew, or a few carriers, and go off to some neighbouring village in the bush or on the coast. It may be a day's journey or an hour's. If you go to a friend's friend you will be well received. You will be fed and sheltered. Vague promises of future adherence will be made, or better still some small definite promise of support, perhaps a boy will be shown you, ready to go to a junior central school on some other island. Or more probably you will make friends first with likely youngsters, with an eye to the future. That visit will lead on to a visit to another place, accompanied by some of your latest friends who have access there. In a heathen island the tribal feuds are all-prevalent, but some villages are always allied, and others enjoy precarious intercommunication at intervals.

A Melanesian finds it rather pleasant to escort a white man to a village and brag of, and share in, his prestige, not yet dimmed by familiarity. If the chief is friendly, food is brought you, and you know then that you are welcome, and the place open for intercourse. That intercourse may lead to the acceptance later on of teachers, and the adoption of the new teaching. And a "school" is begun on a new site to which a few come to build huts, make gardens, put up a small first Church-school and so begin a "school" village.


But there are many heathen villages that fear and defy the new teaching, and not only refuse it for themselves, but try to drive it out. The spirits, they feel, will be angry and avenge themselves on them. So in many cases new schools are opposed by violent threats, and sometimes by violent deeds. The head of a village, or a teacher, is killed, and that surely will end the new school village. But it does not. It still carries on, and in time wins its way. A sick child is treated, or a chief's ailments relieved by medicine, and opposition gradually dies down and turns to friendship, or only passive resistance. Given a few years, active hostility will cease even in villages obdurately heathen. They have found their former fears exaggerated and become perhaps indifferent and harder to win than in the first days of keen attraction or repulsion. But the Holy Spirit is working in ways you know not, and through unthought of means, and for unknown or illogical reasons village after village begins to ask for schools. In some islands, as in Bugotu, the process has been rapid. But there was a Dr. Welchman then to inspire his workers. In others it is slow, but wherever Christianity comes it stays and spreads, if there is a white missionary living among the people, travelling up and down, a centre of interest and influence. But alas for the many districts left to themselves that might have been won, where a few native school villages struggle on with only occasional visits from comparative strangers. But as we grieve over [43/44] Santa Cruz, dwindling in numbers and for so many years no white Shepherd there, or the Torres group in the same plight, we think too of Bugotu now wholly Christian, or of Christian Gela, 'spite of its many problems, of Guadalcanar open everywhere with its new band of brothers for heathen work, of Mala with its 60,000 heathen a few years ago, but now perhaps one-tenth Christian, and of the rest which can be won, San Cristoval with most of its villages now Christian, instead of a mere fraction of them, Raga and Opa and their native clergy and many schools. And then we look on to the ex-German heathen regions and pray that the Australian Church will take up the challenge to go to those 150,000 heathen and win them too. Soon it will be too late. Others will do it, or a Christless civilisation will destroy them before our eyes.


This is the next stage. The Missionary wants youngsters to fill the village schools, to be a reservoir for the junior central school at Pamua, to go on thence to a senior central school, to become teachers, among them may be future Native Priests. And he finds them. There are the teachers' families to start with; all too small nowadays; there are the school-village children; there are orphans from the bush. Out of them there should be available in a few years' time a supply of teachers. But he will find that the, demand outruns the supply. Death takes heavy toll; the plantation a still heavier one; failures of hopefuls upset [44/45] his plans, some of the best he releases for work elsewhere. But still there remain some to take on the work of teaching in the increasing number of schools. And so as the years go by the work gradually becomes more pastoral than pioneer; the element of strangeness and adventure grows less predominant. The task increases in difficulty. It is building up now, not evangelising, a more delicate and difficult thing to do. The children of the adults he baptised and their children are often harder to deal with than the heathen he first knew to whom the news he brings is "News" indeed.


It will be seen from this that even in pioneer days the Missionary's work is more one of teaching than preaching. He does not as a rule preach in heathen villages, but starts schools in Christian villages, and then begins to teach the Christian faith. "Come and learn," is his message. Two things make strong appeal to them, first a hope of finding peace in a school-village (tribal warfare is really very cheerless and hateful), and the other is relief from their fears of the spirits that torment their heathen lives.

The Christian village ought to attract. It ought of course to be irresistible; at worst it is better than a heathen village, and that in every way. So you don't sit under a coconut tree and preach the Gospel very often, but the preaching is mainly in the new village church, to those who are heathen, but are there in church because [45/46] ready to be taught. They come, and a few go, but most of them stay, pass after a while into the Baptism class and so to Confirmation and the Holy Communion.

As is the normal way of the Spirit the process is gradual, sudden conversions are rare, exciting spiritual crises not often visible. But the first adult Baptism of heathen, of the first group ready for it, has a unique solemnity and reality of its own. The village is no longer heathen, but becoming Christian. The newly baptised, with all their imperfections, and only the Missionary knows how many they are, are the nucleus of a Native Church, come out of darkness into light; it is worth while pioneering to see them claim their heritage.

Let us visualise a first baptism. Two and two a procession of natives start from the village church. First go the chief and his wife--this is not a heathen custom--his eldest son and his wife follow, then the rest of the catechumens, old and young--the firstfruits of the village. They reach a river; all not yet baptised cross it. Then the Bishop (it may be) stands in mid-stream, all the Christians on the bank opposite the heathen. The catechumens come from the heathen side to the Bishop, and after Baptism pass over to the Christians, pledged to the new life in the sight of all. They have definitely and for ever taken their side with Christ. They will not all be good soldiers, there will be many a disappointment, and need of discipline; but they will not go back to heathenism. For even the weakest Christian realises that his [46/47] new status is better than the old. He is now among the "lolo-maran"--light within--no longer "lolo-qoñ"--night within.


1. Show how the native teacher is necessary in beginning work among the heathen.
2. Picture the missionary's first start.
3. Describe the first visiting in a new district.
4. Why is opposition violent in some places at first?
5. Sketch the growth of the work in heathen islands.
6. How are boys for the now schools obtained?
7. What is the opportunity for preaching to the heathen?
8. When does a village cease to be heathen?
9. Give an account of a first baptism in a new "school" village.


Life of Bishop Patteson Yonge, C. M.
Life of Bishop J. R. Selwyn How, F. D.
Ten Years in Melanesia Penny, A.
Islands of Enchantment Coombe, F. E.
By Reef and Shoal Sinker, W.




IT will have been noted, from reading Chapter III, that the work of the Church in Melanesia is carried on mainly by the Melanesians themselves--the native Teachers and the native Clergy. The white priest, it may be, has the supervision of fifty villages. That being so, his share in the work is very small indeed. If he reads Morning Prayer, say, in one village church, he is doing but a fiftieth part of the work, because Morning Prayer is being said in the other forty-nine village churches by the native Clergy and Teachers. The office and work of a Teacher have been considered in Chapter III. Suffice it to say here that a Teacher is really a Lay Reader. So, then, most of the work is carried on by the Melanesian Clergy and Lay Readers. That is as it should be; we see the native Church of Melanesia in the working. We have to consider in this chapter the Training of Teachers (=Lay Readers) and native Clergy.

We cannot treat separately the training of Teachers, and the training of native Clergy, as up to a point, their training is identical. It will be more convenient, therefore, to consider the whole educational system of the Mission as follows:

[49] 1. The Primary Schools.
2. The Secondary Schools.
3. The Colleges.


These are the village schools which have been described in Chapter III. They are day-schools. It is only necessary to say here that the best boys in the village schools are persuaded to proceed to one of the Secondary Schools. It often happens that those who go to a Secondary School are not the brightest lads of the Primary Schools, because (1) either the boys themselves show no desire to do so, or (2) their parents refuse to let them leave their islands to go to a Secondary School perhaps a hundred, or hundreds of miles away. At one Secondary School over fifty per cent. of the boys are orphans. It would be interesting to get statistics from all the boarding-schools.

Normally the boys who go on to a Secondary School can read, and write, and do simple sums; but not all. Many in the Secondary Schools have to be taught their letters, and the rudiments of writing. Some never attain even to this modicum of scholarship, and have to be sent back as unsuitable. This may not apply to all the schools. In populous districts the priest-in-charge can pick and choose from the many who desire to go to a Secondary School; in other cases the district priest is only too glad to get any boy he can, especially from heathen villages.


These are called Central Schools, and are all boarding-schools. They can be sub-divided into:

(i) Junior Schools.
(ii) Senior Schools.

(i) Junior Schools.--These are, in order of foundation:

(a) S. Patrick's, Vureas: for South Melanesia.
(b) S. Michael's, Pamua for North Melanesia
(c) S. Mary's, Maravovo[for North Melanesia].

Note.--Vureas is on the island of Vanualava in the Banks Group. Pamua is on the island of San Cristoval in the Solomons. Maravovo is on the island of Guadalcanar, also in the Solomons. At present South Melanesia consists of the New Hebrides, Banks, and Torres Groups. North Melanesia includes the rest of the Mission.

The boy from the village school proceeds, of course, to the Junior Secondary School nearest his own village, or island. It may be said that in the Junior Secondary School the training of the future Teacher or Clergyman really begins; and for this reason. In the majority of cases a boy who leaves his village to go to a Central School has little idea why he goes. Some, perhaps, go with the definite idea of becoming Teachers. These are older boys who have come to years of discretion before the call comes to go away to school. But the average young boy, probably, has very mixed motives for wishing to go away to a Central School. It may be the love of adventure, the wander lust, the desire for change; or that his friend is going, [50/51] or has already gone, or has come back for his holidays, and has persuaded him to go back with him. It may be something much lower--the desire for biscuits, rice, tinned-meat, or a beautiful red loin-cloth. One boy, in after years, confessed that he went to get a pair of trousers. That boy is now a Head Teacher, and doing good and faithful work; indeed, he has been approached on the question of Ordination. Well, never mind what motives have drawn the boy; he is now safely in the net: he has arrived at the Junior Secondary School. We shall be agreeably surprised if all the boys there become Teachers. It is surprising how many do become Teachers.

Now, at the Central School, the idea of becoming Teachers and Priests is continually being put before the boys; and most of them, no doubt, have become quite used to the thought that when they have finished their schooling they will become Teachers. The new boys, when they settle down to the life of the place, catch the prevailing idea, and they, in their turn, take it for granted that they will become Teachers.

It will be seen then that the Training of Teachers and Clergy really begins at the Junior Secondary School. Apart from his schooling, which now begins in earnest, the boy is trained in habits of prayer, devotion, cleanliness, and self-control: the sacramental system becomes part of his life.

It may be asked, "Cannot a boy be trained in habits of prayer, devotion, cleanliness, self-control, and the sacramental system, in his village school?" Under present conditions the answer is, "No." In the first place, for the greater part of the year there [51/52] is no priest in his village: he is itinerating. In every Central School there is a resident priest. The district (God forgive us) may be left without a priest altogether for months, or even years, through lack of priests; but the Central Schools are never without a priest. That is the policy of the Mission. If it is a choice, through necessity, of leaving a district without a priest, or a Central School or College without a priest, it is the district that suffers. That is a sound policy because the large view is a Native Church worked by Native Clergy and Teachers; but we shall consider that a few pages on. Then, again, the boy in his village may never go to school at all. It is surprising, in the circumstances, how many do. There is no law compelling children to go to school, as there is, e.g. in New Guinea. Native parental control, to put it mildly, is not very strong. The village Teacher can only persuade verbally. What white boy would go to school under these conditions? And, lastly, there may be very few boys in the village school: there is no esprit de corps, no tone, no tradition, no atmosphere that a Central School produces. So without a priest there can be no sacramental system; without regular schooling there can be no disciplined life; without regular chapel services there can be formed no habit of prayer and devotion.

One Junior Secondary School is, very much like another. To describe one is to describe them all. There are about forty boys. There is the white priest-headmaster; and there are the native [52/53] assistant-masters--usually two. The classes are small, as in preparatory schools at home. Each boy gets individual attention, which is necessary with native boys, as with young white boys. School hours are short, to suit the present intellectual capacity of the native mind, viz: 45 minutes before breakfast; 11/2 hours after breakfast; 45 minutes "prep." after evensong. It must be remembered, however, that there are no long holidays as in white schools. Besides Sundays, Saturdays, and Saints' Days, the only holidays are two weeks at Christmas, and one week at Easter. The boy cannot be sent home by train; they are permanent boarders.

The time-table fluctuates with the sun-rising. An average daily routine (as at S. Patrick's, Vureas) is as follows:

6.0 a.m. Rise; Private prayers; Wash or bathe.
6.30 Shortened Matins in Chapel: one hymn.
7.0-7.45 m First School.
8.0 Breakfast: rice and coconut.
8.30 Surgery.
9.0-9.45 Second School.
9.45-10.30 Third School.
10.30-1.0 Manual work.
1.15 Tea and biscuits.
1.30-4.30 Boys free to work in their own gardens, or fish, or hunt edible birds, with bows and arrows.
4.45 Meal of native food: plus meat on Sundays.
[54] 5.0-6.30 Football or cricket.
6.30-7.0 Reading in houses.
7.0 Shortened Evensong in Chapel: canticles and hymn sung.
7.30-8.15 Preparation.
8.15-8.45 Play in houses.
8.45 Compline in houses; bed.

Saturday is a whole holiday except for two hours' work in the school grounds after Matins. Every Saint's Day is a whole holiday; all the baptised attend the Eucharist and. Evensong. Sunday's routine is, of course, different.

(ii) Senior Schools.--These are, in order of foundation:

(a) S. Patrick's, Vureas: for South Melanesia.
(b) All Hallows', Pawa: for North Melanesia.

Note.--Pawa is on the island of, Ugi in the Solomons. This School was for a short time at Siota.

It may be said that many of the boys in the Junior Schools will become Teachers; that most in the Senior Schools will become Teachers; that all in the Colleges will definitely teach, or be ordained, at the end of their course.

After two years in the Junior School the boy goes back to his village, or island, for a holiday. He then has another period of two years--taking a normal case--at the end of which he proceeds to the Senior Secondary School of his district.

The life, routine and time-table at the Senior School are very similar to those at the Junior School; and much that has been written about the [54/55] Junior Schools applies also to the Senior Schools. As far as possible the school is run by the boys themselves, under the white priest-headmaster, and his native assistants. There is a committee of prefects. Some of the boys are servers; some read the lesson at the daily chapel services; some take charge of various duties, such as sacristan, chapel-lamps, chapel-bell, cooking, firewood, cows, fencing, carpenter jobs and repairs, painting, etc., etc. There are no servants, of course, at any of the schools; all the domestic work is done by the boys themselves.

By the time a boy has reached the top class in the Junior School he has acquired the habit of study. This habit is further developed at the Senior School. The boys' note-books as a rule, are neatly kept and painstakingly maintained. Boys will be found working at their books out of school-hours. Much writing and copying has to be done as there are comparatively few text-books in Mota, the lingua franca of the Mission. The Mission schools are somewhat like the ancient monasteries in that respect: books have to be written by hand.

However, the Bible and the Prayer-Book have been printed; there is a hymn-book containing 200 hymns; there is a Bible Picture Book; there are small manuals on the Parables, the Miracles, Church History, Baptism, the Catechism, Holy Communion; there are two reading books, and an English book, and a few others.

When a boy has had two, or four years, according to size rather than age, in the Senior [55/56] School, he goes back to his village, or island, as an assistant-teacher, and, in time, will be put in charge of a village. No boy proceeds straight from school to college: his schooling finished the youth now has to make good.

Note.--Norfolk Island used to be the one big Senior School of the Mission. It was given up in 1920 as being too far away from the actual field. It is 800 miles from the nearest Melanesian island in the sphere of the Mission.


These are, in order of foundation:

(i) S. Luke's College, Siota: for North Melanesia.
(ii) S. Patrick's College, Vureas: for South Melanesia.

Note.--Siota is on the island of Florida (native name Gela) in the Solomons; and is the Headquarters of the Mission. This College was for many years at Maravovo in Guadalcanar. S. Patrick's College is distinct from S. Patrick's School, Vureas; but in the School are both Junior and Senior boys.

It has been seen that the Senior Secondary Schools supply the Teachers or Lay Readers of the Diocese. The Colleges exist primarily for candidates for Ordination; but Teachers go to College after some years for what is called a "brush up" or a "refresher course." It must be stated also that in the Colleges are some Lay Readers who have [56/57] never been to a Central School. In each college then there are three classes:

(a) Candidates for Ordination.
(b) Teachers for a "brush up."
(c) Teachers who have had no regular schooling.

These are only theoretical classes: the white warden, who is, of course, a priest, may have to take all the students in one class. Deacons have a further spell at college before ordination to the priesthood.

At each college there are from 10 to 20 men. All the married men have their wives and children with them: each married student therefore has a house. Bachelors and widowers live together in one big house. At one college the men come for six months; at the other a longer course is aimed at. In the one case more teachers are influenced by the College life; in the other fewer teachers are dealt with, but it is hoped that those who do come go back better equipped to teach the children. But whatever the school or college, it is the life which is the principal thing. The Chapel with its daily services--at one college there is a daily celebration--is the centre of the training. The regular Sunday Eucharist must be a real inspiration both to students and to boys: it certainly is to the staff. And on his return to his own village the teacher, or the boy, though many miles from a priest, must be sustained by the remembrance that it is all going on still.

The routine in the college is very similar to that in the school. There is a short school in the [57/58] afternoon, however, and the students spend more of their spare time at their books. They grow their own native food, and, of course, do their own cooking and house-work. At the college where the course is longer they build their own houses. The senior men read the services in chapel.

We must now mention the standard of learning set for ordinands in Melanesia. In considering this subject we have to remember two things. (1) The native clergy are licensed by the Bishop to minister to their own people, and no other Bishop would license a Melanesian priest or deacon to serve white people in his diocese; not, we hasten to add, because he is brown, but because the standard of learning set for white priests is, of course, higher. (2) Christianity, to quote Bishop Gore, is not a religion but a life. In its schools and colleges the Mission aims at training the boys and students in the Christian Life, or Way of the Acts of the Apostles; and to impart as much learning as they are able to bear. Indeed, clever boys and students are looked upon with a certain misgiving, as a rule, for their cleverness tends to displace the Christian grace of humility. However, by the time the village boy reaches the diaconate he has had a good grounding in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Prayer Book--including the Creeds, the Sacraments, and the Ordinal. He has also some knowledge of General Church History, English Church History, and the Church in other lands. He has had lectures, and sermons, innumerable on Pastoralia. He knows a little English, Arithmetic, and Geography. He knows neither [58/59] Hebrew, Greek, nor Latin; but he does know Mota, in which, for him, the Holy Scriptures are written. He has had a long course in the Christian Life: at least ten years, in most cases much longer. Many of the native clergy have been assistant-masters in the secondary schools, an experience of the greatest value. Many have won their spurs as teachers in heathen villages. Others have been in charge of a group of villages as head-teachers. teachers. All have been teachers.

Whatever the educational standard may be, the Bishops in Melanesia "lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons to serve in the sacred Ministry."


Remembering always that at present the number of communicants in the Diocese is very much larger, the following extracts from a speech made ten years ago will make clear the need and the scope for native clergy.

"I maintain that every confirmed Christian should have the opportunity, at least, of making a weekly Communion, that is to say a Communion every Lord's Day. It may be that there are some in this hall this afternoon who would not allow a weekly celebration to the natives. . . . But even they would be shocked if they did not have an opportunity for making their Communion once a month. Now, until we can give our native Christians regular Communion, weekly, or monthly if you will, we cannot [59/60] expect them to live the Christian life, nor have we made adequate provision for their spiritual needs. We have, roughly, about 4,000 communicants, spread over 36 islands, some of which are more than 100 miles long. Supposing an island like Raga, 30 miles long, or Mala, over 100 miles long, has--as many of them have not--a resident priest, that priest cannot give regular Communion, either weekly or monthly, to all the communicants on his island. I will not attempt to estimate the number of priests required to give regular celebrations to 4,000 communicants on 36 islands, but what I will say is this, that we never have enough white priests to do so, and I cannot conceive that we ever shall have. I will go still further and say, I do not believe God ever intends us to have. . . . If these are the facts, are we right to attempt to convert the heathen in their thousands when we cannot give the Holy Communion to our Confirmed Christians? Ought we even to Confirm the Baptised if we cannot promise them the Holy Communion more often than once in six months? Has not an intelligent Melanesian a right to say to us, 'You do not send enough white priests to give us the Holy Communion which you have taught us to expect to receive, nor do you ordain priests among us to give us the Bread of Life without which, you say, we cannot live'?

"I have already said that we never have enough white priests to give Communion to our Communicants, and I do not believe we ever shall [60/61] have. It may be that at present we want 50 priests to minister to those 4,000 Communicants; it may be in time to come that we shall want 500 to minister to all the Communicants in the Diocese of Melanesia. And so we see a vision--the vision of a celebration of the Holy Communion, the Lord's own service, on every Lord's Day, everywhere in Melanesia, and the celebrants are Melanesian priests. And there are other considerations. The native ministry will be to convert the heathen; the native priest will move quickly and easily about the country because he does not require the impedimenta which a white priest has to carry--he does not want to carry them, but cannot avoid it because he is a white man. The native priest will be able to live a life of simplicity, a life of equality with the natives--such as we long to live, but cannot. He will have no language difficulties such as we have. He will know the life and customs of the people to whom he preaches; and he will not die or be invalided home, because he is a native of the land. At the present time what the Mission asks for is a native ministry, and our work should be to raise up a native ministry. . . . We must expect to get from England and Australasia enough men to build up a native ministry.

"And what a glorious work!"

Note.--The Southern College has recently been moved from Vureas to Lolowai on the island of Opa.


1. Name the educational establishments a boy in North Melanesia would pass through before reaching the Diaconate.
2. Do the same for a boy in South Melanesia.
3. Which, perhaps, is the most important period of the training?
4. State some disabilities in connection with the training.
5. What is a teacher?
6. What posts is an ordination candidate likely to have held?
7. Why is it desirable to have as many native priests as possible?
8. What should be the primary work of the white staff?
9. Discuss the standard set for candidates for ordination.


History of the Melanesian Mission Armstrong, E. S.
Pastoral Work in the Colonies and Mission Field Selwyn, Bishop J. R
The Isles that Wait Wilson, E.
Islands of Enchantment Coombe, F. E.





WHEN Bishop Wilson decided to bring women workers to the islands it needed some courage on his part to carry out his plan, for there were certain members of the staff--men of experience too--who doubted the wisdom of such a step. "Could women stand the climate?" "What will they find to do?" "Can they adapt themselves to such strange conditions?" These were some of the questions which the Bishop left it to us to answer.

The islands had already been visited by Mrs. Selwyn and Mrs. Wilson, and Dr. Welchman in 1896 had taken his wife to Siota, where she lived for a few brief months and now lies buried. Mrs. O'Ferrall too had made a short stay at Vureas with her husband.

Gela.--In April 1905, a start was made in Gela. To the two who went down it was indeed an adventure--a new language, strange customs, a trying climate, a hot-headed people; but beneath the superficial differences there were hearts ready [63/64] to respond to what the people felt was an attempt to help them. And so, hesitatingly and not without blundering, the first step was taken.

Raga.--In 1906 women's work was begun in Raga, one of those who had gained a little experience in Gela leading the way, and taking as her colleague a new worker from New Zealand. Here the women were more primitive and shyer than in Gela, at first surveying these two rather alarming white women from a safe distance. But visits to native houses, simple medicines supplied to those who were ill, a little notice taken of the children, sores dressed--all helped to establish friendly relations; and so the way was opened, as in Gela, for gathering the women together for school.

Mota.--In 1909 the Mota station was opened in the same way by the one who had helped in Raga. School was held daily; house girls were trained, a weekly visit was paid to another village where a native house had been built for the white women. Periodic visits were also paid to the neighbouring island of Motalava.


In 1911 the growth of women's work in Raga was described in the following words. "Looking back over a period of five years one sees that an advance has been made among the women here, though from week to week and month to month there seems little progress. The work is very slow, and one would become discouraged if one did not constantly keep in mind all the powerful hereditary [64/65] and other influences these people have to contend with. It is most difficult to decide how much should be expected of them; and there is always the danger of judging them from an outside position. Because of this, all work is, in a certain degree, experimental, and necessitates frequent changes of plans as the work develops, or as we meet with failure."

This is true also of other islands. But with the passing years one sees the gradual awakening of conscience and deepening of the spiritual life; and instead of looking upon themselves as mere nonentities the women of Melanesia are beginning to realise that they are responsible beings. But it is only by "a large toleration of what is unworthy and a divine patience and gradualness" that this can be achieved.

In none of the stations has the work gone on continuously. At the time of writing the Raga station is more fully staffed than ever before, and the work is extending to other centres, which until now have not had much regular help.

The outlook in Gela is very promising, and the women were much disappointed when the station had to be temporarily closed a short time ago.

The white workers in Mota found the women warm-hearted and responsive, but unstable. The Suqe rites in this island have for many years had a strong hold over the people, and the hearts of many were divided. When the station was re-opened in 1916, after having been closed for about a year, the work was very difficult, for the Suqe had for the time being gained the ascendancy. So, in spite of [65/66] a brave effort, Bishop Wood in 1917 thought it good to close the station. A few Mota girls who have been away at boarding-school have recently returned, and will, we trust, have a leavening influence.


School.--Class I are having a writing lesson on the Mission House verandah. One or two advanced girls are sitting on the floor with their books on the forms writing a short account of the Ascension, on which the class has just had a lesson. Others who write fairly well are transcribing an article on Dr. Codrington from the "Sala Ususur," (our Mota newspaper). The remainder are copying from the blackboard. The class consists of about twenty young women, most of whom are married, and are accompanied by the younger members of their families, so it is not astonishing to hear such a remark as, "I have only written one line; Aquila 'barihaeo' (objects) and takes the pencil." Considering the difficulties they make fair progress. In the school-house is Class II, and on the church verandah Class III, consisting mostly of young children.

Out-patients.--There are some out-patients waiting. One is Elina, who has been away on a plantation. During the dressing of two bad sores on her foot she becomes confidential, and tells how while away she paid one of her companions--a worker of charms--to charm away an illness she had. "Perhaps that is why I have these bad [66/67] sores," she adds. Elina has been confirmed for many years, but old superstitions die very slowly. "The father of Joan" (the speaker's husband), is ill, and wants some medicine the same colour as you gave him when he was ill last year," is the request made by another. Then Rebi mysteriously beckons one into the school-house. "You know that I have not got strong after my illness. Will you write out a prayer that I can say every day that I may become strong?" We do so, taking the opportunity of giving a little instruction on the subject; and she goes off with the prayer and a bottle of Blaud's pills.

House Girls.--During the afternoon our two house girls ask permission to go off to a dance in the evening, but as they have not made arrangements to be "chaperoned" we are obliged to refuse. Not much was said, but it was very evident they were not pleased.

As we sat at our evening meal about seven o'clock, we heard the swish of brooms vigorously wielded in the garden, then a great blaze as three bonfires of leaves were set alight, all this being accompanied by a clamour of high-pitched and excited voices, which might have come from a dozen throats instead of two. Higher blazed the fires; louder grew the voices; faster went the brooms--until the climax was reached: then dead silence and two penitent little girls. One felt that though they deserved reproof, yet an effort had been made in this voluntary work and sudden spurt of energy to control themselves and find a safe outlet for their injured feelings.

[68] Native Helpers.--Mabel Taogado is a Gela girl. "She is quite my right hand," writes her "white mother," "and of course always accompanies me on my excursions. The people have all accepted her as an authority, and it makes my heart rejoice to hear her telling the children to wash, or advising the women to discard their torn and dirty skirts for the clean and healthy 'sada' of Gela, made of dried banana leaves. There are many people who commiserate with me for being here 'alone,' but Mabel so far has more than fulfilled my expectations. Her life is a daily example of consistent Christianity, and her example in the way of prayer is splendid for these women and girls."

In the whole of Melanesia no keener missionary could be found than Agnes Bomare, a Raga woman, who was trained at Norfolk Island, and came back filled with enthusiasm and a desire to help on the work among the women. She is absolutely thorough and reliable both in school and house work. In her attempts to train her little daughter in the right way, she is a splendid example to the all too easy-going mothers of Raga. She takes a real interest in the welfare of all around her, visiting the sick and consoling the sorrowful. For the lives of women such as these we thank God, and take courage.


1. Describe the beginning of women's work in districts.
2. Mention some of the difficulties which retarded the progress of the work.
[69] 3. What encouragement has there been?
4. Give a brief account of the work done by native helpers.


The Isles that Wait Wilson, E.
On our Island Mason, E.


The little island of Bungana (pronounced "Boong-ah-na") was never inhabited by natives in the old time. It was too much exposed to attack from the enemy in the days when the Honggo people were constantly at war with the Halavo people. In years gone by the ancestors of John Pengone, our native Priest at Honggo, moved from Olevuga to Siarana, the small harbour opposite Bungana. They were followed as they believed by their special shark, which always watched over and protected them; and in its honour, and so that they might be sure of a continuance of its support, they erected an altar on Bungana near the sandy beach opposite to Siarana, and there they offered it sacrifice.

For long the Mission coveted this small island as an ideal place for a Central School. But no coaxing, no offers of money, would induce the people to let us have it. But on one occasion when Bishop Wilson was visiting Florida a number of persons approached him, asking to be released from vows they had made in heathen ways. Amongst them was an old man named Thomas. [69/70] He said, "Many years ago I vowed never to sell Bungana to a white man. Will you release me?" Of course the Bishop did so, and a day or two later the old man sold him the island at a very reasonable price. The people said that they wanted to have the Mission there to protect them against the white men who were settling in the group and to plead for them and interpret when they got into difficulties with the Resident.

Bungana is what the people call "a child-island" only about 100 acres in area, half hilly and half flat, close to the main island of Florida. It is sixteen miles from Siota, the headquarters of the Mission, and six from Tulagi, the Government centre, with its post-office, stores, hospital, prison, etc.

The hilly backbone of the island, clothed on both sides with thick forest vegetation, ends in a steep cliff facing north, and on the summit is perched a harbour-light, a guide to navigation in those reefy waters. Large patches of hillside are cleared every year for yam, and tomago gardens, and a great proportion of the flat land is planted in coco-nuts.

What is called the vanua, i.e. the settlement, occupies the north-east corner of the island, laid out with lawns and gardens, bounded seawards by a crescent of sparkling coral beach. The buildings now accommodating the Girls' School are a native-built Chapel, school house, and sleeping houses, and two concrete walled buildings. The staff has a roomy European dwelling house, of which the verandah and big central room can be used for [70/71] classes. A wooden two-roomed guest house provides for white visitors, and one of the two concrete buildings is used from time to time to house native invalids who come from the mainland for nursing treatment. The school for boys under the Rev. R. P. Wilson and his sister, first occupied Bungana in 1910, remaining for nine years, and in 1920 the Girls' School formerly at Siota was moved to Bungana.

The day's work begins at dawn with prayers in the Chapel--a fine native building of sago palm. Prayers over school begins, a daily Scripture lesson followed by a secular one. By 8.30 breakfast is ready, the girls sit on mats spread on the verandah, and their vegetables are served on woven platters lined with a fresh green leaf. House duties have now to be done, and by 9.30 dishes are washed, the various houses are swept, and the paths surrounding them also. Good skirts are doffed, and native skirts of grass or leaf are donned for garden work. At two o'clock the bell rings for needlework, and a pleasant chatty hour it is, making native skirts, print skirts, patching, and Church needlework. Bathing follows, and there is nothing they enjoy better than splashing in the warm sea. At 4.30 the bell summons to school; lessons are given in the Old Testament or Prayer Book, or about some other Mission, or a choir practice is held. On Wednesday the time is allowed for cricket practice. Evensong follows just before sunset, and then the evening meal. A little later a hum of preparation for to-morrow morning's lesson rises from the school. At 8.30 Compline in [71/72] the sleeping houses ends a busy day. Saturdays are free from school and garden work, and are spent in picnicking and fishing. On Sundays the services are short, and there is much singing. Alas! a monthly Eucharist only can be regularly provided, with as many as possible occasional Celebrations on Saints' Days whenever a Priest, white or brown, can manage a visit. A singing of favourite hymns in the big room of the Staff's house closes Sunday.

There is much sunshine in the lives of these light-hearted girls, but there are heavy clouds and bad storms at times. Satan does not yield easily to the Prince of Peace the souls he has held in chains of terror these many centuries. The aim of the school is to train girls to become good wives and mothers living in these villages a native Christian life, true help-meets to their husbands, especially those who are Teachers.


This school, which was started on the Epiphany, 1921, is in Vanua Lava, one of the Banks Group. It is three-quarters of a mile from the Sanláng Boys' Central School, on the site of an old village called Torgil.

The buildings are close to the edge of a plateau, about 150 feet above the sea; inland on the three sides are mountains clothed to the top with luxuriant forest, while to the westward is the wide stretch of ocean.

[73] A beautiful stream flows through the garden in whose waters the girls not only take their daily bathe, but also do their weekly washing.

The school, which carries on the work formerly done at Norfolk Island, is a boarding school for girls who have been through their village schools and desire further training, principally the daughters of the native clergy and teachers and the future wives of the boys who are being trained as teachers at Sanláng.

The girls may be from the ages of thirteen to twenty years.

Our object is, while imparting as much knowledge as possible, to train character, and to teach the girls how to keep their homes clean and bright, to fit them to be good wives and mothers, to set a good example, maybe to help teach in the village school. In short, that through their efforts the next generation may be raised a step higher.

There are daily Scripture lessons, and reading, writing, arithmetic, and sewing are also taught. The girls help with all the various works of the house. Each morning, they are engaged for two hours in garden work, growing as much of their own food as is possible.

In their leisure hours, the girls weave native baskets which are sold, thus fulfilling a double object, of keeping up their own arts, and of encouraging the girls to help support their school.





IT is imperative, clamant, and appalling! Most diseases of a cosmopolitan nature are to be found in the islands together with such tropical diseases as ankylostomiasis (hookworm), beriberi, epidemic jaundice, filariasis (elephantiasis), frambsia (yaws), leprosy, malaria, etc.

Disease is caused, encouraged, developed by--

The absence of sanitation (almost everywhere).
The bad ventilation of sleeping houses.
The custom of crowds of people visiting a sick person.
The unwashed.
The supposed malign influence of evil spirits and the inertia due frequently to the fatalism that is the consequent accompaniment of most sicknesses.

The result of all this is that the great majority of the people are normally much below par. Their reputed laziness is frequently due to the effect of disease. Men and women are disabled by the [74/75] deformities caused by disease, often while in childhood. Their mentality is lowered and the race in general lives under a very heavy handicap. Though numbers of children are born, far too many die in babyhood. Strong men and women frequently die, as we say, before their time.

All this is preventible or avoidable. Better sanitary arrangements would prevent the spreading of much disease, e.g. dysentery, and would probably end the hookworm trouble.

Malaria is without doubt due to the mosquito. The mosquito breeds in standing water and it is a large proposition to deal with the swamps near which so many villages are built. Much may be done by drainage if the natives under guidance will combine to do such work. Many natives on the coast now buy and use mosquito nets at night, and this is a step in the right direction. The native possesses very few articles of clothing, and therefore at night fastens up his house and lights a fire, probably making a good deal of smoke, for the double purpose of keeping warm and stifling the mosquito. The native is concerned to avoid the discomfort of being bitten, and does not connect the bite with the malaria that follows.

In one or two villages that I know of the native chief does not allow any but near relations to go to the house of a sick person, and more will follow their example as the reason for it becomes known.

The apprehension of the Christian faith is the only means by which heathen beliefs will be cancelled out.

So there is a great need of doctors, nurses [75/76] and medical workers of all kinds. There is repair work waiting to be done.

There is the long and slow work of instructing about hygienic ways of living.

There is the telling the Gospel story of Christ to whom the devils are subject.


Distance.--These people do not live in masses in large villages or towns, but are scattered about over large areas in groups of anything from twenty to two hundred people. There are no roads as we know roads, and what tracks serve as roads always pass through rivers, sometimes shallow and slow-running and sometimes the reverse. The islands are separated from each other by miles of sea, from fifteen to upwards of sixty. There are very few boats and the sun shines all the time.

Prejudice.--Certain natives claim to know means of curing some of the ills of their fellows. They are invariably unwilling to tell the white man what means they use, even when offered money to do so. They are always paid by the native for what they do. I have yet to hear of an established cure by a native doctor, but I know of more than one death resulting from his treatment. In spite of this the native in general prefers to go to a native and pay for his treatment, rather than to a white man. This is really not so very strange when you consider the numbers of people in England who "don't believe in doctors" and won't go to them until too late. It is just what happens over and [76/77] over again in Melanesia. The native trusts the native until it is too late, and a patient, who, if he had been seen by the missionary in the early stage of his disease would have lived, dies.

So this is our problem:

To get the missionary, doctor, or nurse, and the patient together.
To familiarise the native with the white workers and their methods until all prejudice is gone.


The Mission has always aimed at having a doctor on the staff. Once it had a hospital, but that was closed during the war. Incidentally this is the place to say how very happy we all are because we are going to have a doctor on the island staff once more. The Mission has for many years had splendid nurses on its staff, but usually they have been stationed at schools and were quite unable to do work amongst the people of the villages. Also, a nurse finds the work very trying unless she has had some training and experience in dealing with strange (to her) tropical diseases. The native expects every missionary to be able to help him when asked, although he is so very slow in asking.

There is, at Leyton, a school called the Livingstone College. It is a school for training all missionaries in medical and surgical matters so that they may be able to assist their flock when in the field. The College does not make doctors, but gives an invaluable training to lay folk. Every missionary, especially in a field like Melanesia, [77/78] ought to take the Livingstone course before going out. Some of the Melanesian missionaries have been able to do this, and they can never be too thankful for the help that it has enabled them to be to their people. Such missionaries when travelling in their districts, always take with them a supply of drugs, bandages, etc., and do the best they can for the people as they go. Sometimes they are very short of supplies and can take nothing, or else exhaust the little they have before they have done half what needs doing. This kind of effort is very valuable indeed. The people know the missionary, he can probably talk their language, and he is frequently able to do a lot of good and to save life. There are lots of little troubles which if untreated would result in severe illness and death which a particular medicine at the right time cures very rapidly. Pain may be relieved, "sore legs" bandaged (this is somewhat difficult when a native tells one that he has a "sore leg along throat," the pidgin-English way of saying that he has a sore throat, but very startling to the neophyte), and a bottle of something left for the painfully congested eyes which are so prevalent a trouble. Probably the teacher asks for a few things: some cough medicine, some quinine and iodine, and he is given a little if it can be spared, and the missionary goes on his way again. It will probably be some weeks before the missionary is in that village again, and that is why this kind of work is ineffective. People don't recover all at once, they get ill in between visits of course, accidents occur, the missionary is moving all the time, and no one knows exactly [78/79] where to find him, no one in the village has any special liking for caring for and nursing sick folk. The native doctor is at hand with his magic and is called in. The patient suffers on or dies.

In certain places, at or near established Missions, we have placed dispensaries. The advantages of these places are many. They are fixed points where help is always available. It is possible to erect some sort of native building near them for the reception of patients who are too ill to be in their own homes. People in their neighbourhood can be trained to come at certain hours for treatment, at any time with accidents, or from a great distance, or to report cases that are too ill to come themselves. The workers at such a station become well known to the natives of the district, and shyness and prejudice are broken down. At one such station there were 715 out-patients in one year, and 257 admissions to hospital. It is possible for the staff of such dispensaries to patrol the villages near them and to go out to special calls sometimes. When necessary it is not an insuperable job to get a patient to the hospital without making him worse. One great opportunity offered by stations of this kind is that of training a certain number of schoolboys as dressers. Some boys do exceptionally well at this, and upon their return home should be a great help to their own people. They may be trusted with lotions and simple medicines, and would be capable of dealing with simple cases, and of reporting clearly on those that may be beyond them.

In connection with such a dispensary an effort [79/80] was made to extend its operations as follows: Each of the villages in the district had a teacher trained in the Mission schools. He was given a case with a few medicines, bandages, and ointments. A paper was printed with the names of the commoner ailments and with the number of the bottle or container that held the necessary medicine. Short instructions were given about each trouble. When a bottle was getting empty the teacher was instructed to send to the dispensary for another. This was a very useful piece of work. It saved the natives many a long walk and cut short many illnesses. This is the useful work that could be done by all the village teachers if we were able to train them sufficiently well.

Definite instruction in the Mission schools about disease and its causes, and the means to prevent disease.

The matter of evil spirits and influences is covered in the usual course of religious instruction, but it is emphasised again with direct reference to disease.

Boys are taught that a Christian must not be careless and indifferent about sickness, either his own or others.

Further, that it is part of the definite duty of a Christian to seek healing for himself and for others, and to use every active means possible to gain it.

That it is a disgrace to do anything that is likely to cause or favour disease.

In the school, this teaching has produced such an opinion about dirt, about reporting sickness, about helping those that are sick, as to make our [80/81] hearts leap with hope for the future of people living by such principles. We talk about cleanliness of the body and of the village and houses, the necessity of proper sanitary arrangements and the result of not having them; about mosquitoes and the way to lessen their numbers and the value of nets and sleeping blankets. Ventilation of sleeping-houses fits in here. Our boys look upon flies as being as much their enemy as Satan is, and are learning to treat them as such. This kind of work is slow, but it is very, very sure.

So: we want our doctor with a good and well-equipped hospital and with the means of going about from place to place, island to island.

We want nurses to work in the hospital with the doctor, to work in the Mission schools and among the natives in the villages.

We want all missionaries to go to Livingstone College before they go out to Melanesia.

We want all that medical work means, drugs, appliances and money.

Why ought every one to help medical missionary work?

Because Jesus said, "Preach the Gospel, heal the sick."

Because this work opens all sorts of ways for the preaching of the gospel, as it is a guarantee that what we say is true. A heathen boy was very seriously wounded by a companion who was mad. The other heathen could do nothing for him. They would do nothing, as they were afraid of the evil result to themselves of interfering. The wounded boy was taken to the missionaries' house and [81/82] nursed back to health after a long struggle. The direct result was the baptism of eight heathen who immediately came forward for instruction, as they said, "There must be something in what you say, now we know it."

Because it is obvious to the native that the missionary has nothing to gain by curing sick natives, he has "no axe to grind" for himself and is therefore disinterested. Therefore it breaks down suspicion and prejudice.

Because these people in particular are part of the great British Empire they should be the interest of all, Christians or non-Christians. The Solomon Islander considers himself an object of Imperial interest, and frequently asks, Does King George know about this? Would this go on if the great people of England knew about it? Some may say that this indicates his conceit and self-importance, but those of us who know him are sure that such remarks are the outcome of his pathetic trust in the goodwill of Englishmen. Let us be worthy of his trust. In a strictly medical sense--Freely have ye received, freely give.


1. What are some of the causes of unnecessary sickness in Melanesia?
2. How do native prejudices make medical work difficult?
3. What is the Melanesian Mission doing in medical work?
4. Show the need of a hospital.
5. What can dispensaries do?
6. How can the natives be taught to help?
7. What are the chief needs if medical work is to be effectually done?
8. How does it appeal to the heathen?


District Nursing in Melanesia has many drawbacks from the nurses' point of view, but seems to be very much appreciated by the Melanesian.

The general routine is, as soon as prayers are finished, about 7 a.m.--(the Native Teacher takes prayers morning and evening in the Christian villages), the Nurse goes to the Hospital, if the village has one, a small house made of leaf with split bamboo floor, shelves made of bamboo and kerosene cases, and all the people with sores, coughs, colds, etc., come to be attended to or to beg for some medicine for some one away in the bush too ill to come. Breakfast 8.30 a.m., by which time school also will be finished; then the natives go to their gardens and Nurse goes to the next village, either walks or short journey by canoe, where in most cases she has to be content with a fallen tree trunk for her "Hospital." In some villages they are very good in having a fire and clean water boiling in a kerosene tin all ready for the dressings. One hardly knows where to begin, and wonders if there will be enough rag bandage and medicine to go round. However large a supply one starts out with, it is always quite cleared out before returning home. The old women are generally the first to come forward; the children can nearly always be bribed by promising to put a safety pin in their bandage (safety pins being a very great attraction). There are always several patients missing, and when asked where they are, there is a general chorus of "Oh, [83/84] he has fever or a cough or a pain in his side, or a large boil, etc.": so as soon as dressings and medicines are given out (keeping a reserve of dressings which will be asked for as soon as one starts on the way home) we all make a visit to the sick folk in their houses. There is not much interest taken by the native in the usual sight of some poor creature lying on a mat with a small fire on the ground beside him, panting away in high fever; but there is great excitement over an abscess to be opened, and if one turns them out of the house during the "operation," they only tear a bit of leaf away from the wall and peep: there is no privacy in a Melanesian house. If the patient is very ill and wants constant care, and it is not a district in which one can stay, the Native Teacher is given extra medicine and instructed what to do until the Nurse can return next day or in two days' time; the most of them are very good and have saved many lives and extra suffering by their care.

All the Islands want two or three Nurses in the district; if the women and children had more direct care there would be a stronger race growing up. One feels very helpless when a Native Teacher comes a day's journey--very often two or more--to ask for medicine for a "mother and baby: mother has fever;" or sometimes all they can tell you is that "the mother is ill and there is no milk for baby," or that "a man is very sick in his head." You give them medicine and instructions about treatment, entirely trusting that your diagnosis is correct; the Teacher must, have a few hours' rest before he returns, and more often than [84/85] not both mother and child are buried by the time he gets back. We look forward to the day when the women in the villages will be able to help each other, but that will not be until we can have more white women workers and nurses in the districts to train them. On some of the Islands the Teachers from long distances come three or four times a year and get a stock of medicines, rag and bandages, and some are very good in looking after the people in their districts; but there is never enough of "rag and bandage" to go round, and we cannot expect the natives to get their sores well when they have nothing to keep off the flies and cockroaches.


On Our Island Mason, E. S.P.C.K. 1s.




TO Bishop Wilson we owe the idea of establishing central schools throughout the Diocese of Melanesia. It was a wise conception that these schools should be "feeders" of the school at Norfolk Island--the then Headquarters. Archdeacon Cullwick, who was at that time in charge of the Banks Islands, selected the site on which St. Patrick's Central School now stands. It is in many ways an ideal site, situated as it is some 300 feet above the sea shore, with a good supply of fresh water and plenty of good garden land in close proximity. There was also a large coconut plantation, only lately planted, which in the course of a few years might be reckoned upon as a definite source of regular income. The one weak feature about the settlement is the anchorage. It is a good one, but an open roadstead, and when the wind blows strongly towards the shore, landing stores is a matter of some difficulty: However, it has only once happened in the knowledge of the writer that landing was impossible. As a matter of fact there is really only one land-locked harbour [86/87] in the Banks group, i.e. at Port Patteson, and there the low-lying and mosquito-infested shore made the selection of that site an impossible one, unless the Mission authorities were prepared to spend a large sum of money in clearing the whole of the scrub and mangroves with which it is covered.

Both Vureas and Port Patteson are on the island of Vanua Lava--the largest island in the Banks group. The site for the new settlement fixed upon was that of a long-deserted native village named Sanláng, alongside the coconut plantation. In 1903, on my return from furlough in England, Bishop Wilson took the writer from his old district of Santa Cruz and sent him to establish the school. The first step was to clear the bush which had covered the old village site, and also the surrounding bush for a considerable space, and to prepare and plant a large garden which should provide food for the prospective scholars. Simon Qalges, a native deacon, was sent to help me. With the help of some fifty natives from the neighbouring village of Vureas, the bush was speedily cut down and burnt off, an excellent zigzag track up the steep ascent from the landing-place was made, and the necessary native buildings and a little temporary chapel erected. Meanwhile a good house, made in sections by our carpenter at Norfolk Island, had been landed by the "Southern Cross" and was put together. A quantity of seeds from Ceylon and fruit trees of various kinds from the State Nursery in Queensland were obtained, most of which have flourished amazingly and now provide for the comfort of those in charge of the school.

[88] In 1904 my wife joined me, and the school was started with fifteen boys and a few small girls. She was the second white woman to live in the Islands. Mrs. Welshman, the first, died at Siota after a brief three months' residence.

In 1906 my wife and I had to give up work in consequence of ill health, and return to England, and Rev. H. V. Adams and his wife took charge.

The school had grown steadily, and under their care the numbers increased considerably. After a few years' successful work Mr. and Mrs. Adams. gave place to the Rev. W. J. Durrad and his wife. During their time still further development took place. More ground was cleared; married teachers' quarters were provided, and the teachers received from Mr. Durrad, what they greatly needed, further instruction and encouragement. It was a severe loss to the Mission, and to St. Patrick's in particular, when this able priest was compelled to retire from his work.

In 1920, the Mission being very short-handed and St. Patrick's without a permanent Head, my wife and I returned to take up the reins again. But the climate was again too much for us, and after a brief control of two years we were a second time obliged to return to England. However, something was done during that period. A very considerable clearing was made of the bush at the back of the settlement in preparation for a training college for ordinands. A school for girls at Torgil--about three-quarters of a mile from St. Patrick's--was built, and a large tract of bush around it cleared. An excellent road was made [88/89] between the two settlements. The coconut plantation, as anticipated, was bringing in a regular income of some £50 per annum.

On our retirement the Rev. H. L. Hart took charge and is still at his post. A beautiful altarpiece--a triptych of Perugino's "Crucifixion"--was last year placed in the little chapel.


1. What would you look for in choosing a site for a Central school?
2. How does Vureas meet what is needed as a site?
3. Who were the first white women to live on the Islands?
4. What are the chief landmarks in the history of the school at Vureas?


The island of Ugi is a small island off the northeast coast of San Cristoval.

The site of All-Hallows School is on leasehold land which formerly belonged to a planter of coconuts, from whom we purchased it in 1920. The name of the site is Pawa. The estate is quite a large one with plenty of land for garden purposes which will gradually come under cultivation. Over 100 acres are already planted with coconuts, many of which are already in bearing and from which we get copra (i.e. the dried coco-nut kernel), and so we derive all the revenue we can to help, as far as possible, in keeping down the cost of running the station.

The station is known as All-Hallows School [89/90] because the parish of All-Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, N.W., have adopted us and have guaranteed to defray the cost of building a permanent stone church. This was offered on condition that we should take the title of the Mother Church in England.

The station was only opened as a school for preparing teachers in June, 1922. The whole place was then overgrown and in places bushed up. But during the last two years riot has had to give way to order, and now the whole estate is orderly and flourishing. Pawa is the training centre for all islands in the British Solomon Islands as far north as Bugotu or Ysabel, and at present we have youths from San Cristoval, Ulawa, South Mala, North Mala, Gela, Guadalcanar and Bugotu, and presently we shall have representatives also from Tikopia, Santa Cruz, Reef Islands, and Savo. All live and work together on the very best of terms.

The ages of the students range from 15 to 21 or 22, and almost all have had some previous training either at Pamua (San Cristoval), Buñana (Gela), or Vera-na-aso (Guadalcanar), and the numbers average 80 at present. Pawa, although on another island, is only nine miles from Pamua, which is really a training station for Pawa; there is a very healthy rivalry between the two schools which manifests itself especially on the sports, field, and a monthly game in either football, cricket, or both, is very much looked forward to by both schools.

The staff consists of one white priest, who is also in charge of the village communities, one white [90/91] deacon and a native teacher, a thoroughly reliable young man from Bugotu. Some of the senior boys take services and read the lessons. And most of those confirmed act as servers at the service of Holy Communion, when their dress consists only in a clean white loin cloth, reaching to the knees. They are instinctively reverent, and the singing, thanks to the efforts of our native assistant, is quite good. Holy Communion is our chief service on Sunday, and it is then that the sermon is preached. On festivals the service is fully choral, reverently rendered and inspiring to all. The language used in the services and in teaching is that of the island of Mota in the Banks Islands, in which language we already have the complete Bible, Prayer-Book, Hymn Book of 208 hymns, and many smaller books. There is a celebration of Holy Communion in English each Thursday. English is also taught.

The students too have their own gardens and have built themselves houses, and as we are aware of the saying that "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do," he usually finds us a very busy and happy camp.


The lads receive no spending money, so the question of Church Offertory came up for consideration. The School Committee were called together, and it was suggested that as there was plenty of trochas shell on the reefs perhaps the lads each month (when and how they liked), would go and dive for these shells and we could sell them, and this [91/92] would be our Church Offertory. The committee and all the boys were very keen, and readily took up the plan. They first had to make themselves diving glasses, which they turned out equal to the manufactured ones. The offertory for one month, when sold in Tulagi, realised the sum of £2. And, of course, it costs a lad more to give in this way than just to drop a coin in the bag, though the money has been well and truly earned.


The view taken is that our present day scholars will (we hope) be teachers ere long and will then have to shoulder a good deal of responsibility, so why not begin to prepare for that time now? There are five sleeping-houses with a senior lad in charge of each; these are appointed by us, so it was suggested that the lads should elect five others and that these ten should be the committee or advisory council. And the scheme has worked finely for all are very keen about it, and discuss questions of varying degrees of importance with zeal and common sense. This adds to the great idea that the school is not merely the white man's "vanua" but "vanuanina," i.e. our (inclusive) school and station. Of course, the native assistant teacher is a member ex-officio. Both these points, I think, contribute to the ideal of the Mission, i.e. a Melanesian Church and not merely a body of Anglicanised Melanesians.

Our next great work, we hope, will be the building of a strong stone, or coral lime church. The [92/93] materials are at hand on the island. It will be rather a great undertaking but, when finished, will be a sufficient reward for all the labour and toil put into it. All our houses are of sago-palm thatch and local timber.


Where is Pawa?
How did the station become a school?
What experiment has there been in self-government?

Note.--The school of Pawa has recently been moved from the flat land, up on to a fine site overlooking the plantation, with ample room for gardens, playgrounds and buildings, and for the new chapel and warden's house. The high ground is more open to the wind, and is healthier and cooler than the beach site.


Pamua is a junior boys' school on the island of San Cristoval for boys from the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz. Small boys, both heathen and Christian, are received here and prepared for passing on to a senior school. Their hours of work in school garden, and play, and prayer are on the same general plan as those in the other schools and colleges. A great feature of the training in junior schools is the preparation for Baptism and Confirmation--a good many come from heathen villages and begin school life here; others are little boys, the best in their village schools, baptised as infants and able to read and write a little. The places in Chapel of the Baptised and un-Baptised are distinct. There is here a native built Chapel, a good white [93/94] men's home, and a schoolroom brought from Norfolk Island. The front has become a beautiful garden, with paths, lawns, and flowers, the dormitories are native built; behind the buildings are gardens a coco-nut grove with good playing grounds; a stream runs down one side of the domain.

Pamua began as a white man's centre, with house and Chapel and provision for days of teachers coming there for instruction under the Rev. R. P. Wilson. It then became, under the Rev. H. J. Nind, a junior boys' school. There are about forty boys here.


The senior boys' school of Vera-na-aso (the Place of Sunshine) is close to Maravovo village on the island of Guadalcanar. There are some eighty boys here under the Rev. G. Warren. The school is part of the work which has many activities, plantation, industrial work, etc. The school began here when the College was moved to Siota. The site is on high ground, with many good buildings and excellent garden ground, spacious and airy. Two Priests, two Laymen, and two wives are at work here, with a native Deacon, carrying on the various departments of the work of which the school is one. In front of Vera-na-aso, is the flat ground with a coconut plantation of 10,000 trees; on the right (looking seawards) is the village of Maravovo, on the left on other high ground the printing shop. All these are Mission property with a total frontage of about two miles. The [94/95] work of the Mission began at Maravovo in 1899, under the Rev. P. T. Williams, (before him were the first pioneers in Guadalcanar, George Basilei and Hugo Goravaka) who came to Maravovo to start Christianity in Guadalcanar. The Rev. J. M. Steward (now Bishop of Melanesia) followed and was Warden of the College founded by Bishop Wood--first at Maravovo and then at Vera-na-aso, now at Siota.




IS this within the proper sphere of a Mission? See Genesis 1, 28: "God said . . . Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it."

The aim of People engaged in Industrial Work is "to form men and women, healthy in body . . . able to control their environment and make it contribute to human welfare, capable of enjoying and turning to good account their hours of leisure," that is to "subdue" the earth!

Such work falls naturally under three headings:

1. Improvement of agriculture.
2. Development of existing native industries.
3. Introduction of industries.


All natives are landowners, and most natives possess coconuts in full bearing. Apart from the money paid as wages to native labourers by the planters and traders, practically all the money that is earned by the native is by means of the coconut. A palm usually begins to bear nuts [96/97] when it is about seven years old. The nuts ripen and fall to the ground. From time to time, but not after too long a period, or the nut grows out and is spoiled, they are gathered into heaps, split open with an axe and the meat is cut out. This is placed (by the native) in the sun to dry and is then called "copra." It is stored in bags until the trader arrives with his vessel to collect it. This is exported to various parts of the world and the oil is expressed and made into soap, oil cake, etc. There is a market for all the copra that can be produced.

The old native coconut groves were planted in a very haphazard fashion and a great number of trees never arrived at maturity. Those that did wasted a great many years in growing to an enormous height to get their heads above the surrounding bush, and then they began to bear fruit. Trees planted so closely together do not bear so well as if they are some distance apart, and they are very liable to become diseased and form very suitable homes for the many insect enemies of the coconut palm.

Efforts to teach the native to improve his methods are directed to teaching him what is a common-place among the white growers, that he must clear his land of all bush, drain it by digging small ditches where necessary, and plant his trees at least thirty feet apart. While the trees are small he may use the ground between them for his gardens. He should be encouraged to look forward to the time when he may be able to fence his piece of land and have a cow or two [97/98] to run about among the trees. All plantations have a number of cattle running upon them for the primary purpose of keeping down the grass and other growth that would spring up very rapidly otherwise and choke the palms.

At the industrial school the boys are taught this, and that it is their duty to do the best they can with their possessions. Such steady husbandry and development is the only way to stabilise the native life and ensure its future.

There are native gardens everywhere, except in a few cases where the people make enough money from their copra to be able to buy all the food they need. In spite of this the people are sometimes short of food, and this is not always due to laziness. Cultivation is generally very haphazard and crops appear to be very small in proportion to the amount of work that is entailed in making gardens. Practically the whole of the garden produce is consumed by the natives themselves, and in addition large quantities of rice and biscuits are imported and sold to the natives.

Bananas appear to be under a special handicap in the Solomon Islands. There are large gardens, but it is impossible to find a garden from which a regular supply of fruit is to be obtained. Tobacco is already grown and is used by numbers of the natives. At the same time large sums of money are spent in buying imported tobacco.

It ought not to be very difficult to grow rice in the islands. The conditions, land, water, atmosphere, are almost identical with Ceylon, where rice is grown easily by the natives. The [98/99] inculcation of proper methods of agriculture ought to result in there being an ample supply of food for all and a large reduction in the amount of money spent in buying imported goods, both food and tobacco. There is great scope for the skilled teacher in correcting, regularising and introducing methods of cultivation.

Special attention could well be paid to the production of bamboo and certain canes. These are always in demand in the islands and there is a market in other parts of the world for such produce.

All wealth comes from the soil and the native needs to be instructed in utilising the riches he has at hand.


Specially trained men are needed as instructors.

The native is usually a casual worker and much patience would be needed with some. There would be many disappointments.

The natives are suspicious of new moves on the part of the white man. He looks for the ulterior motive in the one who urges him to work.

Energetic lads and young men will recruit as labourers on plantations or on vessels where good pay may be obtained at once, instead of working hard at home with the hope of a reward in the future.

Such difficulties are no reason that we should not try to teach the native. Rather are they incentives to our doing so. Such generalisations [99/100] as the above have many exceptions and there are people who would accept instruction with joy.


This section is connected with the original arts of the natives and with their mode of life, e.g. house building, canoe making, string and net making, and decorative work. There is no doubt, and there need be no more than a passing regret, that much of this art will not survive contact with the civilisation of the white. It is not fitted for the altered mode of life of the native. The pity is, that the qualities developed by those who in former times made these things will die too, unless the native capacity for application and his wonderful patience are turned to some useful end now.

The making of native money and shell fishhooks must have and does still entail long and monotonous labour. The currency of the Empire is rapidly displacing the native money for all but the intimate usages of native life. The shell fish-hook cannot possibly survive the advent of the article with which we are all familiar.

The hammering out of tapa cloth and the weaving of native dresses and mats is not likely to continue when blankets and calico are so much more comfortable and can be purchased cheaply. Nor is there any reason to expect it to do so. The native will benefit by the adoption of many of the productions of the white man.

[101] Canoe making.--Many natives now buy boats. Some well-to-do people own a boat themselves and in many cases several natives own one in partnership. Such people will increase in numbers. One rarely sees a new large canoe in these days, a boat is so much more convenient. There will still be plenty of room for the small canoe carrying one or two to five or six people. The opportunity of the industrial school is there in teaching canoe builders the use of better tools than he knows, so increasing his output and reducing cost.

The industrial school ought to teach boatbuilding. For that it is essential to have a man who knows his timber when he sees it as a tree in the bush, and who is able, from the growing tree, to saw and cut and build his boat. Some natives take very readily to this kind of work. I recently saw a launch of about thirty feet length which had been put together entirely by a Solomon Island native. He had been trained by a boat-builder who was once in business in the islands. The heavy timbers of this launch were cut in the islands, but the smaller and lighter planks had been imported. What better industry could one imagine among a sea-going people?

Making string and nets.--It is very doubtful if string making is worth while. String may be purchased so very cheaply. Nets may be worth while, but the demand is not very great in the islands, and the native could not compete with other makers outside.

Decorative work.--This art especially should be encouraged, and receive a fresh impetus by [101/102] contact with the white man's civilisation. The native loves ornament, and there is a ready sale for good ornaments if the maker does not want them himself. The various armlets made from the trochas and tridacna shells are most becoming, and useful spoons are made from the turbo shell. Beautiful things were made from mother-of-pearl shell and are still, especially small crosses, among the Christians. The nautilus shell is used as an inlay on wood with brilliant results. Canoes, pillars of houses, shields, walking-sticks, clubs, seats, food-bowls, etc., were all decorated with nautilus shell. Now, there are numbers of Altars, altar and processional crosses, etc., beautifully decorated in this manner. The pastoral staff of the present Bishop of Melanesia is a wonderful piece of work of this kind. This craft was the first that we had an opportunity of teaching at the industrial school. A good native teacher came from his home and did excellent work and taught his boys well. He made several articles as samples, such as walking-sticks, umbrella-handles, flat dishes for use as trays, bowls for a variety of purposes. These we sent to Australia and New Zealand to "try the market." They all sold very well and we were asked to send as many more as we could. The teacher also made altar crosses and processional crosses and did them very well indeed. Just as the effort seemed to be bearing fruit with a number of boys keenly interested, and with a good market for their output, the teacher was taken ill and soon died. We have so far been unable to obtain another volunteer [102/103] for the work, and the pupils did not know enough to carry on alone. So soon as possible this particular piece of work will be resumed. We can see great possibilities from a combination of the finer branches of carpentry and this native inlay work.

Weaving and plaiting.--Mats are in great demand for sleeping on, and baskets are wanted for all sorts of purposes. There is little prospect of the native ever competing with outside producers in this line. Machines are too much for him for he cannot produce so cheaply as a machine: For home use there is a future before the clever mat and basket maker. It is hoped, too, to direct this art toward making basket chairs, wicker tables, and such kindred articles. Here again is a combination of carpentry with a native art. It must be remembered that all the materials for this sort of work have to be obtained from the bush and their preparation is a somewhat skilled piece of work. Again the need of the skilled teacher who knows his material in the raw state and can see it through to the finished article.

Difficulties are as in section one. Section two, however, deals with what may easily be spare time occupations, and a means of earning a little money by those who are weak or aged. Of course it is hoped that some may gain ability enough to earn their livelihood thereby.


In an undeveloped country like that of the Mission there is one tradesman always in demand, [103/104] the carpenter. The Mission has for a long time tried to train native carpenters for its staff. Latterly this effort has been very much developed and a number of boys have been under constant instruction. Circumstances have been such that these boys have not been working at carpentry the whole of their time, but simply taking it as part of their school routine. The results have been very encouraging. Two main principles have been kept in mind:

1. To train a few boys thoroughly.
2. To give all schoolboys some idea of the use of tools and as much experience in simple work as possible.

Every schoolboy would benefit tremendously by such a course, but under the circumstances it was almost impossible to fit the necessary time into an already very full day. On account of this we have limited ourselves to training one boy from each district, in the hope that he may be of assistance to his neighbours when he goes home or begins work as a teacher. The Mission will need a number of such boys to repair and rebuild at the Mission stations. One of our practical difficulties has been to begin far enough back, that is with the raw material in the bush. The native carpenters ought to be able to fell the log without waste, to saw the planks and to see the job through to the end. We have a pit saw, but the schoolboys are hardly strong enough to handle such a heavy piece of work. We did cut one tree from end to end three times with an ordinary two-handled cross-cut saw. But that is [104/105] hard work. Time will improve the boys' strength, but we sadly need some sort of portable engine and saw bench to deal with the timber at the school.

The boys learn to saw straight without putting their tongues out, to measure and mark, to plane and to chisel, and to make all sorts of joints. Those who appear to understand are set to work on jobs by themselves. These are some of the pieces of work they have done:--Pulled down two timber and iron houses and erected them elsewhere; made tables and stools, cupboards, carpenters' benches, blackboards and easels, crosses for graves, altars and altar crosses, together with numbers of chests, beloved by the native for keeping his few belongings in. Incidentally, all boys at the industrial school are taught to milk cows, to use working bullocks, to make and repair fences, to paint, glaze, and plumb. They also see concrete put to a good use.


As before, and as indicated in Section 3 text. Also--

Lest the carpenter should be inclined to think that his job is not so important as that of learning in school, in our carpenter's shop there is a picture of Christ the Carpenter.

What will be the result of enabling the Mission to extend its industrial work? Who knows? It is our duty to give the native the best we know, and he will then work out his own salvation. I have a vision of the native village of the future. [105/106] There will be houses of the same or similar materials as at present, but they will be floored and raised from the ground. There will be a table and chairs inside, and also raised bed places that can be kept clean. There will be clean and well-built water holes, and in many places there will be a corrugated iron rain-water catchment with tanks for drinking-water. The area about the village will be cleared of all useless growth, it will be drained, planted with coconuts, and fenced. There will be cattle cleaning the paddocks, and giving milk for sick folk and little children. The people will probably be engaged chiefly on work connected with the making of copra. The gardens will give constant employment to some, and a smaller number will be working at some trade, either native or introduced. There will be lots of canoes and probably a boat or two.

In conclusion I would say that the enrichment of the native life in such ways as are indicated above is the only assurance or guarantee of the survival of a native and self-supporting Church. More than that, or perhaps because of that, it is the only guarantee of the survival of the race.

"If you can dream and not make dreams your master . . . you'll be a man, my son."

"Keep your eye on what is going to happen the week after next."


l. Why should Missions concern themselves with Industrial Work?
2. What are the main three branches of Industrial Work in Melanesia?
[107] 3. How can a native coconut grove be improved?
4. What are some of the difficulties as to improving native agriculture?
5. Why are many old native industries dying out?
6. What can be done in an Industrial School to keep old industries alive?
7. What new industries can be taught?
8. What are some of the difficulties to be overcome?
9. What is the meaning of the two quotations at the end of this chapter?


Hand-Book of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate.


The History of Printing in the Melanesian Mission dates back to Bishop G. A. Selwyn, who at his own expense established a Press at Kohimarama, New Zealand, about the year 1845. He later engaged Messrs. Booth and Sherrad to do the work, and they turned out various portions of the Bible and Prayer Book, and also vocabularies of different languages, reading sheets, etc. When, in 1864, the Mission moved its headquarters to Norfolk Island, the Press also was transferred. The Plant consisted of a Columbia Press, a fount of small pica (roman and italics), a fount of great primer and another of 2-line of great primer. At Norfolk Island, Mr. Palmer, who had received lessons in New Zealand, took charge; and later Dr. Codrington. With certain native help they printed various portions of the Old Testament, [107/108] including the Minor Prophets, in Mota; and did other small translations into various languages.

In 1880, Mr. H. Menges, a printer, who had settled on the island, was put in charge by Bishop J. R. Selwyn. In 1885, the establishment was enlarged, an Albion Press added, and large founts of pica, long primer, brevier, and nonpareil type. The old small pica was thrown out.

The Press was further enlarged in Bishop Wilson's time, and in 1896 a Crown Wharfdale Cylinder Machine arrived from England, and a small further selection of type. The old Columbia Press was sent off to New Zealand, and shortly after a second-hand Guillotine was added. In 1912 the long primer type had become unsatisfactory and a large fount of 10-point was substituted. This is the body-type for all the book-work of the Press and is still in use (1925).

The present printer, F. R. Isom, joined the staff early in 1915, and worked with Mr. Menges for five years, until the latter retired when the Mission removed to the islands in 1920. On removal from Norfolk Island a lot of the old type which had become unserviceable was condemned, and in 1921 a large consignment of new type was purchased in Sydney; the old type being sold for remelting purposes. In 1922 a new foolscap folio Platen Machine was added, and in 1925 a 25-inch Harrild Guillotine and a 3-h.p. Petter Engine arrived from England. The former to replace the old Cutting Machine which had become unsafe and the latter to work the Cylinder Machine.

[109] The Plant at present comprises:

1 Crown Wharfdale Cylinder Machine (Harrild, 1895).
1 Foolscap-folio Platen Machine (Ullmer, 1920).
1 25-inch Cutting Machine (Harrild), [rebuilt, 1924].
1 Old 28-inch Cutting Machine (Crompton, 1863).
1 Old 30-inch Horizontal Harrild Cutter [for strawboard].
1 Demy Albion Press (Harrild, 1885).
1 Demy-folio Press (Harrild, 1891).
1 3-h.p. Petter Petrol-Paraffin Engine.
1 Paper Press, 2 Book Presses, Sewing Frames, Cramps, etc.

The Outfit of Type, etc., enables work to be carried out with a minimum of delay, owing to its recent augmentation. The book type is sufficient to set up about forty pages (solid) in almost any Melanesian language; and Church Text type and other Display letters allow neat and attractive work to be executed. Book-binding is an important branch of the work, and three natives at present on the staff of the Press are very helpful at it; one of them especially is a really competent book-binder. The Missionary at present in charge of the Press has tried in vain to get a really good, keen boy to be able to teach him type-setting; but teachers are so urgently needed that no missionary seems to care to sacrifice the services of a good teacher for the benefit of the Press; and of course a duffer would be useless.

[110] Recent issues from the Press include: Prayer and Hymn Books for Bauro and Arosi, San Cristoval; Vaturana (Guadalcanar) Prayers and Hymns; Saa and Fiu (Mala) Prayers and Hymns, Gela Hymns; Mota Holy Communion Manuals, Hymn Books, and many small books, booklets, etc. A Calendar is issued yearly and a Mota Newspaper twice a year. An edition of 5,000 Mota Prayer Books has been recently published.

As the work and scope of the Press increase and enlarges, more plant will be required to facilitate and improve the quality of the work. Printing is done in over twenty languages and dialects; and there is always more work--the Press never has to stop for want of the next job.


1. When and by whom was a Melanesian Mission Press first started?
2. At what successive centres has the Press been working?
3. Can you give examples of the output in various languages?
4. What part do the Melanesians take in the work?
5. What has been the greatest recent addition to printing plant?




THERE are some who take a dark view of the future. They foresee the Melanesian race extinct, and the islands, where plantable, worked by imported labour, Javanese perhaps, or Chinese, or from wherever it can be got most cheaply, under the white man's supervision. So it will be, no doubt, if greed and selfishness are allowed to prevail.

The pessimist points to the increasing depopulation of the islands, so sadly in evidence in the New Hebrides, Torres, and Santa Cruz groups, and thinks that the native race is bound soon to die out altogether. He sometimes cynically adds "and a good thing too." He points to the Australian aborigine nearly extinct; to the Red Indian, a mere remnant left, and to the havoc that civilisation generally works among primitive peoples, and adds something about "survival of the fittest" as showing that the weakest must inevitably go to the wall. Once the weaker races were exterminated by force, massacred out of existence, now they die out from a complex of causes, new diseases, misgovernment, too quick an impact [111/112] of an alien culture, a falling birth-rate, plantation life, and perhaps the root cause of all, ennui, a lowered virility, a lack of desire for the struggle to live. But need it be so? Have we only to watch a death-bed, or can the patient be restored to new life under new conditions, raised in culture and fitting himself to a changed environment?


Melanesia is under three governments, in the New Hebrides a Condominium, soon, all hope, to end, and either England or France to accept responsibility for the whole, or, if divided, for their respective parts--in the British Solomons an English Protectorate; in the ex-German Solomons, an Australian Mandate. To the official his charge comes as a challenge to see what can be done to protect and preserve the native, too weak to stand alone. He seeks by administrative methods to save the native. He makes war on tribal fighting, cannibalism, infanticide, head-hunting, witchcraft. He enforces sanitary laws, the making of roads, the fencing of villages, regulates the labour conditions that they may be healthy, establishes courts of justice, acts as protector; provides, and we hope will do much more in providing, doctors, hospitals and nurses, gives medicines, searches into tropical diseases, and their causes, and tries in every way to improve and civilise the native life, even looks forward to the day of compulsory state education and government schools, moves about his district to deal evenly and fairly with the smallest village troubles. The keen official [112/113] sees in all these, and many like ways, a hope for the future of Melanesia, a race preserved, learning to become good citizens, content under good paternal government. But the Melanesian's response is so far feeble. His position is something like that of a nearly drowned man resenting the pains of being restored to life. Again what he needs is the will to live coming from within, and that in a congenial environment.


The Christian views the problem from the moral and spiritual angle primarily. He believes that Christ is the Saviour here, and not only hereafter, of His people. Therefore in a Christian native Church he sees the one hope of salvation for the Melanesian. The difficulty is that this Church must be built up by fallible men and women, who make dreadful mistakes in dealing with their weaker brethren. And further, these fallible men and women are as few as they are frail. It's like leading a forlorn hope. But the hope is a very real one, and the Church must follow it up. What, then, may we hope for as to the future of Melanesia? The hope of life must be given them. If they want to live they will live, overcoming the dangers that beset them. And as Christians in the Church's fold, they can learn to live, if, and as, that Church becomes native. They can't go back to their primitive state, even if they would. If every white man and everything he has introduced were swept away to-morrow and no outsider allowed to enter, the islands would become a jungle with [113/114] no human beings left in it. The only chance of survival would be when Christianity had become native, but that is not yet accomplished. But this points us to our goal, and that is the salvation of Melanesia from within, a long, slow, patient task, by means of a native Christianity. No great material future can be predicted. One may foresee perhaps every available acre planted, coconuts, rubber, coffee, and other tropical produce increasing; bananas, pineapples and other fruits exported--by aeroplanes? The hills cleared, and health-giving sanatoria crowning them, a benevolent government in full control, and a people still dying out. Or we foresee plantations going out of cultivation, rubber a failure, fewer steamers finding ever lessening cargoes, a diminishing white population, but a people at last able to stand alone, with a Christianity become indigenous, with a native Bishop and native clergy, and a native civilisation suited to their climate and environment. But again a cloud comes over this horizon. The Pacific Islands, including Melanesia, may pass from the white man's control to Japan or China. And that would be indeed swift ruin, unless Japan or China had themselves become Christian. What a grand surprise that would be! Suppose in God's ordering of the world China or Japan came to Melanesia as fellow members of the Catholic Church, as brothers in Christ, there would be no yellow peril then, but what a lesson to the Church in England. A Chinese-Melanesian fellowship would come fairly easily to both parties, and the end would probably be an amalgamated mixed race, strong and enduring.

[115] But, from guessing as to a possible future, let us turn to the present. The future of Melanesia to-day is in our care. The need is (1) of adequate support to the Church, (2) of real co-operation of all white men so to live amongst and deal with the Melanesians that each may contribute his necessary share in the work of their physical, temporal, and eternal salvation. We live too much in separate compartments, we need to stand together, to learn from each other, above all, to worship together as fellow Christians, whose lives cross each other for a while in Melanesia, but have a common goal, in whose attainment the native too has his share and hope.


If the Pacific is to be to our Empire of increasingly vital importance it must be increasingly to our interest that the natives should be as strong and happy a race as possible, contented under English protection. Can they become so? What have they to offer of body, soul and spirit to the common welfare? Look at them first in the New Hebrides under the Condominium. It is not encouraging at first sight. We see a weak, dying race and a Government which all hope will be, before long, changed for a better one. The solution of the problem is not yet apparent. It is for our statesmen and those of France to solve. The Melanesian Mission's direct concern is with fifteen islands, all small ones except two, in the Banks, Torres, and New Hebrides groups. They are folk in physique and vigour somewhat below, [115/116] on the average, the level of their Solomon Island kinsfolk. They are diminishing in number and losing energy and the will to hold their own. They are in an invalid state, and need nursing back to health. They need medical help, hospitals, nurses, doctors, sanitation, medicines; they need still more inspiration of soul and spirit. And then? If the patient, under good rule, wise plantation laws, adequate supervision and Christian training recovers? That would mean in the New Hebrides a contented native race, suited to its environment, kept as native as possible, strong bodies able and willing to develop their own land, improve their homes, families more again in number, and a happy folk in its own land. Then they would be a really valuable asset to the future welfare of the New Hebrides and bring their own real contribution to it. They would grow wiser and stronger and more and more a factor in the future of the Pacific, giving good service to God and man in their little corner of the world. No one looks for a great future for them, but we may hope for a useful and happy one. And latent in them perhaps are higher qualities than are at present apparent. The best natives give one reason to think so. The best native priest or teacher, busy and active in his work, shows capacities and powers for leadership and is a happy and useful man. The boy who has learnt carpentering or to run a launch, or be "boss boy" on a plantation, or in a store, shows, under a good white man, qualities worthy of admiration. Mentally, they are capable of growth; the brains are there, they want setting free to work. [116/117] Clear from the mists of animism, and the bewilderments of too rapid civilisation, they would be free to develop in a natural healthy way. But it is probably in the things of the spirit that they have the best contribution to make to the Church. For their instincts are spiritual. Often their simple spiritual view checks our materialism, and makes one see more clearly how real and near the "heavenlies" are. The words the white man teaches, "our conversation is in heaven," seem in Melanesia to catch once more something of their first force and inspiration, and more of their full meaning comes home to him who teaches it, as he sees the Melanesian's response. The weaker brother may inspire the stronger; and the teacher of conduct learn how to spiritualise his teaching to those who feel much and fail often. That difficult blend of real piety and moral strength is that which each may help the other to make real in life's daily doings.

As to the centre of the present Melanesian Diocese, Santa Cruz and the Reef Islands, the future at present does not seem a hopeful one. They lack stamina, physical and moral, and never have had a fair chance from the Church. There has been no missionary living among them, except for rare spasmodic intervals. Now they are dying out fast. Lately on Vanicoro, a big timber-cutting industry has been begun; for its benefit Vanicoro is now a port of call, and steamers both from the South and North of the Diocese call there and the "Southern Cross" enters the British Protectorate there. A merchant going there on business reports [117/118] of the miserable state of the people, the one exception being the better condition and greater activity of the mission villages, for they still hold on, build churches, and are cleaner and brighter than their neighbours. If this be so where they have so little help, now quite recently one white Priest on the Reefs, forty miles away, what might it not have been if the Mission had been able to be among them all these past years? It proclaims to us that yet they may be saved, those that are left of them. They are a volatile, unbalanced race, pop-guns, noisy but of no calibre. They cannot live away from home, but die quickly in alien surroundings. The wholesome Gospel is what they need to make men of them, who can face life.

Passing to the Solomons, more virile and better populated, with its large islands, important harbours, half million acres of plantation, and British Government, the outlook seems brighter. On Christian islands the population is slightly increasing, on others probably slightly, and in some cases more than slightly, decreasing. There seems no reason to despair. Mala, for example, has 60,000 virile people, good at labour, just giving up the old wild life, and ready under good government for a better future; and they are ready for Christianity, the whole island is now open and could be won. They supply most of the labour employed in the Solomons, talk much pidgin English, have much contact with the white man, become more sophisticated every day. They will rapidly deteriorate if their main contact with the white man is only material. So is it with other large [118/119] Solomon Islands. They are in great danger, but there is hope. But that hope to be real means in the Solomons and in ex-German Solomons a far bigger effort than the Church has made yet. There should be, there must be, if the Solomon islander is to be saved, more of, and much more of, all that Missions offer; schools, industrial work, medical work, and so forth are utterly inadequate to the need. The Australian Mandate is taking its work seriously, one item is £60,000 allocated for medical work in its mandate. For the whole of Melanesia, for all the work of the Mission, we ask for one-twelfth of that amount as additional income. There will be, no doubt, plenty of good men available to use that £60,000 to the best advantage. Why are so few men available for our work?


The future of Melanesia, then, is very uncertain. It gets more hopeful the further north we go. Politically it may become a very important part of the world, and desired by many nations. But the British hold will not be easily relaxed. In this the natives cannot play an important part, they will have to accept rule from without. It is for the Church, then, to take a fuller and more manful part in their welfare, building up a self-respecting, hopeful native Christian community, as native as possible, with its own ministry and outlook. But the Church does not consist of a few missionaries. A number of the white people in Melanesia are, at any rate nominally, Anglican Church people, [119/120] and most have some Christian denominational affiliation. Their help is essential if the Melanesian is to survive. Treated as a Christian, or potential Christian, by Christians, he will live, and win respect. And to this he has a claim and a right as long as he is under British protection. Even if he never emerges from that protection into independence, and that is wildly improbable, at least he has the right to live, not to pine away under its shadow.


1. Give some of the reasons that lead to a pessimist view as to the future of the natives in Melanesia.
2. What is the main cause of their decrease in numbers?
3. Show something of the Government's task in the work of preserving the natives.
4. Why has the Christian grounds for hope in Missionary work?
5. Which of the guesses as to the future in §3, seems the nearest to you to what is probable; and for what reasons?
6. State the position of Melanesia from an Imperial paint of view, showing its value.
7. Contrast the New Hebrides, Santa Cruz, and Solomon Island peoples.
8. How are they best adapted to strengthen the Christian Church?
9. Who is responsible for the ex-German Solomons, and how is the work being done?
10. Summarise the prospects as to the future.



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