Project Canterbury











Published for the
15 Tufton Street, Westminster, S.W.1


Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2006

Reproduced by kind permission of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.





FIJIAN SCENE facing page 24
On the south-western coast of Viti Levu.
(inset) One of the chief racial types to be found in Polynesia.

Holy Communion on Fiji's Leper Island.

The author with U.S. Army Chaplains en route for a war-time conference.

Hindu fire-walking.

During a Malayalim Ceremony (Muslim)

ISLAND RELIGIONS facing pages 24-25

AN ISLAND MARKET facing page 25
MARKET PLACE: Cumming Street, Suva, where people of all races
mingle on Saturday morning in the hunt for fresh fruit and vegetables.

The ceremonial offering of Kava to important guests in Fiji.
Kava is made from the ground root of the Yagona plant and offered in coconut cups.

Mission schoolboys in Suva.

The islanders have no metal church bells. They hammer them out of wood.

Bishop Kempthorne, the Rev. C. S. Bull and the Rev. A. S. Moffatt.

In search of the turtle.

Suva policemen.

ISLAND PEOPLE facing pages 56-57

FIJIAN FISHING facing page 57
THE HUNT: Islanders drive fish into the centre of a circle, half a mile across, beating with sticks and singing.
Two thousand fish can be caught at a time.

[9] I



CENTURIES ago there was established in Europe the conception that the earth is not flat, but a sphere. Globes were made and on them were represented the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, though nothing was known of the last named south of Egypt and Morocco. Yet there was nothing balanced about these globes, and it set men thinking. As night is balanced by day, winter by summer, male by female, so thinkers began to speculate on a balanced earth. The Equator was known to them, but what was to be found south of it? Were there lands which balanced the known lands of the north? These early geographers came to believe that there was an unknown southern continent, Terra. Australia Incognita, and this became a source of excitement. As the years passed, so did the thirst for knowledge grow. Europeans travelled more widely, making contact with Asiatics and Africans, and this increased their desire to know more. By the fourteenth century men were saying that it was possible to sail due south, cross the Equator, and reach the underside of the globe. A century afterwards men were doing it. Vasco da Gama sailed to India round the southern tip of Africa between the years 1497 and [9/10] 1499. Thinkers were of the opinion that the quickest way to Eastern Asia was to sail westwards from Europe, and Columbus acted on this basis. He found in the west a great continent which in turn led to the knowledge that there was a vast ocean between North America and Asia. The first European to set eyes on it from the American side was Balboa, who crossed the isthmus of Panama in 1513, claiming the South Sea for Spain. The ocean was not named Pacific until Magellan passed through the straits which bear his name and sailed to the islands of Southern Asia. During the three centuries which followed, the exploration of the Pacific engaged the attention of many nations, though Spain and England were more interested than any other countries.

In 1567 Mendana and de Gamboa fitted out two ships in Peru and set sail. Mendana's uncle was Viceroy of Peru at the time, and the expedition was an official one in the name of the King of Spain. After a long voyage the islands of Isabella, Guadalcanal, Malaita, and San Christoval were discovered, the Spaniards spending some six months exploring the group. Mendana noticed that the headmen on these islands carried golden-headed staves of office, which made him think that he had discovered the secret of King Solomon's wealth. He called these islands by the name of the great king. Some years after--for wars in which he fought had intervened--he set out again, this time to colonise. The Marquesas and Santa Cruz [10/11] were discovered, but Mendana died of fever soon afterwards. His wife took charge of the settlement in the Marquesas and managed to bring the remnants home after epidemics and general unrest made it impossible to continue. Mendana's navigator, de Quiros, felt that it was incumbent on him to continue exploration, so in 1605 he returned with a crew made up of Franciscans for the most part, who were missionary-minded. On this voyage a great barrier of land was discovered, and de Quiros felt that he had found the great southern continent. On Whit Sunday, May l0th, 1606, he called the land "Australia del Espiritu Santo"--the South Land of the Holy Spirit--though this was not the great continent, but one of the larger units of the New Hebrides. Quiros was not a great commander, and the crew were on the verge of mutiny when the second-in-command, Torres, took over. He made his way to the Philippines, passing through the strait which was named after him.

Meanwhile the Dutch were not idle, their explorations culminating in 1642 with Tasman's voyage from Batavia. He sailed to the south of the island now called Tasmania, sighted New Zealand, and reached Batavia again by way of New Guinea. He discovered Fiji, though not its main island, Viti Levu. The first to sight that was Captain Bligh, after the mutiny in the Bounty. Tasman's adventure on the Ringold Reef near North-East Fiji is worthy of note. The first light of dawn showed his ship perilously close to a long reef [11/12] which stretched for miles and on which seas were pounding. As there was neither the time nor the space to come about, Tasman took the risk of "jumping the reef" at a point where the water was the least disturbed. For years afterwards seamen felt that the feat was impossible and that he had miscalculated his position. It was recently discovered that a ship taking the same amount of water could have done it at one hour only during one particular tide of the whole year: this corresponded with the time given in Tasman's record.

Many other explorers added to the knowledge of the Pacific, though there was an interval of half a century before William Dampier wrote his New Voyage Round the World in 1697. Although some of his voyages were made as a member of a crew of buccaneers, his book became a best seller, and as a result the Admiralty sent him on further voyages of discovery. He was badly served, for his equipment was quite inadequate; nevertheless, he published two more books, Voyages and Discoveries in 1699, followed later by Voyage to New Holland in two volumes. The British equipped privateering expeditions to raid Spanish wealth and possessions in the Pacific, the names of Rogers and Anson being particularly famous in this respect. Interest was shifting from exploration to commercialisation, the formation of the South Sea Company giving added impetus to this. Even the collapse of the Company did not stop this interest, nor the great amount of writing on the subject which was published at this time. [12/13] Monopolies were being established, as the Dutchman Roggeveen found to his cost when his ships were seized at Batavia by the Dutch East India Company. The Frenchman Bougainville, the Russian Bellingshausen, and the English Captain Cook added to the knowledge of the Pacific as the years went on.

[14] II


MANY centuries before the European explorers came great movements of people had taken place in the Pacific. They seem to have come from Southern Asia, carrying with them their own myths and customs. These folk became established in three great divisions, which are known as Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. The Micronesians--small islanders--occupied the islands on the Equator and to the north of it; the Melanesians--black islanders--the string of islands stretching from New Guinea to Fiji; the Polynesians--many islanders--settling to the east, from Hawaii to New Zealand. Of these peoples, the Polynesians were the great explorers, sweeping through the Carolines, the Society group, and on to Samoa, leaving bases for further exploration in each place. The Melanesians spread either by deliberate emigration or by being cast up on some hospitable or uninhabited shore. In Fiji they impinge on the Polynesian, and, although they have retained their particular characteristics, their tribal organisation is based on that of Polynesia. In every case primitive culture was cast in an environmental mould.

Their religious outlook was coloured by their close [14/15] contact with the forces of Nature, whose might and mystery produced a strong belief in spirits. Stone-worship was exceedingly common, spirits and "ghosts" being connected with them in one way or another. Dr. Codrington, in his book The Melanesians, writes: "The stone, they say, is not the body of the spirit, nor is the spirit like the soul of the stone, for a stone certainly has no soul; they say that the spirit is at the stone, or near the stone, and it is the spirit not the stone that acts." Some sacred stones were small enough to be wrapped up and worn as amulets round the neck; others were standing stones of large dimensions.

It was into this world that the European gradually infiltrated. Expeditions were separated by long periods and were directed to different groups of islands, so that little change took place in native life. The greatest effect was on the minds of Europeans, who found interest in the sailors' tales. As was usual in those days, Mendana's expedition--the first to the South Seas--thought of the souls of the people and not merely of commercial expansion. Although Tasman's commission was primarily that of expanding Dutch commercial interests, yet his instructions end with a most pious injunction. Captain Cook's expedition was the outcome of a theory propounded by a British astronomer who was also an Anglican priest. It is not surprising, therefore, that missionary interest should continue to grow.

[16] In Gravesend churchyard is the grave of William Mariner, a man whose stories fired Christians with the desire to preach the Faith to the peoples of Polynesia. He had been an apprentice on the Port au Prince, which was looted and sunk off Tonga late in the eighteenth century. Most of the crew were murdered, but Mariner was spared and adopted by King Finau. Before he was rescued the young seaman had taught the Tongans the use of navigating instruments and firearms, for he spent many years in the island. His story was set down by a Dr. Martin, whose book Mariner's Tonga is a classic. Mariner's reminiscences, the publication of Captain Cook's journals, together with the strange tales which were told in seaport towns, gave rise to a feverish interest in the "Cannibal Isles." Men met together in coffee houses for talk and refreshment: their conversation was often concerned with travellers' tales. In 1794 the Rector of Aldwinkle, the Rev. Dr. Haweis, called a meeting at a coffee house to discuss the religious bearing of the new discoveries. The result of this meeting was the London Missionary Society, which was established in the following year, and was, at first, interdenominational. It was agreed that only the teaching in the four Gospels should be given, but this soon broke down. The Anglicans felt that it was necessary to teach the Acts of the Apostles, in which episcopal government was to be seen, so they withdrew early on. On the other hand, the Presbyterians moved on to the establishment of their work in [16/17] the New Hebrides. Today the L.M.S. is under the ægis of the Congregationalists.

The Society, by means of public subscriptions, purchased the sailing ship Duff, in which thirty missionaries went to Tahiti. It was, from the first, an ill-fated expedition. A most unpacific approach to the Pacific by way of Cape Horn caused them to turn back, so that it took nearly a year for the ship to reach her destination. Members of the party were left at Tahiti, Tonga, and the Marquesas. As she was returning to England she was captured by a French privateer off Rio de Janeiro in February, 1799. The party left at the Marquesas soon gave up, and this group later became a field for the Marist Fathers. Those in Tonga weathered an inter-tribal war, and, of the nine left there originally, three were killed, one married a native woman and was afterwards murdered, while the remaining five took passage on a passing vessel some ten months later. Those who were left in Tahiti stayed for sixteen years and seemed to have little to show for their work; nevertheless, when they eventually withdrew, two of their native servants carried on, gathering together a small Christian community. This seems a dismal picture, yet from the seed sown in Tahiti King Pomare eventually became a Christian and established the Faith on the island of Raiatea. Later on John Williams went there and it became the base from which evangelistic work spread to the Cook Islands, Samoa, and Rarotonga.

[18] In 1814 the Anglicans in Sydney sent representatives to New Zealand, making contact with the Maoris. Probably it was this work which inspired Bishop Selwyn to begin the Melanesian Mission. The Wesleyans tried to evangelise Tonga, starting in 1822 under Lawry, but at first it appeared to be fruitless. It was taken up again four years later, and during the interval two Tahitian teachers had been taking services in Nukualofa. In 1835 Cargill and Cross landed in the Lau Group--to the east of Fiji proper--and started their work at Lakemba, in the face of great odds. The honour of holding the first Christian services in the South Pacific belongs to the Roman Catholics, for their priests had said Mass there in the sixteenth century, though no trace of their influence remained. Some years ago some candlesticks were dug up on an island on the Papuan coast, where a priest had worked in past generations. In 1836 the Marist Order was given the oversight of the work in Western Oceania. In the following year they went to Wallis Island and Fortuna. From 1842 to 1845 they spread to Tonga, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa.

Meanwhile the Anglican Church had not been idle; the Melanesian Mission was established, and John Coleridge Patteson became its first bishop in 1861. The first Anglican priest to work in the area now known as the Diocese of Polynesia was the Rev. William Floyd, who started work in Fiji in 1870. While this was going on the Presbyterians had settled in the New Hebrides [18/19] under the leadership of John Paton and with the help of John Copeland. The London Missionary Society started their work in Papua in 1874, being quickly followed by the Marist Fathers, who withdrew until 1889. The French Order of the Sacred Heart took over the Gilbert Islands about the same time. Two years afterwards the Anglican Mission started to evangelise the east coast of Papua under the leadership of Albert Maclaren and Copland King. The islands off this coast were allotted to the Wesleyan Mission, and members of German orders established themselves in German New Guinea.

Behind this prosaic record is a wealth of hard work, privations, and untold difficulties. Pioneering calls for unabated effort, but these missionaries had not merely a spirit of adventure, but rather the intense desire to obey their Master and to share with others the amazing life and freedom of the Gospel. Many have paid for their obedience and devotion with their lives. John Williams, the shipbuilder, was killed at Erromanga in 1839. Blessed Pierre Chanel, a young Marist, met a similar fate on Fortuna. A bishop of the same order and three of his companions were struck down soon after their arrival in the Solomons, and of his party of eighteen who left Sydney in1845 only five were still alive after ten years. Bishop Patteson was the innocent victim of a vendetta against white men at Nukapu in Santa Cruz in 1871. Baker died in Fiji while working for the Methodist Mission, and in more recent years [19/20] (1901) Chalmers and Tomkins, of the L.M.S., were killed and eaten in Papua. The transforming power of the Gospel is clearly indicated by results. Natives of Tahiti found the News so good that they must needs share, so they went to Tonga. In their turn the Tongans carried Christianity to Fiji, Fijians and Samoans took the message to the Papuans, while the Solomon Islanders in Fiji took it back to their own people. So strong has the influence been in Melanesia that certain Anglican natives have accepted a rule, Franciscan in spirit, and under the name of the Retatasiu have gone out two by two into the mountain districts. The road from savagery and superstition to happiness and contentment was hard and long, but it was well worth while.

[21] III


MANY people take their conception of the South Seas from the products of Hollywood; others prefer to look to Robinson Crusoe, Old Jack, Masterman Ready, and other heroes of story. Since the war against Japan many have known tropical conditions from first-hand experience. The jungle sounds very romantic until one has hacked a path through it; it then takes on a different aspect. Hollywood presents a highly seasoned diet for jaded palates, but most people prefer the bread of truth.

It would be pleasant to be able to record that the European occupation of the South Seas was similarly romantic, but it would not be true. Europeans, conscious of their superior force, just walked in and shared what there was. The white man was feared and hated; understandably so, for at first he brought European vices and no virtues. Before he brought the art of healing he brought diseases to which the natives quickly fell victim. When Dr. Manson Bahr was pleading in 1924 for medical aid for the South Pacific he said: "We must remember that the white man has been responsible for the introduction of ophthalmia, dysentery, leprosy, tuberculosis, smallpox, and venereal disease. In addition, we have bronchitis, [21/22] pneumonia, whooping cough, and last, but not least, measles." The words of such an eminent authority on tropical medicine carry great weight. No less than 26,000 Fijians died during an epidemic of measles which originated in Australia.

In this romantic period, so beloved by the novelist, a new problem arose, that of mixed blood. White men began to be represented by children, often of great charm, yet inheriting the simple freedom of their mothers. The problem of the Euronesian is full of difficulty, even though many have shown more than ordinary ability. Today the people of mixed heritage are an integral part of the life of the Islands, and have amply proved their ability in public and commercial life. There are still hosts of pure-blooded Islanders in the South Pacific, however, which is partly accounted for by the fact that the main trade routes between Asia and South America by-pass the Islands.

[23] IV


TWO world wars have affected the South Pacific. The first brought unprecedented prosperity, for the innocent coconut, while still of great value for domestic purposes, becomes in time of war the basis for the strongest explosive known before the atomic age. Glycerine, produced from copra, is used in the manufacture of trinitrotoluene, familiarly known as T.N.T.

The end of the First World War meant the end of German influence in the Pacific, and the native of German New Guinea found himself no longer a German, but a British-Australian. In addition, there was a further complication, for the Solomons were divided in two, one-half being administered by the British Colonial Office. The peoples of German Western Samoa also came under a mandate, that of New Zealand, though their brothers in another part of Samoa came under American influence. German Micronesia was destined to become the sphere of Japanese preparation for their New Order, which was appreciated by no one.

The Second World War brought unprecedented savagery unknown even in the days of the cannibal wars, for the story of the Japanese occupation is one which is full of horror. Most of the Government [23/24] officials were faced with a dilemma, for had they stayed they would have disobeyed orders. On the other hand, they realised that white prestige would receive a great blow if the natives felt that they were being left in the hour of danger. Many stayed, living in constant peril, while some paid for their devotion with their lives.

There was no such problem for the missionary, for this was the field in which he had been chosen to work, and these were his sheep for which he would have to account. For the most part they stayed, and many received the crown of martyrdom. It is probable that the Japanese misunderstood Christianity, thinking that Christians were enemy agents. Every Japanese resident in a foreign country became almost automatically an agent for his country, and they argued that precisely the same thing would happen in the lives of others. It is more than likely that the Japanese thought that it was for that reason alone that white people remained; no other reason would have crossed their minds. It is a matter of history that many gave their lives rather than desert their native congregations. In New Guinea and Melanesia Anglicans were butchered; Roman Catholics paid the supreme sacrifice not only in the same areas, but also in the Gilberts; Methodists were killed in New Britain, and an L.M.S. missionary in the Gilberts. Indeed, through these times the prayer of our Lord that they all might be one was fulfilled, for they died for that same Lord, in spite of many earthly differences. It is still as true today as ever it was that [24/25] the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church, and the prestige of missionary work increased. The Islanders had known the horrors of total war, but they also had experienced the faithfulness of Christian witness even unto the end.

This has left an indelible impression on their minds, while at the same time it had great effect on the minds of American and Australian servicemen, who were brought into contact, perhaps for the first time, with missionaries and their work. The ordinary man judges things by his own observation of them. If people, unarmed except with faith, can meet death with gladness and peace, they leave impressions which nothing can eradicate. Many of those who came to the Pacific to fight took away with them something new and vital--namely, the desire to fight for spiritual realities in the future, with spiritual weapons.

[26] V


THE war in the South Pacific directly or indirectly touched most of the groups. In all three dioceses of the Anglican Communion the most sanguinary warfare was experienced.

The action in New Guinea was fought mainly by Australian troops, eight divisions strong, and these were supplemented by two American divisions, whose influence was very strong. Elsewhere the U.S. Army was greatly in the majority, as the simple graves testify. American influence in the South Seas was widespread and can be divided roughly into three sections. From the Solomons to New Guinea and beyond was the forward combat area, while acclimatisation, training, and resting took up the areas of Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa. Emergency landing strips were sited on small islands and garrisoned by small detachments. In the forward areas contact with the natives was circumscribed by the limited bounds of their occupation and the nomadic habits of the natives themselves. In the rest and training areas the servicemen had more leisure and less strain, consequently the devil found work for idle hands to do. They were friendly, generous, and always kind to children, but when men [26/27] are lonely, far from home, and subjected to temptation, relations with women are apt to deteriorate.

Some Americans had ill-informed ideas about British Imperialism, and almost had the desire to "rescue" the poor native, in the spirit of a crusade, from the "British exploiters." This phase did not last long when faced with the facts, but it took some time before the average G.I. realised that colonies cost much money to maintain, and that from the material point of view they are no bargain store. What was of far greater importance was "dollar madness," for the vicious spiral of wages chasing prices and prices chasing wages soon began to make itself felt. Never before had wages been at such a high level, and the Indians, with their frugal minds, were soon able to save enough money to fly to their homeland at a single fare of $750. With most natives the possession of money in amounts beyond their wildest dreams led to a neglect of ordinary work. Their gardens were neglected and became overgrown; luxuries unsuited to the native digestion were bought, and after a wild burst of affluence penury became the rule. The only people who found any lasting benefit were the traders, both large and small. A more adverse result of the occupation was the teaching of the natives to distil and sample spirits, for in comparison with the rather harmless kava these stronger brews are indeed fire-water.

Looking at the position some three years after the Services had gone, it is remarkable how little lasting [27/28] effect can now be seen. Island people, in the main, do not like sudden change. The Forces moved in with a maximum of unusual activity and a flurry of mechanisation. While it lasted it was a nine days' wonder, but it did not last because the native does not like fuss and bother. There was a temporary vision of prosperity through an almost limitless supply of dollars, but the American lost face because he did not bargain with born bargainers. After a while the situation changed to something like normality again, though abandoned huts, gun emplacements and trenches remained mute witness until the jungle took charge and covered them with tenuous trailing vine.

One legacy which the jungle could not cover was that of children, and one is bound to ask what their fate will be. Some of their fathers undoubtedly will do something about their education, for many of them realised their responsibilities in the matter. As for the remainder, they will probably be absorbed into normal village life, where their fellows will not worry about questions of paternity, though it remains to be seen how much psychological damage has been done to the mothers and, through them, to their children. Fortunately, the conditions of life in the Southern Pacific are not good breeding-grounds for neuroses arising out of things of this nature, and it may well be that the neuroses will be found, not in the South Seas, but in many of those now back in the United States.

[29] VI


WHAT has evolved from these centuries of European contacts with those who once could be clearly defined as Polynesians, Melanesians, and Micronesians? It is such a conglomeration that one is inclined to dub it a "crazy pavement." Today Melanesians can be divided into French, Australian (ex-German), and British Melanesians. In the Solomons the inhabitants on one side of a narrow strait are answerable to London through the High Commissioner in Suva, while a spear's throw away their brothers are under Australia and Canberra. The New Hebridean is even more tangled in his allegiance, for he is subject to a "condominium" answerable to both London and Paris. In Polynesia the Gilberts are under British rule; the French look after Tahiti and the Marquesas; Western Samoa is administered by New Zealand under mandate; and Eastern Samoa by the Government of the United States. Brothers are separated in Samoa by a hedge of regulations which makes visiting difficult. In Fiji there is the Indian to be accounted for; in Samoa is found the Melanesian and the Chinese, who is also to be found in Tahiti. The Tonkinese and the Javanese have mingled with the blood of the New Hebridean and the New Caledonian.

[30] So much for material government. In spiritual things the same pattern is seen. English and Dominion Anglican, German, French, and Dominion Roman Catholics, Scottish and Australian Presbyterians, Australian Methodists, German and Australian Lutherans, English and Dominion Congregationalists, American Mormons, Australian and American Seventh Day Adventists--all these are at work. While it is true that there are agreements about "spheres of influence," in many cases the word "competition" would be more apt. Some of the fire of the early days has passed, as all too often happens with second and third generation Christians, and perhaps the European Christian shows, too often, a lower standard of Christian living and a less regard for Church discipline than has been enjoined on the native Christian. Aware of the weakness that comes from division, some of the missionary bodies now show a willingness to consult with each other, but a real contribution to missionary interests would be the conversion of Europe to a fuller and more disciplined Christian life.

There will come a day when the Melanesians and, Polynesians will feel their unity as individual nations. In past days the Tongans tried to form a block by means of warfare, for they made some gains in Samoa and were only frustrated from capturing Fiji by European interests. Late in the last century the Hawaiians tried to form a confederation of Polynesian states and wanted to send one of their warships to Samoa to ask [30/31] for co-operation. This trend is inevitable and has been given new impetus by the Atlantic Charter. It demands the understanding and sympathy of all European interests--governmental, ecclesiastical, and commercial.

An essential is education for leadership. In Fiji the Colonial Office has handed to the chiefs a certain measure of independence, under the superb leadership of Sir Lala Sukuna, who, with his Oxford degree in arts and his membership of the English Bar, has proved unquestionably that the Fijian is capable of using a liberal education. In nearby Tonga the Crown Prince, also with degrees in arts and law, is a contemplative scholar with constructive ideas far removed from those of his warrior forbears. Samoa, now seeking self-government, has had a poor deal in education in the past. The Germans thought that advanced education was of little use to an isolated people, while the New Zealand Government did not face the problem seriously until the last few years. They are now seeking to remedy this neglect. As the Samoans number some 68,000, it is not unreasonable that they should feel the desire to develop their own country. One serious difficulty is that no set of people lives to itself, and its prosperity or adversity depends on relations with people outside.

Higher education is becoming increasingly the concern of the Government, though missions continue to be responsible for much of the general education. It [31/32] has already been made clear that education without religion fails to give moral stability to a nation. The average European who comes to the Islands in these days cannot be compared with those who came seeking adventure. Today he is a man of some education, though his reaction to the tropics varies according to his spiritual equipment. A moral code is not enough for those who would live and work in tropical countries, for the conditions and climate bring out the best and the worst in man. What he needs is a living Faith, and the Church is in the South Seas to give him that and no less. It is not enough that he should be reminded of ethical standards; what is required is a "City of Refuge" in a strange and exotic world. This, then, becomes a chronicle of what the Anglican Communion, so far as the Diocese of Polynesia is concerned, is doing today and has done in the past to reshape that "crazy pavement" of which we have spoken, and to make of it the ordered mosaic upon which the hopes of future Melanesian or Polynesian national aspirations may build.

[33] VII


THE Diocese of Polynesia had its beginnings in the isolated visits paid to the Islands by chaplains of British warships, later supplemented by chaplains appointed under licence by the Bishop of London. The beginnings of the diocese were so haphazard that it is almost possible to say that "it had to happen." Ever since its foundation it has been a source of embarrassment, for its isolation makes it nobody's particular child.

When Bishop Selwyn went to New Zealand in 1841 he found that a clerical error in the preparation of a document had committed to his care a large section of the South Pacific. His first missionary labours outside New Zealand gave birth to the Melanesian Mission, which has been the Dominion's first love and responsibility ever since. When John Coleridge Patteson was appointed first Bishop of Melanesia in 1861, Fiji was not then a British colony, nor was the Anglican Church represented there. In 1870 the Rev. W. E. Floyd came from Australia to be chaplain in Fiji, making his headquarters in Levuka, which was the capital in those days. It is not quite clear from whom he received his licence, for the active jurisdiction of the Bishop of Melanesia never reached Fiji. [33/34] Normally, all unattached chaplains are accredited to the Bishop of London, who certainly assumed control when Fiji became a Crown Colony in 1874. Bishop Patteson must have felt that he had some responsibility in the matter, for it was during his first attempt to go to Fiji that he was martyred. His main purpose was to investigate the recruiting or "blackbirding" of natives for the Fiji plantations, and he met his death at the hands of those whose cause he wished to plead. Floyd carried on single-handed in the face of many difficulties, visiting the Viti Levu mainland at Rewa and Suva and some of the outer islands of the Lomaiviti group. In 1882 the S.P.G. appointed Mr. T. Poole as missionary to Rewa and Suva, and he was in that same year admitted to deacon's orders by Bishop John Selwyn. Four years later Bishop Suter, of Nelson, New Zealand, was charged by a Commission of the General Synod to investigate the position and needs of the Church in Fiji and Polynesia. His visit coincided with the consecration of the present Holy Trinity Church, now the pro-cathedral. He also visited Levuka, Tonga, and Samoa, reporting to the General Synod that a chaplain was urgently needed in Western Samoa, for Anglicans had no one to minister to them. In 1893 a passing visit was paid by Bishop Montgomery, who was then Bishop of Tasmania and later became Secretary of the S.P.G. He administered Confirmation and arranged that one of his deacons should help Mr. Floyd in Levuka. Four years later Bishop [34/35] Willis of Honolulu paid a visit when he was on his way to the Lambeth Conference, going to Apia in Western Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji, performing welcome episcopal acts in each place. It seems that he felt that, as he was Bishop of Honolulu and the Islands, his jurisdiction extended to Samoa and Tonga. The annexation of Hawaii by the Americans in 1898, followed by a call from a body of Tongans, made him think that he ought to put Tonga under his jurisdiction. This he did, asking for approval afterwards. The Anglican policy not to set up in opposition to missionary bodies already active was compromised. The Archbishop of Canterbury was much perturbed, and discussed the whole matter with the Primate of New Zealand, whose speeches in the New Zealand General Synod showed his great admiration of the work which Bishop Willis had done. Indeed, the Primate dubbed him "the St. Cyprian of our time." Later Bishop Willis and the New Zealand Primate met, discussed the whole matter in a friendly fashion, and drew up a scheme for a new diocese. Only one section of their suggestions has not been implemented--namely, that the British islands of Fanning and Washington in the American Episcopal area should be subject to that Church, while the Pago Pago naval base in American Eastern Samoa should be under the jurisdiction of the Bishop in Polynesia. The result is that the Episcopalians in Pago Pago rarely see their Ordinary. The diocese was finally established in 1908 by the consecration of the Rev. T. C. Twitchell, [35/36] formerly of All Hallows', Poplar, who was enthroned in the pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in August of that year. The Rev. W. E. Floyd was immediately appointed Archdeacon of Fiji. Thirteen years after his consecration Bishop Twitchell resigned, to be succeeded by the Right Rev. Leonard Stanley Kempthorne, M.A. (consecrated in March, 1923), who was enthroned three months later.

The Bishop in Polynesia--"in" and not "of," for he has spiritual oversight in colonies of other nationals--is presented with the colossal task of covering an area of 71 million square miles. As a diocese it vies with the world for diversities of peoples and tongues. Within it there are to be found Fijians, Polynesians, Melanesians, Indians, Chinese, British, French, Americans, Germans, a few Spaniards and Portuguese, a small number of Arabs, as well as many people of mixed blood. It hears the muezzin call the sons of Allah to worship, it sees the Mulayalim offering themselves on the point of the dagger in thanksgiving for answers to prayer, the bearded Sikh in his temple, and the Hindu walking through the white-hot fires. It hears the rich voices of the native people singing their hymns quietly and harmoniously; it hears these same voices shake the very heavens in a mighty roar full of religious enthusiasm. It sees a diversity of dress, from the modest nudity of the very young, the grass skirts, sulus, lavalavas, and dhotis, to rigid European respectability.

In Fiji the diocese has two main direct fields of [36/37] work: that among the Melanesians in Suva, Levuka, and Vanua Levu, and that among the Indians of Vanua Levu. The remainder of its work (described later in further detail) is mainly among Europeans and their descendants, either in towns or in isolated islands and plantations. This latter work is undoubtedly more difficult than most, for there is not the inspiration of large numbers as there is in the native villages, where the villagers attend their own churches en masse. The strangeness of the life, the enervating climate, and the many temptations weaken many Europeans who were probably good churchmen at home.

It was agreed at the start that, as many others had already evangelised the native Fijian people, the Anglican Church should not enter into competition for them. This circumscribes the whole field of Anglican influence, so that the building of churches, the maintenance of schools, and other tasks have to be undertaken by comparatively few people. At the same time a certain dignity has to be preserved, for the native thinks that somehow the Church is connected with His Majesty the King in some subtle way. No local body of Europeans so constituted can be wholly self-supporting. In Western Samoa, to quote but one example, there are 250 Anglicans, with whom some Lutherans are associated, in the middle of 68,000 Samoans. It is hard to maintain seemliness and order without properly appointed church buildings, though a brave fight is put up. The chaplain works under strain, cut off as he [37/38] is from his brother priests. He may see them every three years at the Triennial Synod, though his Bishop comes annually when circumstances permit. Our Lord, in His greater wisdom, sent the Apostles "two by two," and that would be the ideal in isolated parishes. This, however, is impracticable when staffs are barely sufficient under the present arrangements, and finances inadequate. In spite of all this, there is an atmosphere about the South Seas. To a newcomer the first six months are a despair, with homesickness rearing its ugly head. When that is over, then there are doubts about the wisdom of coming at all, and questions arise which suggest that some other sphere of work should have been chosen. After these grievous times the magic of the Islands gets to work, enfolding the newcomer in its embrace, and leaving him to develop his vocation. As Isaiah once said, "Surely the isles shall wait for me."

[39] VIII


LEVUKA, the old capital of Fiji, was a turbulent town when Floyd landed there in 1870, but he was able to meet all obstacles with the ready wit of the Irishman, for he came from County Wexford. He had had a good apprenticeship, for after his ordination by Bishop Perry of Melbourne he served the tough miners of Ballarat. Floyd found that some of the hardest cases in the South Seas were at Levuka, for it was founded by some convicts who had escaped from Port Jackson. At the same time a native king had set up a government, being inspired by his Prime Minister and ex-Royal Naval officer, Lieutenant Woods. A petition from the better type of European had been sent to the Methodist Mission, asking for services which they could attend. The answer given was that "the Mission is in the islands for the native people: the white men are here of their own accord and can fend for themselves." In view of this, it is interesting to note that when Floyd arrived he was not made welcome at first, and that the Methodists hastily set up a building for European services. Another difficulty arose when he was ordered by decree of the native King Cakabau to insert the [39/40] name of the ruler in the State Prayers. In later years Floyd enjoyed telling how he refused to haul down his flag and prayed for "Victoria in the land of Cakabau." In the end Floyd's personality won through. The initial opposition had led to a deep friendship with the Marist pioneer, Père Breheret, while in later years his relations with the Methodists became extremely happy. Perhaps his greatest difficulty arose from the lack of episcopal visitation, for he had to depend on rare visits from any bishop who happened to be passing. Very wisely, Floyd decided for the time being to keep to his duty as a chaplain appointed by the Bishop of London and to tend his European flock first of all. The European was responsible for bringing Christianity to the South Seas, and the picture of our Lord most ready in the native mind must be that of a European Christ. The conduct of the white man interprets in some way to the native the meaning of Christianity.

In 1874 the Paramount Chiefs of Fiji handed over their realm to Queen Victoria, her heirs and successors. Sir Arthur Gordon was appointed first Governor, and his staff included as private secretary and aide, respectively, two future Governors in Mr. George des Voeux and Captain Henry Havelock. Both were knighted later. A small church was built in what is still called "Church Street," and it is interesting to note that during the absence of the chaplain in England these two members of the Government House staff carried on the services between them. Meanwhile a new and [40/41] productive field was opening for Floyd, for the Melanesian indentured labourers were without spiritual oversight, other missionary bodies concentrating on the Fijians. "Missi Floydi" became the spiritual father, protector, and friend of this body of ebony exiles, many of whom stayed in Fiji when their indentures were finished. Not many of the originals are left in Fiji, but their descendants are, and those who remember Floyd speak of him with a reverence and affection that is a tribute to the quality and effectiveness of his work. His first little church was demolished by a hurricane, but he met this disaster by going along the coast to Vagadaci and building another, dedicating it to the Epiphany. Under the same roof he had his living quarters, but all the time he had his heart set on the building of a stone church, which, he thought, might become the cathedral of the new diocese that must eventually arise.

In 1904 the Church of the Holy Redeemer, one of the most beautiful churches of the South Seas, was dedicated by Bishop Willis. It never became a cathedral, for in the meantime the capital had been transferred to Suva. Floyd was now ageing, and he eventually died in 1909, after Bishop Twitchell had been appointed first Bishop in Polynesia. The accounts of the funeral in the files of the old Levuka newspapers are well worth reading. All sections of the community were there and all rivalries were forgotten as the longest cortege ever seen in the town made its way to [41/42] the grassy cliff-top two miles out, where his body lies with feet towards the dawn.

For a young and adventurous incumbent there is no lack of variety in Levuka. Stretching away to windward over the Koro Sea are the islands of the Lomaiviti group; to the north there lies Vanua Levu and also Taveuni, often called the "garden isle of the Fijis." This lies athwart the 180th Meridian, and has in its crater-lake the only red, white, and blue orchid in the world. The Vicar is always welcome when he visits the plantations, which are on the coast. Farther away, and to the east, are the lovely islands and lagoons of the Lau group, where the local population are nearer to Tongans in appearance and outlook. In these outer islands some of the planters live in great isolation and loneliness. From November to May hurricanes often burst upon them, leaving a trail of desolation which tests both the patience and the courage of the planters.

Eighteen miles away and within sight of the Vicarage is the island of Makogai, the Government leper station, where patients are nursed by Roman Catholic Sisters of the Third Order of Mary. The Vicar of Levuka tends Church of England patients, his visits being hailed with keen interest and pleasure. The Vicarage garden was laid out by Archdeacon Floyd and is a spot of great beauty. A quadrangle of green lawn edged with flowers and shrubs is bounded on one side by the church. At the back is a rocky cliff and emerald-green hills. The Vicarage was built rather low in order to [42/43] give as much shelter as possible when hurricanes blew into the little cove. Unfortunately, the bungalow was built with insufficient ground clearance, for it allowed the creeping things which abound, and which look for some dark place in which to die quietly, to take too much interest in the interior.

Archdeacon Floyd was succeeded by the Rev. A. E. Frost, better known to us as Father Bede Frost. He carried on the Floyd tradition and enhanced the beauty of the sanctuary by erecting a carved altar of singular grace, which was the gift of friends in memory of Floyd.

Levuka is one of the few towns in the South Seas that has retained a traditional tropical charm in its welcome to the visitor. It has never been defeatist in spite of depressions, and today, when cutters are to be seen beating in with copra once again, she is a cheerful outpost of Empire.

[44] IX


AN iniquitous business that began in the eighteenth century and increased later was the seizure of islanders, sometimes called "kanakas," for the labour markets. Men of the lowest character took part in this traffic, and their methods were brutal in the extreme. Most of their victims were encouraged to board ships by trickery, and before they were aware of it were miles away at sea, bound for slavery. The martyrdom of Bishop Patteson was one of the results of this trade, for when he visited Nakapu in the Swallow group he was put to death as a reprisal. Captain Markham in H.M.S. Rosario was sent to make investigations, and sums up the situation in the preface to his book The Cruise of the Rosario: "The deeds perpetrated by the lawless and unscrupulous ruffians who infest these beautiful islands for the purpose of procuring natives, of both sexes, to work on the Queensland and Fiji cotton plantations, are unequalled for cruelty and treachery. The stories related of them sound almost incredible, yet the evidence of their truth is too clear and distinct to admit of doubt."

The growth of the sugar-cane planting and milling in North Queensland produced a profitable market for the "blackbirder," and the Solomon Islander and the [44/45] New Hebridean became an indentured labourer, usually against his wishes. He was too far from home to have any choice in the matter. Later the importation of natives into the Australian sugar plantations was prohibited and many were taken back to Fiji, from whence they had been brought. In the meantime a series of unsavoury incidents caused official notice to be taken, and Sir John Thurston made an exhaustive survey. Even so, when recruiting ceased and the indenture system was abandoned, many labourers were left in exile. Of their own homes they had no knowledge and had no title to any land. Some intermarried with Fijian women, and the children were an attractive mixture of Fijian geniality and Solomon industry. The "old Solomon" was preferred above all others as a labourer, for he needs little supervision. Given a task which was within his power to do, and left alone, he invariably did the work. These men were without any spiritual oversight in Fiji until Floyd took over. For a time he had as his assistant a native deacon from Torres Island. Levuka was at first the centre of this work, for the town is in Lomaiviti, "the heart of Fiji." Cotton and copra were transhipped here to ocean-going vessels, and many of the workers on the wharves and in the warehouses were Solomon Islanders. They have settled mainly at Nasoga and Wailailai and are there on sufferance. They have little material for building, but they cheerfully carry on, preserving their independence. The District Commissioners have [45/46] always been most helpful, this being especially true of the older men, who knew their background, and from Floyd's day the Vicar has always been looked upon as the unofficial protector of these exiles from the Solomons. Into Suva had drifted various parties who had settled in small villages, and for a time St. John's Melanesian Mission Church and School, which was a memorial to Bishop Patteson, served them. Later the Bishop of Melanesia sent two of their countrymen to help. These were Brothers Dudley and Moffatt, of the Melanesian Brothers--the Retatasiu--who did splendid work. Both returned to their homes in due course, but at a later date Moffatt returned to the work. He was made deacon in 1940 and ordained priest four years later. It was during this period that a scheme for a settlement was mooted and eventually brought to fruition. The Government allowed the Mission to rent 254 acres of good land near Suva, the church and school being moved to this new site. Gradually families began to "squat" here, each being allowed two acres. This spot is called Wailoka, which means "to play with water," and the name is fitting. In this valley two branches of a stream meet, and here the homeless have once more a place of gardens and homes.

The first superintendent was the Rev. C. S. Bull, who was helped by his wife Lucy. Unfortunately, sickness soon brought her death, and to her memory there was raised on the site "The Lucy Bull Hospital." [46/47] The Rev. Moffatt Ohigita died suddenly of pneumonia at the end of a tour during the wet season, after having been ordained only two years. With the departure of Mr. Bull to the Solomons the gap has been filled by two friends of his, Archdeacon and Mrs. Hands. Meanwhile the Melanesians from Rabi Island had joined others of their race on Vanua Levu, living on borrowed land. They, too, have asked that a settlement might be established for them. Some wealthy people in Australia, friends of Archdeacon Floyd, had left property to "the Bishop of Fiji," expecting that their friend would be so designated. With the consent of the trustees, one of these estates is being made available for the settlement of the Solomons on a communal basis. Already part of the plantation has been taken over, the settlers paying rent to the trustees in accordance with the terms of the trust deed. As soon as a priest is available he will be given the interesting task of superintending the community and of ministering to their spiritual and material needs.

[48] X


SUVA, capital of Fiji and seat of the Bishop in Polynesia, is built about the shores of a reef-girt bay and on the soapstone ridge that rises abruptly as the backbone to the peninsula. As it is at "the crossroads of the Pacific," it has grown considerably over the years. Its wharves are seldom idle, for this is a port of call for tourists as well as being an important commercial centre. Here, fuzzy-haired Fijian labourers load cargo vessels with copra, sugar, and coconut oil. Across the bay are the Navua Hills, which are nearly always shrouded in mist. Rupert Brooke described them as like "the very mouth of Avernus," for they are rich in tropical vegetation; and no wonder, for these hills have the heaviest coastal rainfall in the world.

In 1880 Suva was a small village with few white settlers. There was a small church, built in the present Ellery Street, and a contemporary verse gives this picture:

"A dainty maiden bound for church;
A coconut log and a creek;
A faltering step; a fatal lurch;
And the rest was 'bubble and squeak.'"

Apparently crinolines and bustles were worn by the [48/49] ladies, in spite of the climate, and when changes were mooted the Lord Chief justice showed his contempt by rowing two miles each morning while attired in frockcoat and top-hat.

In 1882 Suva became the capital of Fiji, and it was in that year that Bishop Selwyn made the first episcopal visitation to Fiji, at the same time inaugurating the work among Solomon Island indentured labourers, which has continued ever since. Later the Bishop ordained the Rev. T. Poole, the first S.P.G. worker on Viti Levu, the island on which Suva stands. When Suva became the capital the European population quickly increased, making a new church an immediate necessity, for the little church was already far too small. Services were held for a time in the Supreme Court building, but a fire destroyed most of the church furniture. The Church of the Holy Trinity was built and consecrated in 1886 by Bishop Suter of Nelson, New Zealand, and the Rev. J. Francis Jones became the first Vicar of Suva. The Vicar's marriage to Miss Victoria Joske was the first solemnised in the building. Eleven years later he was succeeded by the Rev. Horace Packe, who was responsible for the building of the tower and the provision of tubular bells, paid for by public subscription. During this time Suva was expanding considerably, and it was during the incumbency of the Rev. R. T. Matthews, who succeeded Mr. Packe, that Dr. Twitchell set his cathedra in the Church of the Holy Trinity, giving it the dignity of a [49/50] pro-cathedral. The church was built of wood, and therefore subject to the ravages of white ants, tropical decay and hurricane damage, but before long a new stone building will rise, towards the building of which Lord Nuffield has made a substantial contribution. The foundation stone was laid by His Excellency Sir Harry Luke, K.C.M.G., D.Litt., in January, 1940.

Suva has a polyglot population, and one of its streets bears witness to this, being called "All Nations Street." As would be expected, the work of the Church is just as varied. The Methodists and the Marists had already made their presence felt before the Church of England had spread, but many Fijians have found Anglicanism more suited to their nature. The first work is among the Europeans, who are a floating population. Government officials come and go, many of them bringing with them the force of a Christian example. In the commercial world, Europeans tend to stay for longer periods, for most of them have spent years in the Islands, some from their birth.

The first missionary work to be instituted was that of the St. John's Mission, with a school in the town and smaller churches in the district. These are gradually being absorbed in the Wailoku Melanesian Settlement previously described. At one time there was a school for Chinese, run in conjunction with the Kuo Min Tang, but lack of funds during the depression made its closure necessary. From the Chinese Christian community has come Sister Mary Lin, C.H.A. [50/51] For a time she took the services for the Chinese in the pro-cathedral, and it was a pleasure to listen to the tinkling sounds of the Prayer Book services rendered into Cantonese. Indians, too, are to be seen as altar servers, and they bring to this office great dignity and grace.

Near to the capital are two interesting districts given over to dairy farming. One is Navua, twenty-five miles away on the wide Navua river; the other is Tailevu, in the opposite direction. Tailevu can be reached by cutter, the landing being made at Londoni, which takes its name from London. Thus it is possible in the South Seas to walk along Piccadilly and the Strand. After the First World War, Tailevu became a settlement of soldiers, but it was the scene of much distress.

Among Suva's main buildings is the War Memorial Hospital, soon to be enlarged, and nearby is the justly famous Central Medical School, at which natives are trained in medicine. Apart from denominational schools, Suva has grammar schools for boys and girls, in which the Church gives religious instruction to those who owe allegiance to her. As these schools are for boarders, the effect should be of a little leaven in a lump of dough. One would imagine that the responsibilities of the Church, with its varied activities among a population of 25,000, would mean a large staff of clergy, but Suva's Rector has never had a regular curate to help him.

[52] XI


FIJI has its "Little India," a state of affairs which was never envisaged when the Fijians ceded the Islands to Great Britain. The Fijians do not believe in working overtime, and when the indenture system ceased in 1877, the Government recruited East Indians for the canefields. An agreement was signed between the British Government, Fiji, and India for the engagement of Indians who would work under Government supervision, terms of engagement and provision for repatriation being safeguarded. The first ship to arrive was the Leonidas, on which there was cholera. The ship was in quarantine near Levuka, for there had been many deaths during the voyage. During the years which followed ships brought labourers, one, the Syria, being wrecked not far from Suva itself. Its decaying hulk can still be seen. By 1883 some 2,300 Indians had arrived, and from time to time Indians who had had experience in the West Indies added to the number. Many of these went into business as tailors, restaurant keepers, and sandal makers, catering for their own nationals. Later on they served the whole population as taxi-drivers, dressmakers, photographers, cinema proprietors, and booksellers, in addition to the trades mentioned above. Most of the [52/53] immigrants were males, and it became necessary to regulate the flow of "free" Indians. In the years that followed, indentured labour increased, though some Indians returned home. When the indenture system was abolished in 1916 there was some dismay in sugar-growing circles, but before long the Indians had taken over the plantations as tenant farmers under the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, their former employers.

Freed from disease-ridden villages of their homeland and with improved living conditions, Indians born in the colony thrived in a fashion their fathers had never known. In a few years the birth-rate increased by 4 per cent., while mortality began to decline. By 1936 the Census figures showed an Indian population of 85,000, of whom 71.59 per cent. were born in the country. The remainder came from the United Provinces, the Madras Presidency, the Punjab, and Bombay. After a further ten years the Indian population had increased to 121,000 and were overtaking the Fijian population. At the present time (1947) the Indians outnumber the Fijians, thus bringing about some tremendous problems. In the past the Indian has always been a British subject, and a great proportion of those born in Fiji have known no other home.

The Indians lived in considerable squalor, and there was much room for improvement. When the Rev. C. F. Andrews revealed this, the Sugar Company took up the challenge, and a good deal has since been done [53/54] to improve the situation. When Mr. Andrews made a return visit he was able to say that much improvement in the status and treatment of the Indian had been achieved. In Fiji there is a goodly measure of freedom, and the younger Indian is eager for emancipation. Local-born Indians have become lawyers, ministers, Government officials, doctors, and school teachers. Some are disappointed, for there is a race for the "white-collar" jobs, and these men are ripe for the propaganda of the agitator. Many have given up the religion of their fathers and have put nothing in its place. Some interesting religious rites still survive, notably the fire-walking of the Hindu and the rather blood-curdling self-immolation of the Mulayalim. Christianity has not, as yet, made great strides among them. To many Indians our divisions are bewildering, and there is the almost inevitable feeling that Christianity and British politics are interwoven. When the thinking young Indian finds his need for something outside and beyond this earthly existence, Christianity will be the only hope for him.

[55] XII


GETTING about in the Islands can sometimes be very pleasant; a little 200-ton motor vessel can take one the 200-odd miles from Suva to Labasa (pronounced Lambasa), calling at Levuka and smaller ports on the way. Sometimes one travels in a cutter or even an 80-ton ketch, returning to Suva with an assorted cargo of evil-smelling copra, goats, and a mixed bag of passengers. After leaving Levuka and crossing the Koro Sea, the ship reaches the second largest island of the Fiji group, Vanua Levu. Passing through the waters of the fish god, Daku Waga, the ship threads her way through the coral reefs to the Yanawai River. Yanawai goldmine crowned the 1,000-feet hilltop there. From here to Labasa is to be seen some of the finest river scenery in the Islands, as the ship calls in estuary after estuary, landing stores on the river bank. Europeans have settled on the banks of some of these rivers. Bonar Law once had a plantation on the Lekutu, and many experiments in agriculture have been made on the banks of the Dreketi. At last the ship enters the Labasa River, bordered by mangrove swamps, and goes upstream for seven miles to Labasa Mill. Here a great stretch of flat country holds several thousands of [55/56] acres of sugar-cane land, with the houses of mill officers on a hill nearby, the Government officers have three houses on a further hill, and the hosts of Indian workers occupy other sites. The main shopping centre is Nasea, but most of the Indians work as tenant farmers under the oversight of Europeans.

Labasa is so far removed from other cane-growing areas that the people seem to be an entity on their own. Sir Arthur Gordon, the first Governor of Fiji, was concerned about their spiritual welfare and drew Floyd's attention to it. He went to England to ask for assistance, returning with enough money to enable him to start work in Labasa, and with guarantees for the future. An agreement was entered into with the Methodists, leaving work among Indians in the Eastern Islands to the Anglicans. In 1904 the S.P.G. sent the Rev. H. E. T. Lateward as the first missionary. He had already done good service in India, and his weariness is indicated in some of his reports. Of the Indians he wrote
"Primarily the pride of caste is gone. Poor fellows! They quite recognise their position, and it is at times pathetic to listen to the tone of sadness in which they admit their fallen state--what Christianity would call 'a broken and contrite heart': character (of caste) gone, religion abandoned, country, friends and relations, all left." (Occasional Paper No. 287.)

Such was his rather gloomy view of the Indian, but today the Indian has never seen his father's land, and [56/57] his religion is much more a national trait than a supernatural guide. To embrace Christianity is looked upon as a departure from national heritage, a betrayal of race, making the lot of the convert anything but easy. Lateward found a certain loneliness, due to the fact that many Europeans did not fulfil their Christian obligations.

"On Christmas Day not one person came to Communion, the first Christmas Day on which I have been unable to communicate since my Confirmation forty-one years ago."

Lateward's best work was in the preparation of his successor, Mr. A. T. Milgrew, who was ordained and took over after the departure of Lateward in 1908. Milgrew did not spare himself, travelling constantly and winning his people's affection. Often he would stay in Indian homes, and this was to prove his downfall, for the Europeans thought that he was lowering the prestige of the white man. Living under unhealthy conditions in dirty huts led to sickness, and he had to retire after working there for eight years. Until 1923 the work languished, save for occasional visits by the Bishop or the Vicar of Suva. Possibilities of revival seemed bright when the Rev. Maitland Woods, a scholar and keen archeologist, arrived. Owing to domestic difficulties, he was not able to stay. But Milgrew's influence still remained, and when in 1924 the Rev. H. A. Favell was appointed he found that an Indian Christian woman, known as Mrs. John, was [57/58] doing valuable work with the school. He was soon joined by Miss Cobb, who had already served in India, and by Sister Offe, a trained nurse.

Miss Cobb's first desire was to see the school chapel restored. It was found that the altar had been removed to a local store and that it was being used as a pot cupboard. Miss Offe, with generous help from the Sugar Company, did great work, once confidence was established.

The site was a bad one, for it was often completely flooded, but the work went on. The boys' school was a great success, and the need for a girls' school was felt. To the Indian the girl is considered a family responsibility until she is married off, and therefore the Indian normally felt that the education of girls was a waste of time. Miss James arrived and began to battle nobly, having only the back room of an Indian shop as a schoolroom. From such a humble beginning in 1928 has grown the present St. Mary's School, known as the Nigel Lyson Memorial. In 1929 the Rev. E. R. Elder exchanged with Mr. Favell, who went to Tonga; Miss Rowe joined Miss James, and they were afterwards joined by Miss Debbage. A carpenter's shop under a competent instructor was added, and a hostel was built to house the boarders at All Saints Boys' School. In 1934 Miss Cobb and Sister Offe moved out to Vunimoli, some seven miles away and opened a mixed school. Three years later St. Augustine's Mixed School was opened at Wailevu, but the crowning event [58/59] of that year was the return to Fiji of the Rev. Durgha Prasad Misra, a Fiji-born Indian who had been trained and made deacon in India. He was later ordained priest in the province of his Indian compatriots in Labasa.

Much patience is required in the evangelisation of Indians, and as a result the supply of Indian teachers is limited. The necessity of employing non-Christian trained teachers in some instances places a far greater responsibility on the missionary and his staff, for the first work of a Christian mission is to preach Christ. Later, however, Indian Christian teachers took sole charge of both Vunimoli and St. Augustine's.

The arrival of the Rev. R. L. Crampton in 1938 found a depleted staff of Europeans. Both Miss Cobb and Sister Offe had returned to Australia, while Mrs. Elder (née Miss James) had handed over to Miss Rowe. She decided to carry matters still further by adding a hostel to St. Mary's Girls' School and, aided by Miss Debbage, started with five Indian girls. This delegation of responsibility by the Indian parents was of real significance. Alas! all their labour seemed to have been in vain when they returned from church one Sunday morning to find their hostel a smoking ruin and all their personal possessions gone. Insurance did not cover the rebuilding, but an American Army hospital building was soon erected over the charred remains, and from the Indians came financial help, which was a fine tribute to the work that was being done. Storekeepers gave dresses and dress materials, food flowed [59/60] in, and offers of temporary accommodation were numerous.

By 1947 the Indians were clamouring for education, and in that year teachers had to be withdrawn from the country in order to concentrate on the main work at Labasa. This has meant a loss of Government grants, but an increase in spiritual strength. The church has been rebuilt on a better site. It is now more accessible for both Europeans and Indians, the services being better attended in consequence.

An interlude that can be most refreshing is a visit to the small Melanesian settlement a few miles from Labasa, where the old Solomons and their descendants worship in a pretty church they have built. It is kept very clean, the floor being covered with native mats, and for services the building is adorned with bowls of bright hibiscus. The services are taken in Fijian, into which language much of the Prayer Book and many of the hymns have been translated. In an island such as this the leading of worship, the giving of the Sacraments, and schoolmastering are not the only jobs of the priest, who has to give serious study to the problems brought about by superstitions attached to ancient religions. He must be ready to face the most acute disappointments, for the lot of the Indian Christian is not easy, and when lapses occur it is easy to despair. It is a testing-ground of a man's own faith, for those whom God has chosen to give His grace to the Islanders are but human.

[61] When opportunity offers, the priest is able to trek over the mountain ridge and reach the other side of the island at Natewa Bay and Savu Savu. It is not easy walking, for the soapstone is often slippery and always hard on the feet. Once over the ridge, the steep descent brings one to a place of hospitality and work. Here the people live in the banana and coconut groves which provide their living, or near the boat slips where smaller ships are built for the inter-island trade. Labasa has had its many vicissitudes, but the foundations have been well laid. In this post-war transition period much depends on a young and vigorous priest, the Rev. G. H. Strickland, in whose hands is the next stage of development.

[62] XIII


TONGA is a lovely place with a climate which is usually regarded as the best in the South Seas. It is certainly warm in summer, but in winter it is possible to grow European vegetables successfully. It is the only kingdom left in the Pacific, and is ruled by the charming Queen Salote, who has her palace at Nukualofa. She rules a series of pretty coral reefs under the protection of Great Britain.

The first missionaries were of the London Missionary Society, who arrived in 1797. Three of them were murdered during the course of a civil war, and the rest were withdrawn. The Wesleyan Missions began in 1882, but the missionary, the Rev. Walter Lawry, was withdrawn after only eighteen months' work. Six years later the Wesleyans returned, their task made easier by the fact that they had the patronage of the High Chief of Haabai, who afterwards became King George Tubou I. A most extraordinary man, Dr. Shirley Baker, led a secession from the Wesleyans with the object of forming an autonomous "Free Church." His strong personality soon gave him a dominating position in the group, so that he held all the ministerial portfolios, from Premier downwards. In the end he became such a centre of unrest that he was deported by [62/63] order of Sir John Thurston. It is difficult to assess his worth, for so many contrary opinions are to be found in the literature of the time. Basil Thomson has something to say of him in his Diversions of a Prime Minister, while Robert Louis Stevenson described him as "the only man who had lastingly impressed his mind on any nation in the South Seas."

At the close of the nineteenth century a ship casually calling brought another remarkable figure, Bishop Willis of Honolulu, who was on his way to the Lambeth Conference of 1897. Four Confirmation candidates, three British and one Hawaiian, were presented in the King's Chapel by the Rev. W. Horsfall, Principal of the Tongan College. Two years later Dr. Shirley Baker returned, hoping once again to lead the Free Church. In this he was thwarted, so he founded a body which he called "The Church of Victoria" (Queen Victoria), provided himself with translations of part of the Book of Common Prayer, and asked Bishop Willis to ordain him priest in the Anglican Church and to confirm candidates. The Bishop asked for further information, and this request annoyed Baker. From New Zealand he obtained a Lay Reader's Licence, the imposing Episcopal Seal giving the impression that he was fully accredited. He officiated at a wedding, which was afterwards declared invalid, for Dr. Baker had designated himself a "Minister of the Church of England." When the parties subsequently had to be remarried, there was some concern among Baker's [63/64] followers and they left him. At the end of that year they asked Bishop Willis to come and help them: this he did in June, 1902. By that time he had resigned from the See of Honolulu, but he felt that he had a right to exercise some spiritual authority. He has been described as "a scholar, a gentleman, agreeable socially, and of a forgiving disposition . . . fearless and stubborn for what he believed to be right, and made of the stuff of which martyrs are made, unbending in any cause he believed to be just." He arrived in Tonga to find that his advent was to cause some heartburning. The King, who had gladly received him before, was prevailed upon to refuse him land for a church. The young chief who acted as interpreter was warned that he must refuse his aid, but by this time the Bishop had less need of an interpreter. Ten years later the King and the Bishop were firm friends once more. With him had come a young Chinese, born in Hawaii, called Sang Mark. This man was destined to play a large part in carrying on the work. He was a man of many parts, for he seemed a jack-of-all-trades, able to lend a hand in all emergencies. He was eventually sent by the Bishop to the Divinity School at San Mateo, California, and on his return set up house with his new bride. He was ordained priest later in Auckland, New Zealand. Mr. Sam Broadfoot, of Australia, came on the staff as a lay reader, and was able to take over the running of the printing press connected with the Mission.

[65] A boarding and day school, St. Andrew's, was added before long, and has always had an honourable place in the educational system of Tonga. The buildings are now rather old and a great effort is being made to rebuild them.

One of the last things Bishop Willis did was to prepare for publication the New Testament in Tongan, together with the Old Testament as far as the Book of Jeremiah. In the spring of 1920 he went home, expecting to return, but in November of that year he died. The best memorial to him is the new church at Nukualofa, on the site of the old wooden church. The school is adjacent, the whole being impressive in the early morning when the Tongans, young and old, are gathered for worship. The Chinese gave liberally to the building of this Memorial Church, and the Tongans have now added an attractive stone wall.

The Rev. Sang Mark returned in 1928 to his native Honolulu, leaving behind him evidence of his mechanical mind in the shape of a motley collection of spare parts for cars. For a time the Rev. E. R. Elder was there, succeeded by the Rev. H. A. Favell, who retired after seventeen years' service. During the war it was impossible to repair either vicarage or school, and this is now the responsibility of the new Vicar, the Rev. Eric Webber, who was inducted in 1946. The Vicar is naturally responsible for the Europeans in the Group, often having as his leading churchman the British Consul, who has his residence in Nukualofa on [65/66] Tongabatu. Vavau has to be visited by steamer, necessitating a voyage of 180 miles across the open sea. The approach to Vavau is one of the most lovely sights in the South Seas, for hosts of small islands form a kind of fiord, in the waters of which everything is mirrored.

[67] XIV


IF the parson of Viti Levu West is to give to his parishioners a service once a month, he must travel about 1,000 miles. During the war years he had to be more than a chance visitor, for he had to rally isolated, war-weary folk, and to show them that a grim prospect does not last for ever.

Although the island is but ninety miles wide, there is a difference in climate which can best be appreciated by a flight over the island. On the side where Viti Levu West is built there are grasslands, but these give place to heavily wooded land on the Suva side, where the rainfall is greater. A narrow-gauge railway runs for 180 miles, and is owned by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, as are the miles and miles of cane fields. The staffs of the plantations are mainly Australian-picked men with a good educational background. The Government officials are usually drawn from England, though latterly recruitment has been extended to the Dominions. In the case of the younger officials, many of them saw service here during the war. They have returned to their posts with a real desire to work hard for the peoples and places they fought to protect. A new township section is now opening, while the new [67/68] business centre of Namoli is well provided with stores, most of them kept by Indians and Chinese.

The first Vicar was the Rev. Arnold Stackhouse, who had served in Canada and British Honduras. In his time roads were few, but now a road, 367 miles in length, encircles the island. In 1939 a church was planned in Lautoka on an excellent site belonging to the Company, who have always been most helpful. The outbreak of World War II made no difference, for the materials had been bought and the building had been ordered. The Hon. H. King Irving laid the foundation stone in 1939 and His Excellency Sir Harry Luke opened the church in February, 1940, at the same time as it was consecrated by Bishop Kempthorne. It is built of reinforced concrete, so designed that extensions may be added fairly simply. At present it is box-like and rather austere as seen from the outside, but the interior is furnished with local golden-coloured wood with blue carpeting. The church was used by American service chaplains, something which was certainly not contemplated when it was built. Within a short time the debt was cleared, and there was only one anxiety--that of the lease. The Company had granted a ninety-nine years' lease at a peppercorn rent, but when the building was to be consecrated it was seen that this lease was not long enough. The Company kindly granted a lease for a term of 999 years, thereby solving the problem in a generous way. The parish is not self-supporting, and is so [68/69] large as to be beyond the scope of one single-handed priest.

A typical parochial visitation was one taken in company with a young American fighter pilot, who was resting after an injury. We left on a Wednesday morning for Nunukaloa, eighty-four miles away, coming to the Ba River after twenty-four miles. This is spanned by a long bridge, which carried us into the main shopping centre--a miniature Indian town. Through the main street runs the Company's free train service, the open trucks being drawn by a little old-fashioned engine. We moved on with the sea on our left and some barren hills to our right. We passed through paddy fields as we made for Tavua and continued towards Penang sugar country. Continuing, we came to our destination on Vitu Levu Bay where, in a fine native house, we were entertained by the Hon. the Ratu Tiali Vuiyasawa, brother of Sir Lala Sukuna. We spent the night in the "Queen Victoria" school, with the headmaster as our host. It was here that we took part in a service in preparation for Holy Communion for a party of Solomon Island youths, who had been evacuated from Guadalcanal and had been taken back by the Americans as guides and interpreters. We had reached the limit of the parish and began our return journey, calling in at plantations on the way. At Rakiraki we turned into the Penang Mill, where we had two services, one at night, the other in the morning. After calling at Yagara cattle station we left the main road, [69/70] climbing some 2,500 feet to the hill station of Nadarivatu. We climbed a further 500 feet in seven miles, reaching the Navaii Timber Milling Settlement, which lies beneath Mount Victoria. Returning to Nadarivatu for the night, we came again to the coast on the following morning, leaving the main road and turning into the Tavua Gold Mines, where the American pilot found a compatriot in the general manager. On Sunday morning a service was held in the cinema, which had first to be cleaned of the previous night's litter before a portable altar could be erected. In the afternoon we returned to Ba and had an evening service in the Company's club. Prior to 1931 there was a small chapel here, but in March of that year a hurricane not only destroyed the building but caused 140 deaths in Ba itself. Land has been given on which a new chapel can be built: only funds are now required for the completion of this project. By 10.30 on Sunday night we were back in the Vicarage at Lautoka, having visited but one section of this huge parish. In the other direction lies Sigatoka, to which we went soon afterwards. As we climbed the hills above the sea flats the view brought back memories of the time when a mighty armada of battleships, battle cruisers, and aircraft carriers gathered here in readiness for the invader. The road swings round the coast past the end of the historic range, giving a panorama of the valley of the Sabeto (Sambeto) River. Along a branch road is the site of a former 1,000-bedded American hospital, where [70/71] casualties from Guadalcanal were treated. We moved on to Nadi, at one time an important air station for military purposes; now it is an important link in the Pacific chain of air communications.

There was a time when all this area was the scene of great activity. The New Zealanders came first, though they were poorly equipped. Nevertheless, they had air and artillery support, and their actions here were a fitting prelude to the glory they later won at El Alamein. Later, the 251st (American Coastal Artillery) moved in, to be followed by the 37th (Ohio National Guard) Division under General Beitler. Later still an American Division, under General Hodge, took over. Many of the men had already seen action, but they came here to train in tropical warfare, and they used their training to good purpose in Manila. Here, too, were stationed the 70th Bombers and other units of the A.A.F. commanded by General Usher.

Here in Nadi township our services are held in the Company's hall, and although numbers fluctuate we are seldom completely disappointed. As we leave Nadi and start to climb along sparse grassy ridges we get a fine view of the sea to our right, while to the left fold after fold of hills change colour with the advancing day. Quite suddenly we get a view of Cuvu (Thuvu), another sugar centre, and we know that another seven miles will see us in Sigatoka. Here services are held at night, and then in the pleasant early morning in a great Fijian bure (a native house), whose two [71/72] king-posts must have taken a host to manhandle from the mountains. The bure is so old that there is little doubt that its posts were once set with the human sacrifices that were the custom of the time. Here we offer the One Great Sacrifice for all men. Land has been bought for a church, and we look forward to the day when a church can be set up to serve the scattered community.

Visiting takes us another forty miles along the coast, and we visit a settlement peopled by retired business folk. Many have holiday homes here, too, for it is a pleasant place and the bathing is good.

Parochial visitation is always a happy experience, though there is a feeling of dissatisfaction, too, for everything has to be skimped. It is an interesting parish--its very diversity makes it so--and when the time comes to divide it there will be heavy hearts. Nevertheless, sentimentality cannot have sway when efficiency is at stake, and something will have to be done in the near future.

[73] XV


THROUGH the device of man, Samoa is the "last place on earth" owing to the position of the date line. It was a thrill in my Levuka days to feel that at midnight on Christmas Eve we were leading the chain of worship that "threw a girdle round the world" in twenty-four hours. In Samoa one can hear, on Saturday, the broadcast of Sunday Evensong from Suva.

At one time Samoa was divided between three kings. They are still there, but the group has dwindled into two nations--American and New Zealand--with a great gap in between. It is hard for relations to visit each other, for no one may pass from one kingdom to another without complying with strict formalities. There are other differences as well. America found that prohibition just would not work and so parted with the Volstead Act, so that in American Samoa there is no prohibition. On the other hand, in Western (New Zealand) Samoa is to be found one of the few places under the British flag where prohibition is the law. Even so, beer is used "for medicinal purposes" in Western Samoa! Unfortunately, the war in the Pacific brought with it the evils attendant on illicit distilling of spirits from local fruits, some of it very potent. This has now considerably diminished since the end of the war.

[74] Samoa is a group of islands comparatively small in area, but it has been so embroiled in International politics that it has always been given a prominence which outweighs its real importance. The first Europeans to come there were British, American, and German, and warships were constantly on the alert so that the rights of their respective nationals might be protected in the event of any trouble. As the British did not seem to be particularly interested, the group was divided between the Americans and the Germans. The Americans took the eastern portion and formed here the splendid Pago Pago naval base, while the Germans took the rich agricultural lands in the west, with their centre in Apia on Upolu. German Western Samoa reverted to Great Britain during the First World War, later was under the mandate of the League of Nations, and is now under Trusteeship.

The first European missionaries were of the London Missionary Society, who found some Christians already there who claimed an association with the Methodists in Tonga. For a time these threw in their lot with the L.M.S., but later asked for their Methodist organisation to be restored to them. This was done, and the beginnings of Methodism here date from about 1828 with L.M.S. organisation coming about two years afterwards. The Marist Fathers came in 1845 and met with great success. Very much later, the Mormons and the Seventh Day Adventists arrived and are fairly active today.

[75] Religion plays a large part in the life of the people, though critics sometimes say that "there is plenty of religion and not so much morality." It is rather the religion of England a few centuries ago, when everything revolved round the village church and the village inn. Certainly it has produced some extremely fine native Christians, which seems to be the crucial test. Unfortunately, in Samoa one single church in a village is rare: usually there are three or four. Apart from its unofficial connection with the founding of the L.M.S., the Anglican Church had only a vague interest in Samoa and our people were greatly neglected. Chaplains from British warships and chance visits from Bishops kept a flickering light burning, and families patiently awaited for services often for as long as four or five years.

In 1886 Bishop Suter of Nelson came to Samoa from the Province of New Zealand to find out what was being done. He reported that there was a "clearly defined sphere for a clergyman of our Church." It was not until 1932 that this report was implemented. Bishop Willis paid two visits--one when he was Bishop of Honolulu and the other from Tonga. The old baptismal records are interesting. One name that must always be revered is that of the British Consul, Mr. (afterwards Sir) T. B. Cusack Smith, who held services in his private chapel, sought out the unbaptised, and prepared candidates for Confirmation. One of his candidates was Mary Hamilton, who earned fame by [75/76] boxing the ears of a belligerent who carried warfare into her backyard. She is mentioned in Stevenson's Footnotes to History.

Cusack Smith hoped that a regular chaplain would be appointed after Bishop Suter's visit, but when the years passed and nothing was done, he led a body of representative churchmen to the L.M.S. In association with them, a chapel was built on the beach for Europeans, with the proviso that it should be available for use by any visiting bishop and by the chaplain whenever he was appointed. In 1932 Bishop Kempthorne considered that the time was right for the appointment of a chaplain, though this did not prove satisfactory to the L.M.S. In consequence, our people wandered about from place to place holding services first of all in the local cinema and then transferring to the chapel of the Seventh Day Adventists. Their pastor misunderstood Anglican ways, so our people had to seek a building elsewhere. Eventually a bungalow was secured and was turned into a cruciform chapel with seating accommodation for seventy. The chaplain had his cramped quarters on the veranda, while an old annexe served for a kitchen. These arrangements were meant to serve temporarily, but have had to remain since 1936. The humidity of the wet season turns the veranda into a confining cage, and the frequent earth tremors which play around Vaea Hill make the annexe even more precarious than it would be normally.

The Rev. W. E. Moren arrived, and with youthful [76/77] zeal laid splendid foundations, becoming a sick man in the process. He also left, as a temporary place of worship, a hall, which has also been a boon in this island of light-hearted gaiety.

Our immediate necessity is a stone church, and the whole project has been discussed in Committee. After preparations had been made for the launching of an appeal for funds, a visit to the hilltop tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson led to the proposal that the foundation stone should be laid on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of "Tusitala," an event the world was forgetting in the tumult of total war. On December 3, 1944, His Excellency the Hon. Alfred Turnbull laid the stone, and a gracious speech was made by the High Chief, the Hon. Mataafa Fautua, in praise of "Tusitala," beloved of the Samoans. Money is still insufficient, but it is hoped that before long a permanent building, under the patronage of St. Andrew, will arise. Some idea of the vista will be gained by reading the Intimate Portrait of R. L. S., which gives an account of the funeral which took place so near to the site of the church. "What fabric of men's hands could vie with so sublime a solitude? The sea in front, the primæval forest behind, crags, precipices, the distant cataracts gleaming in an untrodden wilderness. The words of the Church of England service, movingly delivered, broke the silence in which we stood. The coffin was lowered."

We recall to mind the words of Stevenson's Requiem:

[78] Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will;
This be the verse you grave for me:
"Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill."

And it was so.

With these words of a lover of the South Seas ringing in our ears, we leave this vast Diocese of Polynesia with its tremendous opportunities, its absorbing interest, its loneliness, and its joys. Any priest who comes to the diocese is assured of all these things as he ministers to the few in simple conditions. The life is neither easy nor spectacular, yet this matters not to those whose hope is set on the words of Christ: "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

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