Project Canterbury

The Story of the Melanesian Mission

No place: The Melanesian Mission, 1926.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2009

ALMIGHTY GOD, for Whom the Isles, do wait. Send down Thy Blessing on the Melanesian Mission: the Bishop: the Assistant Bishop: the Missionary Clergy: the Native Clergy and Teachers: the Nurses and all Workers: the Officers and Crew of the "Southern Cross," and all who are or have been taught in the Schools. Comfort them, O Lord, in every sorrow: protect them in every danger: strengthen them in every temptation: give them such sure trust and confidence in Thee that they may serve Thee without fear. O Lord of the Harvest, send forth labourers into Thine Harvest. Guide by Thy Holy Spirit those who are fitted for the work, that they may willingly offer themselves to serve Thee, and by Thee be enabled to set forth Thy glory: through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.


"Those who who bring SUNSHINE to the lives of OTHERS cannot keep it from themselves"--J. M. Barrie.

[1 The Story of the Melanesian Mission

Native Method of Catching Rainwater from Trees

[2] The Artificial Islands

THE ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS (which form the subject of the illustration on our cover) are a specially interesting feature of Mala or Malaita--one of the largest of the Solomon Islands group. The coral reef off the north east coast of Mala forms a large lagoon, which is dotted about here and there with many small islands--artificial islands of refuge.

Between the shore people and those who dwelt in the bush there was seldom peace, and for the former life was never safe; they lived in a state of perpetual fear of attack from those living in the bush or inland. The natural advantages were all on the side of the bush people, who had practically unlimited cover and could retreat to safety and from there defend themselves.

The shore people had a strong friend and ally in the sea and so made for themselves these little islands by taking rocks and stones from the land, and blocks of coral from the reefs, and these they flung in large quantities into the shallow water until they rose above the surface. Gaps were filled up with refuse, etc., and a rough cement of crushed shells, coral and sand. Thus they found comparative safety from their enemies in the bush country.

These small islands vary in size from about three-quarters of an acre to a small one not larger than one-eighth of an acre. Some three hundred people lived on the larger ones, together with numerous pigs, fowls, etc., while the smallest contained two or three houses only.

Graceful palms and trees of many kinds grow wherever they can find even a small space, and the general effect is wonderfully beautiful and striking.

[3] A Message from the
Bishop of Melanesia

FOR more than three-quarters of a century the Melanesian Mission has been trying to fulfil the duty entrusted to it by the New Zealand Church, of building up a Christian civilisation among the Islanders of the South-West Pacific.

"Empire Building"!

There is a thrill in the very words! And, in truth, that is the great work which for so many years we have been doing our best to carry on.

For, in building the Empire of Christ, we of the British race are, consciously or unconsciously, welding the scattered races into one--one united force--bound to the British Empire by the only unbreakable, three-fold cord, of Love, gratitude, and faith.

This book is issued with the hope that it may serve to bring home to many the romance, glory, and great hopes of the work in Melanesia.

In that hope we send it out, and pray that it may effect its purpose and be a first step towards sounding in your ears the call of God, "Come over and help us."



Mission Ship Southern Cross,
S.S. Philip and S. James' Day.

The Present Bishop of Melanesia,
John Manwaring Steward.

[4] The Home Base





The Rt. Hon. and Most Rev. The Lord Archbishop of York.
The Most Rev. Archbishop Julius.
The Rt. Revs. The Lords Bishops of London, Edinburgh and Salisbury, Bishop Montgomery, and Bishop Wallis.
Rev. C. A. Alington, Headmaster of Eton College.
Leslie Wilson, Esq., Birchin Lane, E.C.
H. Goschen, Esq., Penshurst, Kent.
Rev. Canon Bickersteth, D.D., Canterbury.
C. M. Woodford, Esq., C.M.G., Bramley, Steyning, Sussex.
Sir E. Bickham Escott, K.C.M.G., Taunton.
Mrs. J. R. Selwyn, Bournemouth.

Executive Committee:

Chairman--The Rt. Rev. The Lord Bishop of Rochester.

The Rt. Rev. The Lord Bishop of Derby.
Rev. Canon Penny, Lichfield.
J. Edge-Partington, Esq., Beaconsfield.
Rev. The Hon. E. Lyttelton.
Rev. Canon Browning (Commissary for the Bishop of Melanesia).
Rev. R. M. Faithfull Davies, Reigate.
The Rt. Rev. The Lord Bishop of Southwark.
Rev. A. C. E. Jarvis, D.D., C.M.G., M.C., Chaplain-General to the Forces.
Rev. R. Clayton, S. Dunstan's Vicarage, Liverpool.
Captain Wm. Sinker, Hoe Place, Woking.
Admiral Sir Wilmot H. Fawkes, G.C.B., K.C.V.O., Tunbridge Wells.
Rev. F. B. Gunnery, Wath-on-Dearne.
Rev. F. N. Harvey, Fawley, Hants.
Rev. C. C. Harper, Ford, Berwick.
Rev. W. C. O'Ferrall, Infield, Uckfield.
Rev. R. H. L. James, Watford, Herts.
The Rev. A. I. Hopkins.
S. Fitch, Esq., High Wycombe.

Ex-Officio Members of the above Executive Committee:

Hon. Treasurer--The Rev. C. Hamerton Gould. Address: The Treasurer, Melanesian Mission, Church House, Westminster, S.W. 1.

Organizing Secretary--Rev. A. E. Corner, Eversley, Milner Road, Bournemouth (Commissary for the Bishop of Melanesia).

Deputation Secretary--Rev. E. Mort, Broomsfields, Frensham, Surrey.

Hon. Sec. for Scholars and Island Stations--Miss F. E. Coombe, Villa Marina, Worthing.

Secretary of Oxford University--Rev. F. W. Green, Merton College, Oxford.

Secretary of Cambridge University--Rev. H. E. Wynn, Pembroke College.

Secretary of the Eton Association--Mrs. Chute, The College, Eton.

Hon. Secretary for Women's Work:

Mrs. J. R. Selwyn, Marrington, Branksome Park, Bournemouth.

Melanesian Mission Trust (England) Limited.


Admiral Sir Wilmot H. Fawkes, G.C.B., K.C.V.O.
Rev. C. Hamerton Gould (Hon. Treasurer).
Sidney Fitch, Esq.

Travelling Secretary:

Rev. F. L. Uppleby, 11 Frederica Road, Bournemouth.

Office Secretary:

Mr. B. Lanham, Melanesian Mission, Church House, Westminster, London, S.W. 1 (Telephone--Victoria 3975).

Subscriptions, Donations. etc.

For all funds to the Treasurer (address above). Cheques should be made payable to "The Treasurer, Melanesian Mission," and crossed Westminster Bank, Ltd., Southampton.

[5] The Home Base


Commissary for New Zealand:


The Melanesian Mission Finance Board



General Secretary: Major H. S. N. Robinson.


Cable Address: "Melanesia," Auckland.

Telephone 41-731.

All Correspondence should be addressed to THE SECRETARY, Melanesian Mission, Auckland.

NOTE.--The M.M.F. Board operates as the Central Committee of Management of the Mission affairs outside the bounds of the Diocese of Melanesia. Its members comprise representatives appointed by The Bishop of Melanesia, by the General Synod of the Province (which thereby shows its recognition of the solemn pledges given in time past to the support of Melanesia by the Church of the Province of N.Z.), and by the N.Z. Anglican Board of Missions (the body through which the Church of the Province co-ordinates).

The Melanesian Mission Trust Board



Bishop's Commissary.

NOTE.--The M.M.T. Board is a body, appointed under statute of the General Synod of the Province of N.Z., by the Auckland Diocesan Synod, for the management and development of all lands and other properties owned by the Melanesian Mission in New Zealand and Melanesia. This Board is in no way concerned with the actual management of the affairs of the Mission.


Drawn approximately to scale. Melanesian Mission Islands shown in black.

[7] Melanesian Bishops

[8] Introduction

BY way of introduction we cannot do better than offer to the earnest consideration of our readers the following stirring extracts from a speech by the ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, delivered at the Church House, on June 15th, 1921:--

"The first great feature of the whole work of the Melanesian Mission is that it throws us back on first principles and brings us back to the time of St. Paul and St. Barnabas going out among the people in the mountains of Asia Minor or other countries in the earliest days. Those characteristics still obtain, and it brings us back, as soon as we look at these details, to thoughts of the principles that should guide us all and which were in the minds of those of whom the Bible and the earliest Church history tell.

"Another great feature which, I think, is outstanding in the Melanesian Mission, is that it is a most splendid object lesson of the existence in our own time and among our own contemporaries of great men standing for Christ, men to whom a great trust has been given and who have proved themselves not unworthy to discharge it. The self-offering, devotion and capacity of the first leaders who took this matter in hand is something that bids us all be of good courage. We remember that there are great men for Christ alive in the world in our own contemporaries. The work of Bishops Selwyn and Patteson brings us straight back in thought to the kind of work performed by St. Columba, or of Ansgar, or of St. Francis Xavier, and all kinds of people whose names are familiar as great missionaries of the world. Nobody who tries to look at the matter fully will place your men in an inferior position to the great missionaries of former days. Bishop Selwyn combined the characteristics of more than one of those great pioneers in Northern Europe of thirteen centuries ago. St. Augustine, for instance. His visit to England reads curiously like--if you take Bede's account of his visit to Kent--the letters of Bishop Selwyn recounting his landing in New Zealand and the beginning of what he did there, or the account of what he first thought and said when he was in touch with the Melanesian Islands. You will see how curiously alike are the characteristics of the two far distant territories and the characteristics of the two men. Bishop Selwyn combined other characteristics which belonged to great pioneers and missionaries in our own earliest days which perhaps St. Augustine did not possess. I have always compared him in my own mind, with regard to his New Zealand work, with the great Archbishop Theodore in the way he planned as a statesman and admitted new ideas of how in years to come changed conditions would arise, and saw that preparations must be made for complete change in surroundings and circumstances. He set himself to do that as Archbishop Theodore did in the early days of his pioneer work in our own land.

Graciosa Bay, from Manu, Santa Cruz.

"In 1871 came the tragedy of Bishop Patteson laying down his life, and we know what grew out of that. I doubt if any incident in the last hundred years of work, whether at home or abroad, in any part of the Church of Christ, has so stirred the consciences of Christians as to what missionary work meant, as [8/10] the murder of Bishop Patteson. It made people think what it was all for, whether it was worth while, what were the sacrifices which had been made, what had led up to them; and then came his own messages and thoughts about it, translated into words as to how it was not to be by punishment, but by bringing them to Christ that a real revenge (if you may call it so) was to be made for his death--revenge of the finest and noblest kind, bringing good into the place where evil had arisen. That question stands out in the history of the last hundred years of the story of mission life as something that matters to the whole Church. It made people think. It forced them back to fundamental principles and started a new notion of the grandeur of the work and the possibilities involved, and brought about a new resolve that those possibilities should be made into realities of accomplishment. It is with us to-day, fifty years afterwards. The new difficulties that Bishop Selwyn's prescience foresaw are with us now as well as the work that those two great men took in hand, and we have had the splendid service since of another Selwyn and of Bishop Cecil Wilson, whose names will live as the names of Selwyn and Patteson themselves. Now a man whose name is not a new one to the episcopate has taken up the work which Bishop Wood through ill-health was compelled to lay down, and we want to hearten him with the thought that we know and care about the great traditions he inherits, and that we believe he will carry that work on, and that we will take care that the thing shall not languish for lack of funds at a time when it would be discreditable to us all. The devotion these great men have shown is worth dwelling upon at a time like this. It throws us back on first principles and cheers us with the thought of the greatness of our own time and the opportunities of the leaders, the great men of to-day, to overcome for Christ and to bring light in where darkness was before. We resolve not to let that work languish, but to strengthen in every possible way the hands of those who, on a larger scale than ever before, will undertake the bringing of those islands of the sea to the allegiance of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

Vureas Bay, Vanua Lava.

[11] Where and What is Melanesia?

MELANESIA, "the islands of the black people," is a name given to a succession of groups of islands beginning with the New Hebrides in the south and extending to the neighbourhood of New Guinea, from about 14 degrees to 7 degrees S. latitude, following the trend of the north-eastern coast of the Australian Continent at a distance of about one thousand miles from it. The missionary diocese of Melanesia in its present development comprises three islands of the New Hebrides, the Banks, Torres, Santa Cruz, and Reef Island Groups, and the Solomon Islands as far to the north-west as Choiseul, but a further development to include Bougainsville and New Britain is under consideration. The possibility of such advance into unoccupied territories depends almost entirely upon the support vouchsafed by the Home Churches of England, Australia and New Zealand.

What are Melanesians like?

The Melanesian islands are mostly volcanic, girt by coral reefs, except the Reef islands, which are coral reefs pure and simple, on which vegetation and soil have accumulated. They vary in size from one hundred and twenty miles in length to the smallest dimensions. Groves of cocoanut grow near the beach; the interior is generally a tangle of luxuriant tropical vegetation. Between the shore and the higher ground are often dark swamps overgrown with mangroves, in which the poisonous malarial mosquito is generated. There are scarcely any indigenous wild animals, but parrots--green, blue, red, and yellow--abound, and in the Solomon Islands vast flocks of white cockatoos are noisily in evidence. In the Solomon Islands also the swamps and mouths of streams are infested by crocodiles.

The Melanesians are not black, but bronze, their complexions varying much; many of them being of a very light tint. Their features also vary very much, and there is no doubt that they are a very mixed race. They have a very strong belief in an unseen world. The existence of legions of spirits, in earth, air and water, is to them very real. Some of these spirits are those of departed human beings, others have always been spirits. The chief feeling towards the spiritual world is one of fear. Every sickness or accident is attributed to magic; and a man who is supposed to have power with the spirits can obtain wealth and influence. There is a word, mana, found in almost every Melanesian language, signifying "spiritual power." It is supposed to reside not only in certain men, but in various inanimate objects, such as stones of unusual size or shape, and it is regarded as the most valuable of possessions.

Revenge is a very strong passion among the heathen natives, and it takes the place of a moral duty. Any wrong done to a member of a family, village, or tribe, must be revenged. Thus it was, not many years ago, a common thing to find neighbouring [11/12] villages engaged in continual warfare with rare intervals of truce, to satisfy the demand of "a life for a life" according to the native idea of justice. Such villages sometimes do not even understand one another's language, from never having had any friendly intercourse within any time remembered. Most of the outrages committed on white men (including the murder of Bishop Patteson and his companions) have been acts of revenge for previous misdeeds of white men, though the blow has seldom fallen on the original offender.

Another very unlovely feature of heathen life is infanticide. The practice has not been equally prevalent everywhere; but in many parts a large proportion of the children are made away with soon after birth, mainly from superstitious motives acting upon the minds of mothers who, amid the hard conditions of their lives, are but too willing to be spared the added trouble of nursing a child. One of the most noticeable features of a Christian village is the abundance of children.

Cannibalism hardly now exists in any part of Melanesia among the heathen; speaking generally, it was practised in the south and in the north, the New Hebrides, and the Solomon Islands, and has never been practised in the middle regions, the Banks, Torres, and Santa Cruz Groups. It is impossible to say why some Melanesian races are cannibal and others not. The island of Mala, notorious for cannibalism, produces some of the staunchest Christians under the influence of the Gospel.

The cessation of feuds and bloodshed which has taken place wherever a Christian school has been planted impresses even the heathen, who often speak of Christianity as "The Law of Peace."

How the Melanesian Mission began.

The beginning of the Melanesian Mission dates from 1849, when George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, visited the islands in his little schooner the Undine, of 22 tons, and had five native boys entrusted to him, whom he brought back to train in his school at Auckland. Bishop Selwyn started on the principle of making the natives, after they had been trained by him in Christian truths and baptised and confirmed, missionaries to their own people, with the help and supervision of English missionary clergymen. "The white corks were to float the black net," according to the Bishop's saying. This principle has been followed ever since, with the result that Christianity has been an indigenous growth, entwining itself with the life of the people. It has never been the aim of the Melanesian Mission to make natives copy European civilisation in dress and mode of life, which are unsuited to them; but to give them with Christianity the power of true progress, while allowing them to retain everything in the native life that is not inconsistent with their Christian profession.

The Martyr Bishop.

Bishop Selwyn, after a visit to England, brought out with him in 1855 John Coleridge Patteson, a young clergyman, son of Sir John Patteson, a judge, and an old friend of the Bishop. At the same time the first Southern Cross, a schooner of 70 tons, was built and sent out to New Zealand. John Coleridge Patteson was consecrated first Bishop of Melanesia in 1861. His sympathy with the natives and power of acquiring their language were never equalled by any other white man. In 1867 he transferred the headquarters of the Mission from New Zealand to Norfolk Island, which was nearer by six hundred miles to the Melanesian Islands, and which combined the advantages of a climate warm enough to suit the children of the Tropics, and healthy enough for the families of English Missionaries. Here the training school of native clergy and teachers has flourished until, in 1920, a further step forward was taken and the centre of the Mission and the Bishop's home were successfully transplanted to the Solomon Islands, in the very heart of the Diocese.

Church at Lavusi Raga: Native Work by Simeon Lanlanmele, Deacon.

[14] Bishop Patteson, as is well known, was killed by a blow from a club, on the little island of Nukapu, Santa Cruz Group, on September 20th, 1871. This was an act of revenge, esteemed justice by the natives, for the kidnapping of five native boys by labour-traders, who in those days were practically slave-traders. At the same time a white missionary, the Rev. Joseph Atkin, and a native boy, Stephen Taroaniara, were mortally wounded with arrows, and died afterwards of tetanus.

Bishop John Selwyn.

Into the breach made by Bishop Patteson's murder, stepped John Richardson Selwyn, the heroic son of a noble father, who went forth at the bidding of Bishop Selwyn, then Bishop of Lichfield, and after a few years' service was consecrated second Bishop of Melanesia in 1877. Space does not allow us here to tell of the labours of his fifteen years' episcopate, during which the Mission ever advanced, until, worn out by the effects of climate, toil, and hardships, Bishop John Selwyn, after a terrible illness, was compelled to resign his post, and spend the last five years of his life a cripple in England.

Bishop Cecil Wilson

Succeeded Bishop John Selwyn in 1894, and after seventeen years' episcopate, marked by a very great extension of the Mission influence, and a great advance towards the firm establishment of a Melanesian Church, resigned in 1911, and was succeeded in 1912 by

Bishop Cecil John Wood

Whose episcopate, lasting till 1919, was marked by the establishment of a Training College for Native Clergy in the Solomon Islands and the decision to remove the headquarters from Norfolk Island to the Solomons, where, under his successor, a strong centre has been founded at Siota, in the Island of Florida.

The Mission at the Present Day.

The work left by Cecil John Wood has been carried forward by his successor, the present Bishop, John Manwaring Steward, consecrated in 1919. Its progress is testified to by the fact that the Report shows 324 schools, 643 native teachers (male and female), and 27 native clergymen. Starting from the little Undine, each successive ship owned by the Mission has been larger than the one before, to cope with increased needs, the present Southern Cross, the fifth of her name, being a full-powered steamer of 400 tons. The growth of the work has at the same time greatly increased both the need of workers and the expense of working.

In the early days of the Melanesian Mission, during the episcopates of Bishops Patteson and J. R. Selwyn, the administration of the internal affairs of Melanesia may best be described as "paternal." The Staff was numerically small, and met annually at Norfolk Island during the Island hurricane season but, as the members of the Mission Staff increased, and men and women began more and more to reside in the Islands, these "Staff Meetings" at Norfolk Island became gradually restricted to those of the Staff who were stationed at Norfolk Island, with the addition of one or two of the Island Staff who happened to be recuperating at Norfolk Island during the time that the Bishop was in residence there.

Then there arose among the members of the Staff who lived in the Islands a feeling that they were becoming less and less represented in the councils of the Mission, and more and more did the Bishop, unconsciously and unwillingly, find himself growing into an absolutely autocratic position. Compelled to make [14/15] important decisions without unnecessary delay, unable to consult his Staff collectively, bit by bit every question, great or small, became a matter for the Bishop to decide alone.--This position was not only quite foreign to the early ideals of Bishops Patteson and Selwyn, but also brought such a burden of detailed business upon the shoulders of the Bishop that no man could bear it.

Bishop Wilson recognised this fact, and first of all succeeded in relieving himself of the administration of the external affairs of the Mission by appointing committees in Auckland and Sydney. Finally, in 1911, he summoned the first official Conference of Missionaries at Bunana. A most pleasant and profitable time was spent there by all who were able to attend, but the Staff were unaccustomed to such a conference, with the result that too much was attempted and a very large number of resolutions were passed, which, alas, were--as time went on--"more honoured in the breach than in the observance."

One feature calls for special mention, and that is: that from the very first the opinions of the Native Clergy were sought. For many reasons it was impossible to include them in those summoned to Bunana, but as soon as possible after the close of the Conference a meeting of Native Clergy and Catechists was held under the presidency of Archdeacon Uthwatt, to discuss matters brought before the Conference, and other things especially concerning the natives.

Bishop Wood followed in his predecessor's footsteps; and very soon after his arrival called the Second Conference, which was held at Maravovo. As time passed there arose among the priests of the Staff a desire for a more formal association in the work of the Diocese, and at the Third Conference, also held at Maravovo, it was decided to ask that a Synod might be constituted. The resignation of Bishop Wood prevented more than the passing of a resolution expressing this desire. It was left for the present Bishop to have the honour of constituting, at Siota, in November, 1921, the Sacred Synod of the Missionary Diocese of Melanesia.

To those who only know the Mission's history during the past few years, this may seem like an innovation. We had grown so used to the idea of an autocratic Episcopacy, an unaided monarchy, that the admission of the priests of the Diocese into the formal councils of the Diocese seemed to some as an abdication, a yielding to the "modern democratic ideas," but those few of the Staff who clung to ancient Tory ways of thinking, rejoiced in the feeling that this step was not only a nearer approximation to the ideas of Patteson and "Bishop John," but also brought the Diocese into line with the Church of the Persecution when St. Ignatius wrote: "Do not ye anything without the Bishops and the Presbyters."

The Southern Cross at Santa Cruz.

[16] The Islands.

We will briefly review the position of the Mission in the successive groups of islands.

Beginning from the south, a great advance of Christianity has taken place recently in most parts of the three islands of the New Hebrides where the Mission is at work--Raga, Maewo, and Opa. Heathenism has still most hold in the last, and here, on October 16, 1906, the Rev. C. C. Godden was murdered by a heathen who had been a labourer in Queensland. This sad event indicates no opposition on the part of the people to Christianity. The man conceived that he had a grievance to avenge on white men as a body, and was perhaps insane. The heathen were almost as sorry for the outrage as the Christians. Indeed, the strength of the heathen indignation at the murder is shewn by their request that the murderer might be handed over to them to be burnt alive! The ladies' work recently started on Raga is most helpful.

In the Banks Group generally, Christianity has become--outwardly, at least--dominant, though it cannot be said that heathenism is wholly extinct. These islands, especially Motalava and Meralava, have furnished some of the best native missionaries for pioneer work in other groups. The danger is now not an open enemy, but the falling away from the first love, which is almost inevitable when the actual evils of heathenism have been forgotten.

The small Torres Group still suffers from the absence of a white missionary, owing to the dearth of men. It is to be feared that there has been considerable falling back, and that some time will be necessary to recover lost ground.

In the Santa Cruz Group the Mission has had peculiar difficulties to contend with, and we wait yet to see the blood of the martyrs bring forth a plenteous harvest on the ground watered by it. There are, however, more hopeful signs now than at any past time; and the fact that a missionary can now go about anywhere among these turbulent islands in safety is in itself a great advance.

The Port of Vanikolo.

The recent opening of Vanikolo, where a large timber-cutting industry is now established, has made this part of Melanesia far more accessible. There is a regular steamer from Sydney via the New Hebrides, about one in five weeks, and a smaller boat from Tulagi links up the group with the Solomon Islands.

Coming to the Solomon Islands, it may be said that, generally speaking, the smaller islands have now been Christianised, but that the larger ones present much greater difficulties. One cause of this is that the coast populations and those of the interior were till very recently in a state of chronic hostility. Ulawa and much of the southern part of Mala have been evangelised by the noble labours of such men as Clement Marau and Joseph Wate. Great advances have been made in the northern part of Mala, an island with a most sinister reputation for cannibalism and bloodshed. But here we are confronted with a new difficulty, unknown in the earlier days of the Mission, and arising out of our unhappy divisions. Other religious bodies propose to occupy the ground which our Church has been so tardy in providing sufficient men; and if the native mind is confused by the spectacle of a divided Christianity, the blame for this belongs mainly to our own lack of evangelising zeal.

In San Cristoval excellent pioneering work has been done during recent years, both by English and native workers; schools have increased, and the altered habits of the people witness to the power of the Gospel. To-day very few villages in San Cristoval are still heathen; practically all are either Melanesian, Roman, or S.S. Evangelical Mission schools.

Lamalana Raga, before the Hurricane, November, 1923.

The Church at Nerinignam, Banks Islands.

Guadalcanar, until lately quite heathen, is now being evangelised, and a network of schools is being formed there by the labours of native teachers, many of them volunteers from other islands. Guadalcanar owes the beginning of its Christianity, under Providence, to two of its sons who were carried off in a head-hunting raid as children to the neighbouring island of Ysabel, and afterwards educated at Norfolk Island.

By their own wish, they returned as evangelists to their native island. There, amid hardships and persecutions, they sowed the seed which has since grown. A white missionary and a devoted band of native teachers succeeded to their labours. Through manifold perils and dangers they fostered the growth of the faith which the two first pioneers, Hugo Gorovaka and George Basilei, had planted. Nearly 100 miles of the western coast-line are now studded by Christian Schools, and two Native Priests are in charge of the district.

Maravovo, in the Island of Guadalcanar, for some time the home of the Training College and the Welchman Memorial Hospital, is now the Headquarters of our Industrial work, with the Mission Press and a plantation, and a small Industrial School for Natives, part of a large boys' school.

Florida is now entirely Christian with Native Clergy and [18/19] Teachers, and the centre of the Mission work is at Siota, on the site of the boys' school once flourishing under Archdeacon Comins, Dr. Welchman, and Rev. R. P. Wilson. Here is established the Training College for Ordinands and Teachers.

The evangelisation of Ysabel and the building up of the Church there would form a story of the deepest interest, associated especially with two names: Soga, the chief of Bugotu, and Henry Welchman. Soga was a famous warrior and head-hunter in his earlier days. He was converted to Christianity; the timely administration of a dose of medicine by Bishop John Selwyn, which cured him of an illness that defied the magicians, having much to do with his conversion. Baptised and Confirmed, he became a very thorough Christian, governing his people well, and being a bulwark of the Church in his native island. He died in 1899. Henry Welchman was a medical man, who gave up his practice at Lichfield to join the Mission, where he at first worked as a layman, and afterwards was ordained deacon and priest. He was the first white Missionary who took a wife to the islands; but Mrs. Welchman died at Siota, Florida, within a few months of her arrival there, in 1897. Dr. Welchman carried on the Central School at Siota for some time, and also Missionary work in Ysabel, which he saw transformed from a wild head-hunting island into a country mainly Christian, with a well-organised Church. He established his headquarters at Mara-na-Tambu, or All Saints, and used to gather his teachers there for instruction and devotional meetings. At last, worn out by toil and hardships, he died in "harness" at a bush village, where he was taken ill on a journey, with his teachers round him, on November 12, 1908. He rests from his labours, and his works do follow him. No head-hunting raid has now occurred in the north-west Solomons for several years, and it is hoped that the islands which have been the head-hunters' strongholds will before long be won for Christ. Also in harness at Mara-na-Tambu died two more white Priests, who carried on the Welchman traditions--Andrews and Sprott. Lately there has been a great development in Church building on native lines throughout Bugotu. Mrs. Sprott, with the help of a nurse, keeps open as a centre the station at Mara-na-Tambu. Two native Priests and three native Deacons are doing fine work in their respective spheres.

Central Schools.

The need for a larger supply of native teachers is now being met by the establishment of Central Schools in various groups, which can send their most promising boys to Siota, and train others for the work of teaching on the spot. A Central School for the Solomon Islands has been opened at Pamua, San Cristoval, and another on the Island of Ugi, and another at St. Patrick's, Sanlang, in Vanua Lava, Banks Islands, and at Maravovo.

The "Southern Cross."

The first Mission ship of this name was a schooner of 70 tons, built in England for Bishop Selwyn, and sent out in 1855; part of the cost being defrayed by the profits of Miss Yonge's book "The Daisy Chain," which have ever since been devoted to the Melanesian Mission. The copyright of this work expired in 1910, so that no further support from it will be forthcoming. Five successive ships of the same name, each larger than her predecessor, have linked the islands to one another and to Norfolk Island and New Zealand. The present ship, of 400 tons, steaming eight knots, was built by Messrs. Armstrong, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and launched in 1903. She cost £21,000. She is admirably adapted for her work; but increased size and steam-power have brought also increased expense in working. The ship makes two voyages round the islands each year. These voyages are necessary if the work is to be done properly, but [19/20] they involve a great strain on the resources of the Mission. A long-desired and valuable addition to her equipment is the installation of electric light on board, now successfully working. It is a very great boon and costs little in working. The cost of this installation was defrayed in part by the Sunday School children of New Zealand.


Women's Work.

Two Girls' Schools, one in the Solomons and one in the Banks islands, have been started, and promise very well. The systematic work among the women of Melanesia is most important. Women's stations are now established in Raga and the Solomon Islands for medical, social, and teaching work amongst the women and children. Villages are ready and welcome the white women, but itineration is difficult except to places near the centres.


The Labour Traffic.

In the early days of the Mission natives were taken away to labour in British colonies by methods practically indistinguishable from those of the slave trade. After Bishop Patteson's death this traffic was put under Government regulation and recruiting became voluntary. It is to be regretted that more was not done in the white man's country to Christianise the [20/21] Melanesian labourers. Here and there noble work has been done, but a great number seemed to have learnt little but vulgarity and vice from their sojourn among white men. And such religious teaching as has been given has usually not been of the Church type. The Australian authorities have returned the labourers to their homes. Grave apprehensions were entertained of the disturbances and bloodshed which would probably take place in some of the islands, owing to the influx of such a large new population from across the sea. Happily these apprehensions, except in isolated cases here and there, have not been justified. The returned labourers, are for the most part being absorbed into the rest of the population, and slipping back into the ordinary native mode of life. Some are giving valuable assistance in the schools. Unfortunately, however, the general result of a sojourn in Queensland has been to lower considerably the native's opinion of the white man.

Native Mother and Child.

Political Arrangements.

A word may be said to explain the political and administrative arrangements now existing in Melanesia. The Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz, and Reef Island Groups are under British Protectorate. A Commissioner resident in the Florida Group, and responsible to the Governor-General of Fiji, governs this large area as far as circumstances allow. Our native teachers [21/22] have often rendered valuable service to the cause of good government; but it has always been the practice of the Mission to respect the authority of the chiefs and to aim at inspiring Christian chiefs with a sense of responsibility towards their people. In the New Hebrides, Banks, and Torres Groups a dual system of control exists under Britain and France. A recent treaty was intended to make the co-operation of the two Powers more harmonious, and more beneficial to the natives than formerly, but its results have been most disappointing to all concerned.

At Rowa, Banks Islands.

SCENES from Maravovo Solomon Islands.

Lamalana, Raga, after the Hurricane, November, 1923.

[25] Recent Developments

The consecration of an Assistant-Bishop in August, 1925, is the most recent landmark of advance and an inspiring challenge to carry on and progress. The work of Bishop Molyneux will at first be mainly the Southern part of the Diocese, with a centre at Lolowai, in Opa. Thus the most needy part of the Diocese will come under his charge, with the problems of deportation and government to face. Another great development is in progress at the other end of Melanesia. In November, 1925, the two Bishops visited Rabaul, the capital of the ex-German Solomons, and took back first-hand information as to how best a new Bishopric, for which the Australian Church is to be responsible, should be founded. The Roman Catholics and Wesleyans are occupying part of the large islands concerned, but there remains much heathenism in what is still geographically the north part of the Diocese of Melanesia. The N.W. Solomons are ready and waiting the challenge to the Australian Church to occupy.

Another recent development is the growth of a Native Ministry. The ordination at the Siota Conference in 1921 was a landmark. A Native Ministry is essential, lest non-Christian civilisation destroys what has been built up; the Church must be native.

Twenty native Priests are at work. They need white supervision and do not yet fill the place of white men, but under their guidance do in their own way invaluable work, which can only grow healthily under the stimulus of sympathy and guidance. So far we can indeed thank God and take courage for what as a body they are doing.

A fourth development that is still in infancy is that of industrial work. Here the problem is to find skilled white men able and willing to act as instructors and to break down the Melanesian reluctance to learn native work which is mainly confined to particular people and districts. Carpentry is the most attractive work and most valuable, but a large region of native work is open if interest could be aroused.

A fifth development is that of Native Offerings. It is little realised how much the people themselves give in cash and labour. In Gela and Bugotu and Raga, for example, they are generous givers of both. Directly and indirectly every year their contributions are considerable. But in the larger islands especially there is room for growth. It is not uncommon for one village to give between £100 and £200 in cash, besides labour in building fine churches. And to this must be added cash given to the Mission amounting to several hundreds a year.

Another recent development is at the home base. A Finance Board in New Zealand, under General Synod, is now established, and closer co-ordination of work between England, Australia, and New Zealand should lead to economy and efficiency.


[27] The Staff: 1926




Miss C. F. Bayly at Siota, Gela, B.S.I.
Miss V. C. Bray at Torgil, Vureas, Vanualava, Banks Is.
Rev. Fred Berry at Norfolk Island.
Miss H. Broughton at Lamalana, Raga, New Hebrides.
Rev. F. R. Bishop at Rabaul, Mandated Territory.
Rev. W. F. Browning at Siota, Gela, B.S.I.
Mr. C. R. Buffett at Siota, Gela, B.S.I.
Rev. A. A. Butchart at Vureas, Banks Islands.
Rev. A. C. Dancaster at Maravovo, Guadalcanar, B.S.I.
Mr. A. C. Elliott at Maravovo, Guadalcanar, B.S.I.
Mrs. A. C. Elliott at Maravovo, Guadalcanar, B.S.I.
Mr. N. J. Forsgate at Siota, Gela, B.S.I.
Mr. D. Lloyd Francis at Pawa, Ugi, B.S.I.
Rev. Dr. C. E. Fox at Pawa, Ugi, B.S.I.
Rev. D. E. Graves at Halavo, Gela, B.S.I.
Rev. R. Godfrey at Lamalana, Raga, New Hebrides.
Mrs. R. Godfrey at Lamalana, Raga, New Hebrides.
Miss M. Hardacre on furlough.
Rev. H. L. Hart at Vureas, Vanualava, Banks Island.
Miss M. A. U. Hurse at Torgil, Vureas, Vanualava, Banks Is.
Mr. F. R. Isom at Hautabu, B.S.I.
Mr. C. F. Leggatt at Vureas, Banks Islands.
Rev. A. Mason at Fiu, North Mala, B.S.I.
Mrs. A. Mason at Fiu, North Mala, B.S.I.
Rev. C. L. Mountfort at Paupau, Guadalcanar, B.S.I.
Rev. H. J. Nind at Pamua, San Cristoval, B.S.I.
Rev. C. Rawson at Opa, New Hebrides. .
Mr. R. C. Rudgard at England (temp.).
Miss E. M. Safstrom at Bunana, B.S.I.
Miss Agnes Satchell, B.A. at Torgil, Vureas, Banks Islands.
Mr. W. B. Seaton at Maravovo, Guadalcanar, B.S.I.
Miss M. T. Simson at Siota, Gela, B.S.I.
Mrs. E. Sprott at Mara-na-Tabu, Bugotu, B.S.I.
Rev. W. Steel on sick leave.
Rev. A. E. Teall at Opa, New Hebrides (on leave).
Rev. R. E. Tempest at Siota, Gela, B.S.I.
Rev. A. A. Thomson at Suupeine, South Mala, B.S.I.
Rev. G. T. Warren at Maravovo, Guadalcanar, B.S.I.
Mrs. G. T. Warren at Maravovo, Guadalcanar, B.S.I.
Miss I. C. Wench at on sick leave.
Rev. G. H. West at Pawa, Ugi, B.S.I.
Miss E. S. Williams at Lamalana, Raga, New Hebrides
Miss E. G. Wilson at Bunana, B.S.I.
Miss Ellen Wilson at Siota, Gela, B.S.I.
Rev. R. P. Wilson at Siota, Gela, B.S.I.


Wilson Bana at Bugotu, B.S.I., Deacon.
Judah Butu at Maewo, New Hebrides, Deacon.
Wilson Doedoke at Bugotu, B.S.I., Deacon.
George Giladi at Pawa, Ugi, B.S.I, Deacon.
Joseph Gilvelte at Motalava, Banks Islands, Priest.
Benjamin Hageria at Bugotu, B.S.I., Priest.
Hugo Hebala at Bugotu, B.S.I, Priest.
Ambrose Iputu at Bugotu, B.S.I., Deacon.
Simeon Lanlanmele at Raga, New Hebrides, Deacon.
Clement Marau at Ulawa, B.S.I., Priest.
Martin Marau at Ulawa, B.S.I., Priest.
Paul Marita at San Cristoval, B.S.I., Priest.
Simon Peter Odakake at Maravovo, Guadalcanar, B.S.I., Deacon
John Pegone at Dede, Gela, B.S.I., Deacon.
Nelson Qiqi at Vureas, Vanualava, Banks Is., Deacon.
Benjamin Qorig at Motalava, Banks Is., Deacon.
Meshak Sisis at Motalava, Banks Is., Deacon.
Peter Sukoku at Haroro, Gela, B.S.I., Priest.
Jack Talofuila at Norafou, North Mala, B.S.I., Priest.
Matthias Tarileo at Qatnaqui, Raga, New Hebrides, Priest.
Ernest Tarimalena at Raga, New Hebrides, Deacon.
James Nind Toganiade at Veuru, Guadalcanar, B.S.I., Priest.
Hugo Toke at Verahue, Guadalcanar, B.S.I., Priest.
Johnson Tome at Boromole, Gela, B.S.I., Priest.
Benjamin Tumu at Hainevavine, Gela, B.S.I., Priest.
James Uqe at Saa, South Mala, B.S.I., Priest.
Harry Vanva at Merelava, Banks Islands, Deacon.

[28] What are Our Resources?

1. An Endowment Fund, a large proportion of which was bequeathed by Bishop Patteson, produces £1,200 a year.

2. Subscriptions from England, amounting now to about £10,000 a year. To put the Mission on a sound footing, these must be raised to £15,000.

3. Subscriptions from Australia and New Zealand amounting to about £10,000 a year. In New Zealand the Mission is adopted as a work of the Church, and collections are made for it in every parish.


The Mission is not assisted by the S.P.G. or C.M.S.

Bishop Patteson Memorial Cross at Nukapu.

[29] What are Our Liabilities?

1. The cost of maintenance of the new Mission vessel, Southern Cross, without which nothing can be done. This, with repairs, insurance, etc., is now about £10,000 a year. It is hoped that funds will increase sufficiently to provide for a third voyage, which is urgently needed. All moneys for the ship are controlled by an Executive Committee, Auckland, N.Z., and subscribers may rest assured that every economy is practised.

2. The payment of the clergy. More clergy are sorely needed; also funds for their support.

3. The maintenance of the Schools, including buildings, fences, provisions, etc.

4. The maintenance of the Island Stations, including salaries to native clergy and teachers. Over £2,500 is required NOW for expenses of Island Schools, and this, is an increasing item. The salaries in all cases are very small; It is always borne in mind that the natives should help themselves in this matter; and in most places offerings of money raised from trading in copra (dried cocoanut), or of curios, are made. They can and do build their own churches and schools.

5. The total annual expenditure is upwards of £20,000. But if all the Islands are to be fully occupied, at least £25,000 will be required, and for a further advance at least £5,000 more is essential.


[31] Conclusion

The Melanesian Mission has been God's instrument for doing in a remote corner of the world a work which, for its quality and the character of its leaders, takes a high place among the Missions of the Church. The system of reaching the natives through the natives, secures, we believe, thoroughness and reality in the work done. The one hope of preserving the Melanesian race to be a living branch in the Church of the future is to be found in arming them with a vigorous Christianity. A serious responsibility lies upon English Church people to see that in this comparatively small heritage of our Church in the great Pacific Ocean, the sum of good received through white men exceeds the unavoidable harm. Others may do the work if we fail; but we ought not to leave it to others. We have good reason to be thankful for the stirring of the missionary spirit which has been aroused. But there is still plenty of room for more. How many of our best workers have been removed within the last few years by death or illness? Men especially of the best kind are still sorely needed, both for the island work and the training work at Siota: clergymen to whom the missionary call has come in the midst of parochial work, clergymen specially trained for the mission field, and educated laymen; men skilled with their hands, and men who can approach problems of native life and languages with something of the scholarly mind of Bishop Patteson and others well known in the past. It is a mistake to think that only men of great linguistic aptitude can do work in Melanesia; but it is a worse mistake to think that anybody is good enough to carry on the traditions of the Selwyns and Patteson. Increased pecuniary support is needed to enable the present ship, more powerful but also more expensive than her predecessors, to do the work required of her. It is needed for the development of the Central Schools and the new advance in the Solomon Islands; and for the provision of medical work among natives and whites. Above all, prayer is needed to the Lord of the Harvest that He will send forth labourers, and so inspire with His Spirit all (both white and coloured) who are working for Him in those regions, that the kingdom of His Son may be extended and built up in the best possible way.

This sketch of our History would be very incomplete were it not to include a reference, however inadequate, to the wonderful work of the British Navy in the Islands. In the past, the only true civilising agents in these parts of the world were the officers and men of the Navy. How much the missionaries owe to them for numerous acts of personal kindness, from the days of Bishop Selwyn, of New Zealand, to the present time, space forbids even an attempt to estimate. But from the earlier times of mission enterprise till now, the officers of the Navy have been our best friends, and their continued interest is one of our most valued possessions. The establishment of a Protectorate in the Solomon Islands and the well-meant Condominium in the New Hebrides has much lessened the activities of the Navy so far as participation in the pacification of the Islands is concerned. In the Solomons a body of officials, who have the real well-being of the natives at heart, has taken the place of the intermittent work of naval officers, and in the New Hebrides we can at least say that the officers of the Condominium do their best under very real difficulties to promote the growth of a recent civilising influence among the inhabitants.

Ways of Helping: What can I do?

1. Prayer and Intercession.

2. Annual Subscriptions and Donations.--Payable to the Treasurer.

3. Scholars.--A boy or girl may be supported for £5 a year during the period of training for the office of a teacher in the Islands; payable to the Treasurer.

4. Island Fund.--A school in the Islands may be supported for £10 a year.

5. "The Southern Cross Log."--The Mission's quarterly Illustrated Magazine, containing latest news from the Islands, articles by Missionaries, etc. Price 2/6 per annum, including delivery. Subscriptions to this should be sent to the Secretary, Melanesian Mission, Chancery Chambers, Auckland.

6. Working Parties.--(a) To make cassocks and surplices for use of native clergy and catechists. (b) To make articles for sales of work. Such may be sent to the office.

7. Modern Books.--Theological, Biographical, Historical, Travel and Fiction, are a great boon to the Missionaries.

8. Altar Linen, Church Ornaments and Sacred Vessels are much needed to furnish the Churches in the Islands. These should be sent to the Office Secretary.

9. Presents.--Strong, useful articles, such as the following, are much prized by the Melanesians: Sacred pictures (backed with linen), sheath-knives and pen-knives, fishing lines and hooks, large workmen's handkerchiefs, implements for cricket and football, sewing and writing materials, shaving requisites, whet-stones and files, soap and towels, leather belts and pouches, spoons, enamelled mugs, plates, etc. Reliable drugs and ointments, bandages, lint, clinical thermometers, etc., are always greatly valued by the Missionaries.

10. Garden or Drawing-room Meetings.--Apply to the General Secretary.

11. Legacies.

12. Tuck Boxes and Medical Comforts.--Particulars re Tuck Boxes may he had from Mrs. Cruickshank, St. Mark's Vicarage, Remuera, Auckland, or from Miss Cameron, 106 Gloucester Street, Christchurch.

Lantern Lectures.--The Office Secretary can lend its of slides to any clergy who will kindly lecture for the Mission.

All Contributions should be sent to the Treasurer,

Addressed to--The Treasurer, Melanesian Mission, Chancery Chambers, Auckland. Cheques to be crossed Union Bank of Australia, Auckland.

General Secretary and Treasurer,
The Melanesian Mission,
Chancery Chambers, AUCKLAND, N.Z.

Melanesian Mission

Southern Cross Log

An interesting illustrated Magazine containing notes, etc. from the various Island Stations, and items of interest about the Mission in the Islands and at Home.

Published Quarterly

Subscription 2/6 per year.
Postage Paid.

For fuller information apply to:

The General Secretary,
Melanesian Mission,
Chancery Chambers :: AUCKLAND

Project Canterbury