Project Canterbury


A Handbook

Of the

Melanesian Mission






Phoenix Press Ltd., Printers, 159 Albert Street, Auckland.


Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2008


-- OF--



Introductory 3

The Purpose and Methods of the Missionary 4

His Work 5

His Outfit 10

His Health 12

Cooking Recipes for Use in Islands 17

Notes on Food Stores 20

The Languages 22

The Management of Natives 26

Women's Work 29



The Melanesian Mission


The Diocese of Melanesia is an Associated Missionary Diocese of the Province of New Zealand, founded in 1849 by George Augustus Selwyn, and first constituted a Missionary Diocese in 1861 under Bishop John Coleridge Patteson.

The Priests of the Mission have, by canons of the General Synod of the Church of New Zealand, the privilege of recommending from time to time, when a vacancy occurs in the Bishopric, any person whom they may deem fitted for the post as their future Bishop. If this recommendation be approved by the General Synod of New Zealand that person is consecrated Bishop of Melanesia by the Bishop of New Zealand in some place located within the Province of New Zealand.

The Bishop of Melanesia thus draws his authority from the Church of New Zealand, with the assent of the Priests of the Diocese and may be and in two cases actually has been the nominee of his Priests.

The scope of the Mission is "The Islands of Melanesia." A very wide term, and a very wide tract of sea and land, which hitherto the Mission has not been able fully to occupy.

At the present time the islands occupied in part or as a whole by the Melanesian Mission consist of the Banks Island, New Hebrides, Torres, Santa Cruz and Reef Groups, and San Cristoval, Mala, Florida (or Gela), Guadalcanar, Savo and Bugotu in the Solomon Islands, together with certain outlying islands and small groups of islands such as Tikopeia, Vanikolo, Utupua, the Duff Group and Russell Islands.

It is hoped that shortly an increase of the Episcopate may enable the Mission to occupy the other islands of Melanesia, and so fulfil the duty entrusted to the Mission by the Church.

Besides the Melanesian Mission the following bodies are working in these islands:--The Marist Fathers (R.C.), the Presbyterians, the South Seas Evangelical Mission (undenominational), the Church of Christ, and the Seventh Day Adventists.

From Melanesia comes an urgent call to the Church in England, Australia, and especially New Zealand, for largely [3/4] increased support, if the Mission is to be able to fulfil its obligations to the natives of these islands and to the Church.

At the present time the Mission sphere of work is divided into two very unequal parts. The larger, consisting of those islands under the Solomon Islands Protectorate, generally known as Northern Melanesia; and the smaller, consisting of part of the British and French Condominium of the New Hebrides, generally spoken of as "Southern Melanesia."

The Bishop's headquarters and the Mission headquarters generally speaking are situated in the northern part of the diocese.

In the absence of the Bishop from either part of the diocese, his place is, as far as possible, taken by a commissary elected by the Priests of that part and appointed by the Bishop.

All the Priests, native as well as missionary, are members of the Diocesan Synod, which is the ruling body of the diocese, and meets as opportunity occurs.

The Diocese is entirely within the Tropics, and the climate is malarial and trying to the health of white settlers. But increased knowledge and some advance in civilisation generally has rendered life in these islands less difficult for Europeans than was formerly the case. A considerable increase of European settlers is one of the most probable features of the coming years, and should bring in its train further advance of civilisation and a corresponding alleviation of the trials of life in the islands, and also a greatly increased responsibility to the Mission for the care of such immigrants from the Home lands.

The Purpose and Methods of the Missionary.

The missionary needs to have a clear-cut idea of why he is in the Mission and what he is expected to aim at. The original ideas he comes out with are probably:--

That he has a vocation to work in the Church overseas.
That his work is to be directed to the bringing in of the Kingdom of God.

These broad ideas will receive enlargement in detail as their great scope is realised when he comes in contact with the Melanesians and studies their minds.

We are here not to dominate over them or impress ourselves on them overmuch, but to help them to develop along their own lines.

We are here to create a body of teachers and ultimately of native clergy.

We are here not to make them into copies of Europeans but to help them to become truer Melanesians.

We are here not to crush anything native without just cause.

[5] We are here to counteract the influence and atone for some of the grievous sins of those white men who have hitherto exploited the native simply for their own ends.

We are here to raise up a Melanesian Church and Nation.

Not (please God) to comfort the last moment of a dying race and church. Many changes in native life and customs must inevitably follow increased civilisation. We are here, not to avert those changes, but to direct them among the natives. We must, as far as possible, work hand-in-hand with the duly appointed Government officials. We must explain their point of view to the natives, and the natives' point of view to them. While, as much as in us lies, we must avoid interference in "politics," we must not forget that the natives' welfare, bodily and spiritual, is part of our trust.

Therefore, we must not neglect any opportunity of improving the condition of our natives, physical as well as moral. Industrial training should form part of every missionary's work, to a greater or smaller extent as occasion may serve.

A missionary should always make himself a bit of a "handy man." Show the native what you can do with the materials at hand, and he will try to emulate your example.

There is already a considerable demand for tools of one kind or another among our better type of natives. Encourage this demand by example and precept.

One word in conclusion as to our relations with Government officials. Try and understand and sympathise with their aims and ideals, and show them that in us they may find sympathetic exponents of the native mind, not mere obstructionists. We are, by our position, the natural "go-betweens." If both natives and Government officials see that we are honest and understanding sympathisers in every scheme for the amelioration of the condition of the Melanesians, yet fearless and outspoken upholders of justice and honesty on both sides, we shall win the confidence of both, and serve God and our country faithfully in that state of life into which it has pleased God to call us, and this must be the ideal at which one and all of us must aim.

His Work.

The Missionary in His District.--When a man is put down in a district it is highly probable that he will be quite ignorant of things Melanesian. But he must try, first of all, to gain some general knowledge of the mission methods in the company of others. Also to get a fair knowledge of the "lingua franca" of the Mission, which is the language of Mota. Some knowledge of Mota will make all the difference, as the learning of a second language will prove much [5/6] easier after knowing something of the construction of one. The acquiring of Mota, far from being a hindrance to a man's work, will fit him all the more for it, besides being a linguistic discipline which it is good for him to submit to. The comparison of a man put down with some knowledge of Mota and one with no knowledge of anything but English is all to the advantage of the former: The new missionary comes into contact with two classes of people at once: the teachers and the ordinary village folk. He may possibly have under him a native deacon or priest. A deacon may be said to occupy the position of a specially good teacher. For a Priest a new-comer will not be expected to be able to do very much.

The Teachers.--They will have been taught at a central school or Norfolk Island, or perhaps both, but it may happen that a teacher has been nowhere. He may perhaps be a returned labourer from Queensland. The average teacher will know Mota and will be able to confer at once with the missionary about the various matters on which he needs advice or help.

The primary task of the missionary is to help the teachers, to encourage them in the face of opposition or apathy and to try and give them a greater interest in their work and a sense of the corporate life of the Church of which, though so isolated they are members and sharers. He brings them the sense that they are part of a larger life than that of their own village. He brings them the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and for this they will receive preparation for from him. They may have grown rusty too in the matter of learning, the simple learning of their school days. So there may be need for classes for them. If desired, it would be possible to collect teachers from other villages for schooling together now and then, especially on Fridays, when a lesson can be sketched out for a Sunday school class (if they have one) or for the Sunday sermon. It will be found that teachers (and other people, too) do not care to live for several days away from their homes if they are within comparatively easy reach of them. So it is best to appoint special days when they can gather. As long as they have some instruction it does not really matter at what particular time they have it.

At first and until the language of the common people has been learned, the missionary's intercourse with the latter will be almost altogether through the teachers. They will help him in learning the language and will correct his pronunciation if he is content to be instructed by them, in the reading of the Liturgy in their vernacular.

The teachers are responsible for almost all that a deacon is responsible for. They read the services, preach, have charge of offertory money, note cases of discipline which will need further examination by the visiting missionary, instruct candidates for Baptism and even sometimes for [6/7] Confirmation, and they act as the village schoolmasters in teaching the children. To do their work well, especially if they are among their own people, is a very difficult task. They need all the help and sympathy that can possibly be given them. Living among their own people is often a hindrance to their usefulness, for it is almost impossible for them at times to make a bold stand against a wrong. On the other hand a strong-minded teacher in a village not his own may sometimes become rather arrogant and contemptuous and a bit of a bully. The state of the village, of the church and school buildings, of the people, the reverence of the services and other signs will be guides as to whether a teacher is doing his work or not. Some of the best teachers will be found among the dullest men. This is because the word "Teacher" does not connote merely one who imparts knowledge. A teacher is the Church's chief representative in his village, and there is a wideness in that title which embraces diverse aspects of a Christian's work. After some time of service, a teacher should be sent to the Mission Training College, where he can have a fresh spell of instruction, and where in the ordered round of life he may shake off some of the haphazard ways into which he may have slipped when by himself. These spells of schooling probably will not last more than six months. If the teacher be a married man, he will be expected to bring his wife and children with him. A junior teacher can "carry on" while the head teacher is away, though probably not much will be done.

2. The Ordinary Village Folk.--The missionary will come more and more in contact with these as the language they speak becomes known to him. Until he can talk a little directly and not through an interpreter he cannot make much headway except in superficial matters. Pidgin English may be used in talking to returned labourers. But for dealing properly with matters of discipline requiring a careful and unbiassed judgment, some knowledge of the dialect will be needed. In very few cases, probably, will an interpreter be quite unbiassed.

(a) People Emerging from Heathenism.--Native life consists of a great number of "customs." Practically one might say a rule of some sort guides every action, and, from our standpoint, every transgression. But it is not necessary for us to know all these before deciding the rights and wrongs of a Christian's mode of life. Our teaching is of a constructive kind; the implanting of a new spirit and a new way of regarding life and conduct so that the awakened conscience of the native casts away many things without being commanded to do so. With some deeply cherished customs he will not so readily part, and it often becomes a difficult matter to draw a clear line between what is right or wrong. The heathen who feels drawn to Christianity [7/8] becomes a hearer, and takes as much share in the new religion as he is allowed.

(b) Catechumens.--After a man becomes a hearer of the Word he may desire to be a doer of it also, and will become a candidate for initiation into the Christian society, an idea well understood by him. In the absence of the priest the Catechumens are taught by the head teacher. They may be ignorant of reading and unable to learn the whole of the Catechism, but they can learn the meaning of it and the answers they must give at the time of their baptism and the significance of those answers.

The time of preparation for a Catechumen is generally two years, so as to be sure of a sufficient period for testing whether a man is really in earnest or not.

The instructions will be given as often as the district missionary arranges. It is best for the priest to give the final instructions in the last week or two if he possibly can do so.

(c) The Baptised.--Care should be taken to see that adults do not consider Baptism "the end of all things," and that those Baptised in infancy are "brought to the Bishop to be Confirmed by him, as soon as" they are fit for Confirmation, i.e., between the ages of 14 and 18.

(d) Confirmation Candidates.--The native clergy or teachers will find out candidates for Confirmation, and careful enquiries should be made by the missionary as to their fitness before being admitted to the class. In the case of people who have been baptised as children the instruction for Confirmation will extend over some time. They will probably be able to learn the Catechism; many of them certainly will.

In the case of people baptised as adults the time between Baptism and Confirmation need not be very long, but owing to a variety of causes the interval between Baptism and Confirmation has sometimes to be very long. The teaching for Confirmation in the case of those baptised as adults and the final preparation of the other class just alluded to had better be given by the missionary in charge, if possible.

A list of the candidates' Christian and surnames should be written out ready for the Bishop's use. The candidates must be instructed in the matter of answering when their names are called, and should be drilled in the matter of going up to kneel.

The time of day when Confirmations are held varies with the arrival of the Bishop.

(e) Communicants.--Definite instruction must be given in the ritual of the Communion service. To try and teach too much at once will end in nothing being grasped. Reverent celebrations depend very much on the instructions that have been given as to receiving. No detail about small matters such as the manner of holding the hands, etc., will prove superfluous. Melanesians are accustomed to great [8/9] attention being paid to their own native ritual and will not be wearied by the greatest care being taken to teach them the best and correct way of behaving at a celebration.

Careful attention should be paid to the patronal festival of a church and if possible the priest should mark the day by having a celebration. This increases the interest of the people in their church.

It is insisted on that the intending communicants shall advise the priest beforehand as the English Prayer Book directs. They will be seen by him at the preparation service the previous evening and the names of those who ought not to attend will be known to the teachers. Sometimes, but not often, a man will attempt to gloss over that which unfits him from Communion, and he must be forbidden to come.

(f) Marriages.--Christian marriage involves a standard of life so high that the native is slow to get a true conception of it. Most of the disappointments and difficulties of the missionary will be found to centre round this matter. With the natives marriage is generally an affair of money, so that the taking of anyone to wife is little more than the payment of a certain sum, and the putting of her away the refunding of the same. The sanctity and irrevocableness of the marriage contract, though acquiesced in theoretically by the convert to Christianity, are in many cases lightly regarded when occasion for testing them occurs. Generations of laxity then re-assert their influence. Polygamy is the rule among the heathen. When people accept the Christian teaching they are aware that that custom must end, and no one may become a Catechumen who possesses more than one wife. But a heathen marriage should be recognised by the Church if it is recognised by the people themselves, for the marriage service does not constitute marriage, but is only the consecration of it. Many natives have the idea that a marriage contracted according to heathen ceremony (which is no more than the payment of money) is invalid in the eyes of the Church, and is therefore dissoluble. For this reason there will be found among some lukewarm Christians a preference for such a mode of marriage. The religious character of marriage must always be dwelt on and emphasised so that the feelings of the people may be appealed to when the crisis and need arise. Unions of Christians contracted in heathen fashion must be regarded as true marriages, but the parties should be excluded from prayers till the marriage is blessed by the Church.

Native unions when the partners are baptised should be blessed by the priest. There is no special form of service drawn up for this, but the marriage service in the Prayer Book is easily adaptable to the purpose.

The missionary should make enquiries of the Bishop as to any Government regulations in connection with the marriages of natives that he ought to know of. Enquiries [9/10] should be made before the service as to whether a ring is available or not, or the critical moment may find the bridegroom without one.

(g) Visitation of the Sick.--The teacher should be instructed to give information to the missionary as to who are ill, and to visit them himself. A really good and devout teacher may do a great deal of Christian teaching by such visits. The visitation of the sick should not be confined to the Christian people.

(h) Burial of the Dead.--Though the idea of death and of dead persons occupies so large a place in the native mind, there is not much honour paid to the dead person's mortal remains when once removed out of sight. "Out of sight, out of mind" holds good in a certain sense. So it will often be found that cemeteries are the worst kept places on any island. Reverent care for the graveyard does not come naturally.

Burials in Melanesia follow quickly on death: as soon, in fact, as the grave is dug. No form of coffin is used, but only a shroud of white calico or a native mat, or both. Among the heathen much ceremonial was connected with death, and much of it has to be dispensed with under Christian teaching, e.g., the prolonged and purely simulated sorrow expressed in wild laments. Unfortunately death in Melanesia has become such a familiar thing that funerals are not rare enough for us to make them the solemn and striking things they should be. A good teacher will see that now and then a party of the people clear the cemetery and the path to it, so it is convenient for the priest in cassock and surplice to get to the graveside.

The European missionary must always bear in mind that the Melanesian is the best missionary to Melanesians, and endeavour to keep himself as far as possible in the background. He should always keep his eyes open to discover among his teachers men of promise whom he may recommend to the Bishop for admission to the Training College, where they may be fitted for positions of greater responsibility or even for Ordinations to the ministry.

His Outfit.

It is always difficult to recommend an outfit for an intending missionary, as men's ideas differ so greatly, and one cannot really know what one needs without a certain amount of experience. Clothes generally suited for wear in the Islands can be bought better and cheaper at one or another of the "stores" that will be found at or near the Government headquarters both in Northern and in Southern Melanesia. The following articles, however, are almost necessities for all:

1. A folding canvas bed.
[11] 2. Blankets: two very light ones and one thick one. Coloured are more suitable than white ones.
3. 1/2 dozen pillow slips. [Pillows are very awkward to pack in a convenient compass, but add much to one's chance of a good night's rest--and this is an important point.]
4. A metal teapot. Cups, saucers and plates of stone china.
5. Knives, forks and spoons.
6. A deck chair.
7. Lantern.*
8. A Primus stove, if one knows how to keep it in order.
9. Bucket.*
10. Sun helmet* or broad-brimmed felt hat.
11. Tools.
12. A water-bottle for use on one's journeys.

*Buy these in the Islands.

N.B.--Have an airtight uniform case in which to keep your Home clothes and other things you specially value.

A missionary when put down in the district which is to be his parish is provided with a whaleboat about 26 feet long, and this is stocked with the following gear:

A set of oars and rowlocks.
A long steer-oar.
A rudder and tiller and rudder lines.
A lug sail and a jib sail.
A mast and halyards.
A water cask and stand.
An anchor with several fathoms of chain attached.

To the district missionary this boat and gear are his chief possessions, being not only very costly in themselves but of supreme value as being the only means by which he is able to go about to do his work. They demand, therefore, a great deal of care and attention to see that they do not suffer damage or loss.

The boat should be hauled up well above the high-water mark, especially if the wind is fresh and a surf is getting up. At headquarters it is best to have a native-built shelter for a boathouse, but at other places the boat can be drawn up under the shade of trees or covered over with the sails and some coconut leaves to prevent the heat of the sun making the planking warp or shrink. After some time ashore the boat is liable to leak. If the weather is calm or the position is sheltered enough it should be anchored for a day or two off shore to make the planks swell and tighten. No gear should be left in the boat. Should a boat become entirely water-logged it will not sink below the gunwale, and can be baled out.

Sails should be hung out to air, especially if damp. Even [11/12] in rainy weather it is better to hang them out than leave them rolled up, as the stitches will rot quickly.

The rig in use in the mission is the lug-sail and the jib. It is the simplest of all rigs, and easily learnt. All complicated rigs should be avoided, as the average man will not be able to manage them. Even as it is, boating is done at the cost of much patience and occasional loss of temper. All complications should be avoided like the plague.

When loading a boat stow as much luggage as possible in the stern, but leave a clear space to get at the well so as to be ready to bale if need arises. Always carry a bucket and one or two empty meat tins ready for baling.

For a difficult passage when hard rowing is expected, six or eight men should be engaged to take a change at the oars.

For a long journey when there is a moon, boating at night is more comfortable on account of the coolness. A rowing voyage by night also is much less wearisome to the crew. It is wise to carry a compass.

His Health.

Medical Hints.

A short course of training at Livingstone College is now taken by some of the English recruits for Melanesia, and it seems to be a help to them, though successful medical work among Melanesians has for its pre-requisite some sort of knowledge of the native mind and character and habits. The young amateur doctor would probably bring with him a quantity of drugs. It may be said at once that they are better left behind. A small metal or wood medicine chest supplied by Burroughs Welcome can be obtained on missionary terms from the makers through the agency of the Melanesian Mission office in London or through a mission doctor. A useful little medical book will be supplied with the chest. This chest is all that the average missionary needs unless he is a qualified doctor.

Concerning the contents of the chest, some experienced missionary or ex-missionary from Melanesia should be consulted. Opinions vary as each man has his own ideas. The first stock of medicines will be more or less experimental. Subsequent alterations and additions can be made; not all the bottles should be filled at first.

As no medical man may be within reach, a missionary will very often have to doctor himself and his flock, but it is a much less formidable business in reality than it is to read about.

1. The main enemy in the way of illness both for white people and natives is malaria. So much is known of this disease now that it is needless to copy out here what will be found in the little medical guide referred to above. The main preventive is the mosquito net. It is not likely that [12/13] any missionary will remain immune altogether though it may happen that it will not show itself for a long time. Malaria in Melanesia is not deadly. It is a discomfort more than anything else though with some people after a course of years it may become more serious. Most people look back with amusement to the fears which assailed them before they had the complaint. Experience will soon guide a person as to the amount of quinine he can take. When busy with missionary work it is practically impossible to follow the advice of the experts about destroying the breeding places of mosquitoes. The only thing one can do is to avoid taking stupid risks. A missionary has to go where the people are and adapt his life to some extent to theirs. In some islands there is no malaria, but it will be found that natives going from there to malarial localities suffer very badly. They need much more quinine than other people to remain free from the disease or to recover quickly from an attack. Without quinine they will remain ill for months and perhaps never recover.

2. Sores may trouble the European, and will be one of the main diseases for which he will be called to treat natives. With some people sores easily form and are long in healing. The skin seems to lose the power of healing quickly. Even the slightest scratch, such as a scratched mosquito bite (if the skin is broken) should never be disregarded. With some people a little carbolised vaseline smeared on or a sprinkling of boracic powder is a sufficient treatment. With others a small wet dressing is better. Place over the sore a small piece of boracic lint (a pink-coloured lint) dipped in water and cover it with a piece of oiled silk to keep the lint

Sores on Natives.--If the missionary is staying for only a brief visit it is quite useless to start an elaborate dressing of a sore which will have to be left almost at once. Bandaging a sore is worse than useless unless it is done regularly. In a case of this kind it is best to wash the sore with some disinfectant and leave a bottle of the mixture with the patient, and some wool, and let him do it himself. A good antiseptic lotion is one tabloid of corrosive sublimate to an ordinary wine bottle of water.

For really bad sores that cause pain or are gathering, a hot fomentation is the best treatment. The essence of this is dry heat. Make a pad of old linen (not too thick) and roll it in a piece of calico to be used as a wringer. Pour boiling water on the part of the roll where the pad is and wring out absolutely dry. This will require some force. Unroll the wringer quickly and put the boiling hot pad on the sore. The pain for a few seconds will be excruciating, but will pass away almost at once and bring a sense of intense relief from the aching pain. Natives can soon be got to have great faith in this treatment, and readily submit to the pain when they know the relief they [13/14] will get afterwards. Great care must be taken to wring the pad dry. If not it will scald the flesh, and the pain will be intolerably acute and will not pass off quickly. Also the skin will be scalded, so that a second application cannot be made for some time. With proper care a hot fomentation can be applied again and again without affecting the skin. This treatment is suitable for many other things besides sores. It will relieve any local pain, and is far better than irritating lotions or drugs in the hands of amateurs.

3. The Itch, called by the Mota people Gagarat, is a frequent complaint. It yields at once to the application of an ointment made by mixing with ordinary vaseline as much sulphur as it will take up. But the ointment should not be made so stiff that it cannot easily be rubbed into the skin. A feeling of constant irritation between the fingers is a sign of eczema, though it attacks other parts of the body as well. Babies suffer from it a good deal. The sulphur ointment is a safe remedy to give. Left to itself, the itch will develop into extensive sores.

4. Ringworm, called in Mota Bakwa, is another frequent complaint. The skin becomes scaly. Sometimes the whole body is affected, and remains so for life. It yields to a solution of chrysophanic acid and kerosene oil. Mix in enough acid to make the kerosene a dark, cloudy, yellowish red colour when the bottle is shaken. Apply the lotion with a piece of rag. It very soon takes effect, but with people who have suffered for some years it soon reappears. With short time sufferers it disappears altogether.

5. Coughs are very frequent. Natives make no effort to check a cough, and try with the whole force of their lungs to clear away the phlegm. This incessant and violent coughing probably makes the bronchial tubes inflamed, and pneumonia may follow. Colds and coughs frequently follow the visit of the Southern Cross. The only thing possible is to give some soothing medicine such a Paregoric Elixir, 10 drops to 1 dessert spoonful of water is a suitable dose. In making up a quantity, mix in that proportion. Some quinine now and then while the cold is running its course does much good.

With all natives, and Europeans too, a preliminary dose of Epsom Salts (about half a packet) is a good safeguard at the beginning of any illness. An occasional smaller dose afterwards is desirable from time to time. Epsom Salts should be bought by the gross.

5. Acute headaches are a common accompaniment of fever, and occur at other times also. With some people an attack of fever may take the form of a bad headache. Phenatcein relieves the pain, and may remove it altogether. But the best remedy is a purgative, a good night's rest, and a liberal dose of quinine. In this latter case the source of the trouble is attacked, and the system not merely relieved.

[15] 7. For swellings that do not show any signs of developing into ulcers, a painting of tincture of iodine is a good and often effective remedy.

8. Ophthalmia.--Natives often suffer from this. The eyes become bloodshot. The best way of treating it is to make a lotion of boracic powder in some warm water. To dissolve the boracic powder, pour just a little boiling water on as much powder as will go on a threepenny piece. Then add cold water. Take up a little of the lotion in a glass syringe and let it drip slowly out on to the middle of the lower eyelid. The lid should be held away from the eyeball during the process. Do not pour the lotion into the corners of the eye.

9. Ganalue.-(Lit. To eat out). It is the term used in Mota for a sore on the sole of the foot. The skin of the sole of a Melanesian's foot is very thick, and sometimes a thorn or other sharp substance becomes embedded in it without being felt. But it may cause a sore in the inner flesh, and the sore eats through the thick skin. Left to itself it often makes it impossible for the patient to tread properly. It may last for many months. Children are often seen hobbling on the side of the foot. The best treatment is an application of bluestone. A small piece can be powdered and sprinkled on the sore, but this method often causes so much pain that the patient may refuse to have another dressing. The most satisfactory way is to rub a piece of wet lint with bluestone and put it on the sore. Tie over the lint a piece of oiled silk or banana leaf to keep it damp. There may be a little pain, but it will not be unbearable. The bluestone cauterises some of the flesh, which can be removed the next day with a swab of wool and some lotion. The thick skin round the sore should be cut away as much as possible, so that the sore within may be open to the application of the dressing. Continue this treatment until all the sore flesh is healed. Not many applications will be required.

As it is not possible always to carry about scales and measuring glasses for the measuring and weighing of drugs, the following table of rough measurements may be found useful. It is copied from "The Australian Medical Guide":

1 Teaspoonful = 1 fluid drachm.
I Dessertspoonful = 2 fluid drachms (2 teaspoonfuls).
1 Tablespoonful = 4 fluid drachms or 1/2 ounce (2 dessertspoonfuls or 4 teaspoonfuls).
1 Teacupful = 6 fluid ounces (12 tablespoonfuls).
1 Breakfastcupful or 1 Tumblerful = 8 fluid ounces (16 tablespoonfuls)

Coin-lifting Capacities.

   3d.  6d.  1s.
 Sulphate of Quinine  2 grs.  3 grs.  5 grs.
 Epsom Salts  8 grs.  12 grs.  20 grs.
 Bicarbonate of Soda  10 grs.  15 grs.  25 grs.
 Bicarbonate of Potash  8 grs.  12 grs.  20 grs.

[16] The Medicine Chest.--A suitable small wooden or metal medicine chest can be obtained as mentioned above, through a Mission doctor or the Organising Secretary. The chest usually supplied to Melanesian missionaries contains sixteen bottles, above which lies a metal tray. In the latter should be stocked:

Several packets of pleated lint (boracic lint and ordinary)
Bandages (pleated or plain rolled) Clinical thermometer
Surgical scissors, either blunt or pointed
Packet of Jacanet or oiled silk. (The latter is apt to stick in the heat)
Some absorbent cotton wool.
Iodoform in a dusting box

The bottles may be stocked with the following useful drugs:

Quinine in 5gr. tabloids. These may be either coated with sugar or plain. The latter act quicker. If less than 5grs. are required a tabloid is easily broken. A second bottle may be used for quinine also.
Dover's Powder in 5gr. tabloids. Used in diarrhoea and dysentery.
Blaud Pills. A good tonic after fever.
Tincture of Iodine. Painted on any local swelling (which is not a gathering ulcer), it has proved effective.
Chrysophanic Acid. For ringworm. (Mota Bakwa).
Corrosive Sublimate. One tabloid to about 2 pints of water makes a good antiseptic lotion for sores, etc.
Aspirin. A sedative for violent pains, headaches, neuralgia, etc.
Sodium Salicylate. For rheumatic pains.
Soda Mint. Useful for indigestion, flatulence or colic pains.
Bismuth. A good remedy in diarrhoea and dysentery.
Cascara Sagrada. A purgative .
Chlorodyne. Useful remedy in bowel troubles.
Boracic Powder. For dusting on sores or mixed in water as an antiseptic lotion in dressing any wounds or sores.
Opium Tincture for colic.
Potassium Bicarbonate. For dyspepsia or acidity.

It may be as well to take a larger stock of absorbent wool, bandages and lint than can conveniently be carried in the tray of the medicine chest. Some old linen should be taken also.

A bottle of castor oil should be ordered among one's stores.

A useful instrument is a glass syringe for pumping the ears or for clearing matter adhering to the base of deep sores. Do not order a proper ear syringe, as they are very small and have little power.

[17] A hypodermic syringe would be useful sometimes, but only in the hands of anyone with knowledge enough to use it.

Among the stores should be ordered a pound or two of sulphur and some petroleum jelly for making an ointment for Itch (Mota Gagarat).

Cooking Recipes for Use in the Islands.

In contrast with some matters treated of in previous sections of this book, the above heading may appear trivial. But unless a man remains healthy he cannot work, and is of no use whatever. It is worth while paying attention to meals and to the proper preparation of at least some of them. It is a false heroism to care nothing. The following recipes deal with preparing of foods native to Melanesia. A cookery book would be useful. "The Colonial Cookery Book" is to be recommended.

Yams.-- (1) Peel, cut up in chunks, and boil in water. (2) If the yam is a soft kind, boil as above, strain off the water, and mash with a fork, mixing in a little butter, pepper and salt. (3) Take any cold yam left over, mash it and mix in a little butter, pepper and salt, and moisten it with water if very dry. Fry with very little dripping in the pan. When the underside is brown, put a plate over it and turn the pan upside down. If the pan is dry put in a little more dripping and slip the yam cake into the pan and fry as before. (4) Peel and grate. A grater can be made of any piece of tin with holes punched in it with a nail. The grated yam is of a slimy nature. If too stiff, mix with a little water. If too thin, mix in a little flour. Fry small pieces of this in boiling fat. The lumps of grated yam will spread out in flat cakes. Keep turning over and over till both sides are well browned. A little baking powder put in the grated yam before frying it will greatly improve the fritters. (5) Peel and cut into thin slices or strips and fry in a good deal of boiling fat. (After using the fat it can be poured back into the dripping tin for use over again.) (6) If a yam is small and good, get the native cook to roast it on the embers. He will be able to do this to perfection.

N.B.--A most useful article is a small food chopper. It will mince meat, vegetables and biscuit for bread crumbs. With it a much greater variety of dishes can be prepared.

Tomagos.--This is a species of yam, and can be treated in the same way.

Toape.--This is an edible hibiscus, and when cooked somewhat resembles spinach. The natives speak of it as cabbage. (1) Boil with a little salt and baking soda. It is improved with an onion or chili, the native pepper. Shalotts (a spring onion) are grown in some islands. (2) Boil as above and pour on some coconut sauce, which the native cook will prepare.

[18] Breadfruit.--(1) Get the cook to roast it on the embers. He will peel it ready. This is by far the best way of preparing breadfruit. (2) Have it cooked in a native oven. (This method can be adopted with the foods already mentioned.) (3) Any breadfruit left over cut up in slices and fry.

Bananas.--(1) Boil green bananas in their skins. Peel before putting them in the dish. This is the least appetising way of eating them, as they are rarely soft. (2) Peel some ripe bananas, cut them in half lengthways, and fry brown in boiling fat. (3) Cut up in thin wafers and mix with cut up oranges and any other fruit for a fruit salad. (4) Peel and slice some ripe bananas and pour over them thin boiled custard made from a custard powder. (5) Banana Fritters: See the cookery book for the making of a batter. Dip sliced bananas in the batter and fry in boiling fat.

Mummy Apple.--(1) Boil in their skins when green. But the fruit must be mature. (2) When just ripe (not mashy) peel, cut in slices, and fry.

Fish.--Either boil or fry. If there is a steamer, steam them and eat with anchovy sauce.


Prawns can be obtained in some places. The natives catch them in prawn traps. (1) Boil and eat cold with vinegar and salt. (2) Boil and shell and use for curry with boiled rice.

Pigeons--These can be shot in most places if the missionary's outfit has included a gun and some cartridges. A single-barrel gun, 12 bore, is the best sort to have. The native cook or someone else can be commissioned to get some birds. The best time is a fine sunny morning after a wet night. The leaves are damp and do not rustle under foot, and the birds are busy pruning their wet feathers on the barer branches in the sunshine. To cook: Stew in a saucepan over a slow fire. An onion with it improves the flavour. Do not boil quickly or the flesh will be tough. When cooked, add some flour mixed smooth in a little water. Add this gradually to the gravy and stir till it thickens and boils. Any flavouring can be added, such as a little tomato sauce, mixed dry herbs, etc.

Fowls can be stewed in the same way as pigeons. The natives wrap them in leaves and cook in their ovens.

Eggs.--These are not always reliable. A fair test is to put them in a basin of cold water. If they lie flat at the bottom they are fresh. If they stand on end they are doubtful but may be eatable. (1) Boil. Not recommended, except when the eggs are known to be fresh. (2) Fry in boiling fat. (3) Scramble. Beat up the eggs well with a fork. Add pepper, salt and a little unsweetened milk. Melt a little butter in a saucepan and pour in the mixture and keep stirring. Do not let it boil. When it has thickened put on fried biscuit. (4) Boil hard; take off [18/19] the shells and cut in half and put in a curried gravy. (5) Poach. Place on toasted bread or fried biscuit.

The following recipes are for other than native foods:--

Rice.--(1) Boil in a good deal of water (1/2 panikin rice to 5 panikins water), strain off the water till the rice is as dry as possible. Eat with sugar, coconut sauce, jam, golden syrup or tinned fruit. Suitable also for curries. (2) Any cold rice left over press into a basin and turn out next day. Eat cold as above. (3) Fritters: Take left-over rice and stir in a little flour and water mixed smooth. A beaten egg stirred into the rice improves it. Form into little flat cakes and fry in boiling fat. (4) If there is a cooking stove, bake about 1 tablespoonful of rice to 1 pint of milk. Bake for a good long time in a pie dish.

Cornflour, Arrowroot or Custard Powder.--Boil 1 pint of milk. Mix smooth in a basin 1 heaped tablespoonful of cornflour, etc. Pour this gradually into the boiling milk, stirring rapidly. Cornflour should boil on for a few minutes. Arrowroot and custard powders are ready when they come to the boil.

Porridge.--Oatmeal called "Creamosta" keeps well in a tin, and is easier to cook than ordinary oatmeal. Boil 1 pint of water. Mix 2 tablespoonfuls of Creamoata with some cold water and salt. Pour the mixture into the boiling water and stir till it boils. Ten minutes only are enough for cooking this kind of porridge. Ordinary oatmeal requires at least half-hour to cook.

Meats.--Get assorted meats till the kinds preferred are discovered. Assorted meats can be ordered by the case (2 dozen). Tinned meats, with the exception of tongues, are much more wholesome eaten hot. It is unwise to eat nothing but cold meats.

Rissoles.--Pieces of left-over meat can be minced in the food chopper, mixed with minced yam (boiled), pepper, salt and a little sauce. Form into balls and dip into white of egg and biscuit or bread crumbs. The yolk can be mixed in with the mince. Fry in boiling fat. (As a substitute for the white of egg, a thin paste of flour and water is equally good.)

Curry.--Left-over meat can be curried. Make a gravy for any sort of curry thus:--Fry left-over vegetables, ripe banana, mummy apple, or onion. When cooked mix in a dessertspoonful of curry powder, 1 teaspoonful of sugar, 1 tablespoonful of flour, and the juice of a lemon or lime., Stir well and add milk or coconut sauce or water as preferred. When the mixture boils put in the meat or prawns or hardboiled boiled eggs. A simpler method is to mix some coconut sauce and curry powder and put the meat into this and bring it to the boil. Curries may be made of vegetables only, or dried haricot beans. The beans must be soaked overnight and well boiled first.

Sardines--May be eaten cold with vinegar, or hot, placed on fried biscuit or toast.

[20] Salmon.--Buy in 1/2 lb tins. (1) Eat cold with vinegar. (2) Make into cakes similar to meat rissoles. (3) Make a sauce of 1 breakfastcupful of milk brought to the boil, with a little butter in it, and thicken with a dessertspoonful of flour mixed smooth in cold water with pepper and salt. Put the salmon in this and eat when hot.

Tinned Soup.--Get Campbell's. Directions are given on the tins. They can be used as gravies to heat up meat in.

Boiled Pudding.--1/2 lb flour, 1 heaped teaspoonful baking powder a pinch of salt and a little sugar and 11/2 tablespoonfuls dripping. Rub the dripping into the flour and moisten with water or milk to make a stiff dough. The best utensil for cooking a boiled pudding is an enamel basin made for the purpose with a tin lid which fixes on. Grease the basin: pour in the mixture and put on the lid. Stand the basin in a pot of fast boiling water which reaches half-way up the basin. Boil for 2 hours. Add water to the saucepan if it shows signs of boiling dry. Turn out and eat with jam or treacle. A variety of this pudding can be made by adding treacle instead of so much water, and ground ginger.

Lentil Sausages.--Boil 1/2 cup of lentils in a small quantity of salted water. An onion boiled with them will improve them. When quite soft add them to some cold mashed yam or other vegetable with pepper, salt and a little butter or any sauce liked to flavour it. Form into sausage-shaped rolls, dip in egg (or thin paste of flour and water) and bread or biscuit crumbs and fry in boiling fat.

A few extra cooking utensils can be kept at headquarters. When travelling about take as few things as possible and attempt nothing elaborate in the cooking line.

Notes on Food Stores.

A certain amount of tinned fish should be ordered, though it may happen that the district where the missionary works is a good one for fishing. Some districts are very good, and some very indifferent. In some islands one may be able to get fish only very rarely. A supply of fish lines and hooks (Kirby's blue, ringed hooks) should be taken. A varied assortment must be taken until the favourite size is known. For an experimental order, get tackle on the small side rather than the large. In return for a present of fishing tackle a native should be asked to bring in some of his catch.

A piece of bacon (a quarter of a side) is a good thing to add to the stores order. It will keep very well if put in an empty rice bag and hung up in the teacher's house in the smoke.

Of the various brands of tinned meat, Hellaby's are the best. Now and then a tin will be found to be bad. This is easily detected by the bulging of the tin. No tinned food [20/21] if it is suspected of being in the least bit tainted should be used. Meat and fish should never be left in the tin when once it is opened. This does not matter with butter, jam, cheese and milk. But butter, as it gets low in the tin, is apt to become rather rancid. But if travelling about it is much easier to keep these things in their tins. If moving about much and quickly it is wasteful to discard half-consumed tins and to open fresh ones at every halting place. Besides being uneconomical, this system would mean that a large quantity of stores would have to be continually carried about.

Put on the list of stores an order for some onions and potatoes. Kumeras (sweet potatoes) are grown on some islands. Some people advocate the taking of various garden seeds to plant in the islands or to give the natives to plant. Very rarely will any satisfactory results be obtained. A man will hardly ever be long enough in one place to have a private garden of his own though he may pay a private gardener. Also the chances are that if he is often on the move he will rarely be at the place where his vegetables are at the exact time when they are ready for picking or gathering. In addition to this the ordinary seeds when sown in the Islands often yield but poor and stunted crops. And they have many enemies in the shape of destructive grubs, etc.

When flour is ordered, have it sent in a tin with a round patent lid. Sugar can be ordered in this way, too. If sugar is ordered in a bag it must be put into some sort of tin or jar or otherwise it will melt. The patent lid tin serves the double purpose of keeping the sugar dry and also free from ants.

Fancy biscuits are best ordered in quite small tins. One can then have a good many kinds without running the risk of waste. A large tin of one particular kind of biscuit is apt to pall after a time.

Practically all foods, especially sweet things and meat, will attract swarms of ants. To keep them free they must either be kept in some practically air-tight receptacle or be placed on a stand or in a safe of which the legs are stood in jars or saucers or tins of water.

In addition to the Colonial Cookery Book mentioned already, some recommend "A Practical Guide to Cookery in West Africa and the Tropics," by Sister Cockburn: (The Scientific Press, 28 Southampton St., Strand, W.C. 3/-.)

A Few Extra Hints.

1. Be careful what you eat and drink.
2. Don't neglect a small wound.
3. Don't go out in the sun bare-headed.
4. Sunburn can be very painful indeed-beware of "dull days."
In a boat don't keep your trousers and shirt-sleeves rolled up.
[22] 5. If you don't know what is the matter with you, but feel horribly ill, try quinine.
6. Don't try and "rough it" too much. Remember your health is a valuable asset to the mission, and don't play tricks, with it.
7. Be "temperate" in all things, including drugs!

The Language.

(Reprinted from the Reverend W. G. Ivens' "Hints to Missionaries.")

At Norfolk Island, and at the preparatory schools, Mota is the language adopted. For learning this there are special facilities: dictionary, grammar (in Dr. Codrington's book on Melanesian languages) and a good deal of literature.

Every missionary in Melanesia should try and properly learn the language of the place where he is at work. Lists of words should be made and committed to memory. Small sketches of a great many languages appear in Dr. Codrington's book, and unless a man is beginning in an absolutely new place, he will have the benefit of previous translations, from which the particular language may be learned. And, probably, there will be some bi-lingual native there, some teacher from the place who knows Mota, and his help will be invaluable in learning the language of the place. Let no one be daunted when face to face with the problem of having a Melanesian language to learn: Bishop Patteson always said that anyone could learn one of these languages by dint of genuine work and prayer. To know many languages is not given to every man but to know one is within the power of every missionary who feels that he has been called of God to his work. The difficulties of the language question have been exaggerated.

Anyone learning Mota should be prepared to commit to memory large parts of the grammar. The pronouns should be written out and learned, the inclusive and exclusive forms noted in first person plural, the suffixed pronouns studied, the prepositions catalogued according to whether they can be followed or not by the demonstrative na before the noun; the composition of nouns should also be noted. The prefixes and suffixes of verbs, the use of adverbs, the numerals, all require careful attention. No Melanesian tongue uses relative pronouns.

The chief characteristic -features of Melanesian languages are as follows (Note supplied by S. H. Ray, Esq.):--

1. Possession shown by suffixed pronouns: my head, your hand, his father.
2. The method of indicating a possessive or genitive case with nouns: as, wing of bird, man's hand.
3. Use of possessive nouns: my pig (for food), my coconut, etc. (for drink).
[23] 4. The pronouns: Singular, plural, dual, trial, inclusive and exclusive forms in first person.
5. Verbs.
(a) Use of temporal particles with verbs.
(b) Pronoun when used as object is suffixed to verb.
(c) Consonantal and syllabic suffixes added to verbs to make them transitive or to give them a more definitely transitive force.
(d) Causation shown by a prefix.
6. Use of directive words: come hither! go away! etc.
7. Use of interrogative who for what: in, What is your name?
Prepositional phrases, as, The bird is on the stone. Note difference from English construction when from or to is intended, as: He comes hither at the place, for, He comes from the place.
9. Formation of words.
Nouns by prefix from verbs or by suffix.
Adjectives by suffixes or prefixes.

Natives never generalize. They seldom have a name for their island, but only names for each tiny headland, and bay, and village. Just so, they find it very difficult to classify any ideas under general heads. Ask for details and you get a list of them. Ask for general principles, and only a few can answer: e.g.," To carry," is, used in English, of any way of carrying: in Melanesian languages, different words will always be used for carrying on the head, the shoulder, the back, in the arms, in the hand, or by two or more persons. Misuse of one of these terms will often be most ridiculous. One who wishes to learn a native language should not be content with any native word which occurs as an equivalent to an English one, he must find out what is the image presented to the native mind by the native word, the particular thing or action it pictures, not the general class of things or actions, which is in his own mind more vaguely conceived. Native languages are in this way fuller in vocabulary than the ordinary speech of Englishmen.--(Codrington.) The Melanesian mould of thought to be noted. An Englishman says, "When I get there it will be night." A Melanesian says, "I am there, it is night." The one says, "Go on, it will soon be dark," the other, "Go on, it has become already night." The one possesses the power of realising the future as present or part: the other does not exercise such power now, whatever he once did.

"The real genius of the language is learned when I can write down what I overhear boys saying, when they are talking with perfect freedom, and therefore idiomatically, about sharks, coconuts, yams, etc. I wish some of our good Hebrew scholars were sound Poly- and Melanesian scholars. I believe it to be quite true, that the mode of thought of a South Sea Islander resembles very closely that of a Semitic man. The Israelite thought and talked child's language: we Melanesians think and speak such languages. [23/24] The Hebrew narrative viewed from the Melanesian point of thought, is wonderfully graphic and lifelike."--(Patteson.)

The real difficulty in learning a Melanesian tongue is in understanding what the people say. As a rule they talk fast, and their voices are thick. When talking to a teacher, whose mind may be more or less trained, something may be learned about a language, but the real difficulty comes in when trying to get information from some heathen. It is a matter that has no interest for him: he has never thought about it, and does not understand the meaning or the mind of his questioner. Of Patteson it is said, "His vocabulary was so large and accurate, and his feeling of the native ways, of looking at things and representing them in words so true, that he spoke to them more clearly and forcibly than any native ever spoke. He was an enthusiast about these languages, and jealous of their claim to be considered true languages, and not what people suppose them to be, the uncouth jargon of savages."

Some Melanesian sounds are difficult to pronounce, e.g., initial NG, D and R also are difficult, and Q and G. Always listen to the children's pronunciation--try to copy it. With the elders, articulation is often rendered difficult by the use of the areca nut. Some natives are much better teachers than others, and will use a great deal of brain and time in trying to make their language intelligible to the learner.

The present system of spelling in Melanesian mission books was first used by Patteson, and was perfected by Codrington, and it cannot well be improved upon. The vowels are given the Italian sound.

The Mission makes use of italic letters in printing: n = ng (as in Singer): m = mw: g = ngg and ng (in Finger). There is also a sound gn = Spanish n, but gn is printed, In writing there are two practices in representing these letters: either they are written with a diaeresis or with a line above. The latter method would seem to be better than the diaeresis, for if n with a diaeresis be badly written it is often taken for double i. These italic letters should never be used when writing for English readers in ordinary publications, but the English equivalents should be put. In some languages there are modified vowels, which are printed in italics. The diaeresis might be employed in writing these.

Sweet's "Primer of Phonetics" (Clarendon Press, 3/6), is supposed to help in the study of longs and shorts in consonants and vowels. If you want to teach or preach well, learn the native proverbs. Too much stress cannot be laid on the value of learning lists of words by heart. "Let each object bring some native sound ringing in your ears, so that the sound brings the object before your eyes. You will find that the real and most stringent test of knowledge of a language is, whether you can understand the natives speaking among themselves. I believe we must learn like children, through the ear, not by books much. The office of books is to enable us to make up and understand when we [24/25] hear spoken words and sentences, which only constant hearing (whether by repetition to ourselves aloud, or by hearing others say them) will teach us to know in an instinctive way, which is necessary to real speaking or understanding. To know thoroughly by book is a different thing from knowing by ear." (Pilkington of Uganda.)

In making translations for religious purposes, it will be found that the Missionary's first work will be to give the converts the forms of faith and prayer (the Prayer Book), which Christianity has accepted, to guide them. Then will follow parts of the New Testament, of which the Prayer Book will be the natural interpreter. "In making such translations nothing is to be more deprecated than the substitution of general, for particular terms, or the turning of a metaphorical expression into dull prose because such a metaphor is not in native use. A true and natural metaphor will make itself at home among Melanesians, as images from the Hebrew Scriptures are in English."--(Codrington.)

Patteson's life should be carefully studied as a guide to how best to teach, and what most to insist upon. "It may be dangerous to admit it, but I am convinced that all we can do is to elevate some few of these islanders well, so that they can teach others, and be content with careful oral teaching for the rest. I feel that but few of these islanders can ever be book-learned, and I would sooner see them content to be taught plain truths by qualified persons than puzzling themselves to no purpose by the doubtful use of their little learning. I do teach reading and writing to all who come into our school, and. I make them read passages to verify my reading."--(Patteson.)

Note supplied by S. H. Ray, Esq.., on the study of Melanesian language:--

1. Method.--In trying to acquire a new Melanesian language the points to be aimed at are:--

(1) Familiarity with a well-known language like Mota.

(2) A knowledge of a language geographically near to the one to be investigated, or what is better,

(3) A knowledge of the language used in the district for trade purposes. A bi-lingual native is useful for interpretation. (A boy from the district who has been to a Mission School and has learnt Mota, will prove invaluable.)

(4) Get a copious vocabulary of common words with simple sentences or phrases.

(5) Get, finally, a connective narrative, stories, descriptions of occupations, of planting, harvesting, fishing. When possible, these should be read to a native auditor for criticism. But remember that a native will often pass a fault rather than criticise. Because he understands a certain expression, although wrong, he will assent.

[26] (6) Finally elucidate (by means of direct questioning) all idiomatic and difficult phrases met with. The analysis of compound words and metaphorical expressions should be studied as evidence of mental capacity.

2. Possibility of forms of languages in some parts of the Solomon Islands that may be classed as Papuan rather than Melanesian. The chief differences in the "Papuan" forms are:--

(1) Nouns and pronouns are defined by means of suffixed particles, e.g., "my hand" is not "hand my" as in Melanesian, but "me of hand"; "bird's wing" is not "wing of bird," or "bird its wing," but "bird, of wing," etc.

(2) Similarly nouns have various case suffixes instead of prepositions:


(3) Adjectives usually precede the noun.

(4) Tenses of the verb are expressed by means of suffixes, not as in Melanesian by, a variation in a preceding particle.

(5) Number and Person in the verb expressed by (1) a prefix, (2) by a change in the suffix, or (3) shown by a pronoun.

(6) Number and Person of the subject and object indicated sometimes by a compound prefix.

The Management of Natives.

(Reprinted from the Reverend W. G. Ivens' "Hints to Missionaries.")

The Missionary is necessarily brought into very close contact with the native, so it will be well to state some rules which experience has shown to be the ones most to be insisted on.

A--With Christians.

(1) Never be in a hurry to make rules. Melanesians are generally conservative, and are slow to see the need for an alteration in anything they have once learned, so be careful of things in the beginning, and never make a rule that is likely to be only temporary and to be abrogated later on. Be content to endure what for the time is faulty, if by waiting a permanent good can be secured. A native is always a laudator temporis acti, and the new-comer must be prepared to hear of the virtues of his predecessors, but their loyalty to those who know is very remarkable, and they are most biddable and teachable. Any command in a school, if expressed in writing, is implicitly obeyed.

(2) Be firm and always fulfil a promise. From the days [26/27] of Bishop G. A. Selwyn onwards, it has always been a rule that promises made to natives, even to heathen, should be religiously kept, and any decision made should be abided by. Natives have a very keen sense of justice, and are wont to repay like with like. If wrong, think it no harm to apologise.

(3) There must be no favouritism. Of course, we are certain to like some more than others, but to manifest our preference will prove fatal to the character of the favourite. Natives cannot stand special favouring, and undue influence must never be exercised on a native to make him or her develop in a way foreign to his true nature: openly to make exceptions in treatment is to foster conceit on the one side and to create jealousy on the other. Let the Melanesian Missionary study Patteson's life, realise his intense spirituality, his earnest love for, his engrossing interest in his scholars: let him be filled with a fervent desire to bring the knowledge and love of God to the hearts of these natives, with a ready will to spend and be spent in the service, and then he will not err on the side of undue partiality to any one individual, nor will he go to the other extreme and be unduly strict or severe. In all things let us seek the eternal welfare of those placed under us. Melanesians, like other native races living in the Tropics, have not naturally got the power of choice and of vigorous action, of following a certain line of conduct and action because it is right. A motive power has to be supplied to them through the influence of God, the Holy Spirit. The aim in the education of our scholars ought to be to lead them to the power of Duty, to the choice of Right, and to the holding of it through thick and thin. Natives are too ready to please, to be obsequious and submissive, and it is far nobler to lead them by an impartial love for their welfare, to do hard things, and to stir up the gift of God which is in them, than by undue notice to force them out of their true line of orderly development in Christ, and to foster an unhealthy spirit of superiority certain to cause trouble.

(4) Respect native etiquette. A native's perception is very keen, and he is always inclined to give like for like. Natives are only too quick to detect flaws in manner or in bearing. With all our enthusiasm for those among whom we work, we must remember that they are only human, and it is best to take a spiritual, if prosaic view of our duty, and ever to keep our calling in view, to make these natives Christian in the true meaning of the word.

(5) Be patient. Do not be disheartened if there are falls or lapses amongst the native teachers, or amongst the congregations. Have a high ideal, but remember the circumstances of their lives, and if they fall, love them all the more, even while you inflict punishment. A native quite understands being punished for wrong-doing. When settling disputes let them be as long-winded as they please. [27/28] Jealousies will occur and scandals and gossip are only too rife. In enquiries into charges and accusations be prepared for exaggeration and for unfounded reports, and carefully wait for evidence, and sift all you hear.

(6) Make your people missionary: teach them of their duty to their fellows, of the unity of their race in Christ. It is necessary to guide and supervise them, and often one has to suggest a course of action, or even at times one may have to gently compel them. Above all things, teach them to pray, and see to it that they do pray.

B--With Heathen.

(1) The great difficulty is to get a hold upon them at all. In most cases they are friendly enough: the white man himself is a persona grata to our natives, and many of them now realise that there may be white men who have a higher motive for their presence among them than mere curiosity or desire to trade. The ordinary heathen person is plausible, and one may say quite correctly that he has no knowledge of truth. He has no moral standard in the matter, and mere convenience is his test of what to say. His life is a life of suspicion, and he is servile in his belief in the ghosts and spirits of his ancestors and in his fear of others. He is utterly conservative and "rutty." He seldom, if ever, acts from deliberate choice, but from custom. Reason makes no appeal to him, but he can be won by the representation of a life different from, and superior to, his own, and when in sickness or sorrow he can be won by the exhibition of the Christian life, to desire to know more of the good Way of Life. But all extension work will necessarily be slow, owing to the native character, to their manner of life, and in the Solomons, to the scattered nature of the population.

(2) It may be necessary at times to live for a day or so among the heathen, to win their confidence and to try for some opening amongst them. Be prepared for inconvenience, for being the cynosure of all eyes, for having all that you do commented on, and for being asked for all and sundry things that any native is ever likely to want (the ordinary native expects that the white men qua white are naturally the purveyors of all things English, and when one is far away up in the bush one may be asked for a needle). The Mission's way has always been to try and open up a new place by obtaining a boy from there.

(3) When visiting a heathen place, remember that you are perfectly safe when you see women on the beach. A native never fights in the presence of his women. If the women suddenly disappear, get into your boat at once. Do not pry into their sacred things, and do not willingly do despite to anything which they revere. Try to get those who have relatives in Christian villages to go and live in the Christian villages. Beware of the non-Christian returned [28/29] labourer: as a rule they are plausible, good-for-nothing fellows.

The Melanesian Missionary's view of heathenism is given in the following extract from Bishop Patteson's life: "The great principles of Patteson's action and teaching was the restoration of the union of mankind with God through Christ. It never embraced that view of the heathen world which regards it as necessarily under God's displeasure, apart from actual evil committed in wilful knowledge that it is evil. He held fast to the fact of man having been created in the image of God, and held that whatever good impulses and higher qualities still remained in the heathen, were the remnants of that image, and were to be hailed accordingly." Or, as he himself said: "The spark of Heavenly fire may have been all but quenched, the natural wickedness of the heart of man may have exhibited itself with greater fearfulness where no laws and customs have introduced restraints, but the capacity for the Christian life is there, though overlaid with monstrous forms of superstition or ignorance: the conscience can still respond to the voice of the Gospel of Truth."

Women's Work
This has become an integral part of our Mission of late years. There have been women's mission stations in the New Hebrides, the Banks Islands and in the Solomons. A good deal of this book that applies to men will be found applicable to women also. But for their more particular needs this chapter is written.

1. Outfit.--Underclothing and night clothing should be of light woollen material, or wool and silk, or wool and cotton mixture. Some prefer "Aertex." Calico is bad and unhealthy. As laundry work is trying in the heat, the simpler the dresses are the better. Cotton crepe is a good material, as it can be shaken instead of ironed. For similar reasons a less number of dark blue dresses will be found much more useful than a big supply of very light ones. A New Zealand "Gigi" hat will be found most serviceable, as it is cheap, light, shady and wears well. For stationary work many find canvas shoes very useful, though a strong pair should be kept for wet weather. But for long walks a pair of thick leather boots with wooden pegs instead of sewn soles is best. A pair of men's is quite good. Goloshes are necessary. A man's umbrella is also advised. For walking also it is as well to use a very short skirt of dark strong material such as drill or galatea, and a most useful cloak is a cape of strong cravanette or other waterproof material reaching to the knees. An ordinary rain coat also is necessary. It is advisable to have a small set of tools, [29/30] as even if you do not use them yourself you will often need work done by natives for you. A suggested list is:

Cold chisel
1 large screwdriver
1 small screwdriver
2-foot rule
Nail Puller for opening cases
Pair of Pincers
Chisel 1 in. Wide

Other necessaries are:

Rubber hot-water bag
Dietz lantern, painted to prevent rusting, or better still a brass one
Bath or galvanised iron tub
Deck chair
Folding camp bedstead
A good mosquito net. The most useful has a calico top about 2 feet wide by 5 feet long, with loops at each corner. The netting should be fulled on and have a rim of calico about 18 inches deep round the bottom, either to lie on the floor or tuck under the bedding. A second net is useful for staying in villages, as they get very discoloured.
Most people do not care for a mattress, but lie on a rug.
A good travelling rug
Three or four light woollen blankets
Pillows and several cushions
Half-dozen sheets. Some do not use them, and it is most advisable to discard them during an attack of fever.
Two Tablecloths (rather small). Unbleached linen wears best, and washes quite white.
Anything in the way of table napkins, traycloths, etc., that you need for personal use.
Tea towels and dusters
Spoons, forks and knives for personal use
A few cups and saucers, small teapot and jug, and a small kettle and spirit stove or Primus
A food chopper
Waterproof holdall or waterproof canvas sheet for carrying bedding, etc., when visiting other villages
A Thermos flask

It is probable that the senior will already have provided kettles, saucepans and other kitchen utensils, brooms, etc., and the new-comer can gradually accumulate for herself what she finds necessary. It is a great mistake to collect too many things at the beginning, which later will be found superfluous and a waste of money.

[31] 2. It is most necessary that a woman missionary should be a capable cook, as it makes it very hard for her companion if she cannot take her share in that part of the work. And also she is less likely to have good health if she cannot provide suitable and wholesome meals. Anyone living in the Islands will find it a great help to be able to cook and eat a number of vegetarian dishes, for which recipes can easily be obtained in these days. Those in the American Ladies' Home Journal are always excellent. Tinned meat does not give much variety. She should be able also to make good bread and scones and plain puddings. Eggs are very often unobtainable, and only in a few places is fresh milk to be had. It is a great advantage when in good health to be able to eat anything, as an Island storeroom is limited, and it is most difficult for the other if one is fastidious.

3. School Routine.--This will probably include:--

(a) Scripture lessons. This is a very broad subject in Melanesia, as it includes most of the history, geography and general knowledge which it will be necessary to teach. Also it will include lessons on the Prayer Book and its various services and the Catechism, as well as Old and New Testament. Pictures are of great use. Hole's are recommended. .
(b) Writing.
(c) Reading.
(d) Arithmetic of a most elementary nature: probably not advancing beyond the first four simple rules.
(e) Singing: an unfailing source of interest in spite of the fearful discords which the teacher may have to listen to in certain islands.
(f) Sewing. And here a word of warning. Unless one is very careful this subject tends to become both to teacher and taught the main object of school. As a means of relaxing the discipline of school and making an opportunity for talking and getting to know about the women's villages and lives, and also to teach them to sew, the sewing class is of great value. But many who have thought out the problem and see the results, know it is a mistake to encourage natives to provide a number of clothes for themselves, which are frequently sold to other people who won't trouble to come to school, or hoarded in boxes, or worn in all weathers and in every stage of dirt or damp, thus often being the cause of colds and worse troubles. It certainly has a great power of attracting women and girls to school, but still it might be possible to have them taught till they are capable of neatly sewing their own [31/32] garments and then substituting lessons in mending torn clothes, and finally letting some more advanced branch of scripture, such as Melanesian Mission History, gradually take its place, with perhaps an occasional return to the sewing to give a new dress for Christmas. It would be easier to do this in a new station where there are no former traditions to contend with, for Melanesians are very conservative.

It may be mentioned that the materials for sewing are not given to the women, but are paid for either in money or native bags, for which there is a ready sale at the Mission offices, or in native food, which will be useful in feeding the little school girls that often become attached to a women's station.

4. Nature of the Work--This differs from the men's work, as it is mostly stationary, and it is quite unusual for one woman to be alone. One can only speak generally of it, as different people have different methods. In all the stations, however, there will be a certain amount of:

(a) Learning languages and native ideas and points of view.
(b) Training of girls or women in housework.
(c) School routine.
(d) Daily services and possibly some assistance in the village school.
(e) Visiting people in neighbouring villages.
(f) Occasional visiting among more distant villages, where a stay of shorter or longer duration may be paid.
(g) Dressing sores, treating malaria colds, pneumonia, headache and dysentery.

5. It would be well to consider the co-operation of women's work with that of the priest in charge of their district, for it would be fatal to the good influence of all if there were any disloyalty or discord. When the priest is in the district it relieves the women of a great deal of responsibility, as the teachers will take their various troubles to him, and he will very probably undertake the teachers' class himself. Also, they have the added joy and help of sacramental life. But very often he may be away for months at a time, and then it is well to have already become familiar with the idea and practice of Spiritual Communion, a form of which will be found in most prayer manuals.

Give-and-take, which is so difficult in everyday life, is absolutely necessary for the peace and happiness of two women thrown so completely on each other as they are in Island life. And in no department is it more necessary than in the spiritual sphere, where it is quite possible that the two may differ greatly in their ideas of doctrine and Church practice, and may even hold entirely different views from the priest-in-charge in many matters. Great self-control will be needed and a constant recollection of the fact that they [32/33] are all serving the one Master. A mistake which should be carefully avoided is that of speaking critically or unkindly of one's colleagues to the natives.

While speaking of spiritual matters, one may mention what with so many English Church people is a great difficulty--the overcoming of reserve and being able to talk of spiritual things and to pray naturally with the people in their own houses. Of course, it is much easier to do this when alone, and for this reason it will generally be found an advantage to visit separately. A paragraph from the life of the great missionary "Tamate" Chalmers, while on Raratonga, is much to the point. He writes: "For three years Mrs. Chalmers and I have adopted a plan by which we visit every house in each settlement once a year. We have a double object: (1) To encourage the natives to keep their houses clean and in good order. (2) To meet the people in their homes, and so have an opportunity of speaking personally to all. We read the Bible and have prayer in each house before leaving. We have reason to believe these annual visits have been greatly blessed. The various members of the household, and even the wildest young men, assemble and wait patiently till we come."

Do not get into grooves in work. Change is good for everyone, and the Melanesians are like children: they cannot stick at one thing indefinitely. For their sakes we must be imaginative and elastic in our methods of work. Learn as much as possible of native customs, habits of life and thought, stories, games, etc. Besides giving you insight into the native mind and putting you into touch with the people, these things will afford you a large fund of illustrations for your teaching.

Remember that your work is among the women and children. In the absence of the priest-in-charge, teachers or even native clergy may come to you to settle matters of discipline, take Confirmation classes of boys and men, or even teachers' classes. They may even ask you to give them sermon outlines. But don't let your good nature lead you out of your own sphere. It will only lead to: (a) Slackness and neglect of duty on the part of the teachers, who will be only too willing to let you do their work as well as your own, and (b) trouble with the priest-in-charge. It is sometimes very difficult not to interfere when one sees things going wrong, but the proper course to follow is to report all such things to the priest, and leave the matter to him to deal with.

The following letter from the late Dr. Welchman to a former woman missionary should be read and pondered over by all women workers in Melanesia:--

Lilihigna, Bugotu, 13th May, 1904.

Dear -------,

Thank you much for your letter. I think the letter I wrote to Mrs. Comins, and which I asked her to publish [33/34] among the ladies at N.I, tells pretty well the necessary requisites for life down here.

Anyone who comes here must be prepared to do without many little luxuries, and even some things which in other places would be considered necessities. For instance, there may be a sudden run upon milk, and then we must go without. And any stores in the same way. Scrubbing brushes will have to be represented by cocoanut husks and whisks of midribs of leaves.

It is necessary that a lady should make no difficulty over makeshifts, nor be worried if her house and surroundings be not as neat and nice as those to which she has been accustomed, but be ready to make the best of everything and have patience till better things can be had.
We shall be very poor for Christ's sake, for we have not much money to work upon, and we must economise in everything that we can.

She must not be over anxious about her heath, nor given to fancies, and be ready to take the evils of the climate in good part.

She must be ready to take her place in a boat, and visit occasionally the villages: there she will have to sleep on an uncomfortable bed, and sit on a box for her meals, for furniture cannot be carried in a boat, and there is none in any of my houses.

She must be prepared to see a state of life among the natives to which she is a stranger, and she must not be easily shocked, nor prudish.

She must not mind getting her boots dirty nor her feet wet.

She must be ready to accept a lack of privacy, and accept willingly inopportune visits of the ladies of the place.

Compared with English or New Zealand life, she must be ready not merely to go slumming but to live among the slums, as some noble ladies have done at Home.

She must have unlimited patience for mistakes and misunderstandings, and even for downright obstinacy: when a Melanesian becomes obstinate, it is appalling.

She must not expect them to accept her verdict upon habits and customs with alacrity, and above all she must be aware to the fact that what suits us may not be good for them: or if it is good for them she must wait till she can make them see it.

Above all she must reserve her judgment upon all things. Many things will at first appear to be wrong, which time will show to have a very good reason at their back.

She will understand the natives thoroughly in six weeks, and in six years she will confess that she knows nothing whatever about them.

Now I have told you shortly the worst side of everything that I can think of, and I will modify.

I cannot afford to build board houses, but I will give [34/35] her the best native house we can put up, and she will not find it so bad. Opinions differ, but taking one thing with another I find a native house cooler than boards and an iron roof. And I think the disadvantages are compensated for in them.

It will be a rare thing for stores to fall short, I will do my best to prevent any chance of starvation, but sometimes we get in a corner.

She shall not be worked to death, if she won't sit on the verandah and read novels all day long: and if she is sick, she shall have the best care that can be given her.

Visits to the villages will not happen often, and when they do it will be a sort of picnic.

The people are really shy, but they are kindly and loveable. They will crowd round from a natural curiosity, but they are not rude, and at a bidding will retire, when they understand they are not wanted.

They are slow at school, and arithmetic is beyond them, but they take kindly to Scripture.

There is a good deal of immorality among them, but it is more that they are unmoral than immoral. Their marriage tie was of the loosest description, and their whole manner of life tended to loose living, so that they think little of what shocks us greatly. But that is better than it was, in so far that they look upon it with disgust where they accepted it as an ordinary item of existence.

Of their manner of daily life their villages' social relations it is impossible to write intelligibly: it can only be got from experience; not even a casual visit could make it quite understandable. But a great point to be remembered is., that we are here to teach a people to live a godly, sober, and righteous life in their own land and with their own ways, customs and habits, and not to attempt to make Europeans of them. It is ours to correct what is wrong in their moral lives, and to encourage all that may be good, and to promote their spiritual and physical wellbeing, without laying upon them a burden greater than they are able to bear. And what we may do to that end, and what we may not do, will only be learnt by close observation, and experience, gained by cautious and patient judgment.

Any lady coming down here must be prepared to cope with any emergency that may occur, and cheerfully to make the best of everything, for our Lord's sake.

It would be a good thing if you were to come round and get even a passing glimpse of things, it would give you a little idea of native life, though after all it would be a mere smattering and would be necessarily used with caution afterwards.

I quite assent to all you said in your letter, your pupils must have all that and the rest that I have briefly mentioned.

[36] I shall be interested to know how you get on with your training of women: it is hard and sometimes weary work; but you will have grace given sufficient for your needs.

The life at Lilihigna (the name of which will shortly be altered) is very much a sort of rough-and-ready St. Barnabas such I should think what St. Barnabas was in its early days.

I hope this will give you some idea of our requirements: of course you will understand that I am writing from a Bugotu point of view mainly but probably other districts would tell much the same tale.

With kind regards, believe me,

Yours very sincerely,


A folding bed could be carried in a boat. Though I have talked about the necessity of not looking out for being comfortable, we make ourselves as comfortable as we can.


Phoenix Press Ltd., Printers, 159 Albert Street, Auckland.

Project Canterbury