Pauliasi Bunoa was a Fijian Wesleyan minister who lived in Suva. He was the first Fijian to be ordained in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He became an Adventist as a result of frequent contact with Calvin Parker and John Fulton, convinced of the truth of the Seventh-day Adventist message while helping to translate a tract outlining the church’s beliefs. As a baptised member, he devoted his time, energy and theological knowledge to expressing the love of Jesus. When publishing was begun in Fiji, Bunoa was made the official translator. The first publication was a small hymnal, followed by a small book of Bible studies on Daniel and signs of Christ’s second coming. In 1900, the first of many monthly copies of the Rarama came of the press. Later he became a teacher at Fulton College. Bunoa was never satisfied with the status quo. When asked to leave his homeland, he willingly became a missionary to New Ireland and New Britain off the north coast of New Guinea, where he remained for 10 years, during which time illness claimed his children and his wife. He returned to Fiji, where he continued preaching.
Narain Singh was the son of an indentured Indian immigrant labourer, born in Suva, Fiji. His playmates were Indians, Fijians and other Pacific islanders, which gave him a multicultural outlook and knowledge of the Pacific languages spoken by his friends. His education was ecumenical, attending a variety of denominational primary and secondary schools before going to Avondale Missionary College in Australia, where he completed teacher training.
Upon his return to Fiji in 1928, he taught in the Seventh-day Adventist Indian School at Samabula. He quickly became known as Master-ji, an Indian title of respect, which stayed with him for the rest of his life. Eventually he was asked to teach at the then newly established Fulton Training School, an amalgamation of a number of mission schools (including the buildings from Samabula). Even though his primary role was as support to Indian students, he was loved by all. Eventually, in 1956, he was appointed principal, remaining in that position until his retirement in 1979, and passed away at age 89. His mission legacy was in his staff and students, and in bridges he built between Pacific cultures, creating in Fulton a microcosm of the Fijian multicultural society.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific (1885–1985)
First church in Australia
On May 10, 1885, 11 Americans set sail on the Australia from San Francisco, USA, with plans to establish the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia. The pioneer workers included Pastor Stephen Haskell; Pastor Mendel Israel, accompanied by his wife and two daughters; Pastor John Corliss, accompanied by his wife and two children; Henry Scott, a printer from Pacific Press; and William Arnold, a colporteur.
They arrived in Sydney on June 6, 1885. While Pastors Haskell and Israel stayed in Sydney, the others continued aboard a coastal steamer to Melbourne, which had been selected to be the base for the Church’s Australian activities as there were rumours of Sabbath-keepers living there. They formed the first Seventh-day Adventist church in Australia in Melbourne on January 10, 1886, with 29 members.
First church in New Zealand
Pastor Haskell, who was keen to spread the message in New Zealand where the pioneers had called on their initial voyage to Australia, returned to Auckland and began distributing the Church’s outreach publication The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times. Reports of Haskell’s successes in New Zealand caused the leaders of the Church in America to delegate A.G. Daniels, an evangelist, to travel to New Zealand
to develop the work further. Daniels, an enthusiastic preacher, had great success and in 1887 opened the first Seventh-day Adventist church in New Zealand at Ponsonby. Daniels would eventually go on to become the world president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
First Adventist contact in the Pacific: John Tay and voyages of the Pitcairn
In 1886, John I Tay, an American layman, reached Pitcairn Island aboard a vessel of the Royal Navy. He stayed on the island until another ship arrived. Tay’s simple teaching fascinated the islanders as the message matched with the message of literature—Signs of the Times—sent years previously from America by James White and John Loughborough. Within weeks, the islanders accepted the suite of Adventist truths. When Tay left, he promised to send someone to baptise the group.
Upon his return to America, Tay’s accounts inspired other Adventists to visit Pitcairn. One, Pastor Andrew J Cudney, found an old schooner, the Phoebe Chapman, and he and a crew sailed for Tahiti where they planned to pick up John Tay before sailing to Pitcairn Island. Sadly, they never arrived, as the ship was lost at sea.
Tay was anxious to return to Pitcairn Island and a boat was required. Funds from Sabbath Schools across America raised money for one, the aptly named Pitcairn, which under Captain Joseph Melville Marsh was ready to sail in October 1880. Tay was joined by two other enthusiastic missionary couples, Edward Gates and the Albert J Read, who were greeted enthusiastically by the islanders on Pitcairn. Eighty-six people were baptised and a church formally organised.
When the Pitcairn departed the island three weeks later, on board were three Pitcairn islanders who wished to spread the Adventist faith. As the ship travelled westward from island to island, literature was distributed, evangelical meetings held, and medical treatments dispensed. After visiting Papeete, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Norfolk Island, it arrived in Auckland, New Zealand. There they
heard the news of Tay’s death in Fiji. The Pitcairn returned to California, carrying missionaries on five more Pacific voyages.
The first voyage of the Pitcairn marked the beginning of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fiji, with the distribution of literature and religious public meetings. John and Hannah Tay stayed in Suva, but after just five months, John Tay died of influenza, aged 60. Albert and Hattie Read and Pitcairner James Russell McCoy remained at Levuka to sell books. Edward Gates visited Savusavu Bay, Vanuakevu and Taveuni before returning to Levuka to pick up fellow workers.
On its third journey, the Pitcairn didn’t travel to Fiji. Pastor John and Fanny Cole transferred from Norfolk Island to Suva in 1895, not long before the Pitcairn arrived in Fiji on its fourth voyage. The Coles were joined with Pastor John and Susie Fulton and their two daughters Jessie and Agnes. They created a mission base at Tamavua, just north of Suva. On its fifth voyage, the Coles were ailing, and returned to America in 1897. But they had laid the foundation for the church.
Cole and Fulton purchased the first mission boat, the Loughborough, a coastal lugger built in 1897. Then in 1898, Fulton purchased the locally made cutter the Cina, meaning “Light.” Fulton began translation work and then publishing, with the help of Pauliasi Bunoa.
Early Australian and New Zealand missionaries to the Pacific
In 1898, Calvin and Myrtle Parker and their two-year-old daughter Ramona sailed with Fulton, who was returning to Fiji after illness. The Parker family established their mission base in Suva Vou. Their first converts were Ratu Abrosa Tuivuya (Chief Ambrose) and his wife Kilara (Clara). Ambrose, who was a thief and a drunkard, confessed his wrongdoings and gave up alcohol and tobacco. He, his wife and Tevita, and Anareta Dama, were baptised by Fulton at Suva Vou.
The sixth voyage of the Pitcairn delivered a printing press to Fiji. the monthly paper, the Rarama, doctrinal tracts and a small hymnal were printed. Pauliasi Bunoa made trips on the Cina around the coastal villages distributing literature. It was on one of these trips that the small boat was carried onto a reef. By 1903, Fulton had found a suitable replacement for the Cina, the Andi Suva (“Queen of Suva”). Due to Pauliasi
Bunoa’s efforts working among his own people, three companies of Sabbath-keepers were established.
During this time, the Parkers had left, returning in 1902. Then in 1903, Sybril Reed joined the Parkers as an assistant. The next year, Parker had a new cutter built for his use around the islands. Then due to failing health, the Fulton family took a break at Avondale, using the time to complete a translation of The Great Controversy into Fijian.
In 1902, Arthur Currow left but returned a few years later. The Parkers transferred to Suva Vou to continue the work, supported by Bunoa.
In 1905, the Buresala property was purchased for a school. The mission house at Suva Vou was dismantled and rebuilt as two houses at the new school site—the Fultons living in one and Edith Guilliard, who had come with them from America years before, with her new husband Septimus Carr, in the other. By 1906, a proper school building was erected and dedicated in 1907. When the Carrs left to pioneer Papua,
they were replaced by Andrew and Jean Stewart.
Ellen Meyers and her husband, Herbert Herbert had become converts in India during the 1890s. Ellen Meyers was determined that their sons, William, Cecil, Dudley and Harold, be trained as Adventist missionaries, so she and the boys moved to Cooranbong. Once her sons were settled there, she returned to India to join her husband, but marriage didn’t survive. In 1912, Ellen Meyers and her 16-year-old son
Harold commenced work among the 45,000 Indians living in Suva. Her focus was the education of Indian children. The school flourished. On January 26, 1928, a farewell organised by Indian Reform League and attended by Hindu, Muslim and Christians people alike, acknowledged her 15-year of contribution. At age 63, she retired in Sydney, dying in 1958 at age 93.
Arthur Currow, originally from America, arrived in Fiji to assist John Fulton and Charles H Parker, both who had remained in administrative positions before retiring to Australia.
Life stories of influential missionaries
John E Fulton, a Canadian by birth, was born in 1869. He was convinced early in his life that he should be a missionary for the Seventh-day Adventist message. This was confirmed with a visit by John Tay regarding his voyages on the Pitcairn. Convinced that God had great plans for him and confirmed when his family home was saved during violent storm, he studied at Healsburg in California with the aim of being a pastor and missionary. He was shocked to hear of Tay’s death after only five months in Fiji. This fuelled his ambition to be a missionary in his stead. In 1896, Fulton and his family arrived in Fiji, locating the mission in Suva, working alongside John Cole. Known locally as Fulitoni and Misi Fulitoni, they quickly became well known in the district as part of the “clean church,” as they did not smoke, drink or eat “unclean” meat.
Eva E Edwards
Eva Edwards’s mother had become an Adventist when Pastor Arthur G Daniells, a pioneer American Adventist, conducted meetings in Auckland, New Zealand. In 1903, when John Fulton became Bible teacher at Avondale College, he advertised for a household assistant for his wife. Eva applied and obtained the position. A year later, when the Fultons were appointed to Fiji, they invited Eva to go with them, and she willingly accepted.
To support the new Buresala Training School on the Island of Ovalua, in 1904, the Fultons with Eva moved there. At the new school, Eva moved into a dwelling with Jessie and Agnes Fulton. Eva became sick with a tropical ulcer. While recovering in Australia, she enrolled at Avondale College in 1906, graduating in 1909 as a teacher. For the next 17 years, Eva taught in various schools in Tonga, Australia and New
Zealand. In 1927, she returned to work in Fiji, at Navuso, with Pastor Harry and Viola
On one occasion, Eva was asked to prepare a meal for the European people who came to meetings. To her delight, among them were Pastor Arthur G Daniels and his wife Mary, who were on their way to Australia. It was Daniels who had studied with her mother some 40 years previously.
Eva was more than a teacher and a cook, she also provided medical assistance wherever she could, even to typhoid patients. She believed that God gave her the necessary knowledge to deal with epidemics of measles, dengue fever, influenza and chest troubles.
One holiday, Eva suffered a small burn, which turned septic and almost cost her her life. She was sent to New Zealand to recover. She returned to Fiji in 1930 to teach at Buresala, just in time to say goodbye to her friends the Carrs, then was joined by Pastor Cyril and Dora Palmer. Interestingly, Dora had been one of Eva’s first school students.
In 1931, Eva went to work with the girls at Wainibuka School, with Leonard and Enid Wilkinson, where she stayed until 1937, when she transferred to the Indian girls’ school at Samabula, Suva.
In 1941, Fulton Training School opened. It was situated in the Tailevu district, about 50 kilometres north-east of Suva. Eva joined the staff under the new principal Pastor Arthur Dyason, who had been the principal of Navuso. She remained there for the next eight years, after which went to the mission headquarters in Fiji until the end of 1950.
Said Eva of here many years of service, “All throughout my 40 years in God’s cause, my work associates were devoted, dedicated men and women, nationals included—a real inspiration. . . . we have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us and teaching in our past history.”
Harry Rowland Martin
Harry Rowland Martin arrived in Suva, Fiji, in 1915. Martin had dedicated his life to the service of God. Graduating from the Avondale School for Christian Workers, he was prepared to go wherever sent. He began his service in Australia, but then served in Fiji at Buresala Training School on the island of Ovalau. Martin quickly realised his building skills could complement his teaching and administrative skills. He spent time each year walking from village to village, visiting government officials and encouraging church members, speaking often of Christ’s coming soon.
Martin also had responsibility for the publishing work and press. With the new Na Talai (“The Messenger”) in hand, he travelled the islands, holding Sabbath services, collecting tithes and selling Christian literature. In 1926, he was ordained and became Superintendent of the Fiji Mission. He continued his travelling, now encouraging his workers, holding workers’ meetings and conducting Bible training session. He was convinced that it was Christian schools that were the most important work of the church and continued to advocate for more schools and teachers.
His health deteriorated as a result of rheumatoid arthritis. Even though bed-ridden, he continued to give direction and advice. He travelled by car when possible and was carried on a chair, so he could inspect the new school site. He refused to retire because of poor health, so transferred to Levuka on Ovalau, which is considered the most healthful spot in Fiji. However, his health did not improve, and he retired to Perth, Western Australia, in 1932, dying at the age of 62 from complications of a surgery.
The many Fijians who went to PNG as missionaries (Beni Tavodi, Pereniki Taqu, Adi Lelera Reki, Tereti Nigara, Miriama Dau, Jiajana).
When Beni Tavodi was a student at the Buresala School, he knew he wanted to be a missionary. His opportunity came when he was asked to pioneer work in Papua. When with his wife Aliti he arrived in Port Moresby in 1908, their first task was to find a suitable location for a mission station. Events led them to the settlement of Beni on the Sogeri plateau, about 50km north-east of Port Moresby. From the Koiari
people of the area, they leased some 150 acres of land for farming—and for a school and general mission. The land would be cultivated by local young men who signed on for a year’s contract. While living and working on the plantation, the men were instructed in the saving power of the gospel and would take the good news back to their own people.
Each year brought a new group of contract labourers. As Beni and the other missionaries associated with these young men, they taught them the Bible and gave them a practical example of Christian living. Foir example, The Christian method of settling disputes was demonstrated when Beni and Carr talked and prayed with two young men in conflict. Beni would lead out in worships, which were complemented
more formal class presentations by Carrs.
Beni’s witness was strengthened when he returned from his 1912 furlough to Fiji. During the Week of Prayer meetings in 1913, 11 plantation workers declared that they wanted to follow the Christian God. Beni trained these workers in how to conduct Sabbath services, who ran Sabbath services in six of the local villages.
At times Beni spent weeks walking through the ranges contacting the mountain villagers. Eventually they learned not to run away from him, but to listen. For 10 years Beni worked for the bush people, who slowly changed from their old ways.
Then in 1918, Beni was bitten by a poisonous snake while working in the garden with his wife and the wife of another Fiji missionary, Mitieli, who had arrived in 1913. Beni didn’t tell the women what had happened, as he did not wish to alarm them. When he realized that he was dying, he called the plantation workers around him and pleaded with them one by one to give themselves to the Lord. Two of these men later became dedicated church members.
As a footnote, Beni’s widow Aliti returned to Fiji and in time married another worker, Semiti Ngande. They then returned to Papua where one of Beni’s sons was crippled for life due to a disease contracted there.
A letter written in 1927 by Andrew G Stewart notes that, “Wherever Bennie was known throughout these mountain villagers, even among the rank heathen, his memory is still highly respected.”
Anderson, J R (1991). Seventh-day Adventist Fijian, Cook Island, Australian Aboriginal, and Solomon Islands Missionaries in Papua: 1908–1942. In A J Ferch (Ed). Journey of Hope. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists, pp. 129–130.
Nafitalai Navara, with his wife Vasiti and two children, arrived in Port Moresby in 1924, on their way to a new mission station at Efogi, 80 km from Bisiatabu, on the later infamous Kokoda Trail, where Pastor William N Lock and family, and nurse Emily Heise, had already begun a medical work and school. Navara was present when the first Efogi Sabbath School was organised with a membership of 34. Navara had a
part in the first burial service at Efogi, an occasion of significance as the Efogi people traditionally placed the body of the dead high in a tree.
The missionary group at Efogi spent their days learning the Efogi language, gardening to provide food for the students and carriers, and teaching school. The work had its dangerous side. Navara found that a normally quiet student had become devil possessed. He was on his way to the Lock home clutching a spear when Navara encountered him, and narrowly escaped injury when the boy threw the spear at him.
When the boy was caught, the missionaries prayed over him and the devil fled.
Between the departure of the Lock family in 1926 and the arrival of Charles E Mitchell and his wife nine months later, Nafitalai, aided by Timothy, the first Papuan worker, and Gobeli, a local policeman, he supervised the mission work at Efogi. Taina Navara, his daughter, recalls that her father won the friendship of the people by singing. In 1929, a government official and businessman was so impressed by Natalia’s leadership abilities, he offered him a well-paying position, which he declined, Nafitalai stating that he worked in the name of Jesus Christ.
After returning from furlough, Nafitalai and his family pioneered the mission work in the St Matthias Islands in the then Mandated Territory of New Guinea, under the guidance of McLaren, from 1931 to1934. On one occasion, a request came to conduct a Christian funeral at a village about 15kms away. He was too sick to move, so his 12-year-old daughter Taina, in the company of her eight-year-old brother Joe, were led by the heathen stranger to the village. Taina directed the villagers to dig a grave, then she sang gospel songs, read 1 Corinthians 15, then prayed that angels would mark this grave and resurrect deceased when Jesus returned. Then they walked home. This proved to be a breakthrough for Mussau, with more requests following, and when Nafitalai recovered, people flocked to hear him present the gospel.
In 1935, Nafitalai and family were relocated to Domara, a coastal village approximately 300km east of Port Moresby. The Domara people had refused approaches by other denominations to begin mission work among them: they wanted the Adventist mission, because they wanted a school in which they could learn
English. So Nafitalai organised a school of 95 students—along with a Sabbath School.
By May of 1937, the family was working at Aroma, another coastal village about 220 kms east of Port Moresby. Vasiti strongly supported her husband, with 19-year-old daughter Taina helping with the teaching and medical work. In 1938, Nafitalai and his family returned to Fiji.
Anderson, J R (1991). Seventh-day Adventist Fijian, Cook Island, Australian Aboriginal, and Solomon Islands Missionaries in Papua: 1908–1942. In A J Ferch, (Ed). Journey of Hope. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists, pp. 132–134.
Mitieli Nakasamai and his wife Fika arrived at Bisiatabu in 1913 in response to a plea from Beni Tavodi for another Fijian worker to help reach the mountain villages. The two Fijians became close friends. One day, when Mitieli did not return from a preaching appointment in a distant village, Beni went in search of him. Mitieli was found alone, sick in an empty hut. Beni carried his friend back to the mission station, a journey of more than two days. The two men worked together for five years without a convert! Mitieli and Fika were present when Beni died.
When in 1921, Pastor Griffiths F Jones was asked to go to Papua, it was hoped that their long mission service and their success in pioneering the work in the Solomon Islands would enable them to “find real mission opening for us in New Guinea, a land which [had] thus far proved barren and given practically no response to the efforts of our workers.” Jones soon reported that he was continuing the Bible work begun by Mitieli.
When Jones wished to contact the people of the region, it was Mitieli who accompanied him. Together they walked the Astrolabe Mountain range, along the way visiting 27 isolated villages. On a later trip, Mitieli and Jones entered a village to find the people greatly upset and surrounding the violently ill son of the headman. The villagers were persuaded that the intruders were those responsible for the boy’s condition and were ready to kill them. After giving a treatment and praying, the boy awoke, cured. The grateful father promised he would give his two boys to the mission, an act that influenced others to send their children to the mission school.
By 1924, a new hope was evident at Bisiatabu as young people declared their faith in God. Most of these young people had been influenced by Mitieli, Fika and their son Beni, who they had named after their friend.
Mitieli and Fika returned to Fiji in February of 1924 after 11 years of service in Papua. Even though their health had been seriously impaired in the course of their service, the family continued to serve the church. Their first son became one of Fiji’s foremost evangelists, while their second son became a district director and the third a church elder. Their daughter, Naomi Nasausila, served for some years as the Dorcas-Welfare Society director in Fiji, in charge of more than 3000 workers. Clearly, the spirit of their parent’s lives resonated in their children.
Anderson, J R (1991). Seventh-day Adventist Fijian, Cook Island, Australian Aboriginal, and Solomon Islands Missionaries in Papua: 1908–1942. In A J Ferch, (Ed) Journey of Hope. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists, pp. 131–132.
Maika Daunika, son of an early convert to the Seventh-day Adventist church in Fiji, had taught for a number of years by the time of his appointment to Papua. His wife, Tokasa, was the daughter of a Methodist missionary to New Guinea and had spent time there during her childhood.
For some months from August 1928, the family were at Bisiatabu. From 1929 to 1931 they worked with Mr and Mrs C E Mitchell at the new school at Vilirupu, on the Marshall Lagoon about 110kms east of Port Moresby. Maika supervised the mission program whenever the Mitchells were absent, travelling to the mountain villages instructing in worship and prayer.
Later in 1931, Maika and family were at Aroma helping Mrs Alma Wiles. Pastor Gapi Ravu recalls that at Aroma, Maika led out in the study of Sabbath School lessons in the morning, taught school during the day, preached in the villages on Sabbath afternoons, and spent Sunday afternoons teaching students how to take worship services. A Motu language Bible was used until the students passed Grade Three after
which an English Bible was used.
During his second term, from 1932 to 1935, Maika taught first at Bisiatabu and then
at the new Mirigeda Training School before returning to Fiji in October of 1935.
Anderson, J. R. (1991). Seventh-day Adventist Fijian, Cook Island, Australian Aboriginal, and Solomon Islands Missionaries in Papua: 1908-1942. In A. J. Ferch, (Ed). Journey of Hope. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists. pp. 134-135.
Tereti Nigara, his wife Kelera and their daughter arrived in Papua in June of 1930. After some months at Bisiatabu, the family located at the Vailala River mission station where the medical and school work had brought about a very good response from the local people. By the time Tereti and Kelera joined Cecil J Howell and his family at the main Vailala mission, a school of about 120 students was in operation.
An outstation had been established at Koialahu, eight kilometres away on the coast. Tereti was placed in charge of the school, its building already erected along with a house and an established a garden. Soon there were 168 students attending and many villagers attending Sabbath meetings. Tereti was given medical treatments and performed some dentistry, while his wife Kelera served as a midwife.
Tereti and family remained at Koialahu until their 1933 furlough. While in Fiji, Kelera passed away. After some time, Tereti remarried and by March 1934 was on his way back to the Vailala area with a new wife, Miriama. When in 1935 the church at Vailala was organised and a large church building dedicated, Tereti took part in the dedication service.
The school had an attendance of about 130 boys and girls as well as several older students, including people from both coastal and inland areas. Before their return to Fiji in 1937, Tereti and Miriama had overseen the erection of a new school building at Koialahu.
Anderson, J R (1991). Seventh-day Adventist Fijian, Cook Island, Australian Aboriginal, and Solomon Islands Missionaries in Papua: 1908–1942. In A. J. Ferch, (Ed). Journey of Hope. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists. pp. 135-136.
Semeti Gade was a gifted evangelist with ten years’ experience when he arrived at Bisiatabu with his wife Aliti Alita’s first husband was Beni Tavodi, who had served for eight years in Papua. After nine months of language study, Semeti was fluent in Motu.
Semeti’s appointment was as supervisor of the Efogi mission station, which had been without strong leadership since Nafitalai’s departure nine months before. Accompanied by C E Mitchell, a former Efogi mission supervisor, the family walked for several days along the Kokoda Track, met by villagers who expressed pleasure at the coming of the new missionaries.
Soon after arriving at Efogi, some 40 locals were being instructed by Semeti and Aliti with good prospects for baptisms. Daughter Esera Gade recalls that Semeti supervised school, preached on Sabbath, and made two- and three-day trips to other villages. On their final walk out of the Owen Stanley Range back to Bisiatabu, the family spent time conducting meetings. Said an Efogi man, “Semeti has given his legs, his body, his heart, and his head entirely to the work, and we all like him.”
From April to September 1933, Semeti, Aliti and family led out at the Koialahu
station in the Vailala River area until in October of 1933, the family returned to Fiji.
Anderson, J. R. (1991). Seventh-day Adventist Fijian, Cook Island, Australian Aboriginal, and Solomon Islands Missionaries in Papua: 1908-1942. In A. J. Ferch, (Ed). Journey of Hope. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists. pp. 136–137.
Ratu Tevita Daivalu
Ratu Tevita Daivalu and his wife Liviana began their work in Papua in early 1925, at the Bisiatabu school, where Tevita taught a program that included writing, reading the Motuan Bible and simple arithmetic. A regular Bible class and English were added over the next two years. George H Engelbrecht, supervisor of the mission, expressed his appreciation for Tevita’s efficiency in the supervision of rubber production,
classroom teaching and spiritual leadership.
But in May 1928, Tevita was stricken with black water fever and died in the Port Moresby hospital a few days later. His wife and daughter Ana returned to Fiji. The Koiari people attributed Tevita’s death to sorcery, because Tevita had killed a pig which had uprooted his garden. Livinia returned to Fiji but not long after succumbed to tuberculosis and died prematurely.
Anderson, J. R. (1991). Seventh-day Adventist Fijian, Cook Island, Australian Aboriginal, and Solomon Islands Missionaries in Papua: 1908-1942. In A. J. Ferch, (Ed). Journey of Hope. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists. p.134.
Timeline of Fiji People and Events
|1835||William Cross & David Cargill arrive in Fiji from Tonga |
James Calvert and wife, and John Hunt and wife arrive in Lakemba after death of William Cross and David Cargill
Fijian New Testament printed
|1838||Baker eaten at Nubutautau by Chief Wawabalavu |
Fiji ceded to Great Britain
|1847||First Voyage of Pitcairn: Mrs Bindermann a passenger introduced the crew and on-board missionaries to the European community in Fiji|
|1867||Pastor Edward Gates conducts meetings for interested residents of Fiji|
|1874||Adventist missionaries John and Sussie Tay arrive in Fiji|
John Tay dies after five months in Fiji
Second voyage of the Pitcairn to Fiji
|1891||Arthur Gordon, first governor, who arrived in Fiji 1895; introduces Indian labourers to work sugarcane and coconut plantations: between 1879-1916, over 60,000 Indians arrived as indentured labourers under the British government: signed a 5 year work agreement.|
|1893||J M Cole arrived|
|1895||J E Fulton arrived |
Coles returned to America
|1896||Loughborough built as a mission boat|
|1897||C Parker arrives |
Fulton and Parker find land at Suva Vou, the home of the Parker family
|1898||Fijian school started in Suva Vou with Susie Fulton as teacher|
|1900||Printing work starts in Suva Vou by John Fulton with help of Edith Guiliard, Calvin Parker and Pauliasi Bunoa: a monthly paper Rarama; Fijian hymnbook & doctrinal leaflets |
Pauliasi Bunoa travels around the coastal villages distributing literature
|1901||Arthur Currow to Fiji when E D Sharp unable to replace John Fulton in Fiji (Fulton returns to Australia in 1902, but continued to be superintendent of Fiji)|
New direction of Adventist organisation: Pacific islands administered from Sydney, NSW
|1902||C H Parker returns to Fiji and assigns Arthur Currow to work within the Lau group of eastern islands of Fiji |
Andi Suva (Queen of Suva)
E H Gates appointed secretary for Missions and visits Suva Vou
|1903||Arthur Currow, and Luois & Lizzie Currow embark on medical work in Fiji with the assistance of Eva Edwards |
Buresala Training School on Ovalau established by S W Carr as a training school for Fijian workers
Ramona purchased for Calvin Parker’s use
Pauliasi Bunoa ordained as the first South Seas pastor
Benjamin (Beni) Tavodi first Fijian missionary to Papua
|1904||Central Polynesian Mission with Calvin H Parker as superintendent (Fiji); Pastor Joseph Steed to Samoa, William Palmer to Tonga|
|1906||Mrs Ellen Meyers first missionary to work for the Fijian Indians|
|1908||Meyers opens school for Fijian Indian boys|
|1912||Original hymnbook reprinted with additional 22 hymns|
|1914||Fiji, Samoa, Tonga & Niue Missions formed into Central Polynesian Mission (CPC): Calvin Taylor, president; John Nash, secretary-treasurer; Joseph Steed, vice president|
|1915||Harry Rowland Martin with family arrive in Fiji to Buresala Training School|
|1920||Education Ordinance financial support for religious for their educational work |
Martin called to establish a school on the island of Vanua Levu and also had the launch Na Talai to travel around the islands visiting Fijian villagers, those of mixed race and white plantation owners
Mrs Meyers opens first Indian girls school
Navuso Central School on the Wainibuka River opened, assisted Pr Gordon Branster in the building
|1921||PC dissolved and established into three separate missions: Fiji, Samoa and Tonga|
|1922||Fijian and Indian work combined under leadership of Pr Rudge|
|1926||Vatuvonu Central School opened|
|1927||Fijian hymnbook reprinted, enlarged and new hymns added|
|Fulton College established (by consolidation onto one campus of three schools – boys’ school at Buresala, girls’ school at Navuso, Indian school at Samabula in Suva)|
|1948||Central Pacific Union Mission (CPUM) consisted of Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati (Gilbert), Tuvalu (Ellice), the Cooks, French Polynesia, Samoa, Nauru, New Caledonia and Pitcairn|
|1951||Buresala School transferred to Fulton site |
Navasau International Secondary School established
|1964||Census: 2.9% of Fijians identify as SDA|
|1996||Louis Currow’s great-grandson Steven Currow appointed principal of Fulton College|
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Perenika Tagi: Anderson, J. R. (1991). Seventh-day Adventist Fijian, Cook Island, Australian Aboriginal, and Solomon Islands Missionaries in Papua: 1908-1942. In A. J. Ferch, (Ed). Journey of Hope. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists. p. 137.