Tuesday, September 12, 2006
The historical island of Viwa
During the Conference on Bau island, the Macuata guests were hosted on the nearby island of Viwa. This is an island of historical significance in the history of Fiji, particularly relating to the Methodist missionaries such as John Hunt. One day Peceli went with some Macuata delegates to Viwa and saw the John Hunt Memorial Church and climbed up the path to the hilltop where John Hunt used to pray. He didn't take his camera that day, but I found a few photos of Viwa.
A balanced, unsentimental description of the early Wesleyans in Fiji was written by John Garrett in To Live among the Stars. An excerpt is found here.
A book about John Hunt, which I have not yet read, is advertised as follows:
Inheritance of Hope,The : John Hunt, Apostle of Fiji by Andrew Thornley translated into Fijian by Tauga Vulaono. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. ISBN 9820201594. Recommended retail price $28.
John Hunt was a Wesleyan missionary in Fiji for just a decade, 1839-1848. Nevertheless, his work was of such impact that he ensured the eventual conversion of the Fijians to Christianity. The Inheritance of Hope examines Hunt's upbringing and training in England, his marriage to Hannah Summers and their time of missionary work in Fiji. Surrounded constantly by the vitality and prosperity of a warlike yet welcoming people, Hunt introduced western ideas of education and medicine together with the religious and ethical principles of Christianity. His theological forms of education in Fiji as well as his many translations, including the first Fijian New Testament, are enduring testimonies to his work. Only 36 when he died, Hunt has justifiably earned the title of Apostle of Fiji. Soft cover, 532 pages. Published in 2000.