Friday, November 16, 2007

from the archives - some Fiji talatalas and padres

from w
I was doing some research about the Fiji Methodist Church the other day at Deakin University and came across some interesting photographs from the archives - from 1890onward. The photo of the large group includes men and women ready to be missionaries in Papua New Guinea. Another is of Fijian minister at Davuilevu about the 1930s. Also, two of the photos were given to us from an elderly woman in Geelong, photos taken in the 1930s of Fijian ministers on deputation. The photo of Daniel Mastapha, Ramsay Deoki and Edward Caleb was taken in the 50s.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting those historical pictures of pioneer missionaries of the methodist church. Although I belong to another denomination, I have great appreciation and respect for the methodist church because it was the religion of my birth and have some relatives who were pioneers in Fiji in the very early years of the church in Fiji. My great great grandmother is a sister to Joeli Bulu (Sioeli Pulu).

Anonymous said...

i know anonymous Sioeli PULU IS MY greatgreatgreatgreat grandfather.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello, that's really nice. I've read of his commitment and adventures and what a wonderful life he had. I hope you have copies of some of the stories.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello again,
I found this about Joeli Bulu on a Levuka website:

1865: Tongan, Joeli Bulu came to Fiji with James Calvert; Bulu was later, “ chaplain to Cakobau”
Posted on February 6, 2008 by levuka

1865: “Joeli Bulu came to Fiji with Calvert. He was with John Hunt at Rewa, and later on Viwa at the time of the revival and the conversion of VaraII. He spent eight years on the small island of Ono in Lau where he was ordained and put in charge. ` I used to think Ono was a little heaven, ‘ he said. He served twice at Nadi in western Vanua Levu, where his dual allegiance - to his own Tongan chiefs and to the mission - made it hard for him to avoid suspicion of entanglement in the wars of Ma’afu’s ruthless Tongan henchman Wainiqolo”
Between 1863 and 1866, following the death of his first wife, he was in charge of a training institution for Fijian pastors and evangelists at Waikava (Fawn Harbour) on Vanua Levu. He trained Fijian catechists to carry forward the circuit work he knew well in many parts of the group. Some conception of the brotherhood between early Tongan and Fijian missionaries in Fiji is conveyed by the names of a group of thirty of them who in 1869 signed a message to their departing chairman, William Moore.
In 1865, when Bulu was at Waikava, 100 villages, with about 10,000 people, accepted Christianity in Fiji. Much of the hard work at local level was done by the kind of catechists he trained. The catechist (uakatawa) remains today an important figure in village church life; his name describes him as the sentinel of the lotu.
Bulu’s second wife, Akesa, was a Fijian from Vanua Balavu in Lau, Ma’afu’s headquarters, where Tongan influence was strong. By the time he remarried he had become part of the Fiji scene. When he described how two heathen chiefs made peace with him by the traditional presentation of a whale’s tooth (tabua) he said: “They kissed my hands, sniffing at them, after our fashion in Fiji and Tonga. ‘
His arm bore the scars made by a shark during his early ministry at Rewa; the shark bit him on the thigh when he was swimming in the river after playing with a group of boys and a young chief, who were diverting themselves by pushing toy canoes. The shark transferred ; its jaws from thigh to arm. Bulu roused himself to anger and fought it. He pushed his hand down its throat, raised it out of the water, dragged it ashore ‘ and collapsed unconscious.
Bulu recovered from the shark bite to live on into mellow later years on Bau as chaplain to Cakobau. There Miss Constance Gordon Cumming. a guest of Gordon, “a very tall, plain woman, a regular globe-trotter,” rhapsodized about him in 1875: His features are beautiful, his colour clear olive, and he has grey hair and a long silky beard. He is just my idea of what Abraham must have been, and would be worth a fortune to an artist as a patriarchal study.
Miss Gordon Gumming was present during Bulu’s last days and at his funeral in May 1877 . ` He has been the old king’ s special teacher ‘ she wrote. “- and many a difficult day he has had with him and all his handsome; strong-willed sons and daughters. They are al lvery much attached to him; and some of them are generally with him now, fanning or just watching beside him. Lady Gordon, the governor’s wife, sent him a parcel of jujubes and acid drops. He was buried beside his friend John Hunt on Viwa. Many other Fijian and Tongan ministers and teachers who were his friends have grave-sites effaced by hurricanes or lost in scrub. When Bulu died some of Fiji’s most able evangelists were going to New Britain. At home in Fiji the ardor of a second generation was cooling off. The mission met problems in the mountainous interior of Viti Levu, a region suspicious of the influence of Bau”.
John Garrett, “To Live Among the Stars”(book reviewed in the Journal of Pacific History, Sept, 1998, by Roderic Lacey) . Geneva/Suva: World Council of Churches in Association with the Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific. 2-8254-0692-9

Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous, please allow me to introduce myself as I am also a descendant of the great pioneer Sioeli Pulu. My late grandmother Moala Tufutele was a grand daughter of Sioeli Pulu. Moala was born and raised in Fiji until she moved back with her parents 'Ilaisaane and Noble Niukapu Viliami Mahe. 'Ilaisaane was a daughter of Neomai daughe of of Siolei Pulu.
My grandmother had 2 siblings also born and raised in Fiji, her sister Salote Nanasi and their brother Tevita Po'ese. Their youngest sister Mele Vaisioa was later born in Tonga.

My youngest son is now 16 years attending Newington College carries the name Sioeli Pulu with pride.

I would love to hear from families and relatives connected through Sioeli Pulu.

'Ofa lahi atu

tb said...

wow! Im a fijian desendant of joeli bulu....we still carry the bulu last name....would love to hear if you know of his conection with mataiasi vave....or anything else about him!

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

ello TB
I think there would be plenty of information in various archives e.g. in Sydney at the Mitchell library, and in Fiji at the Fiji Archives and also at the USP Pacific Collection. Good luck with your search.

Anonymous said...

re.....tb's comment,regarding Mataiasi Vave,

I am part of the Vave's from the Solomon Islands, we spread to the Solomon Islands as a continuation of the same missionary work done earlier in fiji by our forefather Soeli Pulu, we are descendants of Soeli Pulu,

But as for how the geneology connections/links, and our relatives is also my question, i would love to know more.... my lau, fijian/tongan grandfather who came to the Solomon Islands name is Vilisoni Mataiasi Tuwai Vave,
and most of us carry the mataiasi vave surname.


Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thank you for your post. I've just got back from Fiji and just caught up with the blog. Are you descended from the nurse who was at Lelean Memorial School in the 1950s, maybe 1956? I think she was the daughter of Mataiasi Vave.

Leti Pulu-HALALIKU said...

Aw wow this is awesome. More relatives :) soooo exciting. I'm also another PULU. I'm one of the 7th generation :) I had the honour of going over to Fiji last year (2o13) & did my outreach missions out there & it was just soooo good having to hear soooo much more of thy Grandfather's history & what he's started in Fiji. I also had the honour of being honoured as the 7th generation returning to Fiji as a missionary continuing on what our Grandfather had started. I'm also now 6th months pregnant & I really felt the need to name my son after SIOELI. Continuing on the family gene. It would be awesome to get to know & meet more of the relatives. Please if you're another relative please do feel free to get in contact. I would love to know more & meet more of the family. 7 generations down the line & gosh the blood is going strong. PRAISE THE LORD!

Fb: or

P.S - Does anyone know how I can get a hold of a copy of Gramps book?
"JOEL BULU: The autobiography of a Native Minister to the South Seas"