movements which challenged their attempts to create Christian societies. In Tahiti and the surroundingislands the missionaries introduced law codes as one way of regulating and trying to encourage Christian behaviour. The emergence of leading chiefs who were associated with the missionaries as 'kings' in Tahiti, Hawaii and Tonga represented a Pacific missionary adaptation of monarchical government.
The relative homogeneity of culture, language and social structure in Polynesia facilitated the dispersion of Christianity. In contrast, Melanesia, with its hundreds of languages, complex geography, wide variety of social patterns and customs, and tropical diseases such as malaria, was more difficult to evangelise. Some missionaries, notably Robert Codrington and Charles Fox of the Melanesian Mission, George Brown and Lorimer Fison, both Methodists, and Maurice Leenhardt of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, made significant anthropological contributions to understanding the societies and people they worked among.
Indigenous agency and missionary support The spread of Christianity throughout Polynesia was facilitated by indigenous agency and missionary support. Pacific islanders as they travelled to different islands spontaneously introduced Christianity. John Williams of the LMS, who arrived in Tahiti in 1817, moved to Raiatea where he trained native teachers. Two teachers were taken by Williams to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands in 1821, where they were very successful. In 1823 Papehia was left at Rarotonga, where he facilitated the rapid acceptance of Christianity. Williams left teachers in Samoa in 1830. Both in the Cook Islands and in Samoa, European missionaries joined these teachers in creating Christian communities. The acceptance of Christianity resulted in churches in which local ways were integrated with missionary values. Similar developments occurred in New Zealand, where Maori who had come into contact with the missionaries and their message acted, during the 1830s, as evangelists in areas hitherto unvisitedby Europeans.
John Williams brought Polynesian missionaries to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) but was killed at Erromanga in 1839. A generation later, hundreds of LMS and Methodist Polynesian islander missionaries volunteered and were brought to Melanesia, where some were killed and many died of disease. They lived with the local people, learnt their languages and were crucial in promoting the spread of Christianity. There are questions as to how far they were exploited by the European missionaries and their organisations. Some, such as Ruatoka, an LMS teacher in Papua, and Semisi Nau, a Methodist islander missionary in the Solomon Islands, were outstanding exemplars of dedication,
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