New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
 Go to Index

Wesley's South Seas Heritage


Foreword - James S. Udy
Planning and Fulfilment - D.G. Roberts
The Conference Setting
Obscure yet Famous. Opening Sermon - D.J. Phillipps
Inaugural Session - W.A. Chambers
The Conference Membership

Conference Papers

An Introduction to the South Pacific Activity of Wesleyan Methodism - G.G. Carter

The Apostle of Methodism in the South Seas - Frank Baker

Methodist Pioneers in the South Pacific - Frank Baker

The Maori Response to the Gospel

The Aboriginal Response to the Gospel - James S. Udy

The Fijian Response to the Gospel - E.S. Tuwere

The Papua New Guinea Response to the Gospel - A. Burua

The Tongan Response to the Gospel -S. A. Havea

The Solomon Islands Response to the Gospel - E. Tuza


It is my pleasure to contribute this introduction to the Report on the South Pacific Regional Conference of the World Methodist Historical Society. I could do so simply as a participant in what was a memorable meeting of people deeply interested in the impact of Methodist missions in this part of the world. I could do so as President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, Te Hahi Weteriana o Aotearoa proud that we were able to host such a gathering.

But I do so most particularly because of my belief that what happened at this Conference was, and will be, of the deepest significance for the future of our Methodist witness in the South Pacific. It is a common enough misconception that history exclusively concerns the past. That is not so, for the lessons of the past are an essential part of our future. We forget the past at our peril-not only events and their meaning, but the traditions that have become part of our culture.

The mere transcript of the proceedings can give no real indication of the liveliness of the presentations, and the discussions that followed them. The life-long dedication of a Frank Baker to his chosen subject-the beginnings of Methodism in all its aspects- was something of an inspiration to us all.

But of equal importance were the varied contributions from Maori, Samoan. Tongan, Fijian, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea church leaders, all of whom spoke of their people's response to the Gospel. Stories of sacrificial missionary endeavour, of the clash of cultures, and of the enormous possibilities there are in a Gospel which truly speaks out of the traditions of the South Pacific.

I commend this record to a wide readership within and without the Church. And I congratulate all those who made this notable event possible, especially my friends of the Wesley Historical Society (NZ).

Donald Phillipps
President, Methodist Church of New Zealand.