7 January 1839: With his wife Hannah, John Hunt followed Gross to Rewa, translated Bible into Bau

7 January 1839: “With his wife Hannah, John Hunt followed Gross to Rewa, where he arrived on 7 January 1839. During the next nine years this twenty-seven-year old former plough boy from Lincolnshire, ordained in and for Fiji, lived close to the people. He understood them, listened to them, loved them. He lived near the centres of power of the great chiefs – Rewa, Somosomo on Taveuni, Viwa.

“favor of a Feejeean chief is rather to be dreaded:” His eye for personality – traits in Fiji’s noblest men was sharp; he measured their quality beneath their outward status. They liked him; his dealings with them were frank, never obsequious. ` `The fact is, ‘ he once wrote ‘the favor of a Feejeean chief is rather to be dreaded than courted , and the less a Missionary has of it the better. ‘

Chiefs respected him: Though not technically trained for linguistic work as Cargill had been, Hunt learned the important Bauan dialect, which was to emerge as the standard of written Fijian: Before he died he had translated the New Testament and begun the Old. He started at Rewa with the Gospels. “I have more help in them than in any other part of the Scriptures , ‘ he confided to his journal. Hehad Cargill’s translations in the Lau dialect before him, but wrote, “ I don’t intend to call any man master but to think for myself. ‘ Hunt was as open as any of the missionaries to what he had to learn from the old culture of Fiji; he never `went native, ‘ remaining himself, English and a Methodist; but he talked of Christ rather than of European furnishings, clothing to the neck-line and punctual hard work. His readiness to follow the local custom of kerekere in giving away his own and his wife’s possessions to Fijians exasperated some of his colleagues. This sharing of personal goods in Fiji is customarily reciprocated, without reference to the first appropriation, by later equivalent gifts of food, mats or help in need. John Hunt grasped this aspect of Fiji’s social life and reaped its warm rewards”.

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

In June 1838 a large canoe provided byTaufa’ahau of Ha’apai, the future king of all Tonga, brought to Lakeba six more teachers to serve the Fiji mission:

In June 1838 a large canoe provided by Taufa’ahau of Ha’apai, the future king of all Tonga, brought to Lakeba six more teachers to serve the Fiji mission: Joeli Pulu (spelt Bulu in Fijian), Sailosi Fa’one, Siuliasi Naulivou, Uesile Langi, Selemaia Latu and Semisi Havea. Guided by Cargill, they acquired the dialect of Lau.

Long succession of Tongan missionaries: Their names, renowned in the annals of Fiji, indicate at this early stage the importance of a long succession of Tongan missionaries who used their country’s many contacts in Fiji to introduce their faith. By the time these Tongans arrived Gross had gone on ahead to Bau and Rewa, following Josua Mateinaniu’s track. Peter Dillon , the Irish Roman Catholic mariner, transported him, at a price, to Bau. Unfortunately Tanoa, the highest chief, was found to be not at home. Gross met his son, Seru, the future Cakobau. Young, wild in his appearance, very much incontrol of the interview, he told Gross he could stay if he wished on Bau, but that his safety was not guaranteed. Gross, with prudence but limited foresight, decided to go on and try Tui Dreketi, the highest chief of nearby Rewa on the Viti Levu mainland, who was at that time allied with Bau.

Cakobau not impressed with Gross: There he was offered the protection he sought and decided to settle. The meeting between Gross and Cakobau retarded Wesleyan advance in Fiji. Gross, small of stature and sensitive, was no chief. In Fiji men were measured by their physical presence and airof authority. John Hunt, who later earned Cakobau’s respect, once observed that one of the pre-Christian high chiefs at Rewa feared Hunt as a likely spiritual competitor because Hunt, unlike Cross, was tall. Cakobau, always eager to appropriate white men of any kind for his ownadvantage, was also piqued because Gross went to Rewa instead of residing on Bau.