Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Listen to the bishop

As a few articles in the media show, I've been busy arguing that Akaroa's Bully Hayes restaurant and Bar should change its name, and was pleased to find today that the establishment's owner, Wayne Jones, now agrees with me. Jones has rethought the name, and has issued a gracious and generous statement. 

I talked about the issue today on Radio New Zealand. 

I've had a few angry messages from conservative New Zealanders who seem to believe that the Pacific slave trade is a mirage created in recent years by 'woke academics'. I don't think the phrase 'woke academic' fits John Coleridge Patteson, the first Anglican bishop of Melanesia & the William Wilberforce of the Pacific. Patteson died fighting the slave trade.
Patteson ran the Melanesian mission in Auckland & later Norfolk, where young men were trained in Christianity & various trades. In the 1860s he began hearing terrible stories from them, of 'catch catch boats' & stolen villages. Patteson began to write & speak against the slavers.

Thanks to the Anglican church's Project Canterbury, we can now access some of Patteson's denunciations of slavery. They make sad reading, with their accounts of canoes run down & their passengers seized, & islanders made to sign contracts they could not read.

Patteson travelled through the Pacific collecting stories of slave raids. Imperial administrators and some his superiors in the Anglican church began to resent his detailed and withering reports.
Patteson was a brilliant linguist, who eventually learned about a dozen Melanesian languages. He became steadily more sympathetic towards the region's indigenous cultures, & argued against missionaries' attempts to impose Western dress & manners on them.
In 1870 Patteson was recovering in Auckland from exhaustion when he realised that a schooner called the Lulu, a boat funded by Auckland's business elite, had arrived with 27 ni-Vanuatu slaves. Patteson began to campaign against the introduction of slavery to NZ.
Slavers hated Patteson, but knew he was popular on many islands. They began to dress up as him, so that they could lure victims aboard their boats. These masquerades & their continuing violent raids may well have led to Patteson's death.
In 1871 Patteson landed alone on Nukapu Island, in the far southeast of the Solomons. He was slain. Nukapu had recently been raided by slavers. Huge memorial meetings were held for Patteson throughout NZ; resolutions against Pacific slavery were passed.
Britain responded to Patteson's death by sending the HMS Rosario to Nukapu, via Auckland, where its crew played locals in the first international rugby game in NZ's history. The HMS Rosario shelled Nukapu, & armed men stormed the tiny atoll. Dozens of islanders died.
Patteson is revered as a martyr today by many Melanesian Anglicans. For anyone interested in learning about the Pacific slave trade, biographies of Patteson & his own writings are invaluable. It is sad that, nearly 150 years after his death, some still don't hear his message.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there's another restaurant named after Bully Hayes in Queenstown,

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Blogger WOLFGANG B. SPERLICH said...

On RNZ the female guest of Wallace Chapman chuckled when you mentioned the rape of a 9 year old ... how pathetic! These talk shows are really the pits. On the topic of changing names, how about getting rid of AUCKLAND, named after a miserable British colonialist! I suppose the challenge to historians is, to paraphrase Marx, i.e. the point is not to record history but to change it. So, keep it going!

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