Maybe Christchurch can take a leaf out of the poorest people in Fiji, the Melanesians, ingenuity to building new facilities. The newly ordained Melanesian minister was given a week to build his new church, as the local people could no longer fit into his lounge for services. So within the week, up went the ‘tin church’ which the Golden Oldies visited today. 100 people from the local village attend services inside this structure each Sunday!St Gabriel’s dream is to build a more permanent structured building to be use as a church, community centre and pre-school and fundraising is already underway.
They are of Melanesian descent which is a tragic story in
itself. The white people went to the Solomons and surrounding islands and there they ‘kidnapped’ young men to be slaves for building the roads and railways in Fiji and work in the sugar cane plantations. This kidnapping was called ‘black birding’. Today the Melanesians are the poorest of all the ethnic groups in Fiji and due to being declared ‘migrants’ they have never had entitlement to land. The Church has made a significant impact in helping the poorest of the poor from the injustices they have endured over the past century. And it is this current Government, believe it or not!, that is putting these injustices to right with the PM office committing itself to protecting these people from greedy landowners who are trying to evict them off this land.Many of the villages we visit involve these gentle and friendly Melanesian people, who have welcomed us warmly as friends not guests.