Camden Theological Library

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Rotuma Display - Visit by Sydney and Jean Churchward

Posted on 25 May 2011 Gavin Glenn

This month’s library display features the island of Rotuma. Rotuma is an island north west of Fiji and since 1881 has been under the constitution of Fiji. 


We were delighted to be visited by Sydney and Jean Churchward early this week especially because of their special connection to Rotuma. Sydney, who was born in Rotuma, is the son of the Rev Maxwell Churchward, a very gifted linguist and missionary to the Pacific. Churchward has left an indelible mark on Rotuma and Rotumans most notably through his work on the Rotuman language, translations of the bible, Rotuman hymnal and a written account of some of Rotuma’s legends and myths. Churchward’s linguistic contributions also extended to the Fijian and Tongan languages.

Sydney Churchward and Sef Carroll

Churchward has also compiled books on Tongan and Fijian grammar.  

As a mark of Churchward’s invaluable legacy to Rotuman life – both cultural and spiritual, the Rotuman church in Suva, Fiji, is named in Churchward's honour.

Both Sydney and Jean together with other members of the Churchward family were present at the opening of Churchward Chapel.

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