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Title: Missionary Kingdoms of the South Pacific? : the involvement of missionaries from the London Missionary Society in law making at Tahiti, 1795-1847
Author: Murray, Kirsteen Jean
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis examines the involvement of members of the London Missionary Society in drafting law codes in Tahiti. It seeks to establish the missionaries’ reasons for participating in the process and the explanations they gave of their actions. The thesis also considers the way in which the LMS presented these events to the public. The role played by the Tahitian Mission in drafting the law code in 1819 assisted Pomare II in increasing his authority beyond traditional limitations. Pomare II, through the advice of the mission, appropriated Western institutions which strengthened his claim to be king. The missionary fostering of a Tahitian monarchy had its roots in earlier European descriptions of Polynesian “monarchs” upon which cross-cultural relations had already been established. The early missionaries developed a special relationship with Pomare II, their patron and protector, which eventually led to his adoption of Christianity in 1812.  The Tahitian mission did not dominate Pomare but it did have a significant influence in the creation and presentation of Tahiti as a Christian Kingdom. The willingness of the missionaries to help Pomare II transform himself into a Christian monarch can be traced to factors in the origins of the LMS. The genuinely ecumenical character of the LMS in its early years resulted in the presence of missionaries and directors whose acceptance of close relations between Church and State was not typical of the Congregationalists who later dominated the Society. The influence of the Anglican Rev Thomas Haweis, architect of the South Sea Mission, was particularly important in the years before 1819.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available