Burt studies the effects of the 19th century labour trade, colonial subjugation and the subsequent Christian conversion. He examines the anti-colonial Maasina Rule movement of the 1940s and finally illustrates the subsequent efforts of Kwara'ae leaders to regain their self-determination and to reaffirm the values of "tradition" under Christianity.
The Kwara'ae example of colonialism and Christianity is part of the broader experience of Melanesia and of other peoples in the Third World who once lived a tribal life. The detailed local focus, based on a year of fieldwork, provides valuable evidence essential to a wider comparative analysis of colonial history and the continuing development of indigenous Christianity from an anthropological and a historical perspective. Tradition and Christianity explores how and why a Pacific Islands people, fiercely attached to the tradition of their ancestors, have transformed their society by changing their religion.

chapter Chapter One|20 pages


chapter Chapter Two|30 pages

Land and People, Relationships and Rules

chapter Chapter Three|34 pages

People and Ghosts, Religion and Politics

chapter Chapter Four|26 pages

Going Overseas (1870s to 1890s)

chapter Chapter Five|30 pages

God and Government Arrive (1900s to 1910s)

chapter Chapter Six|30 pages

The Christian Transformation (1920s to 1930s)

chapter Chapter Seven|32 pages

Māsing Rul: the Maasina Rule Movement (1940s)

chapter Chapter Eight|24 pages

Towards ‘Independence’ (1950s to 1980s)

chapter Chapter Nine|22 pages

The Christian Social Order

chapter Chapter Ten|22 pages

Kwara'ae Christianity and Christian Tradition