new zealand history; Copra; Fiji; Makira; Solomon Islands; Tobacco
An Otago Storeman in Solomon Islands reaches from inland South Island of New Zealand across to the Solomon Islands during the 1880s. William Crossan’s Otago experience as a versatile storeman with a solid work ethic helped him survive on the Melanesian frontier where he encountered conflicting clans, cannibalism, cheating traders, and co-operative entrepreneurial big men. His diary provides many glimpses into Makiran society as it encountered new ideas, new employment, and western technology. It is a welcome addition to the sparse record of these cryptic copra traders seeking fortunes on the cusp of indigenous tradition and incoming colonialism.
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