Biographical entry: Gadapeta, Stephen (c. 1888 - 1961)

c. 1888
21 April 1961


Stephen Gadapeta was born the son of chief Polosovai in the Bamabtana area, in about 1888. Gadapeta was one of the Choiseul people to welcome the first Methodist (q.v.) missionary, Rev. Stephen R. Rooney, in 1905. In 1910, Gadapeta was reputedly the first Choiseul man to be baptised by Rooney. After further schooling in Roviana, he returned to marry Malu Luduvavini, and they were appointed to Lologae. Early Methodist missionaries to Choiseul say they depended on Stephen to help and advise them. He developed a particularly strong relationship with Rev. John Metcalfe (q.v.). Together the two men trained local leaders and facilitated the delegation of authority to local people. Gadapeta was ordained as a catechist at the Synod held on Choiseul, at Sasamuqa, 12 November 1925. He was never ordained into the ministry, due to John Goldie's (q.v.) reluctance to ordain local people. When Goldie relented and invited him to be ordained, Gadapeta refused. In the absence of European missionaries during the Second World War (q.v.), Gadapeta led the Methodist Church on Choiseul. From Sister Lucy Money's (q.v.) arrival on Choiseul in 1947, Steven assisted her in translating the New Testament into the Bambatana language. He developed a strong bond with Money, and accompanied her on many trips around the island. Stephen and Malu had no children of their own and adopted Nalakoe, a little girl who had been captured in a raid, paying a price for her that indicated that she was to be their daughter and not their slave. Their daughter married pastor-teacher Solomon Damusoe, and when they both died Stephen and Malu brought up their four children. Stephen Gadapeta died on 21 April 1961. (Money 1947-2002; Money 2002c; Metcalfe 1970, Diary 12 Nov. 1925; Metcalf n.d.; NS Apr. 1961) (entry by Lynne McDonald, 29 Aug. 2011)

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  • Money, Lucy H., 'Stephen and Malu Gadepeta. Stephen: The First Catechist on Choiseul', in Alan Leadley (ed.), Ever Widening Circles: Stories of Some Influential Methodist Leaders in Solomon Islands and Bougainville/Buka, Wesley Historical Society (New Zealand), Auckland, 2002c, pp. 28-32. Details


  • British Solomon Islands Protectorate (ed.), British Solomon Islands Protectorate News Sheet (NS), 1955-1975. Details


  • Metcalfe, John R., Metcalfe Diary, 12 November 1925: Articles on the Solomon Islands: 1938-1953. Diaries 1 Jan 1911 - 30 Nov 1969 by John R. Metcalfe. 1970, microfilm 02-282 Auckland University Library, 1970. Details
  • Money, Lucy H., Unpublished manuscript, and correspondence, Lucy Money, in possession of Lynne McDonald., 1947-2002. Details