Biographical entry: Voeta, David (c. 1900 - )

c. 1900


David (Devita) Voeta was born at Kundu on Ranongga Island in about 1900. His parents died when he was young and his siblings and extended family raised him. In 1916, Pita Zitambulu, the first Methodist missionary on Ranongga, arrived in David Voeta's father's village of Nggeuru, and David became a Christian and was able to attend school. On 28 December 1925 he married Salome, and the next day they were sent as missionaries to Povana village on Ranongga. Salome died in childbirth on 7 February 1927, and David was so grieved that he could not continue as a missionary. He returned to school at Bilua, and then in September transferred to the head station at Roviana as a part-time student. In 1929, he was sent with several other teachers to Teop Island in northeastern Bougainville, and the next year he transferred to Beremepasuna village in the Vaeri area, inland from Teop Island. In 1932, David moved again, to Tearaka and Wakekakau in the central mountains, which were difficult posts. By 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression, Methodist funds were reduced and the Mission planned to withdraw, but the teachers agreed to work for a reduced stipend. David worked around Rotokas and Aita, but faced increasing opposition from the Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist missions and from Chinese traders. Perhaps due to the competition between the churches, he served short periods in goal in 1935 and 1936, accused of advising people not to pay taxes, which was found to be false, and also with disturbing the peace. In 1936, David proposed extending the Methodist Mission's work further into the mountains, but once there he was taken ill with fever and died. (Carter 1973a; Leadley 2002; Lynne McDonald, personal communication, 20 Sept. 2011)

Published resources


  • Carter, George G., David Voeta: The Story of a Pioneer Missionary, Proceedings, vol. 28, Wesley Historical Society (New Zealand), Auckland, 1973a. Details

Edited Books

  • Leadley, Alan (ed.), Ever Widening Circles: Stories of Some Influential Methodist Leaders in Solomon Islands and Bougainville/Buka, vol. 75, Wesley Historical Society (New Zealand), Auckland, 2002, 83 pp. Details