In June 1853 two ordained Hawaiian ministers, Rev. James K. Kekela and Rev. Samuel Kauwealoha, and their wives, and two deacons and their wives, were chosen by the Hawaiian Missionary Board to sail on the English brigantine, Royalist, for the Marquesas Islands located 2,300 miles to the southeast. Accompanied by New England missionary Benjamin Parker of Kaneohe Mission Station, these native couples were the first Hawaiian families to serve as missionaries in the Marquesas, 1853-1909. Supported entirely by the Hawaiian churches and the Hawaiian Evangelical Association, the deputation of native Hawaiian missionaries was predicted to succeed where non-Polynesian missionaries had failed. Although support was strong at first, it diminished over time, and in 1909, with no hope of fresh reinforcements, the last surviving Hawaiian missionaries yielded their efforts to French Protestants from Tahiti.<P>
Also included in this collection is one folder of documents pertaining to an earlier mission to the Washington Islands (Marquesas), 1831-1834. A preliminary visit to explore the islands was made by Messrs. Whitney, Tinker and Alexander of the Sandwich Islands mission in 1832. A favourable report led to the departure in July 1833 of American Protestant missionaries Richard Armstrong, W. P. Alexander and Benjamin W. Parker and their wives to establish a mission in the Marquesas. Their labours proved unsuccessful, however, and the mission was aborted. They returned to the Sandwich Islands the following year to resume their missionary work.
The Marquesas Collection, 1831-1834, 1853-1918, consists of 2.5 linear feet of manuscript material, including personal letters, formal reports of general meetings and mission station reports. Correspondence by native Hawaiian missionaries to the Hawaiian Evangelical Association in Honolulu is in the Hawaiian language. A portion of this correspondence was translated into English in the 1930s by Rev. Henry Pratt Judd, a member of the Hawaiian Board of Missions and the grandson of American Protestant missionary, Gerrit P. Judd. Microfilm copies of these translations can be found at PMB 1171. See Finding aids for details.