Gifts for God

AA Bensley in the Solomon Islands

This exhibition is no longer on display at the Museum.

New Zealand missionary Reverend Alfred Arthur Bensley was posted to the Solomon Islands in 1921. Over the next 13 years he gathered converts to the Christian faith as well as a range of objects representing life in the Solomon Islands.


Dala (Head ornament) made in Ronongo, Solomon Islands. Canterbury Museum E1426.295

Canterbury Museum bought Bensley's collection in 1946.

Gifts for God displays a selection of Bensley’s treasures including carved shell rings used as currency and intricately crafted jewellery, weapons and tools. These objects document a way of life that was swiftly changing as communities throughout the Solomon Islands modified customary practices to incorporate the teachings of the Christian gospel. While some items of ritual and warfare were confiscated by colonial authorities, others lost their local value and were given away.

A Canterbury Museum touring exhibition 
Hurunui Memorial Library, 111 Carters Road, Amberley
This exhibition is no longer on display at the Museum.
7 January – 7 April 2020
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