Robert Codrington

Missionary and headmaster of the Melanesian Mission School on Norfolk Island. Codrington had a lengthy correspondence with Fison, including lengthy discussion about kinship, religion and social organisation. Codrington had been to Oxford and lived in New Zealand before joining the Melanesian Mission in the 1860s. Based on his experience living in New Zealand and then Norfolk Island, and his intellectual interest in anthropology, Codrington countered theories of 'primitive' man popular in the United Kingdom in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Codrington wrote of the challenges of 'crossing cultural and linguistic boundaries', borne out by his close engagement with people through his missionary work and teaching at the school, including translation of the Bible into Mota. He noted the problems of imposing European categories of relationships onto the complex relations he had come to understand from the students he knew at the mission school.
Helen Gardner and Patrick McConvell, Southern Anthropology - a History of Fison and Howitt's Kamilaroi and Kurnai, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2015, pp. 119-121.

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