- Also known as
Rev Walter George Ivens
primary name: Ivens, Walter George
- individual; cleric/religious official; academic/intellectual; Male
- Life dates
- Walter Ivens (1871 – 1941) was born in Canterbury, New Zealand, graduated from the University of New Zealand, became a missionary with the Anglican Melanesian Mission in Solomon Islands and researched and published several books on the culture and language of Malaita Island (see bibliography). He was active both in the field and subsequently in administrative roles both in New Zealand and England, and has been seen - like Codrington (q.v.), an earlier member of the Mission, James Chalmers (q.v.), John Holmes (q.v.), Emma Hadfield (q.v.) - in a turn of the century missionary-scholar tradition, seeking to understand Melanesia society from within.
From 1896 to 1909 Ivens was a missionary in Ulawa and south Malaita (with a 1905-7 furlough to England) and subsequently undertook field research in Sa’a, south Malaita and Ulawa as a Research Fellow of the University of Melbourne (1924-5) and in Lau, north Malaita (1927). From 1909 to 1910 Ivens had been Organizing Secretary for the Melanesian Mission in New Zealand and took on a similar role in England between 1928 and 1935, in which capacity he seems to have been involved in displays of Melanesian artefacts. A Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute from 1931, Ivens died in Wareham, Kent in 1940 .
The British Museum has 21 objects collected by Ivens all attributed to Malaita (Ulawa) Solomon Islands which were donated to the Museum in 1941 by Ivens’ widow, Eleanor. These objects could also be regarded as part of the broader Melanesian Mission collection (qv).
- Davidson, Allan K ‘ The Legacy of Robert Henry Codrington’ International Bulletin of Missionary Research, vol. 27, no. 4, 2003 pp. 171 – 176
Stanley, Nick 'Recording Island Melanesia: the significance of the Melanesian Mission in Museum records. Journal of the Pacific Arts Association Nos 9 and 10 (July 1994), p 31.
Biographical Directory of Anglican Clergy: Database compiled by the Reverend Michael Blain, listing clergy who served in New Zealand, Polynesia and Melanesia before 1926
Publications by Ivens:
Ivens, W.G. 1897 First experiences. Southern Cross Log, March:4–7.
Ivens, W.G. 1902 Porpoise hunting. Southern Cross Log July :22–3.
Ivens, W.G. 1918 Dictionary and Grammar of the Languages of Sa`a and Ulawa, Solomon Islands. Carnegie Institute, Washington, D.C.
Ivens, W.G. 1921 Grammar and Vocabulary of the Lau Language, Solomon Islands. Carnegie Institute, Washington, D.C.
Ivens, W.G. 1927 Melanesians of the South-east Solomon Islands. Kegan Paul, London.
Ivens, W.G. 1929 A Dictionary of the Language of Sa`a (Mala) and Ulawa, South-east Solomon Islands. Oxford University Press and Melbourne University Press.
Ivens, W.G. 1930 The Island Builders of the Pacific. Seeley Service, London.