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Kioto and Taroteko with their children (right to left) Samuel, Rupi and Neville, c. 1930.

Photo courtesy of South Pacific Division Heritage Centre.

Kioto (c. 1900–1934)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: July 10, 2020

Kioto was among the first group of Solomon Islanders to be baptized as Seventh-day Adventists in the Solomon Islands. He was largely responsible for initiating the work of the Church on Choiseul Island, Western Solomon Islands.

Kioto was a teenager when missionary Griffiths Jones first sailed into the Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. In 1915, he attended Lilian Nicholson’s elementary school at Sasaghana on the shore of the lagoon.1 He soon became a part of Jones’s crew on the Advent Herald and, because of his proficiency, was one of five young men chosen as deck hands to sail the Melanesia from Sydney to the Solomon Islands on its maiden voyage in 1917.2 Early in January 1918, he was one of ten to be baptized in the first baptism held in the Solomon Islands.3 In the same year, he married Taroteko, daughter of Ngiri, who was well known as a former head hunter.4 Their first child, Samuel, was born at mission headquarters, Telina, on June 14, 1919. A daughter, Rupi, was also born at Telina, October 13, 1921.5 Kioto took his family north to pioneer a mission station at Ramata Island under cover darkness because Taroteko’s family objected so strongly that they dragged her out of the departing canoe when Kioto first tried to leave.6

In 1923, Kioto was asked to transfer to Choiseul Island where Jugha had begun a flourishing mission station. Jugha was a candidate in the first baptism in the Solomon Islands in 1918 along with Kioto. Jugha was to be responsible for evangelizing new regions in the Solomon Islands for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He pioneered Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Santa Isabel, and San Christobel. It was a significant and courageous move for Jugha and Kioto to work on Choiseul because they were introducing the gospel among their traditional enemies. After assisting Jugha for some months, Kioto pressed on to open a new station on the east side of the island and an associate, Nagaha, moved further north to build a third outpost.7 Kioto was respected for his softly spoken nature and calm leadership. Later, when expatriate missionaries came to supervise the mission on Choiseul Island, Kioto would be left in charge during their furloughs.8 For a decade Kioto strengthened the mission cause on Choiseul Island.

In his prime, Kioto was struck down with double pneumonia. On Friday, May 11, 1934, he was brought from Choiseul to Batuna Hospital where nurse Evelyn Totenhofer gave professional care, but he died in the early hours of Sunday morning, May 13, 1934. Left to mourn were Taroteko and their four children together with his extended family around the Marovo Lagoon and those among his adopted people of Choiseul Island.9

Sources

Gray, David H. “Kioto.” Australasian Record, July 23, 1934.

Jones, G[riffiths] F. “First Annual Council, Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, February 25, 1918.

Jones, G[riffiths] F. “In the Solomons Once More—Part 3.” Australasian Record, August 5, 1929.

Nicholson, Lilian. “Letter from the Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, December 11, 1916.

Radley, J[ack] C. “The Maiden Voyage of the ‘Melanesia.’” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, July 8, 1957.

Telina Island Village Book. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Cooranbong, New South Wales. Box 535. Folder: Telina Island Village Book.

Turner, W. G[ordon]. “What Hath God Wrought?” Australasian Record, August 27, 1923.

Notes

  1. Lilian Nicholson, “Letter from the Solomon Islands,” Australasian Record, December 11, 1916, 3-4.

  2. J[ack] C. Radley, “The Maiden Voyage of the ‘Melanesia,’” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, July 8, 1957, 1-2; David H. Gray, “Kioto,” Australasian Record, July 23, 1934, 7.

  3. G[riffiths] F. Jones, “First Annual Council, Solomon Islands,” Australasian Record, February 25, 1918, 4; David H. Gray, “Kioto,” Australasian Record, July 23, 1934, 7.

  4. David H. Gray, “Kioto,” Australasian Record, July 23, 1934, 7.

  5. Telina Island Village Book, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Cooranbong, New South Wales, box 535, folder: Telina Island Village Book.

  6. David H. Gray, “Kioto,” Australasian Record, July 23, 1934, 7.

  7. W. G[ordon] Turner, “What Hath God Wrought?” Australasian Record, August 27, 1923, 4.

  8. David H. Gray, “Kioto,” Australasian Record, July 23, 1934, 7.

  9. Ibid.

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Hook, Milton. "Kioto (c. 1900–1934)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 10, 2020. Accessed February 27, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=D7YN.

Hook, Milton. "Kioto (c. 1900–1934)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 10, 2020. Date of access February 27, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=D7YN.

Hook, Milton (2020, July 10). Kioto (c. 1900–1934). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved February 27, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=D7YN.