teaching at the pre-school department of their church school. Handling the same age group as do kindergartens in New Zealand, Mrs Bennett found it was ‘really more like baby-sitting than teaching.’
Though a vicar's work was basically the same in Honolulu as here (as it was the same church), Mr Bennett found the pace quite hectic. ‘Compared with the church-mindedness of all denominations in Hawaii, this country seems quite pagan,’ he said. ‘There has been a great revival in religion since the war—the church is really alive—and I was always on the job.’
Three mornings a week Mr Bennett attended courses on Pacific race relations at the University of Hawaii, where he was interested to discover the predominance of oriental students. ‘Japanese and Chinese people,’ he explained, ‘will do everything possible to give their children the best education, and as students pour out of lecture halls, a white face among them is the conspicuous one. That applies on the downtown streets as well. A large proportion of the population is Oriental.’
Mr Bennett lectured to various groups on the Maori, and Mrs Bennett performed action songs and poi dances at numerous church socials. They found a number of similarities between Hawaiian and Maori ways, an ‘imu’ over there, for instance, was very like a ‘hangi’ here, except that the pig was put in whole. It was covered with ti leaves (like a lily plant), sacks and earth, and left to cook about two hours. Imus were often a feature of church fairs, and occasionally hotels used them for guests' meals.
The race situation in Honolulu Mr Bennett found admirable. ‘Everyone has an equal chance,’ he explained. ‘Americans are good businessmen. They want value, and they give jobs on qualifications regardless of race.’
Built of lava rock dug from hillsides, the church with which he was associated during most of his sojourn had a wood shingle roof and a modern interior. It seated 500 people, ‘though with the doors open it accommodated 800.’
For some months Mr Bennett was with congregations predominantly Oriental, but for one month he was with native Hawaiians on the island of Hawaii in a small village called Kohala. ‘Except for the difference in language that was just like being at home,’ he remarked.
On his way home from the Coronation festivities
in London, Wallace Tako of Ruatoria spent a week in Honolulu with the Bennetts. Among souvenirs which Mrs Bennett has brought home is a lovely ‘muumuu’, a Hawaiian dress worn for informal evenings. Long and fitting, it has a high neckline and wide, flowing sleeves. An hors d'oeuvres dish of monkeypod wood and drinking tumblers of Japanese bamboo are other mementoes.
Mr Bennett notices a difference in New Zealand since his return. ‘The appearance of increased prosperity here is very encouraging.’ He and Mrs Bennett have just adopted a little girl, four-and-a-half year-old Linda. The church in Honolulu wants them to return; but though both loved every minute in that lovely city, they feel their place is here with their own people.