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Solomon Islands youth perform a traditional dance during the island nation's independence celebrations at the Titirangi War Memorial in West Auckland.

Photo/Joseph Safiti

Pacific Region

Solomon Islanders mark milestone

Located 3800km north of Aotearoa, the Solomons has been a colony of the United Kingdom before a peaceful transition to independence on 7 July 1978.

Solomon Islanders across the world are in celebration mode this week as the Pacific island nation marks its 46th anniversary of self-rule from the United Kingdom.

A parade was held in Honiara and thousands flocked through the streets of the capital for an official ceremony.

This year’s theme is 'Charting our United and Transformative future together'.

Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele - elected in April - says while the country has been confronted with challenges, it has also enjoyed milestones such as the hosting of last year's Pacific Games.

Photo/Joseph Safiti

In his independence speech, Manele urged his people to celebrate their nation's unity and strength and continue to cultivate a culture of mutual respect and tolerance.


With much of the celebrations centred in the capital Honiara, Manele acknowledged those from Ontong Java in the north, to Rennel Island in the south, and from the Shortland Islands in the west to Tikopia Island in the East.

"We have recently come through tough times," the prime minister said. "The Covid-19 pandemic and the November riot of 2021 have tested our resolve as a nation. Each time we faced these challenges, our resilience as one people has proven triumphant.

"The recent National General Elections, where the outcome is respected and embraced by all, was successful and peaceful.

"Fellow Solomon Islanders, I wish to acknowledge our bilateral and multilateral partners for standing with us during our challenging times."

In New Zealand, celebrations were held across the motu.

Photo/Joseph Safiti

There are 442,632 Pacific people in Aotearoa with 777 of them identifying as Solomon Islanders, according to StatsNZ. Forty per cent of them were born in NZ.

Most Solomon Islanders live in Auckland with others including seasonal workers in Waikato, Otago, and the Bay of Plenty.

PMN Solomons' producer Trixy Ibnul and host Macson Gebe attended the celebrations in some parts of the North Island.

They sat down with Ma'a Brian Sagala of Pacific Days to talanoa about the celebrations in Aotearoa.

Ibnul said Solomon Islanders also marked Matariki during the weekend festivities. "It was a very good turnout."

Gebe said normally the celebrations would be held on Saturday but since 7 July fell on Sunday, organisers agreed to hold the festivities then.

"We had our ambassador Eliam Tangirongo among the guests in Auckland and for the first time, we had our 531pi CEO Safita come and speak to us," Ibnul said.

Watch the Trixy Ibnul and Macson Gebe interview below.

"We are a diverse country, with different languages, 140, different cultures from different islands - a total of 800.

"And that comes with different mindsets so for us to come this far as a nation, as a country that still stands despite the challenges, we should tap ourselves and say to each other congratulations. At least, we made it this far."

Gebe said there were various performances. "We have nine provinces in the Solomons and each province performed an item."

Manele said as Solomon Islanders celebrate, they must continue to display the spirit of perseverance, unity, and genuine partnership.

He called for everyone to work together "in the true spirit of ‘friends to all and enemy to none’.

"As a nation of diverse cultures and traditions, our single most important task is to remain committed to the spirit of togetherness and embrace our diverse values and principles.

"We must continue to cultivate a culture of mutual respect and tolerance."

Photo/Joseph Safiti