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The Chiefs
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The Chiefs' Country: Leadership and Politics in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Author: Michael Kwa’ioloa   Ben Burt  



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In this autobiographical account of life in Honiara, capital of Solomon Islands, Michael Kwa’ioloa reflects on the challenges of raising a family in town, managing marriage exchanges, and sustaining ties with a distant rural homeland in Malaita island. He also participates in a long tradition of political activism by community leaders or chiefs, whose role was severely tested by the violent conflict between Malaitans and the indigenous Guadalcanal people at the turn of the century.


Kwa’ioloa provides a local perspective on the causes and course of this unhappy episode in his country’s history, which he witnessed as a police officer. His response, and the theme of the book, is the need for a way of life founded upon ancestral values, giving chiefs a role in the governance of Solomon Islands.


The book is edited by anthropologist Ben Burt, who has researched with Kwa’ioloa and his people for over thirty years.