South Malaita Island

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South Malaita Island
Native name: Maramasike
South Malaita Island is located in Solomon Islands
South Malaita Island
South Malaita Island
Location Pacific Ocean
Archipelago Solomon Islands
Area 480.5 km2 (185.5 sq mi)
Highest elevation 518 m (1,699 ft)
Solomon Islands
Population 12,967 (2009)

Brief Information on First settlers:

The original history of Mwalamwaimwei(Small Malaita) is rooted way back from the wave of migration, as the first settlers on the land to reach on the coastal shores of Mwalamwaimwei, discover the land and its heritage. The flow of first settlers explore the land mass and settle on their respective areas within the islands. The historical facts and identity of people in Mwalamwaimwei proves by the cultural setting and practices. The prove of the first people to discover the island of Mwalamwaimwei are traditional equipped with the cultural practices, norms and historical theories. The migration goes like the recycle process such as; 1st Stage of movement:- people arrive settle on the coastal zone and move up to the highlands. 2nd Stage of movement: revolution takes place in the highlands and people move down to the coastal zone again.

Family and Culture: The cultural setting in South Malaita, is based on the chiefly system which was inherited way back in history. The island is subdivided according to kingdom (Iola) and the division of each kingdom is done by the council of chief in the past during the pre-colonial era and later during Ma'asina Ruru Movement. High Chief: The ruling chief in South Malaita are those upper-hand people that inherit the chiefly bloodline and right to govern and rule each (Iola). The Ououinemauri is the elect high chief chosen to govern and administer the council of Chief around Small Malaita. The kingdom (Iola) exist in Mwalamwaimwei are subdivided by its boundary and territory with the chain of people who settle according to the tribes and clans across the island. Each Iola is governed by their chief( whether 2,3 or 4 chief) is setup in the kingdom based on their status in the Iola.

- These are the Iola exist in Mwalamwaimwei(South Malaita) - From: Apa iesi- To Apa ia 1. Iola Hailadami (Hailadami Paine & Hailadami Mwaimwei) 2. Iolairamo (Iolairamo paine & Iolairamo mwaimwei) 3. Iola Hoasiteimwane (Iola Raha) 4. Iola Roasi 5. Iola Apuilalamoa 6. Iola Korutalau (Korutalaupaine & Korutalaumwaimwei) 7. Iola Louatowa (Haitataemwane) 8. Iola Ueniusu (Ero ueniusu) 9. Iola Ououmatawa

Other Iola in South Malaita located within and share the same boundary with each other especially the migrants or settlers who just settle and exist as small Iola.

Language: The main language spoken by the South Malaita people are categorized into 3 main dialects! - Sa'a dialect- widely spoken by 75% of the population of South Malaita. - Tolo (mix areare) dialect- is spoken by 20% of the population. - Lau dialect- is spoken by 5% of the people.

Maramasike and neighbouring areas

South Malaita Island, also known as Small Malaita and Maramasike for Areare speakers and Malamweimwei known to more than 80% of the islanders, is the island at the southern tip of the larger island of Malaita in the eastern part of the Solomon Islands.[1] It is called "small" to distinguish it from the much larger mainland. It is now part of Malaita Province. South Malaita came under effective control of the colonial administration after the Solomon Islands was declared a British Protectorate in 1893. The administration included the collection of taxes from the islanders.[2] During the colonial days, the island was divided by the colonial government and missionary establishments into the Asimeuri, Asimae, and Raroisu'u districts. Away from Malaita, most people from "Small" or "South" Malaita usually just say the word "South", everyone knows what they mean.

Family and cultural[edit]

People on the island, however, preferred to identify only with members of their extended families, where ties are the strongest, and with members of their clans and tribes, which are governed within traditionally demarcated regions known as iolas, which are led by a high chief ALAHAOUOU. The Island is refer to as IOLA RAHA, which consist of 8 Iola, namely Hoasitaimwane, Kolutalau, Ououmatawa, Ueniusu, Uenisu Unu, Roasi, Iolairamo and Hailadami. The language spoken by the people of Small Malaita is the Sa'a dialect. The language, however, has variations in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary from iola to iola. The people practised patrilineal descent, with men having the most say over ownership rights and recognised as head of families, clans and tribes. Women played a much lesser role in the art of governing; however, they were equally respected in society.

Dolphin drive hunting[edit]

According to Malaitian oral history, a Polynesian woman named Barafaifu introduced dolphin drive hunting to Malaita from Ontong Java Atoll, she settled in Fanalei as it was the place for hunting.[3] Dolphin hunting ceased in the mid-19th century. The influence of Christian missionaries is thought to be the cause of the end to hunting. However, in 1948 dolphin hunting was revived in Fanalei village in South Malaita and also Walande, located 10 km to the north as well as at villages on Malaita, including Ata’a, Felasubua, Sulufou (in the Lau Lagoon) and at Mbita’ama harbour (North East Malaita). However, Fanalei in South Malaita remained the preeminent dolphin hunting village.[3]

The dolphins are hunted both as food with specific species chosen as their teeth have a value in trade and in brideprice ceremonial traditions, funeral feasts and for compensation. The teeth of Melon-headed whale were traditionally the most desirable, however hunting resulted in that species dolphins becoming rare in the ocean off Malaita. The other species hunted are Spinner Dolphin and the Pantropical Spotted Dolphin.[4][5] While Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) have been captured for live export, their teeth are not considered to have any value.[6]

In contemporary times only villages in South Malaita have continued to hunt. In 2010, the villages of Fanalei, Walende, and Bitamae signed a MoU with the non-governmental organization, Earth Island Institute, to stop hunting dolphin. However, in early 2013 the agreement broke down and some men in Fanalei resumed hunting.[7] The hunting of dolphin continued in early 2014.[8]

Researchers from the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, the Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute have concluded that hunters from the village of Fanalei in the Solomon Islands have killed more than 1,600 dolphins in 2013, included at least 1,500 pantropical spotted dolphins, 159 spinner dolphins and 15 bottlenose dolphins.[9] The total number total number killed during the period 1976-2013 was more than 15,400.[9] The price at which dolphin tooth are traded in Malaita rose from the equivalent of 18c in 2004 to about 90c in 2013.[9]

Coordinates: 9°32′46″S 161°28′01″E / 9.546°S 161.467°E / -9.546; 161.467


  1. ^ "Malaita Island". Solomon Islands Historical Encyclopaedia 1893-1978. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Historical Photographs of Malaita". University of Queensland. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Takekawa, Daisuke (2000). Hunting method and the ecological knowledge of dolphins among the Fanalei villagers of Malaita, Solomon Islands (PDF). SPC Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin No. 12. p. 4. 
  4. ^ Takekawa, Daisuke (2000). Hunting method and the ecological knowledge of dolphins among the Fanalei villagers of Malaita, Solomon Islands (PDF). SPC Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin No. 12. pp. 8–9. 
  5. ^ Kahn B., In:Green, A., P. Lokani, W. Atu, P. Ramohia, P. Thomas and J. Almany (eds.) (2006). Oceanic Cetaceans and Associated Habitats. Solomon Islands Marine Assessment: Technical report of survey conducted May 13-June 17, 2004. TNC Pacific Island Countries Report No.1/06. 530. 
  6. ^ "Tursiops aduncus, Ehrenberg, 1833: Solomon Islands, Delphinidae, Indian Ocean Bottlenose Dolphin, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin". Review of Significant Trade: Species selected by the CITES Animals Committee following CoP14 and retained in the review following AC25 (PDF). CITES Project No. S-380: Prepared for the CITES Secretariat by United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre. 2012. pp. 2–10. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Nandini Mitra, Maureen (25 January 2013). "Solomon Islands’ Dolphin Kill Spurred by Corrupt Dolphin Traders, Says Animal Rights Group". Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "350 plus dolphins caught, slaughtered in Solomon Islands". Island Business from Solomon Star/Pacnews. 18 February 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c Agence France-Presse (7 May 2015). "Solomon Islanders kill more than 1,600 dolphins for their teeth". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2015.