Munda, Solomon Islands
Munda is the largest settlement on the island of New Georgia in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, and consists of a number of villages. It is located at the southwestern tip (called Munda Point) of the western end of New Georgia, and the large Roviana Lagoon is just offshore.
Munda Point was originally the site of a coconut plantation established by Englishman Norman Wheatley, and then owned by Australian Lesley Gill. During World War II the Japanese built an airstrip to serve as a staging point to Guadalcanal. A convoy put in to Munda Point on 24 November 1942, and started construction under careful concealment from the air by means of rows of coconut palms suspended by cable. The airstrip was discovered by American planes on 3 December, and the first airstrikes were delivered by B-17 Flying Fortress bombers on 9 December. However, the Japanese were able to use Munda despite regular bombardment from both air and sea, and the Americans' New Georgia Campaign spent July 1943 closing in on Munda overland, capturing it on 6 August. The airstrip remains today and daily flights land from Honiara and Gizo.
The Methodist Mission in the Western Province was established by Rev. John Frances Goldie in 1902. He dominated the mission and gained the loyalty of Solomon Islander members of his church. The relationship with the colonial administrators of the British Solomon Island Protectorate were also fraught with difficulty, at this time due to Goldie’s effective control over the Western Solomon Islands. From 1927 to 1934 Dr Edward Sayers worked at the Methodist mission where he established a hospital at Munda and also at Gizo and Vella Lavella, and carried out fieldwork in the treatment of malaria.
Lambete, the largest village in Munda, today consists of a number of shops, a branch of the Bank of South Pacific (BSP), a post office, a telecommunications centre, a bakery, the airstrip and a small port. On the seafront is Agnes Lodge, a small hotel and currently the only tourist accommodation in Munda. The hotel compound also contains the local bar (Munda Bar), the dive shop - Dive Munda, and the local boat-tour company (Go West Tours).
Medical care in Munda is provided by the Helena Goldie Hospital, a small hospital west of Lambete that was originally set up by the Rev J.F. Goldie (Methodist missionary) and named after his wife.
Munda is a 1–2 hour boat journey or 15-minute flight to Gizo and a 1-hour flight to Honiara by Solomon Airlines light aircraft.
- Dr. Debra McDougall (2008). "Religious institutions as Alternative Structures in post-conflict Solomon Islands: Cases from Western Province". For State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Discussion Paper Series, 08/05, Australian National University. Retrieved 4 Oct 2011.
- Sayers , E. G. (1943) Malaria in the South Pacific with Special Reference to the Solomon Islands. New Zealand Government Printing Office