A special gathering of leaders from the Are’are community on Malaita was held at the end of April.
The Are’are Leaders Land Summit was held at Kopo village, Waisisi frim 27 to 28 April and was organized by the West Are’Are Rokotanikeni Association in collaboration with the Are’Are planning committee based in Honiara as well as chiefs of the region.
This important event was hosted by Arahanimane House of Chiefs. It was co -funded by the Pacific People Advancing Change (PPAC) through the South Pacific Community, WARA and Member of Parliament for West Are’Are.
The Land Summit was attended by more than three hundred leaders throughout the whole of Are’Are Region, covering three House of Chiefs namely; Arahanimane HOC, Hahuarahana HOC and Namoaraha HOC. Leaders who attended the Summit represented young people, women, Chiefs, Church leaders, Waisisi Community High School, Member of Parliament for West Are’Are, John Maneniaru, WARA staff and members, Planning Committee and community leaders.
Furthermore, it was attended by representatives of the Malaita Provincial Government led by the Deputy Premier of Malaita Province, Randell Sifoni who was also the Guest of Honour who officiated the opening ceremony.
Also, the Director of Winrock International, Dr Morgan Wairiu and his Team were present and did an awareness talk about the roles and functions of Winrock International.
The purpose of the Land Summit was for Are’Are Leaders to come together to dialogue and discuss Are’Are land matters, meaning land and all that is on it, in it, above it and around it which are the most important resources of the Are’Are region.
In addition, that Chiefs sort out genealogies, tribes and leadership.
There were five perspectives that Presenters spoke on. These perspectives are:
First, Chief John Pa’e, Chief Bernard Paurara and Chief Joel Hutaranimae spoke on the Are’Are Kustom/Traditional perspective on Are’Are land – meaning how does Are’Are Kastom see and embrace land a as useful resource.
Second, Dr Fr James Ereai spoke on the Biblical Perspective – how does the Bible/Holy Scripture see land in the past and the present.
Third, Nelson Naoapu spoke on the Government Perspective – how does the Solomon Island government see land, referring to the Acts such as the Land and Title Act etc.
Fourth, Max Totorea and Edward Huitarau from Maimasina Green Belt spoke on the Environment and Conservation Perspective – Should the Are’Are people conserve land?
Fifth, Pascal Oritaimae spokesman for Advance Technology talked on the Economic Development Perspective – introducing and explaining how Are’Are people can engage in economic development but in a sustainable way.
Following these presentations, the audience were divided into their House of Chiefs and had open dialogue and discussions on land issues that affect people and tribes and look more constructively on the Are’Are Land Tenure System. They also discussed on exploring economic development opportunities that are available for the people to engage in to raise cash to meet people’s needs.
Participants were encouraged to keep talking on land matters at the Summit and to continue talking afterwards to sort out any land issues and disputes that affect families, tribes and the rest of Are’Are communities. Participants were also called on to work together and restore relationships and map the way forward for peaceful coexistence and active participation in economic development. They were also called upon to strengthen Are’Are Traditional leadership at all levels. WARA wish to acknowledge all who support and made this event possible: The Pacific People Advancing Change (PPAC), South Pacific Community, the Are‘Are Planning Committee, the Waisisi community and hosting committee, Waisisi Community High School, leaders from both east and west Are’Are, Honorable Member for West Are’Are, Deputy Premier for Malaita Province and Team, Winrock International, Maimaasina Green Belt, Advance Technology Limited and everyone who were not mention but contributed one way or another towards and during the Are’Are Leaders Land Summit