A special gathering of leaders from the Areâare community on Malaita was held at the end of April.
The Areâare Leaders Land Summit was held at Kopo village, Waisisi frim 27 to 28 April and was organized by the West AreâAre Rokotanikeni Association in collaboration with the AreâAre 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 AreâAre.
The Land Summit was attended by more than three hundred leaders throughout the whole of AreâAre 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 AreâAre, 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 AreâAre Leaders to come together to dialogue and discuss AreâAre 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 AreâAre 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 Paâe, Chief Bernard Paurara and Chief Joel Hutaranimae spoke on the AreâAre Kustom/Traditional perspective on AreâAre land â meaning how does AreâAre Kastom see and embrace land a as useful resource.
Second, Dr Fr James Ereai spoke on the Biblical Perspective â how does the Bible/Holy Scripture see land in the past and the present.
Third, Nelson Naoapu spoke on the Government Perspective â 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 â Should the AreâAre people conserve land?
Fifth, Pascal Oritaimae spokesman for Advance Technology talked on the Economic Development Perspective â introducing and explaining how AreâAre 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 AreâAre 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 peopleâs 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 AreâAre 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 AreâAre 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 AreâAre Planning Committee, the Waisisi community and hosting committee, Waisisi Community High School, leaders from both east and west AreâAre, Honorable Member for West AreâAre, 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 AreâAre Leaders Land Summit