Solomon’s Carved Paddle Touches Hawaiian Elders

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A Solomon Islands carved paddle handed over to the Hawaiian authorities as a gift from Solomon Islands at the close of the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture touched the hearts of Hawaiian elders managing the Carving Venue at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

Carved by Riaz Haikiu from Rennell and Bellona Province, the carved paddle was inscribed with both Melanesian and Polynesian motifs representing the diversity of Solomon Islands cultures.

Master Carvers from around the Pacific gathered together to celebrate and showcase their unique skills and talents, carving and painting paddles in different forms and styles to re-echo the need for preservation and promotion of unique Pacific carvings.

The paddle is symbolic to the Pacific Islands that their ancestors were once great navigators and fishers traveling from Island to Island in the vast Pacific Ocean.

 Members of the Solomon Islands delegation with Native Hawaiian elders at the Bishop Museum carving center. Photo credit @ GCU Press

“It is symbolic of who we are as Pacific Islanders or people of the biggest ocean in the world,” Riaz said at the handing over ceremony.

Riaz said it was an honor to be selected to work on the carved paddle that represents Solomon Islands at the FestPAC, which will serve as reminder that connects Solomon Islands and Hawaii and other Pacific Islands in the future.

“I am honored and proud to represent our country working on this piece which will remind everyone in Hawaii that Solomon Islands was represented at the festival that left behind a lasting memory of Unity between Pacific Islanders,” he said.

The carved paddle was presented along with a Malaitan Tafuliae (Shell Money) as gifts to acknowledge the warm hospitality and friendship offered by Hawaii during the festival.

Riaz (C) with two members of the Solomon Islands delegation with the Solomon Islands carved paddle. Photo credit @ GCU Press

Other Pacific Islands carvers also presented their carved paddles in a similar fashion during the ceremony.

The Hawaiian elders expressed joy and highlighted the need to continue to preserve and promote our unique artistic talents to the younger generation.

Riaz thanked the Solomon Islands Government for giving him the opportunity to represent the country in Hawaii at the FestPAC 2024.

The Solomon Island delegation will leave Hawaii on June 19 after joining the biggest celebration of Pacific Arts and Cultures for 11 days in Honolulu.

Source: GCU Press

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