New Zealand High Commission Honiara, Solomon Islands
HMNZ Resolution visits Solomon Islands
HMNZ Resolution, the Navy's survey ship, is visiting Solomon Islands in October and November and last week journeyed to Mono Island and Vella Lavella Island in Western Province in support of the NZ High Commission.
The key task in Mono was to take part in the island's annual New Zealand Day - an event that marks Mono's liberation by New Zealand forces in 1943. It's a big day in the island's calendar and involves solemn commemoration of the New Zealand war dead, speeches, feasting and games. The villages were delighted to have the crew of a New Zealand Navy ship there to mark the occasion and made them, and accompanying High Commission and RAMSI staff, incredibly welcome.
After Mono came a visit to Vella Lavella, also the scene of New Zealand Army landings in World War Two. The main activity was to install a new memorial commemorating 15 New Zealanders who died in a bombing attack on their landing ship in October 1943. An old memorial has fallen into disrepair but a new one was commissioned using funds raised by High Commission and Army staff. The dedication ceremony, ably led by NZ RAMSI Senior National Officer Major Al Mitchell, was particularly moving. The memorial stands on a wonderful site in a grove of trees just above the beach at Niarovai Village.