GHABIHI villagers in Rarumana, Western Province, are searching for information in relation to damages done to their traditional war canoe known as tomoko (kolodomu) last week.
Reports reaching Solomon Star Gizo said on Friday last week a group of men armed with bush knives and axes went to Ghabihi Village following an argument with some people in the village.
Ghabihi villagers said the argument was never resolved by the two parties involved and as a result the armed men went to Ghabihi Village and destroyed the traditional war canoe using knives and axes.
Ghabihi Village chief and community leader Daniel Boti said such attitude and behaviour by these mature adults did not reflect a good example of a community way of life.
“This is unacceptable,” Chief Boti said.
He said the war canoe had special significance to their cultural heritage and tradition.
“A community has a process to solve any internal issues between two parties that have some disagreements and chiefs and community leaders have the roles and responsibilities to solve any problem,” Chief Boti said.
He said the unlawful actions in destroying the war canoe is a sign of negligence and disrespect to their culture and pride.
“The war canoe displays a role model for people in Western Province in terms of sustaining our culture,” the disappointed Chief said.
Ghabihi villagers said they are yet to gather information on what really happened and once that is done they will file a police case.
A village elder described the incident as “sad and very disrespectful”.
He said this issue is stressful and discouraging for village elders who are responsible for teaching the younger generation the values of this traditional war canoe.
Unfortunately, he said the incident proved that the younger people no longer value these traditions.
The communities of Rarumana and Roviana are known for featuring the tomoko war canoe during special events in Western Province.
The name “tomoko” is of Roviana language in New Georgia.
The tomoko war canoe is also known as “magori” in Marovo, “niagara” in Vella La Vella, “mon” in Bougainville, “ora” in Makira and “iola” or “ola” in Malaita and Ulawa.
Tomoko war canoes are narrow and usually between 12m to 18m (39ft to 59ft) in length. They do not possess outriggers or sails and are propelled solely by paddling.
By ULUTAH GINA