Friday, February 08, 2013

Geography Lesson 101: Where is Santa Cruz?

In light of the recent earthquake and resulting tsunami off the Solomon Islands, I thought you should know about this rarely discussed region of the Pacific. 

What has been mentioned in the media as Santa Cruz is the eastern most province of the Solomon Islands. 

"Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, the first European to sight them, on his second Pacific expedition in 1595. Mendaña died on the island of Nendo, which he had named Santa Cruz, in 1596"

Today, it is called Temotu....motu being a common Pacific word for island.

 Lots of places in the Solomons have Spanish names, including Solomon Islands itself, orginally Islas Salomon, Isabel Province, Florida Island etc.

Anyhow, there are islands in the Solomon group which are Polynesian outliers, for instance Tikopia, one of the remotest places in the world.

I was fortunate to have had Professor Judith Macdonald as a lecturer, she spent 2 years living in Tikopia.
I loved hearing her stories because she had some interesting experiences, she shaved her head as women did and had to drop on the ground and bow head in respect as the men passed by...she has knee issues as proof of this respect, hah.

What I found amusing in Honiara was that coming from these outlier 'polynesian islands' was not always something to boast about, ...in fact, I was informed a few times by my friend that they thought I was 'Polynesian' (with a look of disgust)...I won't delve on this matter.

Anyhow, that's the geography lesson of the day: Solomon Islands, lots of islands, so much diversity and the lack of information about the disaster is due to the remoteness of the Temotu province, where it takes 3 days to get there by boat, and another 3 to return. 

It is my dream to go to Tikopia one day not far way....

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