9 August 2015
AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER AND TEAM COMPLETE THEIR WAKABAOT LO WEATHERCOAST
Australian High Commissioner Andrew Byrne and his team arrived safely in Honiara from their ‘Wakabaot Lo Weathercoast’ last week. The team included the High Commissioner’s wife Dawn Bennet, Ben O’Reilly, Tanya Morjanoff and WO Gary Fuss, also from the Australian High Commission.
The group started their journey in Marau and travelled by boat before walking across mountains to visit remote communities on the Weathercoast. The trip covered over 260 kilometres of Guadalcanal.
Communities they visited included Niu Areata, Purakike, Kopiu, Komovalu, Kuma, Chimialava and Nanala.
Australian High Commissioner Andrew Byrne said “The walkabout was an opportunity to visit the communities on the Weathercoast and central Guadalcanal; and to learn more about their lives and the challenges they face.”
“We learned that the people of the Weathercoast and central Guadalcanal are strong, determined and resilient. In every community we visited, we saw people working hard to survive and prosper in very isolated, challenging places. And we were humbled by the efforts of our Guale guides and hosts to keep us safe and comfortable,” said High Commissioner Byrne.
“Dawn, Ben, Tanya, Gary and I all feel honoured to have walked among such strong and resilient people, if only for a few days.
“I would like to thank the people of Niu Areata, Purakike, Kopiu, Komovalu, Kuma, Chimialava and Nanala for welcoming us into their communities, sharing their culture and giving us a glimpse into their daily lives.”