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Tandai House of Chiefs has no right over Honiara foreshore: Tathiboko native

The Tandai House of Chiefs has no right to deal with lands within the Honiara Township from KGVI to White River, whether it is above or below the high-water mark.

Honiara

This is according to Manekanivaka Reuben, a native of Tathiboko in the Lengo region of Guadalcanal.

Mr Manekanivaka said the true Tandai Native people are Lengo Language speakers and are from Lengo region. 

“This fact can be confirmed by the “Deed of Conveyance’ (or sale) in the late 1800’s.  The signatories in the deed are people from Ghaobata and Tathiboko in the Lengo region. 

“Original Lengo region culturally borders at Tanaghai with Gari speakers. Mr Donua and his House of Chiefs can deal with Lands westwards beyond Tanaghai but not within the bounds of Honiara Township,” Manekanivaka said.

He said Honiara City lands and its surrounding are once part and parcel of Ghaobata. 

He added it was not until the political boundary came and demarcated. 

“The word ‘Tandai’ is in Lengo Language and possesses a more significant meaning to a Lengo clan that owned it than what it appears to be. 

“May I on behalf of the Lengo people and the clan that owns it, ask Mr Donua and his house of chiefs to stop using Tandai for their chief’s house,” Mr Manekanivaka said.

He further stated that it is also timely to forewarn all business houses and government organizations that; to deal with Tandai House of Chiefs in regards to land in Honiara will be erroneous and fraudulent.

“The descendants of the original vendors are still alive and around to claim land ownership of Honiara,” Manekanivaka concluded.

General Secretary of the Tandai House of Chiefs Daniel Donua this week told SIBC News that the Tandai House of Chiefs met and concluded that all companies and businesses operating along the Honiara seafront must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as a prerequisite to develop the seafront.

Mr Donua said although these companies are under some lease arrangements, these agreements were not recognised by the Tandai native people who are the customary owners of the Honiara foreshore, below and above the highwater mark.   

On Tuesday August 24, they met with senior executive staff of the Solomon Islands  Ports Authority (SIPA) to pave a way to establish the MOU with them on this matter.

Solomon Ports Chief Executive Officer Eranda Kotelawala in response to queries by SIBC News said they will present the MOU proposal to the board for deliberation.

“Solomon Ports respects the customary rights and claims of the Tandai House of Chiefs. However, we are governed by SOE Regulations, which the management will present this matter to the board for deliberation. 

“Once an update is given by the board then we will present it to the Tandai House of Chiefs,” Mr Kotelawala said in a statement. 

Meanwhile Mr Donua said this will be an understanding of partnership with the state-owned enterprise, so that SIPA can have some recognition for the native people on the use of seafronts.

He said since 1975 there was no such recognition and this is a way forward for SIPA to have an understanding with the native people.

We are not talking about the land because the government has already acquired it, we are talking about the sea highwater mark because it is customary owned by Tandai native people.

“The foreshore, below and above the high watermark is customarily owned by native people,” Donua said.

by Jared Koli

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