16 Sep 2013

5000 expected for Solomons blackbirding anniversary

1:23 pm on 16 September 2013

Descendants of a Malaitan man captured during the blackbirding era are preparing to welcome his Australian family members to Solomon Islands for the 150th anniversary of his capture.

John Kwailiu Fatanowna was taken from the Rakwane tribe of the Fataleka region of east Malaita to work on a sugar plantation in Queensland.

The president of the organising committee says for many of the 60 members of that branch of the family coming from Mackay at the end of the month it is the first time they have left Australia.

Enoch Mani Ilisia says in total there will be more than five thousand people taking part.

"The Rakwane tribesmen and women who are living in Honiara, we pooled together our resources and we managed to build a new water supply and we constructed houses and toilet facilities."

Enoch Mani Ilisia says the tribe has also asked the government for assistance.