Wednesday, 13 February 2008 2:32 PM

A Change of Value

Christianity has not only brought gospel to the shores of Bellona Island in Rennell-Bellona Province but the Polynesians have had to do away with their traditional value, dress code one of them.

Solomon Times met up with Bellonese, Douglas Tahea, a man who has his own stall selling carvings and other modified traditional crafts of Bellona, including the 'ghapaghapa', a mat that is worn like Fiji's sulu purposely for special occasions.

Mr. Tahea said that the ghapaghapa is an important attire for Bellonese "who still use a modified version for special occasions like school graduations, traditional events, social cultural events".

"What we have now is modified because we now add buttons in replacement of barks from trees, which was used by our ancestors to tie the ghapaghapa in place," Mr. Tahea explained.

Solomon Times was informed that the coming of Christianity to the island forced the Bellonese to do away with traditional values including cultural dances, traditional wear, lifestyle to name a few.

"Even though the Western influence has taken its toll on our people, we are still proud to display what speaks of our culture, and the ghapaghapa is one of them," Mr. Tahea said.

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