Friday, 19 September 2008 3:16 PM

The Nguzu Nguzu: Western Province Symbol

Have you caught a glance of the Nguzu Nguzu symbol and wondered what it stood for?

The traditional Nguzu Nguzu is an icon for Western Province people. It is usually donned in front of the traditional Western Province War Canoe called the Tomoko.

The Nguzu Nguzu was said to have been used to ward off dangerous sea spirits particularly that of the Kesoko sea spirit. The figurehead is said to be a protector of the Tomoko riders as they travel to conquer surrounding islands during the head hunting days.

"The Nguzu Nguzu is kind of like a guiding spirit and during the 19th to the 20th century, our ancestors travel for tribal wars with the Nguzu Nguzu in front of the canoe as a protection. This gives the Western Province people the confidence to travel the great ocean and conquer other warring parties," says Julious Koneho of Roviana Lagoon.

Nowadays however, with the tribal wars over and the introduction of Christianity, both the Tomoko and the Nguzu Nguzu are only seen when Solomon Islands host big celebrations like that of the Solomon Islands Independence.

The Nguzu Nguzu is now commonly found in the carving shops and on the Solomon Islands $1 coin.

However, it remains a significant symbol to the people of the Western Province.