Monday, 30 January 2012 12:23 PM

Unique Red Feather Money of Temotu

Before introduction of money in Solomon Islands, the currency came in different forms for the nine provinces of the country.

Of the many examples is the famous red feather money from Santa Cruz Islands of Temotu Province.

The red feather money is two inch wide and 30 feet long made out of glued fiber feathers, particularly the downy red feathers plucked from the breast, head and back of a tropical forest bird.

The bird is a small scarlet colored honey eater, its scientific name is the myzomela carnalis of the rain forest.

In an interview with Solomon Times, Patricia Luilamo, who works at the National Museum of Solomon Islands, and who is from Temotu Province, said that the money is produced by the natives of Santa Cruz and used mainly by their people for bride price, compensation and land.

She told Solomon Times that in the ancient days, the money is distributed to other islands in Temotu Province like the reef islands.

"One special thing about the red feather money in the olden days is that it was widely accepted as a form of currency even in neighbouring islands."

Mrs. Luilamo said that although the red feather money is no longer used it still represents a culture of years pass.

"As a person from Temotu, I am proud to say that our traditional money showed that the Solomon Islands had a very sophisticated culture even before western contact."