Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia, Victor Ngele, presented the new Australian government with a canoe, which symbolises hopes that the two countries may begin paddling in the same direction.

The Australian newspaper reported that Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Duncan Kerr, received the gift to the new Government.

Mr. Kerr said it represented a common approach to problem-solving, and that the recent change of government in both countries had presented an opportunity to repair relations, which had become badly strained between former prime ministers John Howard and Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr. Ngele yesterday had a meeting with Mr. Kerr, ahead of a meeting between the two countries' prime ministers early next week.