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Two ancient ceremonies are no longer performed by the people of Wairoki in South Malaita, Solomon Islands. They were forbidden by missionaries and the government because they involved killing and the destruction of property. This film shows the re-enactment of the Totora and Siwa ceremonies with their traditional pan pipe music, drumming and dancing rituals. Totora, meaning 'to take', was a celebration over several days where people could do as they wished – destroy trees, burn down houses and insult each other. It was also a time when young men could meet young women and arrange betrothals. The Siwa was an ancient ceremony of revenge. If a man committed murder or adultery, the victim's friends and relatives would hire a warrior to kill him, then afterwards they would pay for a big feast to be held in the village.
(1980, 8 mins) A Film Australia Production. Produced for Solomon Islands with Australian Development Assistance Bureau.
© National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
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