On Monday 18th February 1974 Queen Elizabeth II first stepped foot in Solomon Islands, at Namuga in East Makira.
The Queen was greeted by the late chief Simon Kariqwongi, who bestowed upon her the name Fau Ni Qweraasi, meaning “people’s protector.”
At the request of the Premier and the Makira Ulawa provincial assembly, the British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Thomas Coward, travelled with the Premier, Member of the Provincial Assembly for Ward 14 and the Provincial Secretary to Namuga to install a plaque to mark this moment in history.
The travelling party was greeted with a customary welcome from a warrior of Makira. This was followed by speeches from Mr Alfred Murray, the Deputy Speaker of Makira Ulawa Province, Hon. Solomon Kekesia, Hon Premier Maka’a and the High Commissioner.
The party then progressed to the monument where the plaque was installed by the High Commissioner and Premier.
Makira Ulawa Premier, Hon. Julian Maka’a said:
“My sincere thanks to the British High Commissioner Tom Coward for quickly responding to our humble request for this long outstanding issue. His support brings us all here today so this is a big milestone both for Namuga and the Province of Makira Ulawa Province. In other words, this is an early Christmas present for our communities of Namuga. I therefore appeal to the Ward Development Committee and our communities here to cherish and look after this as our own in order to keep the important link between our two countries.”
British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Nauru, His Excellency Thomas Coward said:
“This plaque stands as testament to our historic and enduring bonds of friendship. With the 50th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s visit approaching, it is timely that we have together laid this plaque. It stands next to the renamed Queen Elizabeth II Memorial School to celebrate an important moment in history. I hope for the future, this site can help spur tourism. This area is truly stunning and blessed with surfing, wildlife, and history. The area has rich culture, including Wogasia in nearby Santa Catalina, and just across the bay from here the British Solomon Islands protectorate was declared.”