The evening had been prepared under the guidance of Beverly Vokia-Scarlett, herself a Solomon Islander. She was also the MC and presented a slide show on her home country. It included aspects such as the history, the political system and educational options of the island nation as well as some interesting customs, for example marriage ceremonies. Visitors were encouraged to ask questions and did so, thus making the event a true cultural exchange.
A Solomon Islands dance group from Katikati performed a number of ceremonial dances. Some visitors joined the performers, who had put on an impressive décor of white chalk body paintings and symbols, many of which drew on motifs from nature, such as birds and fish.
A display of Solomon Islands artifacts and samples of local dishes were also part of the programme.
“I found it an extraordinarily warm and welcoming evening with lots of happy and friendly people from the Solomon Islands. And last but not least: I learned a lot about the country I had not been aware of before”, says Nina Payne, Multicultural Tauranga’s Justice of the Peace and regular visitor of Living in Harmony nights.