Biographical entry: Talasasa, Francis Aqorau (1928 - 1976)

Born
1928
Died
26 December 1976
Alternative Names
  • Aqorau, Francis Talasasa

Details

Francis Aqorau Talasasa was the son of Milton Talasasa (q.v.), who was a Government Headman and President of the Roviana Council, and one of the first four Solomon Islanders nominated to the BSIP Advisory Council (q.v.) in 1950. Francis was born in 1928 at Kokeqolo village on New Georgia Island and attended the Anglican All Hallows' School at Pawa (q.v.) on Ugi before attending Queen Victoria School in Fiji and St. Andrew's School in Christchurch, New Zealand (1949-1953). Next he studied at the University of Canterbury (1954-1957), becoming the first Solomon Islander to earn a B.A. degree. In September of that year he and his wife left for England, where he attended a yearlong course at University of Cambridge (1958-1959) and visited local government authorities in the country. His wife attended classes in London. On his return, Talasasa was posted as a Cadet Administrative Officer on Malaita in 1959, and he subsequently rose through the public service ranks to become the first Solomon Islander to be appointed a Deputy Commissioner, and later, in June 1962, the first to be appointed a Magistrate. During 1964 and 1965, he was Clerk to the Legislative Council (q.v.), and in 1966 he became the first Solomon Islander to be appointed to an overseas government position when he became a District Officer in the Gilbert Islands.


His final posting before he retired in 1974 was as District Commissioner Eastern. He became President of the Western Council, and for the second half of 1976 he was the member of the Legislative Assembly (q.v.) for Vona Vona, Rendova and Tetepare. He died on 28 December 1976 from a heart attack while playing tennis in Honiara. Not everyone liked Talasasa since he could be brisk, drank too much and was not always supportive of young public servants. Nathaniel Waena (q.v.) found this when posted at Makira: he was told by Talasasa to 'go back to school and learn' when he asked for advice on how to set out a document. Lloyd Maepeza Gina (q.v.), however, had nothing but praise for Talasasa. Talasasa was the best-educated Solomon Islander of the 1950s. He lived in Honiara from 1964 to 1966 and for part of 1976. He was the author of the Christian Fellowship Church Constitution that his father Milton Talasasa presented to the Methodist Church Synod at Rabaul in Papua New Guinea, which allowed the CFC to separate from the Methodist Church. (Tedder 2008, 168; Melanesian Nius, 9 Feb. 1977; Transform Aqorau, personal communication, 7 July 2011; NS 21 Apr. 1966; SND 9 July 1976; Gina 2003, 152-155; Talasasa 1970; Sir Nathaniel Waena, personal communication, 2010)

Related Concepts

Published resources

Books

  • Gina, Lloyd Maepeza, Journeys in a Small Canoe: The Life and Times of a Solomon Islander, Judith A. Bennett;Khyla J. Russell, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific; Pandanus Books, Suva; Canberra, 2003. Details
  • Tedder, James L.O., Solomon Islands Years: A District Administrator in the Islands, 1952-1974, Tuatu Studies, Stuarts Point, NSW, 2008. Details

Journals

  • Solomons News Drum, 1974-1982. Details
  • British Solomon Islands Protectorate (ed.), British Solomon Islands Protectorate News Sheet (NS), 1955-1975. Details

Journal Articles

  • Talasasa, F.M., 'Settlement Disputes in Customary Land in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate', Melenesian Law Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, 1970. Details