Corporate entry: Vanikoro Kauri Timber Company


The earliest logging venture in the Solomon Islands was by the Kauri Timber Company (founded in New Zealand in 1888), which through Melbourne connections bought into Fairley, Rigby & Co. (after 1916, know as San Cristoval Estates). The company had a provisional lease in 1913 to cut kauri (Agathis Macrophylla) and other types of timber on Vanikolo (Vanikoro) Island in the Santa Cruz Islands. The subsidiary was called the Vanikoro Kauri Timber Company. Labour came from the Santa Cruz area and from Malaita. The company operated a small railway (q.v.). Vanikolo was badly damaged in a cyclone in 1935 and during the 1930s the company was in debt. In 1934, the San Cristoval Estates could no longer provide funds and the Kauri Timber Company bought its interests. The Company went into liquidation in 1941 with its operations continued by the parent company, Kauri Timber Company. Although the Second World War did not reach Vanikolo, the company evacuated most of its European staff in March 1942. Logging did not fully resume until 1949. The level of wages and labour supplies continued to be a difficult issue. Vanikolo never really appealed to Malaitans, who by the 1950s could find work around Honiara, and local Eastern Solomons labour lacked the requisite skills and often spoke no Pijin English. Labour relations remained poor and the company withdrew in 1964. (Bennett 2000, 91-114)

Published resources


  • Bennett, Judith A., Pacific Forest: A History of Resource Control and Contest in Solomon Islands, c. 1800-1997, White Horse Press; Brill, Cambridge; Leiden, 2000. Details