Corporate entry: Malaita District Council
Although the Protectorate Government was considering the introduction of indigenous councils before the Second World War, the Malaita Council was one of the British concessions made as a result of the Maasina Rule (q.v.) movement. Resident Commissioner Graham Gregory-Smith (q.v.) pushed forward with plans for a district council and sub-district bodies. Salana Ga'a (q.v.) was elected as its first President on 7 November 1952 and re-elected on 28 January 1954. Ariel Sisili (q.v.) was elected Vice-President on 25 January 1954 and replaced Ga'a as President in September 1955. Jasper Irofiala became Vice-President in September 1955. On 14 December 1957, Salana Ga'a regained the position of President, and Irofiala remained Vice-President. In 1960 a new leadership team emerged: on 23 February Mariano Kelesi (q.v.) became President and Stephen Sipolo (q.v.) became Vice-President. Kelesi was re-elected on 8 October 1962, with Puahanikeni as Vice-President. Napthali Rigamanu also served a term as Vice-President as did Lucius Noi. In September 1968 Jonathan Fifi'I became President and Justus Jimmy Ganifiri Vice-President.
On 26 January 1953 the Malaita Council first met at the new headquarters at Aimela, near Auki. In 1956, approval was given for a special council flag to be flown on the building. (AR 1955-1956, 59) In the early years, Council members were very inexperienced but slowly they began to make progressive decisions and understand the budgetary processes. The Malaita Council made the most remarkable progress of all BSIP councils, partly because it covered almost half of the Protectorate's population and received the largest revenue from annual tax. Also, the Council had wide support of its people and a sophisticated development programme, involving the construction of sub-district headquarters, staff housing, markets and dispensaries. (AR 1957-1958, 63) By 1963, the Council employed six dressers, six nurses and seven teachers, had installed piped water in various areas, and had built eleven market houses, eighteen court houses, twenty-eight staff houses, four school buildings, four wharves, one copra drier, and ten combined dispensaries and maternity centres.
The Council was revised in 1964 to become a fully elected representative body. Over 51 percent of registered voters on Malaita voted in the election in late June of that year. Fourteen members of the former Malaita Council were re-elected along with twenty-four new members, who all first met on 6 July. As with the other district councils, in 1965 Malaita Council was responsible for an electoral college to choose three members for the Legislative Council.
Funding was obtained for a road across Malaita from Kwai in the east to Auki via the Aluta valley and from Tiuni on the Kwara'ae side. It opened in early 1978, and enabled easy access between central Malaita and both coasts, most importantly Auki on the west coast. It facilitated links between formerly remote areas of the island and the capitol of Honiara. This remains the only substantial cross-mountains road in the Solomons. (SND 7 Dec. 1975; NS 31 Jan. 1963, 15 Feb. 1963, 14 July 1964)
- Solomons News Drum, 1974-1982. Details
- British Solomon Islands Protectorate (ed.), British Solomon Islands Protectorate News Sheet (NS), 1955-1975. Details
- British Solomon Islands Protectorate, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Annual Reports (AR), 1896-1973. Details