Bishop Terry Brown, a former Anglican Bishop in the Solomon Islands, is visiting the University of Otago this week. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Bishop Terry Brown, a former Anglican Bishop in the Solomon
Islands, is cautiously optimistic about prospects for "peace,
reconciliation and good governance" after earlier ethnic
tensions caused 200 deaths.
But he warned this week that high unemployment remained a
"dark cloud", which could threaten future peace.
Unemployment woes had already been a factor in heavily
damaging riots in the capital Honiara, in 2006, during which
many Chinese-owned buildings had been destroyed, he said.
Canadian-born, Bishop Brown is the retired Anglican Bishop of
Malaita, having served as bishop there from 1996 to 2008,
including during the period of the country's ethnic tension
crisis, which began in the late 1990s.
He has been in Dunedin this week visiting the University of
Otago's National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and
gave a seminar, titled "To Remember or Forget?", as part of a
A Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was set up in
2009 to promote national unity and reconciliation in the
Solomons and to "address people's traumatic experiences"
during the earlier ethnic conflict on Guadalcanal, the
country's largest island.
The commission held a series of hearings and has since
completed its report, which Bishop Brown helped edit, but
this is yet to be made public.
The TRC process and report had given a voice to some of the
victims of the earlier conflict, he said. Some people
involved in the conflict had since been elected to
But many other people had suffered considerable losses, some
having had their houses destroyed, and few had received any
He noted that Australia and New Zealand had contributed
significantly to the Regional Assistance Mission to the
Solomon Islands (Ramsi), a military, police and civilian
initiative which began in 2003.
New Zealand was also a significant aid donor, but there was
scope for further help, including scholarship funding for
further studies both at senior high school level and
university, he said.
Otago centre lecturer Dr Karen Brouneus is researching
aspects of the Solomons TRC process.