(See Explanation at end of chart)


Year      People on      People away      Total   Total

          Sikaiana       from Sikaiana         Absent/

                                                total %


1847 (Cheyne)


           171               u            171      u


c 1900 (Svensen, estimate BSIP 27/vii/5)


          500                u            500      u


c 1900 (Nerdum 1902, estimate)


         200                u


1906 (Woodford, estimate)


          250                u            250      u


1924 (Census  WPHC 1924:2802)


          268                u            268       u


1930 (Bishop of Melanesia  BSIP 27/vii/5, Lambert 1934)


           u                 u             235     u



1932 (Census BSIP 49/6 item 10)


          285               u             285      u



1934 (Bishop of Melanesia BSIP 27/vii/5)


           u                 u            308      u



1936 (Census BSIP 27/vii/5)


          242               50            292       17%







Year      People on         People away      Total   Total

              Sikaiana       from Sikaiana         Absent/

                                                        total %


1939 (Census BSIP 49/6 item 29)


          240              52             292       18%


1940 (Census BSIP 49/6 item 54)


          272              58            330      18%




1941 (Census BSIP 49/6 item 83)


          257              60              317     19%


1945 (Census BSIP 27/vii/5)


           u                 u             318        u



1948 (Census BSIP 49/6)


              u                 u            294       u 



1953 (Census BSIP 49/6 item 67)


              269               94          363       23%



1955 (Census BSIP 27/vii/5, ADM/A/13 item 28)


              224              156          380       41%

                              originally 144


1956 (Census ADM/A/13 item 27)


              228             174           392       44%



1957 (Census)


              240              138          378       34%



1959 (Census)


              216              174          390       45%



Year      People on         People away      Total   Total

              Sikaiana       from Sikaiana         Absent/

                                                        total %



1963 (BSIP M 11/1/3)




1966 (BSIP M 11/1/3 item 175)




1970 (Census–government)


              188              179          366       49%


1976 (Census- Friesen)


              235             342           577      59%   


1981 (Donner)


              248             357           605       59%


1982 (Donner)


              178             428           606       70%


1986 (government)          


              222               u            u      



“U” means unavailable.




The first column lists the date of the census.  The second column lists the total number of Sikaiana people residing on Sikaiana.  The third column lists the total number of Sikaiana people including both people living on Sikaiana and emigrants.  The fourth column lists the total population at the time of the census. The final column is the percentage of population that has emigrated.  All entries marked “census” are government conducted censuses found in the National Archives.  Fluct­uations in some of the years reflect the problems in taking a census among a highly mobile population.  See also Woodford 1906, 1916, Bayliss-Smith 1975; BSIP 1 III F 49/6, BSIP 27/VII Item 5.  The 1970 figures are found in Groenegwan 1970. The figures for the 1976 census were tabulated from the government census by Ward Friesen of the University of Auckland.  Donner’s figures are based on household censuses and include only Sikaiana speaking people with two Sikaiana parents.  Children resulting from marriages with non-Sikaiana are not enumerated (except for one household living on Sikaiana in which the children are being brought up speaking Sikaiana.) People outside of the census area (Sikaiana, Honiara) were estimated on basis of genealogies and statements from in­formants.  The 1982 census does not accurately reflect population growth since the Honiara census was done during a different month from the Sikaiana census.  At the time of the 1982 Sikaiana census, the atoll had an unusually low population.


                    Proper and Place Names


Auki    the administrative center for Malaita Province.

Bahai Center  a neighborhood in Honiara where several families

   of Sikaiana live near to one another.

Belama  the copra boat which normally makes monthly trips to and   from Sikaiana.

Bellonaa Polynesian outlier in the Solomon Islands

   with similarities to Sikaiana.

Bungana a school run by the Church of Melanesia.

Commonwealth Development Corporation a company which operates plantations east of Honiara.

Guadalcanal the island where Honiara is located.

Hale the largest islet on Sikaiana where all institutions are located.

Hale Aitu the central ritual house where traditional ceremonies were performed. Located inland from Loto Village, it was destroyed in the late 1920’s and never rebuilt.

Henderson Airport the international airport outside of Honiara;

   also the base for American operations during the Battle of

   Guadalcanal in World War II.

Hetuna by legend, the original inhabitants of Sikaiana who were killed by Tehui Atahu and his followers.

Hitiana a spiritual location where Tomaniva took Peia to harm her.

Honiara the capital and main port of the Solomon Ilsands.

Isabel a province in the Solomon Islands; several Sikaiana    families reside there.

Kaetekita a legendary long-distance voyager who lived several hundred years ago.

Kapingamarangi a Polynesian outlier with cultural similarities to Sikaiana.

Kiribati formerly known as the Gilbert Islands.

Kukum a residential area in Honiara.

Kopuria, Ini the Solomon Islander missionary who led the conversion of Sikaiana.

Kurimarau the name of one of the government ships on which many Sikaiana worked as crew members shortly after World War II.

Levao an ancestor of the Saakava clan, by legend an immigrant

   from Samoa.

Leitaka the legendary opponent of Vaeoma and the Tona invasion.

Loto a residential area on Hale, Sikaiana.

Luaniua the larger village on Ontong Java, another Polynesian

   outlier. By legend the home of Tehui Luaniua, one of   Sikaiana’s founder heroes.

Luka The Sikaiana name of a man who met de Quiros on Taumako in 16o6.

Malae the ceremonial grounds located near Hale Aitu in former

   times. Now the site of a new school.

Malaita the island nearest to Sikaiana and the province within

   which Sikaiana is an administrative unit.


Maravovo an Anglican mission junior school which many Sikaiana

   attended, located on the northwest coast of Guadalcanal.

Matanikau River  a river through Honiara where Chinatown is


Matuavi the islet on Sikaiana which is located at the southwest

   corner of the atoll.

Matuiloto the islet on Sikaiana which is located on the western

   side of atoll between Matuavi and TeHaolei.

Mota the language used by the Melanesian Mission as its lingua franca in the 1920s and 30s.

Muli Akau the collective name for the three islets at the western end of Sikaiana: Matuavi, Matuiloto and TeHaolei.

Nukumanu a Polynesian Outlier which cultural similarities to Sikaiana.

Nui  An island in Tuvalu or the Ellice Islands which is the home   of Taupule.

Ontong Java a Polynesian outlier with many historical and cultural relationships with Sikaiana which continue to the present.

Pawa the Anglican mission’s senior school at Ugi Island near

   Makira, which many Sikaiana attended.

Peia  A Sikaiana woman who according to legend was driven crazy and eventually buried alive at sea.

Pedro the name given to Luka by de Quiros after they met on

   Taumako in 1606.

Pelau the smaller village on Ontong Java.

Pileni a Polynesian outlier with historical and cultural relationships to Sikaiana.

Blea the Sikaiana pronunciation of a captain who took Taupule

   from Nui.

Red Beach the landing site for the First Marine Division when

   they attacked Guadalcanal in 1942. Now inhabited by a settlement of Sikaiana families. Also known as Tenaru.

Rennell a Polynesian outlier in the Solomon Ilands with cultural similarities to Sikaiana.

Saakava one of the commoner clans on Sikaiana.

Saalupe one of the claimants to being a chiefly clan on Sikaiana.

Saapei one of the commoner clans on Sikaiana.

Saatelua the name for two of the commoner clans on Sikaiana.

Saatui one of the chiefly clans on Sikaiana.

Santa Cruz an island group in the Solomon Islands, located in

   Temotu Province.

Semalu one of the legendary long-distance voyagers who lived

   several hundred years ago.

Sokelau a territory on Sikaiana associated with the Saatui clan.

Svensen, Oscar a trader who worked on Sikaiana about 1900.

Taha a location on Sikaiana where Hale meets with the reef. This   is where three American fliers came ashore in August 1942.

   (Actually pronounced Ttaha,)

Takuu a Polynesian outlier with cultural and historical   relationships with Sikaiana.


Talappa a territory on Sikaiana located on the Tua side of Hale    and associated with the Saalupe clan.

Tapuaki a spirit whose locale was the site of the Sikaiana school until it was destroyed by the cyclone in 1986.

Tasiu the Mota name for the Melanesian Brothers. People from the group converted Sikaiana to Christianity.

Taumako a Polynesian outlier with historical relationships with


Taupule a woman from Tuvalu (Ellice Islands) who arrived on

   Sikaiana in the late 19th century.

TeHaolei the islet on Sikaiana located at the northwest corner of the atoll.

Tehui Atahu one of the legendary founders of Sikaiana.

Tehui Luaniua one of the legendary founders of Sikaiana.

Tenaru a river near where the First Division of American Marines   landed on Guadalcanal in 1942; the name of the locality of

   the nearby Sikaiana settlement also known as Red Beach.

TePalena a shallow area along the north part of the reef of

   Sikaiana; by legend a former islet where Vaeoma and his band


Tikopia a Polynesian outlier in the Solomon Islands with cultural    similarities with Sikaiana.

Tomaniva by legend, the man whose ancestral spirit drove Peia insane.

Tona the marauders under Vaeoma who, according to legend,

   invaded Sikaiana several hundred years ago

Tua literally `the back’; the eastern shore of Hale.

Tulagi the capital of the British Solomon Ilsands Protectorate before World War II.

Tuvalu the moder name for the Ellice Islands.

Vaeoma the leader of the band from Tona who attacked Sikaiana

   several generations ago.

Vaka Vusu one of the Sikaiana clans who assert their rights as a   chiefly clan (pronounced vakaavusu).

Vania a small outcropping on the reef of Sikaiana; now, the name for the Sikaiana sports association in Honiara.

Woodford, Charles M. the first resident commissioner of the

   Solomon Islands; he visited Sikaiana in the early 1900’s

Yandina the location of the Lever Brothers Plantation in the

   Russell Islands. Some Sikaiana people live and work there.







aho day, time

aitu mate in traditional belief, a dead ancestral spirit who

   possessed a descendant

aitu spirit, god, the founder heroes of Sikaiana

Aitu Tapu  Holy Spirit

alapou state of women during first pregnancy; in traditional

   Sikaiana, she should not have intercourse with her husband.

aliki chief, ritual leader

aloha compassion, love, sympathy, pity

anaana a person’s spiritual essence, usually associated with a    person’s appearance to others shortly after death.




haahaa taro

haakai eat excessively

hahine woman, female

haipohoulu  smart, intelligent, especially in schoolwork

hai  do, deeds, actions; have, possess

hailaoi  kind, generous, good, admirable

haiumu a traditional game, often played between teams of boys

   and girls which is like kick the can and hide and seek

haka-  prefix meaning “to make”; causative prefix

hakaako  joke, tease, make fun of

hakahahine  for women to show off, flirt, attract men’s   attention to themselves oneself

hakahiahia happiness. joy, rejoicing

hakalilolilo cover, hidden

hakamalooloo rest, vacation, holiday

hakanapa make ashamed; praise

hakanapanapa shyness and embarrassment between young men and

   women, especially in courtship

hakaoloolo cause others to argue

hakapaapaalalo humble

hakappili make stick; dance man to woman, body to body as

   in Western styles

hakasao make safe; take canoes across the reef

hakasaosao act as a go-between in courtship

hakataa chase fish into a net

hakatanata  for men to show off, flirt, attract women’s

   attention to oneself

hakataataa initiate courtship

hakataaute decorate; mulch taro gardens

hakatala make tame, ingratiate; in courtship, win over

    someone of the opposite sex

hakaauna take aim; ingratiate oneself to another

hakkii the throat; bear, endure, suffer

hakkinokino bad, disgusting, evil

hale aitu the central spirit house in traditional times

hale akina clan, each of which is named

hale henua ritual houses associated with clans in traditional times

hano go, travel; a fashion of behaving, personality trait(s)

hatu manava deepest feelings

hau flower garland

he(e) negative particle: no, not

hellika without shame, insolent, incorrigible

henua island, land, country

heto aliki chiefly clans

hiihai sexual desire, lust, love

hiihai pio false love

hina secret lover in adultery in traditional times

hiti shoot (a gun)

Huata a harvest ceremony in traditional times

hula dance in Western style, woman and man facing one another

huli to turn

hulihulisala  metaphor, figure of speech, idiom, speech with a     hidden meaning, a parable

hunaona in-laws of different generations





ihi a tree species, bears a chestnut-like food which is eaten

inoa mother’s brother and sister’s children





kaaina territory, estate, neighborhood

kai eat, bite, etc.

kaihulihuli a card game

kaiailaoi gift given with the object of receiving something in     return

kaimeo a feeling of unfairness that someone else has received      a benefit

kainono beg, to improperly ask for resources

kaimalie for children to be kind, generous, to share

kaipulau greedy, stingy, refuse to share, to be mean

kaisui give the exact equivalent in exchanges

Kaitae Hakatele a ritual prayer performed in traditional times     when the central ritual house was being refurbished

kai poloaki goodbye party

kai taa the lands clearance which some people claim formed the     basis for each lineage’s rights to land

kai taka land which is transferred by a lineage to a woman at her marriage

Kai Tapu  Holy Communion

kake te niu, “climb coconut trees”; an idiom for sexual potency

kalemata eye, face; one’s true love

kaleve, coconut sap, especially fermented toddy

kammanu the government, administrative authority from outside the atoll both during the Protectorate period and at present

kaniva rainbow; a beautiful person

kano hale land-holding lineage, descent line, extended family,     nuclear family, household

kapulaka taro species

kastam or kastom customary practices, traditional culture and practices

kata laugh

kave opposite-sex sibling and cousin; brother and sister

kkave give, send, convey

keli swamp land

kkolu bend a sturdy object; try to force one’s will on    others

koo  stick for husking coconuts

kupena  fish net; to fish with a net

   modern Japanese fishing technique





laakau branch, tree, genealogy

laoi good, fine, generous

laoina  lucky

lapu black magic, harmful spells

lau leaf, branch

lautama age group, generation, groups of people who mature


lautona enduring feelings

lesia lied to, deceived

likalika timid, untamed

likiliki  small, little

liu deceive, mislead

lliko drive out, expel

lokolo unsophisticated, inept at Western practices, local

lulusa restless

lupe a bird species, Ducila pacific; a lover





maa in-laws of the same generation

maa white

maalama lit up; lucky

maanatu  remember; an informal presentation or gift

maapu habitual characteristic

maatau fish with a line

maatua  elderly, old, an elder, a lineage leader, parents

makemakeaa harm others for malicious reasons

makkatau hard

mako song, usually with movements

malama moon, month

maliu deceive

manaui the single hull canoe used for transportation at present

manava the belly, stomach; a kinship relationship, often through   a woman; the source and center of thinking and emotions

manava haeko  bad or angry temperament

manava hailaoi kind, generous, considerate person

manava hatu unembarrassed, strong willed

manava mmau strong willed

manava pupu confused

Manea traditional ceremony to refurbish the central spirit house

manu a bird, a land animal; a spiritual essence which is lost

   from a sudden shock such as falling from a tree

manu kava  urinary smell

manu kulii smell like a dog

manu paipu smell like tobacco

manu peka smell like a flying fox, pungent body odor

manumanu tama smell of human flesh and blood, from fairy tales

mata aliki the chiefly clans

mate dead, die; in courtship, to fall in love

matemate pretend, mislead

matua mature, ripe; an adult

mea do, make; a thing, it

memepuamu cause harm, vandalize, destroy

misoni the mission, any organized religion, a church,     Christianity

mmao far away

moko ppili  gecko, lizard

mokupuna grandchild





napa shame, embarrassment, inhibition, shyness

natu a tree species, bears a soft mango-like fruit which is        eaten

nnoto deep, both of ocean and metaphorical meaning






oku possessive pronoun, my

ola alive; life, excitement





pale support, lean against; relatives who support a person

peka flying fox

pinipini a tree species used for making canoes

pio  false, exaggerated, bullshit

pohoulu head

pohoulu makkatau to be hard headed, stupid

polopolo promise

poulitau very dark

ppula ona kalemata look with sexual interest or desire

puina traditional song festival, performed occasionally at


pule ritual specialists in traditional society who oversaw the     atoll especially in respect to harvesting prohibitions

puni blocked, as a drain pipe; the condition of a descent line     without offspring




saa appear; a prefix for most of the haleakina (`clans’)

saa- prefix meaning to overindulge;

saa-kaleve drink too much fermented toddy

saa-mmiti smoke excessively

saa-uu  for small children to drink too much breast milk

sahe catch a bird, fish; in courtship to catch a spouse

sahio  smell of perfume from a passing woman

sakamani small human-like creatures said to inhabit Muli Akau

sakilikili talk dirty, swear

sala sin, error, mistake, differently

sapai ulu a ritual female assistant to the chief in traditional    times

soa  friend, companion, lover

sseni dusk, early dawn when figures are visible but faces can’t be recognized

ssiki midwife in traditional times





tahito base, origin, trunk of tree

tai, seaward

takala  the ritual successor to the chief in traditional times

taku possessive pronoun; my

tama person, relative, kin, piece in board game

tamaahine young woman, maiden

tamana father, uncle

tamataane young man, bachelor

tama likiliki child, infant

tama maa white person, Caucasian, European

tama maatua old person, elder, lineage leader

tama matua adult, mature person

tama sola homeless person, wanderer

tama tootoohekau a ritual specialist in traditional times

tama uli  black person, Melanesian, Solomon Islander

tana unrestricted

tanata man, male

tani cry, grieve; a funeral lament or dirge

tanta-vale the commoners and their clans

tapaa very little, tiny

tapu forbidden, prohibited; in Christianity, sacred, blessed

taumunimuni a ritual specialist in traditional times

taupili close

tautuku ritual specialist in traditional times

Tehui title given to the founder heroes of Sikaiana

Teika Llee ritual performed when a fish washed ashore in traditional times

toki the shell tools of Sikaiana ancestors

tona third person possessive pronoun: his, hers, its

tonu foreigners who arrived on Sikaiana and were under authority of the chief; also the fish that washed ashore in the Teika Llee ceremony.

too take, received

toonu feeling of unfairness as when one person works and

   another loafs

ttolo crawl, to night-crawl or “creep”

tuhuna wood plane, a skilled craftsperson; a deceitful person

tupetupe insult another behind their back, especially after

   being kind in their presence

tupua spirits who inhabit localities on land and in the reef

tupuna grandparent, foster parent, ancestor, guardian

tuputupu fashion of behaving, character, personality trait(s); tuuhoe song sung by long-distance voyagers

tuumaitu the night without a moon; the darkest night on Sikaiana





uiki week; a prohibition on collecting coconuts for a week

uiki hakamalooloo a week-long school vacation

uila lightening

uli black

unu drink

uta landward





vahi side; group in a marriage exchange

vai saele walk around without purpose