Thursday, May 4, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A statue symbolising good luck and fortune has been donated to the Mackay & District Australian South Sea Islander Association (MADASSIA) by the people of the Solomon Islands.
Mackay North Rotary Club do a trip to the Islands every year, donating labour and school goods including desks, chairs, printers, copiers, and books.
Last year, the club took over two shipping containers filled with approximately 1,000 desks, 1,000 chairs and other supplies for schools throughout the country.
The statue, which proved difficult to fly back to Australia, was unexpectedly gifted to the Mackay North Rotary Club by the people of the Solomon Islands, who then presented it to MADASSIA on Anzac Day.
“We don’t expect them to donate anything to us,” said International Director for Mackay North Rotary Club Peter Johnson.
“We’re not over there for that.
“It’s just their way of saying thank you.”
MADASSIA President Starrett Vea Vea has visited the Solomon Islands with Mackay North Rotary Club in the past.
“Mackay North Rotary Club do a lot for the villages over there and the connection that we have with the Solomons, obviously, is through our ancestors who were brought over and blackbirded from the Islands to work in Queensland sugar cane,” he said.
“We’re appreciative of them and of the islanders over there.
“They know there’s islanders here, they know that there are families that were taken from there that have never gone back and know that they’re here somewhere.”
Mackay North Rotary Club will return to the Solomon Islands in September to distribute water tanks that have been purchased with raised funds and refurbish nurse’s quarters.
Mackay North Rotary Club International Director Peter Johnson and MADASSIA President Starrett Vea Vea with the gifted statue. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie