Colonialism, Maasina Rule, and the Origins of Malaitan Kastom

Colonialism, Maasina RuleColonialism, Maasina Rule, and the Origins of Malaitan Kastom is a political history of the island of Malaita in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate from 1927, when the last violent resistance to colonial rule was crushed, to 1953 and the inauguration of the island’s first representative political body, the Malaita Council. At the book’s heart is a political movement known as Maasina Rule, which dominated political affairs in the southeastern Solomons for many years after World War II. The movement’s ideology, kastom, was grounded in the determination that only Malaitans themselves could properly chart their future through application of Malaitan sensibilities and methods, free from British interference.

Kastom promoted a radical transformation of Malaitan lives by sweeping social engineering projects and alternative governing and legal structures. When the government tried to suppress Maasina Rule through force, its followers brought colonial administration on the island to a halt for several years through a labor strike and massive civil resistance actions that overflowed government prison camps. David Akin draws on extensive archival and field research to present a practice-based analysis of colonial officers’ interactions with Malaitans in the years leading up to and during Maasina Rule.

2013, 552 pages, 21 illustrations, 3 maps
$59.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3814-0, Cloth
Pacific Islands Monograph Series  (No. 26)