The islands of the New Georgia group in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands are rugged and lushly forested islets scattered in an intricate maze of winding waterways and turquoise lagoons. Ghizo Island is no exception. The small (population around 6,000) provincial town of Gizo is the second largest in the country and the capital of the Western Province.
“This area of Solomon Islands has had a history of headhunting. According to local stories the Gizo tribe were notorious in this activity. As a consequence the surrounding local tribes took the unusual step of joining together to obliterate the Gizo tribe. The stories further relate that the only survivors were a Gizo woman and her son. This event led to Ghizo island being declared as a property of the state, rather than the usual customary ownership prevalent in much of the rest of the Solomons. As a secondary consequence becoming an administrative and business centre because of the relative ease with which registered land titles could be obtained.” — Wikipedia
We had the opportunity to walk around town and did some shopping at both the open air central market and, strangely enough, at the Gizo dive shop (Dive Gizo) — which deserves its reputation for offering the best arts and crafts (particularly wood carvings) that have been collected from all over the northern Solomon Islands, including the outstanding sculptures by the artisans living on the islands in Marovo Lagoon [see our previous post, “Sabulo Island, Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands”].