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(April 2014) In a recent special program at Solomon Islands National Parliament, the Prime Minster, Speaker of Parliament and Members of Parliament acknowledged the newly-completed translation of the New Testament into Kwaio, one of the nation’s seventy-one living languages.
The Solomon Islands National Parliament maintains a permanent display of the nation’s translated Bibles completed since the country gained independence in 1978. The Kwaio New Testament was the twenty-first volume added to the display, which includes a ceremonial canoe.
Speaker of Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza attended the program along with other Members of Parliament, including the Honorable Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo and Peter Tom, Member of Parliament for West Kwaio. Honourable David Day Pacha, a member of the board of Trustees for Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership (BTLP), opened the program. Co-Directors of the Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group (SITAG)* Timothy and Martha Matzke and Translation Advisor Julie Pierce were also in attendance.
At the Parliament event, Timothy Matzke spoke of the tireless commitment of the Kwaio people and the organizations that worked in partnership with the community to complete the project, including BTLP.
Kwaio speakers gathered for a community celebration of the completed translation on Easter weekend in Sinaragu Village, East Malaita. Men in traditional warrior attire met visitors at the beach and danced to the center of the village with a canoe holding copies of the Kwaio New Testament. Church and community leaders expressed their gratitude for the gift of having the Scriptures in the Kwaio language.
The Kwaio community held a celebration for the completion of the New Testament translation on Easter weekend.
*In 1978 SIL was invited to assist local language development projects, which resulted in the formation of SITAG, SIL’s operation in the Solomon Islands.