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Ross Cassells

Doctor of Philosophy, (Arts)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Custom, Governance and Westminster in Solomon Islands: Charting a Course Out of the Political Quagmire

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Since independence in 1978, the Westminster-based constitution of Solomon Islands has been criticised as inappropriate. In remote provinces such as Choiseul, notions of citizenship and national identity have gained little traction because kin group relations underpin society and form the basis for peoples' identity. In such communities, chiefs and the church provide order. Here, governance is distinctly parochial in its application and often hybrid in form. Mr Cassells examined the hybrid form of governance that exists in a village on Choiseul to determine whether it has application within a proposed Federal Constitution for Solomon Islands. He found within this constitution Community Governments, in particular, provide a political arena where hybridised forms of village governance can be combined with such functions of state as are necessary to achieve good governance. His research demonstrated a form of governance that is more suited to local conditions than the current constitution allows.

Professor Glenn Banks
Professor Judith Bennett