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Editor and Tahigogona's niece with copy of Black Stone

“My message to this generation regarding Black Stone is that this book shows the heart, determination and desire to hold Vanuatu together and to hold its leaders accountable for their actions so my message to young ni Vanuatu today is, ‘Don’t lose that because our neighbouring countries are experiencing a lot of challenges and I think we should learn from them and grow on the fact that our forefathers built this nation on integrity and honour and respect."

The message comes from the Editor of Black Stone –autobiography of the late Onneyn Tahigogona, a regional scholar and pastor, Meriam Leah Adomea. She is the niece of the late Tahigogona.

Originally a teacher by trade after years of studies at higher institutions of learning in New Zealand and England, Miriam Leah Adomea of Lovuivetu Village in North Ambae, is happily married to her Solomon Islander husband. Currently both are pastors in north of Auckland, they and their family are permanent residents of New Zealand.

When Onneyn Tahigogona ended his political career in 1995, he took all his belongings home to his Lovusi Village above Lovuivetu. He died in a vehicle crash at Lolowai in 1998.

The Editor of his autobiography explains, “One day my only surviving uncle, Chief John Tarilama (Onneyn Tahi’s younger brother) of Freshwater, went home and went through his late brother’s papers to burn them. And lo and behold, he came across the draft of the Black Stone Manuscript and brought it to Port Vila.

“On one of my trips to Port Vila, my uncle said to me, ‘I have some papers here which may be of interest to you’ and I took the manuscript with me to New Zealand," she recalls.

She edited the manuscript for the benefit of this generation who has a right to know how the country evolved to get to where it is today.

The Editor explains, “This autobiography gives the readers a glimpse into the events prior to and immediately after Vanuatu became an independent nation.

"It is a historical account of the determination and drive of the people who pioneered the way forward for a nation (that had been under a condominium rule for decades) to become independent of colonial powers.

"It is a firsthand account of a man who was involved in the changes, the struggles, and the emergence of a people whose voice prior to this turn of event was not heard and whose interests were not taken into consideration.

"Most importantly, the nation came out struggling to do the right thing by its citizens.

"Misbehaviour by the elected members of Parliament was dealt with along a code of practice established as a constant reminder that they were put in their position by the people and for the people of Vanuatu.

“Vanuatu sets a good example of keeping their leaders accountable.

"The recent action in adherence to the laws regarding corruption was possible only because leaders were called into accountability right from the start.

"This comes through the pages of this autobiography.

“The Vanuatu court of arms and the national emblem echo the desires of the people of Vanuatu for their leaders. As long as the anthem is sung, it serves as a reminder that the nation was founded on Christian principles and will continue to uphold Christian principles because “righteousness exalts a nation”. (Proverbs 14: 34)

Black Stone was published in America

Copies are sold at Vt2,000 each at Hannalyn Nalau’s in Luganville and Chief John Tarilama’s Nakamal at Freshwater. Hurry and purchase a copy while supplies last.

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