29 January 2010
Augusta Ali Seo was a young woman in 1963 when the British colonial government was trying to take control of a large tract of her ancestral land on the southwest coast of Santa Isabel Island, Solomon Islands. Administrators from Honiara were looking for land across the archipelago to convert to forest reserves. They figured that once these ‘uninhabited’ areas were in government hands, the forests could be better managed, including for commercial forestry.
Government officials with local mediators succeeded in negotiating transfer of 75,000 acres from the customary owners to their control. The land - known as the Allardyce Tract – today retains the name of the company to whom its care was entrusted - the Allardyce Lumber Company.