HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Radio Australia, Jan. 3) - There are around 2,000 Tikopians living in 21 villages along the coast, and Tikopians have been there 3,000 years.

One of the few to visit is Archbishop Adrian Smith, an Irishman who heads the Catholic Church in the Solomons.

He says Tikopia has nothing much that is modern.

"Their houses are low and simple, made of local materials. They think ahead and plan for cyclone and famine by stocking food underground," says Smith.

"We must give them credit for what they do for themselves. Here are a people who have lived with the normal situation of being whacked by cyclones every two or three years," he says.

He says the Tikopians would need help but maybe within a couple of weeks when the stocks of food have gone.

"Their whole lifestyle is of a people who live with their environment and very close to nature and they know what to do."

Tikopians live off a diet of local fruits, vegetables and root crops, as well as lagoon fish; it is often too dangerous to go into the open ocean to fish.

They do not hunt and there are no animals on the island.

According to New Zealand anthropologist Judy Macdonald the Tikopians have a tremendous sense of confidence in their own lifestyle and they see their customs as really valuable especially in times of natural disasters.

January 3, 2003

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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