BY JOY OFASIA
THE ancient tribes in the well-known region of Langalanga Lagoon, Malaita province, have a rich history in the traditional making of shell money.
Two representatives of the Wala communities in Langalanga Lagoon, Micheal Waleboata and Hillary Waga, shared a brief history of the traditional shell money-making prowess of the Wala people with Solomon Women during the 2018 Melanesia Arts Festival held at the Panatina village,
“In the Langalanga dialects, shell money is termed as Bataiwala. The fundamental principal of the traditional or ancient currency is to meet the demand of social and economic relationship linkages,” they said.
Hillary Waga said one of the main types of shell money designed and created by the Wala people is called Wainuma. It has various colours with each having a specific meaning that represents the different spirit gods of the Wala people.
“Wainuma is a shell money specifically used in the payment of a bride price. It is used as a gift to the mother of the bride and it is often referred to as a mother’s gift of love.
“We are so happy to promote our traditional money so that people will know its meaning and uses,” he said.
Other types of traditional shell money or traditional currency produced and used in Langalanga Lagoon are Batafai, Bataolo, Batasikwa, Tafuliae, Folofolabisi and Isaegalia. The traditional currencies are either used as gifts or for bartering in the traditional market economy.