George Atkin and I were married in 1975 in Tawatana, Makira, after meeting at Wellington Polytechnic. He was studying journalism, while I was a nursing student. It was a profound shock to arrive in the village by canoe to be greeted by naked children and bare-breasted women. We
washed in the stream, fetched water from the river and toileted in the sea. I was the only European at our wedding and our only present was a shell.
Quite rightly the Solomon Islands Nursing Registration Board decreed I was too inexperienced to register so I returned to NZ to obtain more experience and a midwifery diploma. George subsequently joined me.
We returned in 1977, a year before independence. George established the Solomons Toktok, the first independent weekly paper, while I worked as a nurse and nurse educator. George said in his independence issue that the Solomons wasn't ready for independence, and
he was right.
Because of the paper and George's connection with his cousin, Solomon Mamaloni, three time Prime Minister, we were always in the thick of politics.
In 1982, despite our financial insecurity, I joined George on the newspaper. I was rewarded with an extraordinary view of a society on the edge of change. Choices were still available, one of the most critical being effective family planning.