Solomon Islands began today's Independence Day celebrations with a full ceremonial parade at Lawson Tama stadium in Honiara before the country's leaders and visiting foreign dignitaries.
Events to mark 34 years of independence from Britain have been brought forward by a day for it not to be on a Saturday.
Annell Husband reports.
"People watching the celebrations have just been asked to turn to their neighbour and with a handshake wish each other happy anniversary. The stadium is ringed with the reds, purples, blues and greens of the shirts of the audience who have responded enthusiastically to the performances of music and dance despite the temperature. The Solomon Islands governor-general Sir Frank Kabui, the parliamentary speaker Sir Allan Kemakeza and the prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo as well as Honiara's deputy mayor Eric Tema are among those here today. Mr Darcy Lilo marked both the challenges and successes of the past 34 years in his independence day speech while the deputy mayor, Mr Tema, spoke of the strains on the Honiara town council to provide service for a burgeoning population of migrants and the need of the public to take ownership of the city. Uniformed groups of young brownies, girl guides, Seventh Day Adventists and girls brigade were among those who flanked the roads of police and correctional services officers who stood to attention for most of the proceedings."