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Richards, Rhys

Independent, New Zealand
Material culture, arfetacts, history


Current affiliation, academic qualifications and contact details

Rhys Richards
73 Seaview Road
Paremata, Porirua

Ph: +64 4 2338 234



Rhys Richards is an ex-career diplomat, who has been responsible for overseeing New Zealand aid to Melanesia and, from 1996 to 1999, New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands. He has travelled widely in Solomon Islands and Pacific Islands generally. Rhys Richards has published over a dozen books and fifty articles, mainly historical works on sealing and whaling in the Pacific Islands before 1850.  His recent research activities in thye Western Solomons have involved locating something of the substantial body of knowledge of pre-Christian times, and the values and mores of each language group, that remains among the old people in Western Province. In several areas he has tried to combine some of their knowledge to record the cultural contexts of various museum artefacts. Richards is co-author of Not Quite Extinct: Melanesian bark cloth (’tapa’) from western Solomon Islands (2005, with Kenneth Roga).


Key publications/reports/materials


Published Book :

Richards, Rhys and Kenneth Roga 2005. Not Quite Extinct: Melanesian bark cloth (‘tapa’) from Western Solomon Islands. Wellington, NZ: Paremata Press. ISBN 0-9582013-2-3. 100p.

Published Articles :

Richards, Rhys (in press) “Short Sighted Gods, a Stone Age Devaluation, and Small Change for Pocketless Societies:  Ceramic Imitation Arm Rings for Indigenous Trade In the Solomon Islands 1880-1920.” Records of the Auckland Museum. Accepted for publication mid-2008.

Richards, Rhys 2006. The Origins and Causes of the Ethnic Tension in the Solomon   Islands (Two book reviews and comments). The Contemporary Pacific, 18: 442-444.

Richard, Rhys 2006. “Whale Teeth Artifacts in the western Solomon Islands.” Tuhinga, 17: 69-79. Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.

Richards, Rhys and Kenneth Roga 2004. “Barava: Land Title Deeds in Fossil Shell from Western Solomons.” Tuhinga, 15: 17-26. Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.

Richards, Rhys 2003. “Menepo: the recent evolution of a traditional wood sculpture
from Santa Cruz in the Solomon Islands.” Tuhinga, 14: 35-40. Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.

Richards, Rhys 2001. Kimbo Stone Figures from the Western Solomon Islands.”
Journal of Pacific  Arts , 23/24: 103-112. Honolulu.

Richards, Rhys 1999. Spirit of Solomons and Traditional Art Styles in Solomon
Islands. Exhibition  Catalogue. Pataka, Porirua Museum of Arts and  Cultures, May 1999. [Collection of Rhys and Margaret Richards]. 16p.


Western Solomons
Updated 12 January, 2011