Biographical entry: Qilanoba, Iula (Ula) (1928 - 1998)



Iula (or Ula) Qilanoba was born in Poropora village in north Choiseul in 1928. She was in her late teens when she arrived at Sasamungga in 1948 to complete her primary education, which had been interrupted by the war. She became a leader among the students at the Girls' Boarding School and then worked in the maternity ward, the children's nursery and the medical clinic. Qilanoba became a nurse and capable midwife, and often accompanied Methodist medical field trips around Choiseul. She also taught at the school for several years. She was unusual for a Choiseul woman in that she was as competent a canoeist as any man, and many deferred to her. In 1963, the Methodists decided to form a Deaconess Order and Ula was the first applicant. After a year's training, she completed her probationary year at Kokeqolo and was posted at Roviana, and then on Simbo. Later she joined the Mono Circuit and she also volunteered to work for a year under the Order of St. Stephen. When a minister became available for Mono she returned to Choiseul. Next she filled a vacancy at Lale on Ranonga, and then moved back to Choiseul as a catechist, with authority from the Church to administer the sacraments and from the government to conduct marriages. She was more active than any of the male catechists and regularly paddled long distances to isolated villages. When finally she retired, Ula returned to Popopora where she continued to undertake voluntary activities for the community. She died in 1998 at age seventy. (Money 2002d)

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Money, Lucy H., 'Ilula (Ula) Qianoba: First Solomons Deaconess', in Alan Leadley (ed.), Ever Widening Circles: Stories of Some Influential Methodist Leaders in Solomon Islands and Bougainville/Buka, Wesley Historical Society (New Zealand), Auckland, 2002d, pp. 55-56. Details