Biographical entry: Sisimia, Zebulun (1927 - )



Zebulun Sisimia was born in 1927, in Ano'asa village in the central Kwara'ae mountains on Malaita. 'Sisimia' means thin and skinny, a name his mother gave him as a child, and even as an adult he was only 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall and weighed no more than thirty kilograms. His parents were among the first in his area to convert to the SSEM, moving to Radefasu on the coast. In 1943-1944 Sisimia joined the Labour Corps on Guadalcanal, and in 1946 when he was about nineteen he went to a SSEM school at Mbina Harbour for a year, where he learnt to read and write. In 1949, he joined a labour force organised to salvage wrecks from Guadalcanal. He then seized a chance for more education and attended Betikama Adventist Primary School for a month, but was forced to withdraw by his staunchly SSEM parents. His family were Maasina Rule (q.v.) supporters and migrated to Da'u, Malaita. In November 1949, Sisimia returned to Radefasu, near Langalanga in west Kwara'ae, and a month later he married a childhood sweetheart. He then lived quietly until, in 1955, he met Christopher England Kwaisulia (q.v.), and the two agreed to found the Remnant Church (q.v.).

Kwaisulia became Patron, Sisimia became President and Alpheus Afu'rara was the Treasurer. Excommunicated from the SSEM, Sisimia and his extended family returned to Saofua in the central mountains to develop the new church. On the basis of a revelation, Sisimia stopped his church members from paying the government tax, which led in 1960 to the leaders being sentenced to three years imprisonment. The church was never large, and was at its strongest in the 1950s and 1960s, although it continued into the 1980s, and there are still some activities that surround it. (Maetoloa 1985; Burt 1983)

Related Concepts

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Maetoloa, Meshach, 'The Remnant Church: Two Studies', in Carl Loeliger;Garry Trompf (ed.), New Religious Movements in Melanesia, University of the South Pacific and University of Papua New Guinea, Suva and Port Moresby, 1985, pp. 120-148. Details

Journal Articles

  • Burt, Ben, 'The Remnant Church: A Christian Sect of the Solomon Islands', Oceania, vol. 53, no. 4, June, pp. 334-346. Details