Biographical entry: Zoleveke, Gideon Asatori Pitabose (1922 - 2003)

3 August 1922
13 November 2003


Gideon Asatori Pitabose Zoloveke was born in Pagoe village on Choiseul on 3 August 1922. He was educated at Methodist schools: at Pagoe (1932-1937), the Sasamungga primary school (1938-1939) and Kokeqolo Training School in Munda (1940-1942). When the war began he joined the Medical Department as a dresser, and from 1942 to 1944 worked with coastwatchers (q.v.) from the Allied Defence Force under the command of H. Jocelyn on Vella Lavella. In 1945, Zoloveke was awarded a scholarship to attend the Queen Victoria School in Fiji where he completed his Cambridge School Examination in 1946, and then entered the Fiji School of Medicine in 1947, graduating with a Diploma in Medical Surgery in 1950. He joined the Protectorate Government in 1951 as a Native Medical Practitioner on Malaita and later in Gizo. Zoloveke attended a three-month course on public health in Fiji and then left Honiara in September 1960 to begin a yearlong diploma course in Public Health Education and Health Education at the University of London (1960-1961). On his return to the Solomons, he continued to work in the district hospitals until, in 1962, he became Senior Public Health Education Officer. In that position he trained junior staff on malaria eradication teams and toured villages explaining what the spraying would accomplish. Zoloveke became one of the most important Assistant Medical Officers during the 1960s and was involved in health planning and administration. In 1966, Zoloveke represented the Protectorate at a World Health Organization Regional Seminar on Health Education in Manila in the Philippines. The next year he was elected President of the Western Pacific Branch of the British Medical Association. He was also Secretary of the Civil Servants' Association in 1971 and 1972, and a member of the Association's committee from 1963 to 1973. He served from 1964 to 1970 as inaugural President of the Honiara Club. He was also a member of the Honiara Town Council. In 1968, he received an O.B.E.

Zoloveke was a Medical Officer for twenty-three years, until he retired in 1973 to become a national politician after he was elected as member for North Choiseul in the Governing Council (q.v.). He represented the Solomons at the South Pacific Commission conference in Guam in October 1973. On the Governing Council he became Chairman of the Works and Communications Committee (1973-1974), Minister of Works and Public Utilities (1974), Minister for Home Affairs (1974-1975) and Minister for Education and Cultural Affairs (1975). Zoloveke was re-elected as member for North Choiseul in the 1976 Legislative Assembly (q.v.) and became Deputy Speaker. In February 1978, he became Minister of Health and Medical Services.

Zoloveke was founder and President of a number of national institutions: the Solomon Island Medical Association, the Honiara Club and the Lauru Investment Company. In 1980 he published an autobiography, and he was renowned as a radio broadcaster on community health. Zoloveke died on 13 November 2003. (NS Sept. 1960, Feb. 1962, 7 Feb. 1966, 7 Mar. 1967, 21 Aug. 1967, 31 Jan. 1968, 15 Aug. 1970, 6 July 1973, 17 Oct. 1973; Zoloveke 1980; Larmour 1979b, Notes on Contributors, 257-258; SND 9 July 1976; Lynne McDonald, personal communication, 29 Aug. 2011)

Published resources


  • Zoleveke, Gideon, Zoleveke: A Man from Choiseul, John Chick, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1980. Details


  • Solomons News Drum, 1974-1982. Details
  • British Solomon Islands Protectorate (ed.), British Solomon Islands Protectorate News Sheet (NS), 1955-1975. Details