Peter Kenilorea

Sir Peter Kenilorea KBE (23 May 1943 – 24 February 2016) was a Solomon Islander politician, officially styled The Rt Hon. Sir Peter Kenilorea as a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. He was the first Prime Minister of an independent Solomon Islands, from 1978-81, and also served a second term from 1984-86.

Sir Peter Kenilorea

Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands
In office
19 November 1984  1 December 1986
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded bySolomon Mamaloni
Succeeded byEzekiel Alebua
In office
7 July 1978  31 August 1981
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded bySolomon Mamaloni
Personal details
Born(1943-05-23)23 May 1943
Malaita, Solomon Islands
Died24 February 2016(2016-02-24) (aged 72)
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Political partySolomon Islands United Party


Kenilorea was born in Takataka village on Malaita island, of 'Are'are ethnicity. He was trained as a teacher for the South Seas Evangelical Church and a co-founder of the Solomon Islands Christian Association. As a young man he helped to found the Solomon Islands United Party.

In the 1973 general elections he ran in the 'Are'are constituency, losing to David Kausimae. By the time of the 1976 elections the constituency was split and Kenilorea was elected to Parliament in the East 'Are'are constituency. He became Chief Minister of the Solomon Islands in the same year and led the country to independence from Britain in 1978. He then served as the first Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands until 1981, and again from 1984 to 1986. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1988 to 1989 and from 1990 to 1993.

Following fighting between the Malaita Eagle Force and the Isatabu Freedom Movement, Kenilorea was, along with Paul Tovua, co-chairman of the peace talks,[1] and he became Chairman[2] of the eight-member[1] Peace Monitoring Council,[2] which was created in August 2000.[1] In the Seventh Parliament, which sat from 2001 to 2005, he was Speaker of Parliament.[3]

He was a candidate for the post of Governor-General in mid-June 2004, but he received only 8 of 41 votes in Parliament, placing second behind Nathaniel Waena, who received 27 votes.[4] Following the 2006 general election, he was re-elected as Speaker of Parliament without opposition in April 2006.[5] He held the position until 2010.[6]

He subsequently sought to return to Parliament, and was an unsuccessful candidate in a by-election in East 'Are'are in August 2012.[7] He died on 24 February 2016 of natural causes.[8] Kenilorea's son Peter Kenilorea Jr. was elected a member of parliament in April 2019.


  1. "Solomon Islands: Cease-fire monitoring group appointed", Solomon Islands Ministry of Commerce web site (, August 4, 2000.
  2. "Solomon Islands: "Final appeal" to militants to hand over weapons", Radio New Zealand International (, December 13, 2000.
  3. "Members of the Seventh Parliament", Solomon Islands Parliament website.
  4. "Solomons MPs choose new governor-general", Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation web site (, June 15, 2004.
  5. "Solomon Islands Parliament sworn in" Archived 2012-10-24 at the Wayback Machine, Xinhua, 24 April 2006.
  6. "The Speaker", National Parliament of Solomon Islands
  7. "Governor General Congratulates New Parlimentarians", Solomon Times, 7 August 2012
  8. "Solomons first PM Sir Peter Kenilorea dies | Radio New Zealand News". 1978-07-07. Retrieved 2016-02-27.