Bellona and Rennell
Sofus Christiansen, (1930-2007), professor in Ecological Geography at the Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen. In 1956 he received the gold medal from the University of Copenhagen. He participated in 1962 in the Noona Dan expedition to New Guinea, Bismarck Islands and the Solomon Islands where he studied coastal morphology. His interest for Bellona Island began, when Dr. Torben Monberg asked him the challenging question: How do people survive on such an island. Sofus Christiansen visited Bellona Island several times, in 1964, 1965, 1969, 1979, 2006 and 2007. His primary area of study concentrated on the island subsistence economy, especially the land use system, agricultural practice and food gathering. The outcome of his research was the doctoral dissertation, Subsistence on Bellona Island (Mungiki) that was defended in 1975 at the University of Copenhagen. It is regarded as a milestone within ecological geography. In 1988 Dr Christiansen received the Galathea medal for his unique research and as professor emeritus he participated in the Galathea 2 expedition, passing Solomon Islands.
Jane Mink Rossen, born 1932, holds university degrees in anthropology (Goddard College, Vermont) and botany (Columbia University, New York). In 1964 she began to work as a Research Fellow at the Danish Folklore Archives and was inspired by Dr. Samuel H. Elbert and Dr. Torben Monberg to undertake field work on Bellona Island in 1974 and 1977. She earned her doctorate in ethnomusicology at the University of Copenhagen in 1987. Jane Mink Rossen investigated the Bellonese musical repertoire because of the intriguing variety contained within a limited number of named musical genres. She succeeded in recording a large number of Bellonese songs and song-dances related to different social and ritual activities. She documented that poetic composition and sung poetry are the basis of the music in the Bellonese tradition. By presenting the data in the vernacular and in an English translation, she has made a great contribution to preserve a unique song and dance tradition from extinction. Dr. Rossen is the author of a two volume monograph, Songs of Bellona Island : na taungua o Mungiki (Copenhagen, 1987) as well as of many articles in scientific journals. Until 1992 she served as an Assistant professor and Research Fellow in Musicology at the University of Copenhagen.