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Old 17-05-2004, 04:43 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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The Hiri Moale Festival is Back

Story by Colin Taimbari
Pictures by Ekar Keapu


IT’S BACK.
The famous Hiri Maole Festival is back in 2004 after a one year absence and it promises to be even bigger and better according to festival organiser and major sponsor – National Capital District Commission.

“Well, it’s festival time and excitement is in the air,” was how NCDC board chairman Michael Malabag aptly summed up the atmosphere at the launch of the festival in Port Moresby on April 16.

The festival is a celebration and re-enactment of the ocean voyages of the olden days when the local landowners of Port Moresby and surrounding villages – the Motu Koitabu people - would travel out west in huge dug-out canoes to trade with the Erema people (now call Kerema in the Gulf Province).

The trips were long and dangerous but for the Motu Koitabu’s (mostly men), it was important, a trip worth risking their lives in order that their wives and children survive the severe droughts that were common in Port Moresby in those days. The return voyage was one of joy and celebration as women with their bodies all tattooed up would line the beaches singing and dancing in grass skits to welcome their husbands, brothers and children.

Hiri Moale 2004 chairman Vagi Toua, NCDC Board chairman Michael Malabag and Privatisation Minister Dr Puka Temu
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Last edited by ***aCe***; 17-05-2004 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 17-05-2004, 04:46 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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The men would bring back sago, betelnuts and other precious food items. The trip took many days but the return of the Lakatois brought much happiness to the Motuans.

Many men and children lost their lives on these perilous voyages but they had to continue nevertheless. The arrival of expatriates into the country did not stop these trading voyages. However, in 1957, the Australian Colonial Administration put a stop to the barter trade after a Lakatoi capsized off Boera Village and people including children drowned. To commemorate this significant ancestral past, the Hiri Moale Festival was initially suggested to showcase the traditions of not so long ago and also to act as an educational reminder for the younger generation.

NCDC has allocated K500,000 to stage the event, while major brewer SP Brewery has thrown its support with K30,000, and British American Tobacco has also announced its sponsorship. An exact date in September or October has yet to be confirmed by festival organizers but readers should watch our website for more updates.

Colin Taimbari is the Public Relations Coordinator for TPA PNG - his story can also be found on www.pngtourism.org.pg

Hiri Hanenamo (Queen) presents Lakaito to Mr Malabag to launch Hiri Moale 2004
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Last edited by ***aCe***; 17-05-2004 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 17-05-2004, 05:23 PM
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great to see the Hiri Moale is back!!! Hmm 500K budget for this? hmmmmmmmmmm what do you guys think?
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Old 18-05-2004, 01:50 PM
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I wouldn't mind if some of that money went to fill in some of the potholes around Moresby before the festival.
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Old 18-05-2004, 05:44 PM
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It seems that some roads are getting fixed up though.... only the major ones... the smaller ones are forever buggered
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