By Moya Iowa
Maintaining the identity of Motu-Koitabuans is very important, says Hiri Moale Festival chairman Opao Udia as he calls on his people to be proud of who they are.
Udia was speaking yesterday at Tatana village during the launch of the lakatoi (traditional trading canoe) for the 2017 Hiri Moale Festival in front of villagers, guests and members from the Motu-Koita Assembly.
Udia said that the lakatoi and the Hiri trade were a very important part of the Motu-Koita people and it was in keeping their culture and tradition alive that the Hiri trade was celebrated as a festival every year to show respect to their ancestors and that the Motu-Koitabuans still existed as a people.
The deputy chairman of festival committee, Ovia Oala, said that every year the challenge was put to Motu-Koita villages to build the lakatoi and he thanked the people of Araira in Tatana village for accepting the challenge this
The coordinator of the lakatoi building and customary owner of the vessel, Nick Allen, said it was not an easy task to build the it in the limited time and with limited resources and materials
The lakatoi will sail today for Manubada Island close to Vabukori village and from there it will sail tomorrow to Ela Beach for the start of the Hiri Moale Festival.
By Moya Iowa