The Hiri Moale Festival is more than a cultural show, Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae says.
Speaking during the Hiri Moale gala dinner on Saturday night, he said: “Hiri Moale celebrates the traditional way of life of the people of Motu-Koita and Gulf.
“From the voyages carried out by the people of Motu-Koita, we get a glimpse and an appreciation of the skills and knowledge they possessed in the fields of astronomy, commerce and people to people relations, which enabled these avid voyagers to chart their course to their destination to trade their clay pots and woven goods in exchange for sago.
“Being skilful at the art of trading was important, not only for the survival of the voyagers but also
for their families and clans left behind.
“The traditional performances of the Hiri Moale denote both celebration and sorrow when men would set sail for months on end and return thereafter.
“The tattoos, especially on women, depict both sadness and joy for men who set sail on these trading expeditions.”
Sir Bob said many of the traditional values “of our ancestors” lived thousands of years ago were relevant today.
“Respect for others and properties, honouring parents and elders, joy and fostering peace and happiness enabled our ancestors to live together in peace and harmony,” he said.
“You, the people of Motu-Koita, have lived by these virtues.
“While it has not been easy to give up your land as in the case of the nation’s capital, Port Moresby, you have done so and this has made it possible for development to take place and services for residents of the city.”
Sir Bob, while congratulating the 14 Hiri Hanenamo contestants for taking part in the contest,
said: “While this event offers you the opportunity to showcase
your beauty and talent, the best reward you can gain from this is
appreciating your culture, learning about skills passed on from
your ancestors, emulating the virtues they lived by and imparting these to future generations after you.”
Pre-judging for the Hiri Hanenamo contestants was held at Apec House in Port Moresby on Saturday night.
The Hiri Hanenamo contest is judged under three categories.
- Public interview (Motu and Koitabu cultural knowledge);
- grooming (detailed inspection on traditional tattoos, headwear, rami etc); and,
- Koe (sway)