Fourteen women chasing Hiri-Moale festival crown

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FOURTEEN women from villages in Motu Koitabu aged between 18 and 25 contesting the Hiri-Moale festival crown had their first judging session in Port Moresby yesterday.
Hiri-Moale reigning Queen Hebou Dikana said cultural knowledge of traditional Hiri-Trade expedition and best traditional dancing performance was important for the contestants.
“It’s how well we know our culture, our tradition and the Hiri Moale trade expedition, and our best performance in traditional attire determines (who is crowned) the Queen.”
The event will coincide with the Independence Day celebrations which will start at the Ela Beach on Friday.
The contestants will welcome the Hiri-Moale trading boat Lakatoi, which will be returning from a traditional expedition in Gulf. It shows how Motu women welcome their young men and husbands returning from a traditional trading voyage.
Former Hiri queen Meroni Anama, 50, who was crowned queen in 1988, said their men traded yam and clay pots for sago.
“Young sisters, wives, and mothers have to sit in the house waiting for the return of the young men who had gone for the Hiri voyage,” she said.
“How long the voyage takes them, the young girls have to sit in the house.
“When they return, only the virgins welcome them, singing and dancing in celebration of their safe return.”
The crowning of the queen will take place on Saturday at Sir Hurbert Murry stadium in Konedobu, said organising committee chairman Hana Vagi.