TUMANU Korema, from Gaire village in Central province, is the 2009 Hiri Hanenamo.
Ms Korema was crowned the Hiri Queen from among 22 young lasses from the Motuan villages yesterday at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium in front of thousands of city residents and tourists.
The runner-up title went to Baruni’s Buruka Arua and the Miss Hetura or Friendship award went to Gabagaba’s Obaha Era.
A tearful Ms Korema was lost for words as she was announced as the queen and said she was not prepared for the honour when asked minutes after her win.
Hailing from Gaire and Gabagaba village, Ms Korema is a second year journalism student at the University of Papua New Guinea and says she will have to talk with her parents and make arrangements now that she will have to work closely with the Motu Koitabu Assembly.
She swayed to the Hehona song led by the Mirigini cultural group and, sporting four different tattoos, she won the hearts of the judges.The 22 lasses were judged according to their knowledge of the history of the Hiri trade, the meaning of the tattoos they wore, and their general knowledge.
Ms Korema thanked her family from both sides and said that if it were not for them, she would not have come this far in the competition.
“I thank the Lord for this win and all credit to my people back in the village, especially mum and dad.
“This win today is a win for all of us,” she said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Motu Koitabu Assembly, Miria Ikupu, told The National that the girls had gone a level higher in their personal attainment.
“The Hiri Moale festival touches the inner ability of individuals and I just want to say that this is what the spirit of the Hiri Moale festival can do to oneself,” Mr Ikupu said.
“For the judges, there may be only one winner, but to me, every one of them are winners and I thank them for participating and giving their time and effort into this festival during the three days.”