The National, Tuesday 17th July, 2012
By GRACE AUKA in Honiara
THE Papua New Guinea delegation and 23 other Pacific Island nations at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts were farewelled by the Solomon Islands last Friday as they formally handed over the task to the 2016 host, Guam.
A memorable and historical show of culture and unity that truly defined the theme “Culture in harmony with nature” was truly on display over the past two weeks.
The Lawson Tama stadium in Honiara was packed to the rafters as early as 11am as thousands of people flocked there to bid farewell to their Pacific friends.
Similar to the opening ceremony, it was a record crowd, many Solomon Islanders said.
Farewelling the delegations, Governor-General Sir Frank Kabui praised all the participating countries that had travelled there to share their culture and traditions with the Solomon Islands.
Sir Frank said the event had depicted unity and harmony among Pacific Island nations.
“Most importantly, the festival has brought back the true image of the Solomon Islands, which was once described as the happy isles,” he said.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo formally handed over the festival flag to Guam.
The local organising committee was commended for a successful two-week event.
After two weeks of festivity, the cultural extravaganza came to a close last Friday evening on a high note.
Many visitors and contingents expressed gratitude and great stories about the event and the Solomon Islands.
Delegations from the 23 Pacific countries, territories and from the nine provinces of the host country had donned their national regalia for last official lap of the event.
For overseas visitors, the open spirit of their Solomon Islands hosts made a lasting impression as did the country’s rich and diverse arts and cultural heritage, which was on display everywhere they turned.