THE move to organise mini Hiri festivals within the Motu Koita villages has been welcomed by the local communities. Last weekend was at the Tubusereia village and among the guest speakers were two women representatives from the Motu Koita Assembly, Keke Loa Reva, who is also 2009 Hiri Hanenamo committee chairperson,and Cathy Raka. The festival saw the selection of the Hiri Hanenamo, Rarua Iorive, who will represent Tubusereia in the Hiri quest next week. Ms Reva said the initiative by the Motu Koita Assembly chairman and the National Capital District Deputy Governor Miria Ikupu to celebrate the mini Hiri festival had proven to be successful as it enabled more village communities to participate. The move has strengthened the Hiri festival by involving more men, women and children in the Motu Koita villages and making them aware of the significance of their culture and tradition. Ms Raka said there was a greater interest and community involvement and the Hiri Hanenamo quest showcases the people’s culture and tradition. She praised the Hanenamo contestants for being brave and courageous in wearing traditional attire and performing in public. The two women said it was a move in the right direction as it allowed more local participation as usually many were unable to take part in the Hiri Moale Festival because it is usually held in the city (Port Moresby) over the Independence weekend. She also agreed that these mini Hiri Moale Festivals in the Motu Koita villages had been welcomed by the local communities and is a lead up to the main festival next week. It had given many people the opportunity to observe and participate in the Hiri Moale Festival activities within their own communities. Also, more people were able to understand and appreciate their own Hiri culture and tradition. Village councillor Vagi Morea praised the Motu Koita Assembly for initiating the mini festival and giving the opportunity for the Tubusereia community to participate and celebrate the Hiri Moale Festival in their own way. He also urged more young girls to participate in future Hiri Hanenamo Quests. Awide range of activities over the weekend included choir, prophet singing, string band and other traditional dances. There were six young Tubusereia lasses vying for the Hanenamo title which went to 22-yearold Ms Iorive. Other contestants were Maryanne Loi, Della Davana, Nanai Loi, Shallot Loi and Taumaku Lohia.