The Lagatoi returns

As tradition, each year, during the Hiri Moale Festival, the Motuan version of the Hiri trade is re-enacted.

For this year, it was the Tatana villagers who built the lagatoi (large, multi-hulled sailing canoes) used in the Hiri.

In the past, the lagatoi served as the sole transport, to the Motu-Koitabu sea-farers, who braved rough seas and strong winds during the trade.

These men were husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and fiancés.

Hiri Moale Festival Lagatoi launched

Chairman of Motu-Koita Assembly, Udia Opao, on behalf of the Assembly and the Hiri Moale Festival organising committee, says the launching is one of the main highlights of the lead-up to the Festival.

“The building of the Hiri Moale Lagatoi this year was awarded to Pari Village and they have done a tremendous job in constructing it,” Opao says.

Opao commended the people of Pari Village for having the Lagatoi ready and in time for the Hiri Moale Festival this weekend. This is a sign of fulfillment of the agreement made to kick start the festival celebrations.

Canoe racing treat for Pom residents

Teams from Central Province and Motu-Koita will vie for awards and cash prizes during the two-day canoe racing fest on Friday (Sept 30) and Saturday.

David Davai, a member of the Motu-Koita Assembly and coordinator of the competition, says the canoe race will coincide with the sailing of the Lagatoi out from Manubada.

Three separate divisions of C, B and A Grade will take part in the competition, which begins at 9am, and presentations of awards later in the afternoon.

Both C and A Grade will race on Friday while the B Grade division race is on Saturday.

Lagatois bring baton to NCD

And for many newcomers, they got a peek of what is to come in the opening ceremony on July 4.

The lagatois set sail from Manubada Island at  8am, finally reaching Ela Beach at just after  9am.

Girls in swaying grass skirts welcomed the voyagers – among them Kairuku Hiri MP, Peter Isoaimo and Central Governor, Kila Haod

A rather small crowd slowly swelled in numbers.

Staff from hotels nearby were allowed out to witness the occasion.

Roads were cordoned off to allow smooth one way flow of traffic.