The second and last day of the Hiri Moale Festival was indeed a treat for those who attended. Without doubt, this year’s event has to be up there as one of the best and certainly an indication that the festival must continue.
The major attraction today was the crowning of the Hiri Queen – a pageant like contest with a focus on culture, knowledge dancing and of course the elegant tattoos that is a trade mark of the Motuan people.
Even before the Hiri Queen strut their stuff on stage, the large crowd that gathered at the shores of Ela Beach were entertained by other groups singing and dancing.
Security has been a key concern but this year’s event went without much hassle. Of course there was the odd hiccup but it was more a case of people wanting to get as close to the action as possible rather than the usual trouble makers that are simply there to cause a nuisance.
But the day belonged to the Hiri Hanenamos. There was only crowned as the “Queen” but make no mistake, every single contestant looked and danced like a Hiri queen.
The event showed how popular and important the continuation of this event is. Not just to preserve and embrace the culture of the Motuan people but to also benefit from it in terms of a tourism attraction.
If the organisers have a more tourism business mindset and approach, this event without doubt will drive in more people from around the world to the shores of Ela Beach to touch and feel the pride of the people that own much of the land in which the country now calls it, its capital city.
The Hiri trade symbolizes the struggle, the survival of the Motuan people. A form of trade to see out the dry months. And the event symbolizes just how important the Motuan culture must be preserved. Given the development of the city, the preservation of culture is important and the event is a way of embracing the traditions and culture of the indigenous people and preventing it from being eroded just like much of the land in the city.
But for now, Motuans are proud of who they are. You only have to look at the photos below to get a glimpse of how much important this event is to maintaining the Hiri spirit.