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Traditional canoes to take part in Port Moresby festival

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 15, 2008) - Lagatoi builders at Porebada village, Central Province are racing against time to build replicas of their traditional ocean-going Motuan canoes for next month’s Hiri Moale Festival in Port Moresby. The festival is set for November 7 to 9.

[PIR editor’s note: A Lagatoi is a large multi-hulled canoe used in trading.]

With three weeks before the festival starts, villagers were busy yesterday preparing the two hollowed out hulls of one of the canoes for building of the platform and the sails. Porebada village committee chairman Reisnno Peni said, "The hardest part of the job is building the platform and aligning the three canoes (hulls) together. "This means they (villagers) will work with the tide to line up the three hulls. This is usually done only at high tide. Construction of the platform is the most difficult part of construction of lagatois," Mr. Peni said.

The Porebada villagers are building one of the three lagatois to be used in this year’s Hiri Moale Festival.

"We are up against time. Work on the lagatois and preparations at the Stadium (for the festivities) and Ela Beach should be completed by November 5 for the rehearsals of the Hiri Hanenamo quest at Ela Beach," Peni said. The other lagatois are being built at Manumanu and Hanuabada villagers.

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