Vanuatu Council Of Chiefs President Encourages People To 'Walk In Custom'

Malvatumauri leader to precide over reopening of rebuilt Chiefs Nakamal in Port Vila

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 3, 2017) – “When we talk about walking in custom, it means we know our place and who to identify with when we see the 20 Chiefs from the 20 Island Councils.

So when you hear the name of your island then you know who to walk with.”

Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs President, Chief Senimao Tirsupe made the statement yesterday, less than 24 hours before the start of three days of custom activities which culminate with the double opening of the Chiefs Day and the renovated National Council of Chiefs Nakamal on Monday March 5.

The President of the Malvatumauri is appealing to all chiefs of Port Vila and their people, all MPs who are in Port Vila, all pastors of all churches and all leaders of women and youths of Port Vila, to “walk in custom” with their custom chiefs to support the Chiefs Day.

“If you have an envelope or island food or a kilo of rice, donate it to your chief,” he asked.

The finishing touches of extensive renovations to the national pride of the

Chiefs, the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs Nakamal, were completed yesterday, valued at Vt20 million, thanks to the then Prime Minister Joe Natuman, for securing the money

from the Cyclone Recovery Funds.

The original building was badly damaged by Cyclone Pam two years ago.

People from different islands are expected to join the chiefly representatives of their islands in a “walk” to the Chiefs Nakamal this morning, with food from the garden or rice from the shop, meat from the shop or live animal, to contribute towards celebrating both Chiefs Day and the reopening of their Meeting Place on March 5.

Those who still remember the open space in the interior of the nakamal before Cyclone Pam won’t believe their eyes this time around because the builders have cleverly divided it to serve specific purposes.

On the right side is new space for catering purposes for all functions inside the Nakamal.

On the left is a desk for a Custom Protocol Officer to process all incoming persons and delegations before they can meet with the President of the Malvatumauri.

“It means if a custom delegation from another island or country wants to meet with the President of the Malvatumauri, it must be processed by the Officer in order for him to decide whether or not the delegation is justified to go to the top,” he said.

The members of the 20 Island Councils of Chiefs are reported to have all arrived in Port Vila. Today is the day to help with ‘aelan kaikai’.

If you have a live chicken, some kava or a mat, walk with it. Today is a custom day for us to show respect for. It starts at 8 o’clock in the morning with a custom ceremony organized by the Port Vila Town Council of Chiefs.

After Church on Sunday, the Celebrations Task Force will return all the food to each Island Council of Chiefs for them to share the food for celebration purposes with their people.

The highlight will take place on Monday beginning with the public coming together at Independence Park. A public parade will proceed to Saralana then the Nasara of the Chiefs Nakamal.

A flag raising ceremony will be followed by the handing over of the building by the Government to the Malvatumauri.

A custom ceremony will take place to symbolise custom appreciation to Paramount Chief Mantoi Kalsakau III of Ifira, for hosting the headquarters of the Malvatumauri on Ifira land.

A pig killing ceremony will take place followed by the joint unveiling of a plaque by the Head of State and President of the Malvatumauri.

Once in the Nakamal, the Prime Minister will deliver his official address followed by the Head of State then the President of the Malvatumauri.

Invited guests will drink kava before lunch. Custom dances will proceed to continue to celebrate the Chiefs’ Day in the afternoon on Monday.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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