Hawaii hosting the largest Pacific Ocean family gathering  

Saturday, 8 June 2024, 6:36 am

In traditional wear "bilas" and gifts to present to the host of the 13th Festival of Arts and Culture. (NBC: Charles Yapumi)

The opening ceremony of the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture was like a big family gathering of indigenous inhabitants of countries scattered across the largest ocean in the world.

(NBC: Charles Yapumi)

The extended family, tracing their Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian ancestral linage gathered on Thursday [Friday PNG time] at the University of Hawaii in Honololo, to sing and dance, marking the official festival opening and setting the stage for the coming 10 days of celebrating, promoting and preserving the Pacific Way, through its traditional form.

Papua New Guinea’s contingent, with nearly 120 participants, signing to the country’s unity song   …“Papua New Guinea our motherland, every tribe and race, let us work together, united we shall stand…” voicing the theme of unity to one of the culturally diverse people on earth.

(NBC: Charles Yapumi)

Few participants dressed in traditional costumes [bilas] from provinces of Hela, Chimbu, Central and Morobe, showing the unique and diverse culture of PNG, to the opening ceremony with PNG international music ambassador Anslom Nakikus carrying the national flag.

National Cultural Commission Executive Director Steven Kilanda, and NCC board Members Professor Leo Marai, Dr Michael Mel and Tourism Promotion Authority Eric Mossman Uvovo led in front onto the arena to showcase PNG’s uniqueness in the Pacific and world, and with tradition, presented gifts to the host of the festival.

PNG cultural ambassadors from the Hela and Central Provinces will be dancing and singing, showcasing one of the thousand tribes in PNG, as day one of the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture gets into excitement mood, today.

The theme selected for the 13th FestPAC is Hoʻoulu Lāhui: Regenerating Oceania. Hoʻoulu lāhui means “to grow the nation.”

The 10-day island-wide festival will bring together more than 2,500 delegates—artists, cultural practitioners, scholars and officials—from 28 Pacific nations, such as American Samoa, Cook Islands, Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Taiwan and Australia.