Hiri Moale Festival

The 2018 Hiri Moale Festival takes place, September 14th - 15th, and will once more be celebrated at Ela Beach, Port Moresby - the ancestral grounds of the Motuan people of Papua New Guinea.

The Festival celebrates the epic voyages of the seafaring Motuans who journeyed to the Gulf Province on the famous iconic sea vessel - the 'lakatoi'.

The lakatoi was a large sailing canoe with many hulls to store mainly clay pots which the Motuans made and traded with the people of the Gulf in exchange for sago.  There were a variety of other traditional goods that were also exchanged during the famous Hiri trade.

The Hiri trade route took many months to complete and was a very difficult journey for the Motuans and at times fraught with danger from storms and rough winds, especially for the return home as the cargo was much heavier.

Motuan culture - from songs, dances and rituals reflect largely on the Hiri trade and cover celebration, lamentation and tributes to gods and ancestors.

The Festival is not just a celebration and showcase of Motuan culture but involves other tribes whom the Motuans traded with throughout their history, which include the people of the Gulf, Mekeo, Hula and Koiari.

The Hiri trading voyages forged friendship and lineal ties going back thousands of years.  Much of this is evident today with the Hiri Motu language, a vernacular understood by the Motuans and their south westerly trading partners.

The Hiri Hanenamo contest is a popular attraction at the Festival, where young Motuan women vie to be crowned 'Hiri Queen' based on their knowledge and display of traditional Motuan culture.