By Jeremy Mogi – EM TV Sports, Port Moresby
The Central Province village of Gaire was the scene today, of the launching of the third sailing vessel, the Lagatoi, which will bear the Pacific Games baton to the shores of the nation’s capital.
Anchored on shore at over forty feet long and triple hulled was the Lakatoi named Kiserebada 4, as it is the fourth vessel to be built by the people of Gaire.
With the Laurabada breeze coming in from the east, dancers, young and old had prepared hours earlier in anticipation for the launch.
Gaire having historical significance in terms of the traditional Hiri voyage, had a member of the last lagatoi journey, amongst the guests.
The last lakatoi expedition was in 1951 .Traditional Hanenamo dancers performed the shark dance to welcome the guest of honour, Miria Ikupu, to officiate the proceedings.
A prayer was said commencing the ceremony before LLG President, Haoda Ovia, presented his remarks, stating that the lakatoi remained the only cultural and traditional reminder, which held the Motuan people together.
Kairuku Hiri district administrator, Nicky Gorua, pledged further support on behalf of local MP Peter Isoaimo, and Motu Koita Chairman, Miria Ikupu, who also received an honorary replica.
The forty foot long Kiserebada 4 will join the Kereubada and Bogebada vessels, travelling 48 kilometers westward, down the Motuan coastline, bearing on each of their three hulls, up to fifty people each and taking with them the Pacific Games baton, and on the 29th of June, it will then land on the shores of Port Moresby.
The Lakatoi’s, the baton, and indeed the journey itself, provides for the Motuan people, another opportunity to showcase their culture and in particular, the heritage that the lakatoi’s carry.