Province: Central Province, Papua New Guinea
Town: Port Moresby
Area: 29,998 km2
Language: 13 languages
Population: 237,016 inhabitants
The Hiri Trade is celebrated with the Festival called the Hiri Moale Festival.
The festival celebrates the epic voyages of the seafaring Motuans who journeyed to the Gulf Province on the famous Iconic sea vessel – the “Lagatoi”.
The lagatoi was a large sailing canoe with many hulls to store many clay pots which the Motuans made and traded with the people of the Gulf in exchange during the famous Hiri trade.
The trade route took many months to complete and was a very difficult journey for the Motuans 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 included the people of 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 soul westerly trading partners.