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Media Releases, 02 November 2015

Traditional voyages comes to life at annual Hiri Moale Festival

ExxonMobil PNG Limited (EMPNG), operator of the PNG LNG Project contributed K27,000 in support of the 2015 Hiri Moale Festival which will take place on 14th and 15th of November at Ela Beach, Port Moresby.

The annual festival is hosted by the Motu Koita Assembly and celebrates the centuries-old traditional voyages of the seafaring Motuans who journeyed to the Gulf Province on the iconic sea vessel – the lakatoi (also lagatoi) for the Hiri Trade.

EMPNG Deputy Production Manager, Dale Pittman said the company felt particularly connected to the Hiri Moale Festival because PNG LNG gas pipeline between Kikori and the LNG Plant follows the traditional route that was taken for the voyage.

"The Hiri Moale Festival is a great way to showcase the wonderful culture and tradition Papua New Guinea has, including the Motu-Koita villages around the LNG plant site.

"Educating children and young people on the importance of their cultural heritage is a key step in preserving and promoting the unique culture of Papua New Guinea," Pittman said.

Motu Koita Assembly Representative, Hon. David Davai said the event is culturally significant and thanked EMPNG for their support.

"Festivals encourage learning and understanding of special cultures in Papua New Guinea.

"Thousands of people come together at this festival and we are thankful ExxonMobil PNG are able to help make it a successful one," Davai said.

The Hiri trade emanated from the village of Boera, it is also where the first lakatoi was built.

The lakatoi is a large sailing canoe with 18 hulls to store clay pots which the Motuans traded with the people of Gulf Province and Central Province mainly in exchange for sago and other traditional goods.