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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Namatanai urged to strengthen culture

PEOPLE in the Namatanai electorate have been urged to strengthen their culture and traditions so that they can benefit largely from tourism related activities.
Director of Papua New Guinea’s National Cultural Commission (NCC) Dr Jacob Simet made the challenge in his opening remarks as a guest speaker during the sixth 2010 Namatanai Mask Festival in New Ireland province.

“Tourism is a thriving industry and as long as we portray vividly our culture and traditions we can be able to tap into this lucrative industry that remains largely untapped,” Dr Simet said.

Dr Simet mostly from the gazelle and Tolai origin in the East New Britain province noted that most of their cultures originally are from Namatanai and are slowly beginning to die out.

Culture is much alive in the Namatanai electorate
He therefore said “we must maintain that link between Rabaul and Namatanai so that we remain intact and keep our cultures alive” thus referring to high profile cultures such as the Tumbuan and the Malagan which are common in nature.

Dr Simet commended the Member for Namatanai Byron Chan for staging the annual mask festival and said “not many MPs look at strengthening festivals of such nature and you have done great in the last six years.”

Namatanai District Administrator, Gabriel Towaira also said it is not easy to stage a festival such as the mask festival and they’ve proved over the years that it is possible with the help from the provincial government as well as the electorate itself under the leadership of MP Byron Chan.

However, in a keynote address Mr Chan who is also the shadow minister for Internal Affairs and Culture & Tourism boldly challenged Canada’s largest undersea mining firm Nautilus to respect his people’s culture of shark calling on the west coast central of Namatanai, especially the people of Kono and Kontu. 

“The aim hear is to bring in tourism and we would like to see others who come and try to do seabed mining especially the Solwara 1 and 2 in waters of New Ireland and most precisely the Namatanai area must respect our customs and traditions,” the member said.
He said so far the electorate has increased its funding for the shark calling festival from mere K10,000 to K100,000 because of the significance it has on the tourism sector and as such should be protected at all cost.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Namatanai Mask Festival James Kamaya also echoed similar sentiments saying “people who do not have culture don’t have heads” and as such urged all to maintain their cultures and traditions.

The festival was sponsored by Namatanai Joint District and Budget Priority Committee (JDB&PC), the New Ireland Provincial Government (NIPG) and the NCC at the cost of over K350,000. 

Also other minor sponsors who helped to stage the festival where from the Namatanai business community including Brent Bino, Islands Storms, Namatanai Supermarket and Namatanai Trading.

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