MEMBERS of the Malvatumauri, Vaturisu and Fat-Kor-Pau Council of Chiefs in partnership with representatives of the Vanuatu Government, Vanuatu Kaljorol Senta and Van2017 assembled in a quaint yet significant ceremony in the newly opened Nakamal Blong ol Jif.
Thy gathered this week for the unveiling and blessing of the ‘Sagoa’ (pronounced Sangoa), witnessed by Van2017 sponsors, the media and members of the public.
A group of custom dancers from Pango village led the Chiefs, VIPs and invited guests into the Nakamal where they were warmly welcomed by MC Ambong Thompson of the VKS, who then invited Mrs Eileen Boe to give the traditional pre-TokTok blessing of an opening prayer.
The Minister for Culture, Ronald Warsal said that Vanuatu’s hosting of the Games in December is yet another milestone for the country.
“The Games are not only about sports but about show casing our rich culture, traditional values, the environment, healthy lifestyles and habits, social inclusion as well and above all, it is about uniting the peoples of the Pacific,” he said.
Van2017 Goodwill Ambassador, Ms Hilda Lini, acknowledged their commitment in support of the 10th Pacific Mini Games by the Government, Chiefs and the Pacific Games Authority, and made a call to each and every individual in Vanuatu to pledge their support.
“What about you. How will you show your commitment to support the Van2017 Pacific Mini Games,” she said.
President of Malvatumauri Chief Senimao Tirsupe Mol Tarvakavat said that this partnership between the Chiefs and Van2017 is the first time ever for them to be involved in a sporting event in Vanuatu and showed their appreciation by honouring Van2017 CEO Clint Flood with traditional gifts.
Together with Mr Warsal, Vaturisu President Chief Manlaewia proceeded to unveil the Bubu Sel followed by the declaration and acceptance of its Kastom name on behalf of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs by its CEO Chief Meameadola.
Chief Meameadola explained to all present that the Kastom name of Sagoa, bestowed upon the symbolic Bubu Sel (Conch shell) by the Fat-Kor-Pau Council of Chiefs of South Efate signifies the Call to Festivities.
“This is in unity; in the revitalizing of long lost Indigenous traditional and cultural ties and relationships and in the reestablishment and resolidification of the real peace, love, friendship and joy amongst the peoples of the Pacific,’’ he said.
The Fat-Kor-Pau Council of Chiefs of South Efate were given the honour of bestowing on behalf of Vanuatu the name Sagoa – a name common in the collective languages of the people of Erakor, Pango, Mele, Eratap villages and Ifira Island, in their recognition of their being the indigenous custodians of the land on which the Games will take place
Popular sand drawing artist Edgar Hinge then revealed and drew his new sand drawing depicting the meaning of the Vanuatu Games.
To seal the unveiling of the Sagoa, the official Kastom call to unite all of Vanuatu and the Pacific to the 10th Pacific Mini Games sounded three times, in the form of a conch shell blowing.