02 July 2018
Members of the Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival countries marching through the streets of Honiara.

THE sixth Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival (MACFest) officially commenced on Sunday in a dramatic showdown at the Lawson Tama stadium in Honiara.

The program commenced with an official parade from the Honiara city council (HCC) all the way to Lawson Tama.

Participants from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, East Timor, Australia and Taiwan were part of the parade.

The colourful opening ceremony was also blessed with the fine and overcast weather, Sunday.

The packed Lawson Tama was colourful with the presence of the participants who were dressed in their traditional colourful outfit as the marched into the stadium.

Governor General Sir Frank Kabui officially declared the event opened after delivering his keynote speech.

He reminded the participants to make use of the the opportunity to showcase their cultures and learn from each other.

Sir Kabui also reminded Solomon Islanders to make welcome the participants to ensure they enjoy their stay while in Honiara.

Chairman of the organising committee and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Andrew Nihopara said he hopes the week-long festival will be an enjoyable event.

“Let us embrace our cultures and traditions during this week,” he added.

Prime Minister Rick Hou also graced the opening ceremony.

The opening ceremony was made special with a display of colourful fireworks later in the evening which, was enjoyed by all those who turned up for the ceremony.

Earlier on Saturday a welcome ceremony was staged which, featured Guadalcanal’s traditional gift-giving ceremony known as “chupu”.

Statesman and Guadalcanal elder Sir Paul Tovua was given the honour to welcome the participants on the host province.

“I welcome you to this land,” Tovua told the visitors during the chupu ceremony.

“Do use your time here to meet your brothers and sisters from the Solomons, as well as from other Melanesian countries,” he added.

“This is our event, let’s celebrate and enjoy it.”

A number events have been outlined at the various locations throughout the ten days.