Sunday 27 August 2023

The Lagatoi builders from Boera village   putting final touches to the   ‘lagatoi’.

A traditional Lagatoi has been constructed by a local motuan village to welcome visiting Pacific Island ICT Ministers  at the Apec Haus in Port Moresby.

The lagatoi, the ancient traditional sea voyaging vessel used by the coastal Motu-Koita people of Central Province will play an important part during the inaugural Pacific Islands ICT Ministers’ Dialogue to be held from 28-29  August, 2023.

Tradition boat builder, Mr Hitolo Daure from Boera village, Hiri-Koiari electorate said it took them less then a week to construct the double hull lagatoi.

“Much of the bush materials used to construct the lagatoi were sourced from nearby Papa, Lealea and Doura villages along Hiri-West,” Mr Daure said.

This lagatoi consists of a double-hull, curved out from trunk of a certain tree, and has a cabin,  sleeping compartment with walls made from dry pandanus leaves weaved together.

Strips of bamboo were used as planks for the front and back decks, and side walkway railings and the mast made from mangrove, while the crab-claw shaped sail is made from plaited mats held together by twisted bark fibers.

The knowledge and intricate craftsmanship of lagatoi building is an important custom and traditional heritage passed on from generations and a highly sought after skill maintained within the motuan villages.

Mr Daure, who is now 57 years old, said he was first introduced by his father and grandfather on how to build a lagatoi at the sound age of 10 years old.

A proud Boera man, Mr Daure has taken on the responsibility to ensure the tradition and legacy of lagatoi making lives on and as such he continues to teach young men from his village to build lagatois and uses big occasion such as the Hiri Moale Festival or other cultural significant events to pass on this tradition.

Mr Daure and 10 men from Boera villages were involved in the construction of this ‘bogebada’.

Hon. Timothy Masiu, Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), commemorated the construction of a traditional lagatoi as a cultural symbol bridging the past and the future.

The inclusion of the ‘lagatoi’ during the Pacific ICT Ministers’ Dialogue symbolizes the convergences of tradition and technology.

The 18 ICT Ministers representing Pacific Island Forum countries and territories will convene at APEC Haus and a key highlight of the dialogue will be the signing of the “Lagatoi Declaration” by all attending Ministers, including Minister Masiu on Monday 28 of August, 2023.

This declaration finds its roots in the legendary Edai Siabo, the Hiri trade and tradition, drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of Boera village.

For the constructed lagatoi, Minister Masiu plans to hand it over to National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) during it’s 50th anniversary on 1st December, 2023,  where the sea vessel will find its permanent home at the NBC Headquarters at  5 Mile, NCD.

The Lagatoi Builders from Boera Village posing on the competed lagatoi at Ela Beach.

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