BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
IMERIAL Travel Service 2018 cruise to Ngella marking Solomon Islands 40th Anniversary created history coinciding with the one day ‘Pana Festival’ held for the first time at Haroro Village.
Occurring during Friday last week, Imperial Travel Service cruise and traditional Pana Festival (root crop) got visitors from Honiara and overseas enjoying the day with local communities of Sandfly and Big Ngella showcasing 14 different varieties of Pana and the different styles they are prepared for eating.
Along with the showcasing were traditional dance performances as well entertaining all throughout the day.
Haroro Community being the host reminded stakeholders and everyone attending the special event that the cultural celebration is meant to bring the world together, a little closer in front of their doorsteps.
“In this case we are trying to contribute in promoting the tourism industry of the country so that it can be reachable to our rural areas,” said Haroro Community’s rep.
“This year’s 2018 Imperial Cruise and Pana Festival are not on a trial basis as we are beginning to show ourselves that we too own the future and there are factors to embrace it.”
“With this peaceful state of mind, we urge you to spread news of the ‘Pana Festival’ out to the world, in any means of communication that is applicable. For the responsible authorities this is very important.”
Haroro Community and Sandfly (Big Ngella) as a whole are grateful that despite the fact of hiccups faced, they thank everyone who has assisted in one way or another along with Imperial Travel Service to make the festival take place into reality.
This includes the Tulaghi police and business houses who have contributed in kind such as the Solomon Star, Tropic Aluminium and Glass, 8 Note, Sunday Isles Media and Fair West Shipping.
Ender Rence the Managing Director of Imperial Travel Service during the festival celebration expressed that as the country turn’s 40 years old, she urged everyone to know and see their purpose being something lacking in Solomon Islands.
“My message for today in this 40th Anniversary is we must look back to our purpose and ask why we are here. Know our history as we have to own a purpose before our future is focused,” reminded Ender.
“To not lose the traditional purpose of Pana, we have to activate and cultivate the purpose of this unique root crop. These resources as such will help clear the pathway for the future of our country’s development.
“We are now 40 years old and we should be delivered from the wilderness. Our shores should be open embracing our resources owned to recognize their values and purpose.
“If we do not understand their purpose yet then we will not know how to evaluate our resources. Solomon Islands is full of natural resources.”
She elaborated that during the last 40 years, the country has been robbed by activities such as logging and so everyone needs to sit back and evaluate what has happened.
“Recently we have come to recognise one of what we have and that is the root crop Pana, one of our valuable resources,” said Ender.
“The likes of Yam, Banana and Kodili Festivals are pictures of how unique our valuable scattered resources and traditions are.”
“So as the famous saying goes, ‘United we stand Divided we fall’, in order to promote our valuable resources, our eyes must be open to link all the available resources and logistics that we have to jointly enjoy the value and the purpose of our resources.
“We have to be mobilised so that our eyes can be open, we have been stagnant in the last 40 years so it is about time to break free and move forward in enabling ourselves as we have been locked up behind our own shelves for a long time now.”
“Solomon Islands is a very rich country in terms of natural and human resources but we have to recognise what we have so that we utilise.
“Pana is a resource that is contributing in giving colours to this nation so let us all promote it, let us show the world and let us market it being the purpose of us being here today.
“Let us take pride of this event, let us show our uniqueness and reveal to the world that what we have promotes our purpose of existence. Let’s build, collaborate and link what we have in order to evaluate so that we can all promote our resources.
“By working together, we will be able to see on the other side the good things that we have.
“Pana Festival is the first of its kind to happen here at Haroro Village as we have to acknowledge our effort in bringing back the uniqueness of the culture in order to evaluate parts of its varieties, contents and beauty that is fading away.”
“Let the wonders of Pana explode during when its event such as today takes place.”
She added that the Pana Festival is a memorable occasion thanking everyone attending and enjoying the cruise that their presence is part of recognising the natural resources of the country meaning they must promote the showcase and purpose of Pana including the festival’s vision.
“We are here to promote and embrace our natural resources as such will help boost our tourism industry in the country,” said Enda.
Because of the uniqueness of the festival is why Imperial Travel Service has collaborated with the Haroro Community being headed by local senior Mr Peter Sagupari to organise the memorable event.
Such event is also dubbed to promote peace, happiness and unity within Solomon Islands.
“Imperial Travel Service is proud to be part of this festival as we will do more collaboration throughout the years to come and market the event that also contributes in promoting tourism,” encouraged Enda.
The Guest of Honour and Deputy Premier of Central Islands Province (CIP) Hon Selwyn Luga before declaring the Official opening of the festival said the theme of the festival; ‘Own your future, Embrace it’, reminds everyone to make analysis of the society’s current situation and then meaningfully lay out their destiny through realistic planning, sustainable development and conservation of resources for the future generation.
He assured that the provincial government of the day pledge support and priority on its productive sectors like the fisheries, agriculture, forestry and commerce in accordance with their visions and goals.
“Tourism has been targeted to be developed, improved and enhanced so as to provide effective services of delivery to our people,” said Hon Luga.
“In this context, we will continue to encourage, support and assist our rural communities and operators in their development aspirations to realise their potentials and benefits that would be gained from the sustainable use of their resources.”
The Pana Festival will be an annual event being suggested.
Haroro community and its surrounding celebrated the local food crop for the first time (Pana) being culturally significant to the custom of Ngella people.
Explaining the significance and history of Pana at Ngella during the event was local elder and leader Mr Ray Mano.
Speaking to Island Sun, local Ngella women appreciating the event said the festival gives them the chance to showcase Pana’s significant value of life in how it is planted, harvested, eaten and respected by the people of Ngella being similar to how other food crop festivals are showcased around the country.