President of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, Chief Willie Plasua, is encouraging all parents to bring their children to witness the 7th Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival (MACFEST) this week, emphasising its educational value.

He expressed these sentiments during a ceremony held yesterday at Saralana, where he conducted a traditional ritual to welcome chiefs from five provinces in Vanuatu to Port Vila.

In his address, Chief Plasua acknowledged the immense efforts made by the chiefs and representatives from the provinces to come together and showcase their customs and cultures in Port Vila. He recognised the challenges they faced in traveling by canoe, boat, ship, and plane to be present at the event.

“It is not an easy journey to come together like this. We have to traverse vast oceans, yet we lack a unified land, making the journey arduous. I want to express my gratitude for your patience and resilience in overcoming the difficulties to be here. This is our moment to showcase our customs and cultures,” Chief Plasua expressed.

He said each participant brings unique talents, customs, and cultures from their respective islands and Nasara, which will be showcased during the festival. Chief Plasua highlighted the significance of the upcoming week, describing it as an extraordinary and educational experience for Melanesians, particularly the people of Vanuatu.

“I urge the fathers and mothers at home to bring your children to learn, witness, and engage with the customs that form the very roots of the people of Vanuatu, which our ancestors embraced in the past,” the head of Malvatumauri said.

“Today, we continue to uphold our customs, and I implore everyone to preserve and carry them forward into the future, as they are truly unique in this world.”

The 7th MACFEST promises to be an enlightening and captivating event, offering an opportunity for intercultural exchange and the celebration of Melanesian heritage.