In a vibrant display of cultural unity and warm hospitality, the host province of the Sol2023 Pacific Games, Guadalcanal, on behalf of Solomon Islands, formally welcomed the visiting 24 Pacific Island countries on Thursday at Honiara’s Eastend Sports City.
The people of Guadalcanal proudly opened their arms to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship and cultural exchange.
The Honourable Premier of Guadalcanal Province, Francis Sade, along with representatives of the Guadalcanal people, led the heartwarming welcome event, displaying the traditional Chupu and the symbolic taro as the highlight of the ceremony.
This not only symbolises the rich agricultural heritage of the region but also serves as a form of acceptance to the land of Guadalcanal.
“Welcome our Pacific friends who come from near and far. From Utupua in the East, Shortland Islands in the West, Luaniua Island in the North and Rennel Bellona in the South, we stand in unity and welcome our Pacific Island friends to our shore,” Sade said.
“The Chupu signifies that we accept you to our land and home, it is the traditional token of acceptance and friendship in Guadalcanal. This Chupu presented today is the biggest ever presented to any delegation or people in the Solomon Islands.
“This demonstrates how we value, respect and welcome you to Honiara, Solomon Islands.
“Feel free to participate in all sporting competitions or social events in the spirit of the Pacific Games that unite us as one people of the Pacific family.
“Take this opportunity to make friends and connect with our people under our Theme ‘Challenge, Celebrate and Unite’.”
President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidhya Lakhan acknowledged the people of Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands for the warm welcome.
“Thank you for welcoming the Pacific family in your traditional welcoming ceremony. We do appreciate the significance of your traditional welcome,” Lakhan said.
The hour-long traditional welcome ceremony concluded with the presentation of gifts to each Chef De Mission of the 24 participating countries.
By Carlos Aruafu, Pacific Games News Service