The Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Hon. Manasseh Maelanga has assured the nation that the ruling NCRA government will continue to advocate and support the preservation and promotion of our cultural practices - many of which are at risk of disappearing.

Speaking at the opening of the inaugural Gao-Bugotu Cultural Festival at Huali Village on Tuesday, Mr Maelanga said culture is who we are and government will always support our traditional structures and the work of our traditional leadership in all of our communities.

"This is critical to our daily lives as a people and as a Country. Our cultures inform us of our history. It tells the story of where we come from. It teaches us on the challenges we had faced. It carves our options. It defines our way of life. Cultures do integrate with other cultures. Moral values are integrated into different cultures - accepted way of life is forged. This is why it is all too important not to lose sight of our culture," Mr Maelanga said.

Mr Maelanga also stressed to the gathering that "culture is who we are and together, all unique cultures in different parts of Solomon Islands make up our diversity and builds' our national consciousness".

"It develops our identity as Solomon Islanders. One people ruled by democratic governance, recognizing the cultures, languages and people of the happy isles," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Work on our traditional structures and leadership is an ongoing one and the NCRA government will continue to recognize and support the work of our chiefs in all our communities throughout the country wherever possible and practicable.

The weeklong Gao Bugotu Cultural Festival was opened on Tuesday this week with the aim of preserving and promoting different aspects of the culture of Gao-Bugotu people in Isabel Province.

The event was organized by traditional leaders of the constituency with the support of their Member of Parliament Samuel Manetoali who is also Minister for Culture and Tourism.

Minister Manetoali said organizing the festival is significant to the promotion and preservation of the GAO Bugotu culture among its young generation.

He stressed that culture is important in human development and that is why the leadership of Gao-Bugotu has embarked on organizing the festival to bring together the old and young of the constituency to share and promote their cultures through dance, song, music, arts and crafts and other aspects of their culture.

The Festival will tommorrow.

Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit