(Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi)
More than one hundred guests witnessed a ceremony held this morning at David’s Drill site to open the site as a national cultural heritage. Attending the ceremony included some Cabinet Ministers, the Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan to Tuvalu, His Excellency Mark Su, the Funafuti Island’s Community Leader, Mr Siliga Kofe and a few other government dignitaries and staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs and Rural Development, Class 3 and 6 of the Nauti Primary School.
The ceremony began with the normal cultural and religious tradition of having a devotion which was led by the Church Minister of the EKT Congregation at the Fa’kai Fou, Rev Ionatana Panapa. The devotion included a scripture reading, a message and a prayer of blessing. The reading was taken from the Book of Joshua, Chapter 4 and verses 6 and 7 which read:
“Go into the Jordan ahead of the Government Box of the Lord your God. Each one of you take a stone on your shoulder, one for each of the tribes of Israel. These stones will remind the people of what the Lord has done. In the future, when your children ask what these stones mean to you, you will tell them that the water of the Jordan stopped flowing when the Lord’s Covenant Box crossed the river. These stones will always remind the people of Israel of what happened here,”
Rev Panapa delivered a message of God’s might and power in stopping the flow of the water in the River Jordan when the Covenant Box crossed the river. To mark the mighty act of God in the event, Joshua instructed each one of the twelve men who were sent ahead of the Covenant Box to take twelve stones and place them in their camping place. Joshua also put 12 stones in the Jordan and instructed them to tell their children when they ask about the stones.
Rev Panapa compared this biblical event to what has happened this morning. David’s drill is now a cultural heritage and school children will question what this heritage mean. In effect they will learn that it was man’s undertaking to understand coral formation in low lying atolls like Tuvalu.
After the devotion, there were speeches by the Chief Librarian/Archivist of the Tuvalu Natioonal Library and Archive, Mr Noa Petueli Tapumanaia and the Cultural Officer, Mr Martin Vailopa. Then the cutting of the ribbon by three dignitaries; the Minister of Home Affairs (Hon Namoliki Sualiki), the Minister for Education (Hon Fauoa Maani), the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour (Hon MacKenzie Kiritome) and the Leader of the Funafuti Island Community (Mr Siliga Kofe).
After the cutting of the ribbon, the invited guests were invited for refreshments prepared by staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour.
Mai I tua o te katiga o te lipine, a tino ‘kami ne ‘kamigina ki se vaiaiga tela ne fakatoka ne tino ga’lue o te Minisitulii o Maaloo ki Tua, Fakataukoloa, Tualisi, ERnivailomene mo Leipa.
While the guests were having refreshments, a group of dancers “Higano Girls” performed a few dances.
Kae koi inu inu a tino ‘kami kae ko fai a fakafiafiga ne se potukau ‘saka ‘Higano Girls’.