News and Notices

New Caledonia Visit

Friday, August 7, 2015

Another delegation from the Pacific is in Guam to help prepare for the biggest island cultural festival on island next year.

New Caledonia is here to assist with preparations for the 2016 Festival of Pacific Arts.

The event will draw thousands of people from around the Pacific, and will showcase their unique cultures. The festival, which celebrates the Pacific’s cultural heritage, is scheduled to run from May 22 to June 4.

Leila Bouchet, an assistant at New Caledonia Ministry of Culture, Gender and Citizenship, and CarilBeronon, member of the New Caledonia Delegation Committee, met with acting Gov. Ray Tenorio and festival director Rose Ramsey on Tuesday, a release from the governor’s office states.

“The bidding process is ongoing for repairs to the recreation center, Paseo Stadium and surrounding areas, which make up the festival site,” Ramsey stated in the release. “Upgrades to the restrooms, installation of fixed seating in the stadium, and building 61 huts are just some of the projects the committee is working on. It’s important for the visiting representatives to see that Guam is committed to doing everything we can to ensure a successful event.”

Other efforts being made to prepare for FestPac 2016 are the construction of thefishermen’s platform and the development of the Great Seal of Guam Park into an interactive and educational historical landmark, the release states. Additionally, the renovations to Guerrero Field at the Paseo have started, the release states.

The representatives from New Caledonia are in Guam for one week. Their agenda includes a visit to Paseo Stadium, meetings with Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency, art workshops, and a tour of the island, the release states.

New Caledonia plans to send a delegation of about 180 artists consisting of crafters, dancers, musicians, and weavers to next year’s festival.

Bouchet said the group was taken around the island on Wednesday and shown one of the schools the delegation will be staying at while in Guam. The delegates also had several meetings with FestPac committees to talk about the ongoing preparation for the event.

She said her experience has been great, especially with the local people.

“They really know how to welcome people to their island,” she said.

The indigenous people in New Caledonia are also known as Kanak. The Kanak people are Melanesian, and speak 28 distinct languages. A Kanak’s language will depend on what province they live in, she said.

The indigenous people in New Caledonia are also known as Kanak. The Kanak people are Melanesian, and speak 28 distinct languages. A Kanak’s language will depend on what province they live in, she said.

One difficulty the delegation might face in Guam is the language barrier. New Caledonia is a French-speaking country and many of the people who will come to Guam don’t speak English, she said. She’s hoping Guam will be able to provide translators for her delegation to help bridge the language gap between English and French.

Bouchet said she’s excited to come back to Guam with her delegation and showcase the Kanak culture.

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