One of my team Billy, invited myself and the family to his paying back bride price ceremony at Elevala Villiage. Sadly, Xavier had a birthday party to go to (in which he had lots of fun), so just me and the girls.
When we arrived Jacinta didn’t know that she would be part of the ceremony, and so off she went to get dressed up with the girls. The ladies whipped up a dress for Xanthe in about 10 minutes, and it was time for the rain to start and the ceremony to begin :)
This part of bride price is the act of giving back to the families who gave to Billy’s bride price, the Motuan’s have a ledger that records the gifts, and it is the man’s responsibility to ensure he gives back in kind when that family’s son is doing his bride price. I’m sure that there is much more to it than that – but that is what I gathered… The pole has traditional shell money, as well as K2 and K5 and lots of decoration, the girls carry the large denomination money – and recent bride prices have had over K100,000 gifted. A lot of money! Xaria was filmed by the local TV station EMTV whilst leaving the groom’s house – it really struck me how big the Bride Price ceremony is.
I was lucky enough to be able to give Billy’s father a pounamu pendant as a way of thanking him for the invitation to his home. And Derrick and Elias (two more of my team) were there to enjoy the special day as well – so that was very special. I do have some photos of the boys with a few beers under the belts, but promise that they will only get shown at work ;)
We were very honored to be invited, and stayed until 9pm enjoying Billy’s family and friends company – then left so that they could let their hair down and party hard (being Billy’s boss – I stifled the party a little). On the way out of the village – the whole place was in party mode, with lots of people wishing us well on the way out.
Needless to say – I am really at a loss for words – so here’s a whole heap of photos