The Pohnpeian community in the CNMI, along with organizers of the Pacific Islands Bilingual Bicultural Association and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, gathered at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport yesterday to welcome the King of Madolenihmw.
King Kerbet Hebel (Isipahu Nanmwarki en Wein Madolenihmw) and Queen Rihna Une Abraham (Likend Kelekel) arrived on Saipan at around 8:30am yesterday to participate in the PIBBA conference that kicked off yesterday.
The Pohnpeian community gathered at the airport with numerous mwars, leis, and gifts as offerings for the king of the largest municipality in Pohnpei, Madolenihmw.
Hebel is the first nan marki or Pohnpeian king to visit the island of Saipan and the first Pohnpeian king to participate in the PIBBA conference.
According to Pohnpeian community spokesperson Grace Viaegae, it is an honor to have the nan marki of Madolenihmw visit the island of Saipan because of his importance in the entirety of Pohnpei. She said that Hebel is the top chief among four others that make up the five municipalities of Pohnpei.
“He is the paramount chief of Madolenihmw municipality, making him the highest among all the Nanmwarkis,” she said.
Viaegae said that Hebel’s visit has brought excitement to the Pohnpeian community in the CNMI because it’s not every day that you get to welcome the highest chief of Pohnpei.
“…It is a privilege and an honor for the Pohnpeian community to host him. …This is something that is out of the ordinary; it is very honorable,” she said.
Following his arrival, the Pohnpeian community in the CNMI organized a traditional sakau ceremony to honor Hebel and to enable him as nan marki of Madolenihmw to confer an honorary traditional title on Torres.
The opening ceremony featured the sakau, a traditional Pohnpeian drink, and an uhm, a traditional Pohnpeian pig roasting.