FSM citizens take top prize in PNA World Tuna Day contest

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
May 2, 2017
Pohnpei—This morning the winners of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) World Tuna Day Art and Talent Quest were officially announced. The top two prizes winners for the contest are from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. The contest was open to contestants from all of the PNA countries.
Last year’s top prize winner was Jasmine Mendiola who is also from Pohnpei, FSM. She now serves as Tuna Ambassador for the PNA.
While PNA nations have celebrated tuna day for several years, the United Nations only last year declared May 2nd to be World Tuna Day throughout the world and the announcements were timed to coincide with that day.
Lien Mwoakilloa won a community prize of $1000 USD for their video entry of their Winehk (bird school) dance depicting tuna fishing and consumption in Pohnpei. “The judges were impressed with the women's display of joy and fishing traditions,” the PNA Facebook page says.


Madolenihmw brother and sister duet, Richard and Raychel Narruhn took the top prize of $3000 USD for their original song “We Call Out to the World”. It was not only the first time in the competition’s five year history that a musician had won the contest but also the first time that the contest was won by family members.
“Everything we do is not for us. It is for the glory of Jesus Christ our Savior,” Richard said.
Raychel said that she has been singing with her older brother since they were children. They sing church songs and what they called “life” songs that they write together. They always work on their songs together.
They said they wrote the winning song in less than an hour, but that’s because they have been writing songs together for several years. “A lot! We’ve written a lot of songs together, you know sometimes just about the way we are feeling at the time,” Richard said.
“Our dad has been a fisherman his whole life. He works for NORMA (National Oceanic Resource Management Authority) and he’s very familiar with ocean fish,” Richard said. “But actually, we don’t really know much about fish or oceans but our Dad gave us the knowledge of fish and oceans, and things like that. He gave us ideas for our song and then we wrote it.”
“What I like about the song is that it is a callout to all the nations to work together as one. It’s main focus is that we couldn’t have done anything without your help, and you won’t have done any better without our help,” Richard said. “We have to protect what we have. We have to prevent it from becoming extinct.”
Both Richard and Raychel are students. After graduation from the prestigious Xavier High School in Chuuk, Raychel enrolled at the College of Micronesia FSM. With a smile, Richard said that he graduated from a little bit better High School, Madolenihmw High School. He said he is now studying for the ministry with Every Home for Christ where both Richard and Raychel attend church.
We asked them if they were surprised that they won the contest. “We were expecting to win,” Richard said confidently. “I mean, would a runner spend his time knowing that he will lose? If we lose, well okay, but we were expecting to win.”
Those words were probably easier to say since they had had a night to think about it since we notified them that they had won the prize. At that time, they seemed to be in shock.
Emihner Johnson of Lien Mwoakilloa received the word yesterday afternoon. Her first response was, “Why not $3000! Cause we’re aiming to win,” she said with an infectious laugh. “Oh, the group will be so excited. I’m not going to tell them until tomorrow.”
“We went to Ahnd (pronounced “ant”, it is an atoll island 20 miles from Pohnpei’s main island) and video taped it. She said that traditional leader Rosa Willy Hawley donated the women’s ride to Ahnd even though the usual fee for the boat to take passengers to Ahnd is $750. He told them that the ladies are his origin group and so charged them nothing for their project.
“The project was special for us because we want to advertise and explain our life style,” she said.
Runners Up Prizes of $500 were awarded to Darryl Megiarni from Papua New Guinea for his poem “How Many?” and Lloyd Newton from Solomon Islands for his painting “How people see tuna”.