Monday, 10 June 2019

Rabaul’s Mask Festival is extraordinary in 2019

By PETER S. KINJAP | The NATIONAL Newspaper - Weekender Edition. 

The National Mask & Warwagira Festival is an annual event taking place in East New Britain where the local tribes gather to display their traditional attires and dances.

The festival starts at dawn on the beach with the Kinavai ceremony, when the mysterious and feared Dukduk and Tubuan arrive on canoes from their villages accompanied by chanting and beating of drums.

American tourists Brenda and Monty with the Agarere mask dancers from Turaguna, East New Britain. Photo supplied.
  Kinavai ceremony is spiritually important for the local Tolai people, who are reportedly migrated to East New Britain from Namatanai in New Ireland Province.

The ceremony signifies their landing on the shores of East New Britain Province.

Impressively looking men in red laplap, standing out from the crowd, would leisurely walk around the grass-built huts selling refreshments, food, and craft.

These men are from the Tumbuan, a Duk-Duk secret society, which is part of the traditional culture of the Tolai people. For the occasion of the ritual dances, they invoke the male spirit Duk-Duk and female spirit Tumbuan, depending on the masks they wear. Although some dancers act as female spirits, the dances are only performed by men.

The National Mask Festival usually has a programme to follow, from the start to the end.

Crowded with the dancers wearing colourful traditional attire, intricately decorated masks and spectacular headdresses, the show ground is full of fun and relish.

Baining Fire dance at the Natioal Mask Festival
 The dances are accompanied by the beating of kundu, lizard-skin drums commonly used in Papua New Guinea. Each tribe has its own unique dancing style, music, traditional costumes, and bilas, or body decoration in local Tok Pisin language. It seems that the imagination by Papua New Guineans has no limits.

Amongst colourfully dressed dancers, the iconic Tumbuan emerge with their famous conical masks. Both male Duk-Duk and female Tumbuan masks are cone-shaped but Duk-Duk ones are taller. With the round balls of grass leaves under the masks, only legs of the dancers are visible.

The Papua New Guinea National Mask Festival held in July every year, is an extravaganza of cultural dancing, ritual performance, story-telling and exchange - with a variety of arts and crafts on display at the show ground.

In action. The Tubuans ready for the stage
 The National Mask Festival brings together traditional sing-sing groups from around Papua New Guinea, with a variety of cultures and spectacular display of elaborate masks reflecting the diverse cultures and traditions and the 840 plus different languages spoken throughout the country.

The event is quite extraordinary as it is a little different to the other cultural festivals in the country.

It focused on displaying the different traditional masks, their purposes and believes associated. Papua New Guinea is known for its unique cultures and traditions and as such, the masks contributed a lot to this.

The extraordinary Sulka Double Headed Mask. Photo supplied.
 Masks were created in different styles, sizes and shapes, which represented different believes and the areas they represented. Most of these masks are from the coastal region and the lowlands of Papua New Guinea where traditional magic and sorcery were very common. The mask festival represents this with the venue and the traditional groups participating fulfill this.

Katie and Joanne from our Intrepid Travel group with the Agarere mask dancers from Turaguna, East New Britain.
 The mask festival includes groups from the New Guinea Islands, which includes Rabaul, Kavieng, and Buka, and to the North coast, which includes Madang, Wewak and the lowlands of both provinces. As colorful as the other cultural events, the mask festival displays the true tradition of the people of Papua New Guinea.

The look of the masks reflects the power and strength of traditional believes and the masks were greatly honored as they represented the presences of the spirits which gave power and knowledge to perform their traditional rituals, sorcery etc.

You are cordially invited to this unique festival in July 2019. It’s very traditional, very emotional and the performances cannot be seen at other cultural festivals. This is a scarcer and it is displayed only once and is by all means protected by customary laws and can only be displayed in certain locations and it has to be on the coast.

Kinavai - arrival of the tumbuan dukduks
 It is a great pleasure to also invite you to this unique event. Not only you will participate in this festival but also the venue has steaming active volcanoes and is the place where it was a major battlefield over the pacific campaign during the WWII.

The scenery, the people and the natural environment is very welcoming and you feel and experience of the Tolai people and their cultures.

 Come and join us to an experience this special event that you will not witness anywhere else in the world, an event that is very traditional. The below proposed tour packages have been specially designed to coincides with this event and give you the opportunity to witness this event.

Rabaul’s deserved title “The Pearl of the Pacific” has been substituted with “Pompeii of the Pacific” after Mother Nature unleashed its destructive forces via the volcano named Tavurvur in 1994.

Mask dancers getting ready for the show
 Rabaul ("mangrove swamp") was claimed by the German government in 1884 as the administrative-centre-to-be for German New Guinea.

Rabaul town quickly flourished when Kokopo (Herbertshöhe) was no longer considered suitable as an administrative centre.

Under German rule, Rabaul boasted a botanical garden, hotels, casino, extensive wharves, shops, and government buildings. A sizable Chinese community occupied Rabaul, and they contributed greatly to the development of Rabaul in many ways.

Participants of the National Mask Festival
Australian governance then prevailed in Rabaul from 1914- 1942. Rabaul continued to thrive as the capital of Australian mandated New Guinea until 1937 when volcanic forces caused the planned relocation of Australian administration to Lae.

However by 1937, the Japanese government had other ideas for Rabaul, and invaded this town in January 1942. The Australian defence group known as “Lark Force” was routed by the Japanese. Under Japanese occupation Rabaul emerged as Japan’s largest base in the South West Pacific in WW2.

Mask Dancers ready for the show
  Approximately 110,000 Japanese military garrisoned at Rabaul, supported by the Japanese air force and navy.

After WW2, Australia resumed administration of PNG including Rabaul. Despite the destruction of Rabaul by volcanic activity and intensive Allied bombing in WW2, Rabaul was rebuilt quickly as a strong commercial centre and beautiful township.

The eruption in 1994 witnessed the destruction and disintegration of Rabaul’s beauty and status. Despite this loss Rabaul still presents an allure and fascination for those who visit the area.

When you are in Rabaul next, you are not only privileged to see the National Mask Festival but also the Kinavai Festival, Baining Fire Dance, Kokopo market, Japanese Barge Tunnel, Bitapaka War Cemetery, Rabaul Volcano Observatory, Hot Springs (closest spot to the active Mt Tavurvur Volcano) and the Duke of York Island.

National Mask Festival participants sing and dance
 Surely enough your day might start with early bird preparation, getting ready for the dawn opening of the Warwagira & Mask Festival welcoming the Tumbuans paddling on the canoe from their villages to open the Mask Festival, fiery masks worn by elder men and initiated boys towards the Festival area with the beating of the Kundu drums.

In the evening, you would take on the evening's spectacle – the world-renowned Baining Fire Dance.
The Baining Fire Dance is only performed by men from the Bainings clans, where they immerse themselves into the flames of the fire and escape the fire unharmed. 

The Bainings clan is one of few cultures in PNG which do not use the Kundu drum as their rhythmic percussion instruments.

National Mask Festival Rabaul performers in action
 They instead, use bamboo and the sound is just as unique as the fire dance itself. This is an exciting and unique ritual, which is not performed anywhere else in the world!

To find out about the confirmed festival dates and for an arranged exotic tours around Rabaul and Kokopo, email the following: 

·         Peter S. Kinjap is a freelance writer and a blogger, email:
National Mask Festival Rabaul dancers pose for a photo

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Mona Festival amongst others remains Buka’s best

By PETER S. KINJAP | THE NATIONAL Newspaper - Weekender Edition.

FESTIVALS are part of the indigenous lifestyle in Papua New Guinea.
Everywhere you go you find celebration of feasts or festivals most of which have now become annual events turning into tourism attractions for the country.

The Mona canoe race in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is one such event that is hosted annually together with other activities. In 2014, Bougainville for the first time set dates for Bougainville festivals including the Mona that was held throughout the region starting the same year.

Some familiar faces from Kuhilin Cultural Group readying to perform at Mona Festival, Buka ARoB this afternoon 28/08/14
It was first held from Aug 28 to 30, 2014 at the Buka Showground.
Bougainville’s bi-annual Reed Festival is another cultural event for people to show their culture, beauty and diversity over several days through dancing, songs, plays, drama and other traditional and creative arts.

The Reed Festival is staged in Arawa and performers come from all over Bougainville.
The festival provides the opportunity for young Bougainvilleans to learn about and partake in their own culture from the older generation.

One important part of the Reed Festival is the ‘Cool Culture’ component that incorporates cultural activities and displays by the local children.
Its sister event, the Mona Festival is held annually in Buka town to celebrate the seafaring tradition of Bougainvilleans.

Mona Festival, Buka.
It is staged in August every year and attracts cultural performers from all over the region.
The Mona Festival is sometimes referred to as the Canoe Festival.

The name Mona actually refers to a large canoe which was used in the past for the purpose of trade or to conduct lightning raids on other communities and islands in the Solomon Sea.
The Mona is not a ‘dugout’ canoe made out of hollowing out the trunks of large trees.
Instead, the canoe is crafted out of hewn planks (using stone tools) of hard lightwood, expertly held together using special vines.

The Mona was made water tight using the sap from the seeds of a certain tree. The canoes could hold up to 10 rowers and move swiftly over water.
The Buka township is usually given a rare treat with the hosting of the annual Mona Festival.
Festival committee chairman and tour operator Lawrence Belleh anticipates a good number of tourists to visit the region during the festival period each year.

“The popular Kuri Resort is fully booked throughout the festival period,” he said.
“We’ve had calls from as far as the United States of America for accommodation. Other guest house operators are also taking in bookings for that period,” Belleh said.
In 2014 when the festival was first hosted, it attracted 18 groups from South, Central and North Bougainville.

Mona Festival is Alive n well, Buka town. Kuhilin Cultural Group, Hagogohe Constituency getting ready to perform
Belleh explained that the festival aimed to unify all Bougainvilleans as part of the restoration exercise towards peace building and return to normalcy after the civil war on the island.
“It also aims to promote Bougainville as a preferred tourism destination,” he said.
The Mona is a Bougainville traditional canoe which carries the pride of Buka people as it was used by their ancestors as a sea transport means. It comes in three types – for wars, long voyages and fishing.

Belleh acknowledged Lae Biscuit Company for its cash and kind donation to the value of K15,000. Digicel PNG has undertaken to be the major sponsor acquiring naming rights.
The last festival started from Malasang Village with a welcome and tradition rituals performed by the village chiefs.

A voyage was then taken to Ieta Village then to Sohano Island before heading to Buka township.
Together with the festivals, the beauty of black-skinned people from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is also an attraction itself.

Apart from some African black people and other Solomon Islanders, Bougainville is said to have the blackest people on planet earth.
Black is a unique skin colour and often when photographs are taken the camera lens makes it appear that these people are ‘too black’.

The countdown to the 2014 Bougainville Mona Festival continues, only two more sleeps...We would love you to join us at the main boat stop in Buka on Thursday morning as we welcome Mona paddled through the Buka Passage to open the show! The welcoming of the Mona will be followed by a parade and the festival opening ceremony at Bel Isi Park.

But when you see them face to face and take a look with your natural camera, your eyes, you’ll call them ‘black beauties’. A beauty of nature’s own design.
Bougainvilleans are sometimes nicknamed kawas, so when love songs about Bougainvillean girls are sung by PNG musicians, instead of saying, ‘Bougainville babe girl’ they say, “kawas babe girl”, an expression that is popular throughout the country.

Actually the meaning of the word kawas is not really known in Buka. Some say it means friendly, beautiful, cute and wonderful but Bougainvilleans may have a different definition.
Some say kawas is from the Manus language which may mean a traditional trading partner. We don’t know how it came to be the usual Manus name for Bougainvilleans although many have ended up in Manus since the 1930s.
It’s a term implying close relationships and friendships between peoples of Manus and Bougainville.

Mona Festival, Buka.
Being seen as black is unique and beautiful, just like the white, yellow, brown and light skinned people. If you don’t believe this, don’t hesitate to go to Bougainville and see for yourself how beautiful a kawas is and enjoy the festivals of their culture.
Mona Festival is held in Buka town and there is also the Hantoa Cultural Show, the Tinputz Cocoa Festival, the Siwai Cultural Show and many more.

Joyce Bagi from Central admits that she loves black. “What is your favourite colour? “Black.”
Why? “Because the two most special people in my life are black, my mom and my boyfriend.
“Yeah, no doubt black is beautiful!”

That night was awesome Mona Festival Fundraiser. Tatok bamboo band and all, the mortlock knife dancers and buka hits all night long.
The Buka show ground will be the main host for the festivals.
The Mona Festival is a yearly event therefore the chairman, Lawrence Belleh is appealing to the people to fully support and learn from it.
The festival is promoting culture and with that it can attract a lot of tourists to the province.
This cultural festival will also encourage the people to hold fast to their culture and traditions.

Mona Festival, Buka.
Therefore, cultural activities such as singsing kaur groups, bamboo bands and Solomon dances will be an integral part of the festival every year to attract participation from all around the autonomous region.
ABG’s chief eecutive officer for Commerce, Albert Kinani has yet to confirm the dates for Mona Festival for 2019.

Groups from Halia, Hahalis, Gogohe and from Malasang are regulars at the festivals which are yet to be confirmed for participation at the show.

Mona Festival is on again this year...28th to 30th August on Buka Island. The festival is held annually since 2009. The festival is about recognizing the significance of the canoe (Mona) in the North Bougainville traditional society. The canoe is traditionally built with three unique designs to indicate its purposes of transport (voyage), fishing (food gathering) and fighting (warrior). 
Kinani is appealing to business houses and corporate sponsors for the 2019 festival.
The CEO also announced recently the opening of a new website to promote tourism in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville:

The ABG recognises the largely untapped potential of tourism and is aware Bougainville has the natural attraction to lure adventure and niche’ travellers to its shores. But a lot needs to be done.

Kanage @ Buka(mona festival 2mas!!.)hiiiyeeh!
Success does not come overnight. There are no short cuts and quick fixes for success in anything.

ABG’s financial resources and capacity which have to be shared with other areas and services seeking more urgent attention for tourism development in the region has not been easy.

Clearly, this creates a lot of room for private enterprise driven participation in an industry that can be both profitable and enjoyable with the right advice and approach and sense of ownership.

Bougainville’s natural beauty and attractions, including its vibrant culture, like the rest of the country, can be best showcased with serious and deliberate government involvement.
This is lacking now and can be attributed largely to a lack of resources, capacity and focus and the fact that since it was established the tourism office and responsibility has been moved from pillar to post.

The settling in, focus, funding and seriousness have been amiss.
With so much potential staring at us in Bougainville it is time our political leaders and bureaucrats alike take the attitude that if tourism is to contribute to ABG’s coffers, then it should be well-intended.

A number of private operators that have been self-starters to promote tourism are the ones carrying the baton up front. The amount of promotion they are doing both out of joy in promoting the beauty of the Island and as a business is a good story.

For more information about the festival and the tour packages, contact via email:

• Peter S Kinjap is a freelance writer and a blogger. He writes for The National newspaper,weekender edition, email:

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Students celebrate indigenous cultural values and traditions at Divine Word University - Madang


THE Divine Word University (DWU) community in Madang is always pleased to host the DWU Cultural Festival every year in the third week of August.

It is a lively event with traditional songs and dances as students take the centre stage with those from neighbouring Solomon Islands also showcasing their culture. A musical group from Fiji performing at the last festival made it a somewhat Melanesian event.

The students from all 22 provinces in the country usually participate. The public in Madang and visiting tourists and the growing expatriate community of Chinese, Filipinos and Europeans usually take the chance to see a sampling of the diverse cultures and traditions of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

Many students have their parents, guardians and extended relatives on campus to assist them with the preparations and performances as well.

A Simbu student in his traditional attire. 
The inclusion of mostly highlands parents is a testament to the level of pride and support they have for their sons, daughters, nephews and cousins.
The highlands students usually appear more spectacular when their elders put the finishing touches on the face painting and traditional attire.

The annual festival is set by the university administration for the students to acknowledge their indigenous roots in traditional song, dance, costumes and folklore.

A Welda-female student from Western Highlands Province. 
Former president of the Divine Word University and now Higher Education Secretary Fr Jan Czuba said the cultural day was not a “show” but a day the students must be given a chance to reflect on the importance and values of the indigenous cultures of Papua New Guinea amidst the influences of modern ways.

Living up to the university’s slogan “Valuing our culture and heritage through collaboration”, students from various provinces in PNG put on a lively display of their cultural heritage through their bilas (traditional regalia), dancing and singing at the Madang campus.
During preparations on the day, if you go around the university, you would see parents and relatives crouched over seated students to get the arrays of beautiful feathers aligned.
It’s a proud moment for parents and relatives to see their young ones take to the arena to promote their culture.

The event has now no doubt become part of the Madang calendar and is one of the national cultural festivals with recognition from the Government through PNG Tourism Promotion Authority.

New Ireland females students waiting for their turn.
DWU, a keen promoter of Melanesian culture, encourages students to value their traditions and cultural heritage. In 1996, it was declared a university by the Government thought then Prime minister Sir Julius Chan, from Divine Word Institute.
The annual cultural event provides the avenue to get together to share heritage through songs, dancing and enactments of ceremonies.

You would be captivated by the colours of the costumes, the differences in their attire and also some of the dances you have never seen before.

There is a wider range of singsings than other cultural events in the country.
You can take as many photos as you could and there is no restriction – you might run out of space in your memory card. Note to take extra batteries and cards for your cameras if you are photographing.

On their way to the field these lasses from Central Province are happy to stop and pose in their traditional finery.
DWU as a tertiary institution is a special place for students from different backgrounds to come together and study and engage in peace and harmony with each other as Jesus Christ the “Divine Word” has taught us.

DWU has remained a beautiful campus, carefully tended and well-known as a safe, peaceful and pleasant environment in which to pursue one’s higher education.
The university also has a heart, a soul, a spirit, a social, spiritual and cultural environment in which academics can easily transmit knowledge and students can grow in wisdom and grace.

Siassi Cultural Group from Morobe warm up.
Many times the international news is not good – wars, suicide bombings, terrorist attack, killing in a school or community, violence in the streets or on a university campus. The list is long. There is too much violence.
The local news is also bad, of tribal fights, murders, rapes, corruption, domestic violence and child abuse. There is too much violence.
What can any of us do about these things, this violence? Perhaps, we think, not much – except for each of us to build a habit of nonviolence in our own hearts, in our own personal behaviour.

A Central lass after a hectic day of celebration.
And, we can influence others close to us to do the same. Every Papua New Guinean should be proud of your ethnic heritage and traditions.
In the country’s political events, let us passionately discuss and debate the issues that face our nation but not allow political rivalries to destroy friendship and the unity of our nation.
Leave anti-social behaviour, such as drunkenness, drug abuse, bullying, manipulation and every kind of violence out.

Students from Enga are crowd pleasers. 
How wonderful it is, how pleasant it is, for God’s people to live together in harmony.
Against the background of his alluring calls comes a cacophony of traditional songs, kundus, the rhythmic beat of the brass band, bag pipers, intermingled with the happy claps and delightful shouts of children and adults.
Culture is a rich tourism commodity. We have our carvings, traditional dances, arts and crafts, contemporary theatre groups and so forth.

Madang dancers in action. 
Culture has a lot to offer to the development of the tourism industry in Papua New Guinea.
While institutions like DWU are trying to promote the cultures, all Papua New Guineans should also ensure that those cultures are protected from exploitation because they are their pride and give them their identity.

Welda girls from Western Highlands 
It is thus important that cultures are maintained and passed on from one generation to the next.
Students from throughout the country including those from Solomon Islands and Fiji, and our Melanesian friends from West Papua attending DWU also display their unique cultures during their cultural festival.

In 2016, Ramu NiCo in Madang also took the opportunity to display its project by way of awareness and reaching out to the public at the DWU cultural festival.

Tolai dukduk dancers from Rabaul.
Ramu NiCo’s participation has been ongoing since its inception in Madang and such involvement is due to the strong relationship between DWU and Ramu NiCo to date.
President of Ramu NiCo, Wang Jicheng with other senior staff also visited the cultural day to experience firsthand unique cultures of the country while also supporting the promotional activities by Ramu NiCo staff during the day.

“I am very excited to come here and see the different cultures of PNG as shown by the dances and the beautiful body decorations,” Wang said.

Academics John Imbal and Nathaline Murki from the DWU’s tourism and hospitality department also did a paper on the cultural festival.
Their study reports on an assessment of the 2010 Cultural Day event and implications for management of cultural events.

Western Highlands young girls. 
It investigated the opinions and reactions of a sample of visitors to the cultural day celebrations and provides information on aspects of the promotion and programme for the event, the economic impact of the event and visitor demographics.

The assessment is intended to provide useful information as a guide for improvement of this event through promotion strategies; planning the programme, services and facilities; income generation; and economic impact.

The study should be of interest to stakeholders and the organisers for ongoing development and improvement of cultural event management.
The university student representative council (SRC) cultural committee facilitates and organises the event.

Goroka Asaro madman. 
SRC secretary Lavina Lore, a third year Tourism and Hospitality student says the festival is scheduled for August 17 this year.

For more information about the festival and the tour packages, contact via email:

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Mt. Hagen Cultural Show is bigger and better this year - 2019


PAPUA New Guinea’s cultural events are a relatively unspoiled resource with great potential for drawing the tourist dollar.

From the beginning to the end, there is a festival for PNG every year.
In Western Highlands, the famous Mount Hagen Cultural Show is showcased every year in the first of week of August.

With a history that dates back almost 60 years, the Mount Hagen Cultural Show is one of Papua New Guinea’s finest and most popular cultural events.

The show draws tribes from all over the Western Highlands and neighbouring provinces for cultural performances, singing and ancient rituals.

It’s a vibrant display of colour, culture and crafts. The cultural event was first hosted in 1961 long before Papua New Guinea’s independence in a bid to peacefully share and preserve the region’s traditions.

The rhythmic thumping of kundu drums is the first hint of the festival that lies ahead if you are around Mount Hagen city.

When the last of the early morning fog is yet to lift, the field behind the Kagamuga showground is usually a sea of towering headdresses, colourful flora and painted faces.
The Mount Hagen Cultural Show performance preparation and dress rehearsals by each tribe would take at least two hours. Across the field, you could see hundreds of people are in various states of dress (or rather, undress) – tucking leaves, arranging feathers, painting bodies, consulting mirrors.

Kagamuga local Jack Boni said, “When I was a boy, I used to climb up to the treetops so I could see over the fence and watch the festival. That was the 1970s.
“We are very proud; we love to present our culture. But it is dying out because of Western influence,” he added.

Usually held over two days, the Mount Hagen Cultural Show is one of the biggest singsings (traditional ceremonies) of the year in PNG.

Villagers from all over the region come to showcase their costumes, music, dance and art.
For visiting tourists, both domestic and international, it’s an opportunity to experience first-hand the customs of about 1,000 tribes in one of the most culturally intact places in the world.

If you happen to be one of the first to turn up at the Kagamuga showground on that day in August, you would watch the sun’s rays catching the morning dew on a black, red, yellow painted faces usually by older man. All the men, from the smallest to the biggest honour their ancestors by dressing as old men, with beards and legs daubed in white clay.
When they dance – holding their hands together and jogging on the spot in several layers of lines – the rattling of shells, bones and seed necklaces would form a mesmerising percussion to their low chant.

War-like cries and whooping sounds would draw attention of the crowd, marching in somewhat a coordinated direction – going round and round in the field forming a circle with spears and traditional axes pointing out.
Curious onlookers would be chasing one another and mock-threatening tourists with spears and axes.

Many costumes evoke ancestral spirits although most performers won’t initiate conversation.

“When you open up to people, they open up to you. If you walk with your arms folded, saying nothing, they will say nothing, too,” says Daniel Kaua, a Mount Hagen resident and show organising committee volunteer.

The Mount Hagen Cultural show committee invites tribes from nebouring provinces. The Foe tribesmen from Lake Kutubu in the Southern Highlands, only “discovered” by the West in the 1930s are among the regulars to the festival.

While Foe men are renowned for their knowledge of how to extract the highly valued viscous oil of the kara’o tree, the Foe believe the first kara’o trees sprang up from the menstrual blood of two women who once travelled the land.

The gushing oil is said to be the tree’s menstruation. The oil is mixed with charcoal or plant dye to create the paint used in celebrations and rituals: black for warriors, red for mature men and yellow for initiates or men in training.

One can’t stand the heat of an explosion of colour and rhythm, a brief of pounding feet and bouncing heads. Deep chants would run fingers down your spine and the beat of kundu drums would throb deep in the chest.

Tourists using oversised cameras would duck and weave between performers, jostling for the best angle, snapping selfies – and snapping at other tourists to get out of the way.
For their part, performers would seem proud to be celebrities for a weekend, admiring and posing with endless patience.

Every party has its foot-draggers and this one is no different. It’s a feast in the highlands.
In almost every corner of the field, performers would continue to stamp their feet and shake their arse gras (the leaves tucked into the back of their belts).

When finally all the performers have left, the showground gates are opened and locals – who have spent the day straining to see, would mingle to dance and to sing – at long last. It is their turn to stream onto the field, laughing as they soak up whatever is left of the party.
They would usually get into groups and start chanting out a momentum.

It’s the closing dance for the day known as Waipa, and usually by youngsters (both male and female) into courtship mood, filtering and giggling as they hold hands tightly and joggling in a clockwise direction chanting descants of love and acquaintances.

For this year the exotic cultural event is tentatively booked on the weekend of Aug 17 and 18. It’s different this time; much bigger and better!

For trip advisory, bookings and local tour experts, contact Niugini Exotic Tours via email at: