Friday, February 29, 2008

More piccies from 2007 (Nov.-Dec)

4th Annual Milne Bay Canoe Festival
Right after the SPREP conference in October last year we had the Canoe Festival. This is an annual event and usually falls in the first week-end of November. Last year was the 4th Canoe Festival to be hosted in the province and one of the best I've seen so far. It is the only festival of its kind in the country and each year it seems to improve with more and more tourists and participants attending. Last year The Milne Bay Tourism Industry group (MBTIG) of which I am a member, played an instrumental role in sourcing additional funding for the event. We managed to secure K30,000.00 sponsorship from Telikom so that was quite a significant achievement for us. Milne Bay being a maritime province, has an amazing range of canoes. I had no idea we had so many different types until I attended the festival.

The market warf was transformed into a VIP area.

Guess who's in the red cap? Yes, it's Habona. The waterfront was crowded as people watched and
cheered for the different canoe races.

These kids had the best view.
Many of the villagers came from distant islands and spent months preparing the canoes and themselves for the event. Most of the preparations are usually conducted in secret with only men in attendance. Often women are not permitted to witness any of the preparations or even set foot in the canoes.

Where there's an occassion to celebrate in PNG, you will always find

pigs and vegetables

Young Milne Bay girls in traditional dress.

These girls are from the Suau area. Young warriors in bilas.

Milne Bay is known for its pandanus baskets and mats

Trobriand Island Carvings

Hand crafted shell jewellery and bilas from Cape Vogel area.

The MBTIG Stall or hut rather. We decided on "Tiggy's Jungle Juice Cafe"

and sold freshly blended fruit juices, water and t-shirts. Pam with a glass of fresh fruit juice. It was a stinking hot day so the

juice bar was a great idea, we certainly had a lot of people dropping in.

Jayesh & son checking out the EMB Canoe Festival t-shirts.
It was great to catch up with dearest Jude,

whom I rarely see as she lives in Lae (Morobe Province)

My Milne Bay sisters and friends for life-Bella Jude & Tuki

with a very unhappy Kaure. Maus o? A4 (Yes, that's his name,well... nickname!) and another

Napatana staff preparing the yummy juices.

Mipla squad ya! Pam Swanson (Napatana Manager) and Habona.

It's all about the t-shirts in PNG! German tourists in Wanigili Centre t-shirts.

Tina Arek-EMB staff in one of the SPREP t-shirts.

Ellen Mesibere-EMTV host wearing one of my own t-shirt designs

"Wotcha lookin' at?" Kaure acting kuti! (Yeah, I can just see him at 18!)

One of the attractions last year was the participation of a Hawaiian team. They were a great bunch of guys who came over with their outrigger canoe to race against the local teams. I have fond memories of the night the Hawaiians cooked dinner (fish they'd caught that day) for us all. We (MBTIG members and Telikom officials) all ended up at Rabe at Peter and Rita Tarumuri's place by the sea, ate great fish, drank plenty and sang along with the guitar under the light of the coleman lamp.Everyone had a great time. Pam Swanson,always the life of the party, even did some boogying with Kala'i the hunky Hawaiian. It didn't matter if we sang out of tune or forgot the words, we had fun and enjoyed the moment, that was all that mattered.

Other memorable moments last year.....

Kaure's favourite pastime is climbing trees.

Heading to the car wash....Dion & Kaure.

Dion was a uni graduate from Adelaide,South Australia (ples blo mi!) visiting PNG for the first time. He was a guest at Wanigili but ended up being more like part of the family. He was a really great guy and was so keen to explore PNG, I ended up referring him to Robert's family so he could travel to Chimbu and check out the highlands. Needless to say, he returned with plenty of stories!One of the causeways towards East Cape.....

a favourite spot for people to wash their cars

We went with Jeanie & family to help wash their ute and have a swim.

"Show us your muscles Mama!" Jeanie having fun.

Zuriel having a swing on the vine!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A quick squiz at 2007 (Sept. - Oct.)

Gudi! Yes, it's been quite a while since I've posted anything on the blog, from Oct.- Dec. last year, we were flat out. What with a major international conference (SPREP-the biggest Alotau had ever seen let alone hosted!), canoe festival and a zillion kids for camps (ok, a few hundred!), xmas functions hic... etc....there just wasn't enough time in the day to sit in front of the computer and update you on all the headaches and fun I was having! So here's a quick flash back to Sept. last year and I'll try not to bore you with too much text, enjoy the piccies!

Father’s day: Sunday 2nd September
MBTIG (Milne Bay Tourism Industry Group) hosted a Father’s Fun Day at Island Adventure Tours Recreation Park at Divinai (about 25mins drive East of Alotau). The event was held to assist the Milne Bay Tourism Bureau to raise funds to promote the province at the PNG Tourism Expo in Port Moresby (Holiday Inn,11-15 Sept.'07).

The Dads-as long as the beers are there, they're happy.

The day was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all, especially the Dads. Napatana Lodge, Alotau International Hotel, Milne Bay Magic Tours, Education Milne Bay, Driftwood, Masurina Lodge & Island Adventure Tours put in a combined effort to ensure everyone had plenty of good food and drinks. Since it was a fun day, we also set up some games for the Dads just to ensure the rest of us were entertained! It was a great day, probably the best Father’s Day I’ve ever been to! We even managed to raise a fair amount of money on the day, it was certainly nice to see the local business community turning up to show their support. Long after the guests had left, the MBTIG members stayed well into the evening to tidy up (errrrm…..and polish off the last of the wine!) before heading back into town. The drive back took a little bit longer (blame it on Pat and her toilet stop!) but was just as entertaining with everyone singing (well, some of us were trying to!), laughing and complaining about me hitting all the pot holes!

Island Adventure Tours Recreation Park- Divinai
The jetty with view of Kellerton Island in the distance.
Island Adventure Tours offer glass bottom boat tours around
the bay & islands, they also have bungalows and a bar on site.

The little haus win by the sea

The mums (except Christine from Masurina 2nd from the left)

The boys jamming at the back of the ute! Go Miah!

Ahh Miline Bay Gels......da way you smile!

Beautiful flowers from Napatana

Pam's scrumptious week-end biccies!

Bruce, ever ready with the wine!

Ai ai time!

Member for Alotau Open and Minister for Culture & Tourism

Hon. Charles Abel also took part in the fun & games!This one's the 3 coconut relay. Coconut scraping was a bit of a challenge for some!
Bring it on!

Jayesh & Peter, before the 3-legged race & looking slightly tipsy.

Jayesh & Peter, after the race!

MBTIG members: (L-R,Back) Maxine,Jayesh TN,Pam Swanson,

(L-R,Front) Christina Aule, Maleta Tokwakwasi & Patricia Sinyoi (missing is Rita Tarumuri) Tyson Neville also celebrated his birthday with a huge cake

shared by all.The kids had a cake fight afterwards.

Independence Day - September 16 2007
Alice Wedega Park, Alotau

Habona-acting police man! Beautiful Bilums & Cane baskets from Ialibu in the Southern Highlands Province

"Kapwa" Charlie Graham and coconut! Not only is this Misiman guy hilarious and a great friend, he is also a wealth of information on anything to do with Milne Bay.
Beautiful Milne Bay faces

SPREP Conference 22-26 Oct.2007

More than 500 participants arrived on our shores from throughout the Pacific,Europe and the US to attend the conference. It was a huge challenge for a small town like Alotau and a mammoth task trying to accommodate everyone, but despite all the hurdles, it turned out to be a highly successful event with a lot of positive feed back from the participants, many of whom were initially scared to come to PNG. After a few days in Alotau experiencing our hospitality and friendliness though, they were happy they came.

(South Pacific Regional Environment Program Conference)

Wanigili Centre

The haus win was used as a meeting place for the many break out sessions.

The Closing Dinner at Wanigili -. Milne Bay style feast. We hosted the dinner for over 600 people and decided on an authentic Milne Bay theme. The guests sat under the stars on woven coconut mats,ate from coconut woven baskets and used their hands or coconut forks to eat. They loved it! It was funny seeing all these dimdims (foreigners) sitting on the ground, but they felt right at home and I was so proud (and relieved!) everything went off without a hitch. This is how we eat at home during village gatherings.

Vivien -the bird specialist from New Caledonia digging into the local cuisine.With the assistance of the church groups we prepared several roasted pigs, traditional claypot food cooked over the fire, sea food galore, fresh fruits, vegetables and salads.

New Guinea Islands Dance Troup
Kate Brown from Samoa-SPREP Conference Manager.

Kate is an amazing woman, she was an inspiration to work with, not to mention a tonne of fun, along with Vainuupo Jungblut, Ruth Pune and the rest of the SPREP team.