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.
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
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"
juice bar was a great idea, we certainly had a lot of people dropping in.
whom I rarely see as she lives in Lae (Morobe Province)
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
"Show us your muscles Mama!" Jeanie having fun.
Zuriel having a swing on the vine!