Updated: Feb 25, 2020
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the PNG area of Kimbe West New Britain but there are still misconceptions to what PNG really is like and I often get questions like, "Is it safe?," Where is it?", "Do you live in a hut?." Here is a little update from the recent PNG Independence Day celebrations here in Brisbane and insight to my home town.
The 16th September was the 42nd PNG Independence day celebrations and it was a great opportunity for Brisbane residents to see the real beauty of PNG through CULTURE!
If you attended the 43rd PNG Independence day celebrations at Beenleigh, Brisbane, you would have got a taste of the stunning and unique culture PNG has to offer. There were dancers from the highlands to the islands in their colours of vibrant, red, yellow, blues, pink traditional wear. Additionally, delicious food stalls cooking up the favourite lamb chops and traditional coconut dishes were a highlight for all.
The day started at 6am with the setup of the Zambilla & Co stall and I prepared the display of all the colourful jewellery for the day including my PNG range I designed specifically for the celebration. As the day progressed the formal activities began with the signing of the anthem and acknowledgements to the land owners. More people arrived shortly after as they would say, "running on PNG time.
Image Below: PNG Collection
A special treat of the day is always watching the dancing groups. Firstly, the Highland dancers showed off their very striking face paint and headdress as they effectively timed the beat of the Kundu drum together. We were then welcomed by the active and and fast-paced Manus dancers with their intricate beaded anklets, hand woven grasskirts, shell headpieces and their unique, "hey! hey! hey!" dance moves between the boys and girls. The Buka dancers with their hand dyed grass skirts of pink hues and creme came gracefully out, swaying side to side with their hands held together behind them. These dances of course, are merely 1% of the array of traditional dancers found in PNG.
Image Below: Kairuku Dancers, Buka Women's Dance, Highland Dancers
The Kairuku dancers this year collaborated with Zambilla & Co to accessorise their traditional wear. Their cultural colours of yellows and reds in particular were coupled perfectly with the Zambilla & Co PNG range. From my stall I could see them as they swayed side to side effortlessly creating a whip of the end of their grass skirts while moving to the beat their drums, I felt honored to be apart of this culturally significant moment.
Image Above: Kairuku Dancers in traditional wear and Zambilla earrings
By 1pm there were over 600 people enjoying their food and wearing their Zambilla around the venue. It was lovely seeing all embrace their PNG culture and even those that lived in PNG in the 1970's were there to enjoy the day.
Image Below: Zambilla Lovers with their new purchases!
To end my quick summary of the day, I am proud to be part Papua New Guinean and I hope that you ignore the negative stigmas associated with it and take a leap to the "land of the unexpected." The fishing, culture, natural beauty is still raw and unlike any other place in the world. Plus, it is only a 3 hour flight to Port Moresby and a 1 hour flight to the 22 provinces! Come visit me in Kimbe, West New Britain and stay at our hotel Liamo Reef Resort for a adventure packed holiday walking volcanoes, diving the best reefs, fishing epic locations and relaxing in hot rivers.
Images Below: My home Kimbe, West New Britain
In the meantime, stay safe and "lukim yu bihain!"
PS: The next PNG Independence Day celebration will be held next year September at Beenligh, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Hope to see you there!