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Pictures of our Papua New Guinea trip
(Part 4: Goroka Cultural Show September 17th, to 19th, 2010  - with our vehicle)
Part 1: Milne Bay – (Port Moresby) – Mount Hagen – Lae
Part 2: Mount Hagen Cultural Show August 13th, to 15th, 2010
Part 3: Lae – Madang – Goroka
Part 5: Goroka – Mount Hagen – Kumul Pass – Mount Hagen – Goroka – Lae
Papua New Guinea Map
      Map of the Pacific
latest picture: September 19, 2010
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35th Independence Day Celebration on September 16th, 2010, at the “Goroka Grammar School”
01  Children dressed in one of the
traditional outfits from the Province
of Madang are ready to perform …..
02  ..... Children from different ages,
also representing the Madang Province,
explain their clothing …..
03  ..... a bigger group from the
Morobe Province enters
the school yard
One day after our arrival in Goroka, nestling on 5’250ft. altitude in the Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea is celebrating its 35th Independence Day, since it gained its sovereignty from Australia. It is September 16th, 2010. Already early morning, we drive through the streets in search of the preparations for the festivities. But there are none. May be because of the “Singsing” – the Big Show – which starts tomorrow? Somewhen, a car stops and a man is walking towards us, having recognized our LandCruiser from the article in the “National” newspaper and having read about our epic journey.
04  Already at young age, children learn to
preserve the value of their culture: Two pretty
girls in outfit of the Chimbu Province
05  Proud dancers from the Chimbu Province
are posing for a picture with our LandCruiser
in front of the “Goroka Grammar School”
06  There is nothing than starting
young: Boy from Mount Hagen
07  Promising poster of the
Goroka Cultural Show on
September 17th-19th, 2010
08  Groups from different regions
are marching into the show ground
of the National Sports Institute
09  In his official opening speech, the Deputy
Prime Minister, Hon. Don Polye, urges his
people to preserve their cultural treasure
Spontaneously he asks us if we would like to attend this morning’s celebrations at the “Goroka Grammar School”. And spontaneously we say yes and do not regret it. It is nice to spend some time among traditionally dressed-up children from different ages who perform dances from diverse regions and explain their outfit. It is a lovely prelude to tomorrow’s famous event.
10  The warriors from Mariwaka
(Goroka) in the Eastern Highlands are
lead by a Japanese guy who marches
each year with a different group
11  The costumes of these women
dancers from Kaukave (Goroka)
emblematize in the upper part the flag
of the Eastern Highlands Province
12  Women from Mount Hagen show
with their shell necklaces one of the
most amazing appearances
13  Woman group from ???
14  The warriors from the Chimbu
Province look really “fierce” –
here they are performing a drama
15  Women from the Madang
Province are advancing
Next day, our excitement grows: The 54th “Goroka Cultural Show” begins. How will we experience it? Will it be more impressive than the Mt. Hagen „Singsing“? We are really anxious about it. On this clear morning, we find ourselves already at 8am in front of the still closed gates of the “National Sports Institute”. A bit skeptically we wonder if we are at all allowed to drive in with the car having no special permit, because we have noticed already corresponding stickers on windscreens. But there are always surprises: The huge metal door opens straightaway and the uniformed security guards wave us past without asking a single question. Did eventually our LandCruiser already rise so much attention while driving around in Goroka that it is treated so privileged?
16  The huge headdress of the dancer of
the „Hugepa Gahisi“ Group from Komiufa
near Goroka is highly visible …..
17  ….. his group catches our
attention already from afar …..
18  ….. another example of
their amazing headdress
19  Women performer of the Chimbu
Province in their extraordinary look …..
20  ….. a close-up picture
21  Group with backboards from ???
From the very first moment, it is THE attraction on the showground parking area. People are circling and admiring it and are taking countless pictures of the three of us. Only when slowly the festivities advance, the crowd around our car starts to ease. The grandstand is filling up steadily, mainly with foreign tour groups. We are early enough to grab a vantage seat too. When suddenly a vigorous beat of drums thunders through the place, everybody gets silent: The “Singsing” is officially opened and the wonderfully costumed groups march one after the other into the show ground, making everyone gasp with excitement.
In full action: Three groups from the coastal region in different outfits and different dancing style
22  Dancers from Morobe Province
23  Madang women
24  Wandokai from the Huon
Peninsula in the Morobe Province
25  Girls and boys from the Chimbu
Province performing a courtship scene
26  Tall backboards
27  A band from the Chimbu
Province entertaining the spectators
Nowhere in the world are the diversification of the cultures and traditions more unique than in PNG. This underlines also the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Don Polye, in his official opening speech. He urges his people to preserve this cultural treasure. It is exactly this richness that makes PNG so special and fascinating. During the following hours we are absorbed by the performances, by the costumes and body decorations. We always discover new groups – groups from the main island that were not present in Mt. Hagen – but also groups from outer island.
28  Two young girls from Goroka
in their full traditional outfit
29  An old Chimbu man with a fan-shaped
head dress is playing his bamboo flute
30  A young man from Goroka poses with his
elaborate headdress with a big smile for a picture
31  The “Bilum” – the traditional string
bag – shows here on the back of the
participants the flag from Goroka
32  The biggest attraction of the
Chimbu women is the imposing head-
dress of black bird of paradise feathers
33  Women from the Chimbu Provice
parade through the show ground
When we discover the ladder leading to the roof of the main stand, the temptation to climb it is big. Shall we risk it? Why not? As soon as we reach the top, we know that it was the best decision! What we see from the bird-eye-view is beyond imagination and description: A sea of people in euphoric mood covers the entire arena; a kaleidoscope of bright colors and rhythmically moving performers at the beating of drums dominate the scene - a sight we will never forget.
34  Students from the North
Solomon Province spread
a touch of South Pacific flair
35  A group of students from Rabaul
on the island of New Britain perform
in a rather “modest” outfit
36  Men from the Morobe Province. Covered
exclusively with bush material and each one
carrying a “Kundu” drum, this group from the
Morobe Province pictures forest dwellers
37  A special look: Warrior
from Goroka with his
oversized backboard
38  Very dedicated:
A participant from Goroka
39  A woman from the Chimbu Province
wearing her precious headdress made
from bird of paradise feathers. It is passed
down from generation to generation
Which „Singsing“ did we find more impressive? The Mt. Hagen or the Goroka, we ask ourselves at the end of the day. It is very difficult to give a fair judgment. The two were extraordinary and belong to the highlights of our 26 years epic journey around the world. In Goroka were more participating groups, but the atmosphere in Mt. Hagen, especially at the small-scale pre- or mini-show, had a more intimate touch. There were some differences in the organization too. Some we liked more, some less. Here are our pros and cons feelings:
40  Leave and shell decoration is
the main ornament of this young
girl from the Chimbu Province
41  We would not want to
meet this guy from Yoite
near Goroka in the forest!
42  A participant from Kaukave
near Goroka with her tricolor outfit
43  A lap-lap from leaves and a “Bilum”
– a string bag – are the characteristics
of this group from Goroka
44  Are they not wearing scary masks?
Group from the Chimbu Province
45  Women from the Chimbu
Province performing in a circle
At the Goroka Show we like better that the crowd of local spectators, which are separated hermetically in an outer ring by a barbed wire from the overseas tourists in the inner ring, are also let into the arena for the official speeches. It adds enormously to the colorful scene. This was not the case in Mt. Hagen. There the locals could join only after the overseas tourists had already left. These measures are taken especially to avoid annoying theft incidences.
46  The dynamic bamboo band from the
North Solomon Islands sparks huge interest
47  A string band from the Chimbu
Province entertains in a soft style
48  Kalilong Cultural Group from Wandokai on
the Huon Peninsula in the Morobe Province
49  What more do you need: A skirt from
leaves and a headdress from moss – and
ready is the costume of this Chimbu group
50  The warriors from Goroka
come up with huge backboards
rising skywards
51  The snake dancers from Chimbu
are favored by the spectators
The negative side in Goroka is that the foreign tourists have the privilege to mingle from the beginning with the performers, making it hard to get a picture without dozens of digital cameras. (It seems to be the first year to happen though). In Mt. Hagen, however, the gate to the performing arena is only opened towards the end for the tourists, when the marching-in of the dancing groups is completed. Then they have all the time to mingle and take pictures. We liked it more that way! Also we liked more in Mt. Hagen that the interesting dressing-up and body decorations take place at the show ground itself, thus everybody can join. In Goroka, however, the preparations are at different locations. Who does not know them, will miss them!
52  Close-up of a masked
Chimbu man equipped with arrows
53  There is barely a better camouflage
in the forest: A man from Chimbu
54  A woman from Chimbu with her fan-shaped
headdress made of different bird feathers
55  People gather around the
performing “Sili Muli“ male
dancers from the Enga Province
56  A display of bird of paradise feathers
57  The “Sili Muli“ women group from
the Enga Province are not less favored
than their men on picture 55
Whatever show – be it the one at Mt. Hagen or at Goroka – both are unique in the world and a wonderfully exciting, unforgettable and indescribable experience! While it is said that the Mount Hagen Show started in 1964, the Goroka Show was a bit earlier, in 1957. Both had and still have in mind to bring the various, sometimes warring tribes, in a peaceful way closer together. The entry tickets vary, so in Mount Hagen the pre- or mini-show (1 day) costs Kina 150 (US$56) and the following two-day main show Kina 300 (US$112), while in Goroka there is just a three-day main show that costs Kina 200 (US$75). Each one attracts about 80 tribes with roughly 20 participants each and between 50’000 and 100’000 spectators, including only several hundred “white tourists”.
58  The arena is cram-full
59  Liliana and Emil are posing for a souvenir
picture on the roof of the grandstand
60  The peak of the Goroka Show
61  Our LandCruiser is also a star on
the parking of the showground: Security
agents are eager to take a picture with it .....
62  ..... so does a group of
performers from Mt. Hagen
with Liliana at their side …..
63  ..... and warriors with bow and
arrow from Madang with Emil joining
More websites from Papua New Guinea:
Articles in newspapers about us in Papua New Guinea:
Article: "26-year journey around the world", Daily Newspaper "The National" - August 20, 2010
Article: "Travelling the world none-stop for 26 years", Daily Newspaper "The National" - October 21, 2010