Before 2010 is up I’d like to share some photos and enjoyable moments during the 7th Canoe and Kundu Festival in Alotau, the capital city of the Milne Bay Province.
I was so pleased to have made it because the last time I visited Alotau was in July 2004 before I left to take up a post in London, UK. Of course, this trip to Alotau was in my capacity as the head of the policy development, strategic coordination and monitoring and evaluation entity created last year. So it was part of the job to attend the Festival and what a kaleidescope of beautiful traditional dances and costumes. The cultural diversity blew me away! I was simply entranced!
I enjoyed the dances presented by many cultural groups who travelled many miles in some cases to get to the Festival. The Festival showcased the various cultures of the Milne Bay Province. Missing though were the traditional Kiriwina dancers from the Trobriand Islands. Hope they make it next year – they will no doubt add more colour to the already colourful dancing costumes and dances.
Being the 7th Canoe and Kundu Festival, people said it was bigger and better than in previous years. I guess like anything else, we learn and improve. So that’s how it was then.
However, I’d like to remember one of the key movers and shakers who is, if you like, the founding father of the Festival – the late John Wills Kaniku – RIP Uncle John. This Festival is his legacy. I think it would be a fitting tritbure to his memory to name one of the main events after his name or at least one of the trophies. I am so pleased that he spearheaded the cause and was the brainchild of this Festival which is fast becoming a major cultural event in Milne Bay if not in PNG. I know that it will gradually become a major cultural event on the national cultural events calendar if not already.
The Festival was held from 5th – 7th November, 2010.
Here are some of the photos I took from the Festival. There was so much to take in and I was most impressed by the many different dances and costumes plus the traditional food exchanges at the Festival. Included are some shots from one of the canoe races.
I have photos to show that it was a cultural extravaganza and one that I hope would be in the calendar of travellers heading towards the Pacific. The Festival is usually held in November – a great way to visit and pick up some really lovely exotic gifts for friends and family.
It was a great Festival and I enjoyed it immendsely. I was able to witness once again diversity in action as PNG is one of the world’s most diverse societies – linguistically, culturally, artistically etc.
The town was the cleanest I have ever seen it, friendly and warm and the sun very hot but I am so looking forward to the 8th Canoe and Kundu Festival.