The Goroka Show [3]

28 09 2010

More amazing pictures from the Goroka Show

Jumping Men of Enga

Smile for the Camera (Solomon Islands Girl)

Little Boy-Man Feigns Attack

The obligatory arty shot (wish I'd taken a few more actually)

Colourful Child

Chimbu Man (I think)

Madang Singsing Group


The Goroka Show [b]

22 09 2010

Mobile Totem Poles

Some of the groups had enormous poles or boards strapped to their backs, which they carried around all day. The feathers on top of the poles are so designed that they flit symmetrically back and forth on springs made from leaves in time to the dancing.



... and the beast (and a mud man)

The stunning girl above can only have been about 12 or something. She was dancing nonchalantly at the head of her group whilst chewing gum and blowing bubbles.

More lovelies

Young Mt. Hagen man

The 2nd day was much busier – more tourists, more singsing groups – and louder. The kundu drumming of many groups intermingled with male tribal chanting and higher-pitched female singing.

Then there were pipe players from the Solomon Islands and other island groups with guitars and ukuleles.

Island Music

Enga Man

Woman bedecked in Kina shells

In pre-contact PNG, the kina shell used to carry high value, especially in the Highlands where knowledge of the coast and sea was absent. Their rarety led to shells of all kinds being highly prized and incorporated into traditional costumes, and eventually leading to PNG’s unit of currency being named the Kina.

The Goroka Show [i]

21 09 2010

Goroka is a major town in Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, with a history of gold-mining, coffee plantations, and missionaries.

Shy Eyes

The Show began in 1957 for entertainment purposes, an excuse to dress up and show off for the local communities. It was originally organised by Australian Kiaps – multi-functional administrative officers posted to remote locations.

The show’s popularity grew along with the range and diversity of performing singsing groups. Now it’s a major cultural event and draws tourists (with their bloody enormous camera lenses) from all over the world.

This celebration really is an all-out assault on the senses (apart from maybe the nasal one).

The Asaro Mud Men Cometh (with weighty helmets)

Friday: there was no big hype or build-up. The performers simply began parading slowly into the arena. The Asaro Mud Men were one of the first groups. They are legendary in part because they are so different to all the other groups.

Pretty soon, there were too many groups to keep up with, and there didn’t seem to be any logic as to where they were placed, so you just had to keep flitting from one side to the other in order not to miss any…

Enga Tribeswomen

One of the excellent things about the singsing groups, apart from the amazing costumes, decorations and rhythms, is how they encompass all generations and genders. No cherry-picking the young ‘good-looking’ ones here as you’ll see (although I accidentally cherry-picked a few oops!) – a refreshing change from our Western obsession with young slappers did I say slappers I meant attractive people.

Fun-Time Dudes!

On the down-side, I hate to think how many wonderful birds of paradise, sicklebills, and riflebirds were sacrificed for our pleasure. Feathers are handed down the generations, but still… didn’t bother some tourists who bought bunches of feathers from market traders. How they’ll get them past customs I have no idea.

Friday was a nice day to be there because there weren’t too many tourists and it was easy to mingle among the groups. Saturday was a different matter.

You can't beat a good smile

It was hot, but luckily I’d covered up having got burnt through the window of the bus on the way up. THROUGH THE BLOODY WINDOW! Actually the window was non-existent, having been previously smashed by raskals haha!

From the Grandstand on Friday

A thoroughly enjoyable day that gave one a real appreciation for the pride, power, and passion of Papua New Guineans (the three ‘P’s)

A Shading Kiddly