SP Games Opens Tonight in Port Moresby

Picture and story from ABC News

The South Pacific Games opens tonight in Port Moresby. After years of preparation by Papua New Guinea (PNG) and hundreds of regional athletes, the 15th South Pacific Games opening ceremony has begun in the nation’s capital. Australia and New Zealand participate for the first time ever. It is expected 24 South Pacific island countries will compete in the next two weeks. Citizens, visitors, and sportsmen and women at tonight’s opening will also witness the largest group of traditional dancers from across PNG. Up to 900 singsing groups will perform, according to organisers. Artistic director of tonight’s opening ceremony, Airleke Ingram, said it is a celebration of Papua New Guinea’s rich cultural history, while pointing to the country’s future direction. The ceremony’s theme is tied to the local region’s hiri trade, an important cultural influence. “It’s a really key part of our culture. There are a lot of songs, dances and tattoos,” said Mr Ingram, a music producer, traditional drummer and famed percussionist from Central Province. The ceremony pays homage to the trade relationship between the Motuan and Gulf Province people, and the role this played in shaping PNG. ABC News

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