Festival puts culture on centre stage


TOURISM is a pot of gold which holds much potential for rural areas, says Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) Tourism board member and advocate Francis Steven.
He said some indigenous cultural products of Morobe were so unique and yet to be exposed.
Steven was chairman of the first ever Huon Gulf-Nawaeb Arts and Crafts Festival at Miles Lodge, 14-Mile, outside Lae, on Feb 22-23.
He was assisted by Robert Tom (Huon Gulf), Pesa Takos (Nawaeb) and Miles Lodge owner Kwina Ambang.
The festival had displays of various artifacts, singsing groups, drama, farm produce and various SMEs.
Marilyn Saonu, wife of Governor Ginson, stood in on behalf of her husband who was away in the Philippines.
Tourism Arts and Culture chairman Kennedy Wenge was represented by executive officer Vincent Bayu.
Saonu said her husband had made a commitment to support the festival as an annual event. She said such festivals to share cultural skills and knowledge were crucial.
The theme of the event was, “In partnership we achieve Vision 2050 through SME and good governance”. It featured carvings, bilum, baskets, clay pots, singsing groups, drama, horticulture, floriculture, photography and framing, paintings, tapa clothing, head dresses and masks.
Ambang challenged the Government to invest in small tourism programmes in rural areas.
Women exhibitors’ representative Anna Wissink presented bouquets to Saonu and Ambang to cement the partnership with Miles Lodge as the venue for the annual event.

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