PAPUA New Guineans turned up in their thousands at various venues around the country to celebrate the 35th Independence Day anniversary.
All urban centres drew bumper crowds at the celebration venues, led by Port Moresby where Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare officiated at the flag-raising ceremony on Independence Hill – an occasion witnessed by MPs, members of the diplomatic corps, departmental heads, school children and city residents.
Sir Michael’s main message was for Papua New Guineans to reflect on past achievements and work for a better tomorrow.
“The task that we all face in continuing to build this vibrant nation is to accept that we are all different, get over it and unite to work together because our vision and aspirations, at the end of the day, are essentially the same.”
Sir Michael flew to Wewak later in the morning to celebrate with his East Sepik constituents. The day’s events were trouble-free in all urban centres, police reported no serious accidents.
Port Moresby residents, buoyed by a clear sky, were orderly as they attended various traditional and cultural shows, sports and marches throughout the city.
In the afternoon, there was the lowering of the flag and then fireworks continued into the night from the Sir John Guise Stadium and the Jack Pidik Park.
Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane used the occasion to urge leaders “to forget their little politics of turf, power and political mileage” and support the implementation of Vision 2050.
The other highlight in Port Moresby was the announcement of the Logohu awards, the highest to be awarded that of “chief” going to Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The eye-catching Hiri Moale festival for Motu-Koitabu villages officially kicks off today at Ela Beach following Wednesday’s fashion parade at the Botanical Gardens in Waigani. The festival will end with the crowning of Miss Hiri Hanenamo on Sunday.