Mt. Hagen cultural show: A feast of colour

Following our arrival from Australia, we traversed the stunning PNG Highlands seeking out the beautiful Birds of Paradise and attended the PNG’s premier cultural event, the Mt.Hagen Show, the origin of which dates to 1961 when Australian colonial administrators sought to reduce tribal fighting and promote peace. Today, with pride and cash prizes at stake, the tribes participate in this enormous cultural competition with painstaking preparation to excite and entertain the many thousands of local spectators. The 2 day “sing sing” enables a limited number of Western tourists to experience up close, the colour, movement and music performed by the largest gathering of diverse tribes in the South Pacific. Our camera clicking fingers needed a rest, having recorded some of the most memorable days of our global travels.

Mt. Hagen - a richness unrivaled

Mt Hagen, capital of the densely populated Highlands region of mainland PNG was “discovered” as recently as the 1930’s by Australian gold prospectors, Mick Leahy and Michael Dwyer. Melanesians have occupied the highland interior of New Guinea Island probably for more than 30,000 years, developing advanced plant cultivation and irrigation technologies at 1,500 meters above sea level, possibly 10,000 years ago, establishing themselves amongst the world’s earliest agriculturists. We visited coffee and tea plantations in the scenic Waghi Valley. Coffee is Papua New Guinea's second largest agricultural export, employing approximately 2.5 million people.

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