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Torres Strait dance group to feature at Enga Cultural Show

Packet of traditional salt and stone axe heads
Package of traditional salt alongside stone axe heads

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG – ‘Experience Enga’s Ancestral Salt Pond’ is the theme for this year’s 39th Enga Cultural Show, that looks bound to be one of the best organised extravaganzas ever.

A cultural group from the Foi tribe of Lake Kutubu will participate in the show, re-enacting the ancient oil for salt trade between the people of Enga and Southern Highlands.

And this experience will be flavoured by the participation of an Australian indigenous Torres Strait islander dance group.

The Lake Kutubu oil extracted from the kara’o tree – called digasa oil -  will be exchanged for traditional salt at Enga’s Mulisos Yokonda salt ponds - the exact location and original source of salt manufacture and trade with people from many parts of the highlands.

Another attraction will be the Tasting Enga Food tourism event which will involve a dinner where local dishes will be served for the first time to VIPs, tourists and other interested people.

This event will take place on the evening of Friday 9 August at the Enga College of Nursing at Sopas where patrons will pay for a rare culinary experience trialled for the first time in the province.

This year’s Enga Cultural Show has been marketed widely by making it the first cultural festival in PNG where both international tourists and locals alike can purchase show tickets online from anywhere in the world.

Enga governor Sir Peter Ipatas announced these innovations at the Tourism Promotion Authority head office in Port Moresby where he also revealed that a native Australian dance group from the Torres Strait Islands will grace the show to be staged from 9-11 August.

The Aboriginal group will be on a cultural exchange program to share traditional artistic skills and knowledge with local artists at the Take Anda Cultural Museum (House of Traditional Values) in Wabag.

The discerning visitor will have a rare opportunity to witness how the two different cultural groups interact to showcase their skills.

The indigenous Australians will see how Enga people made human hair wigs, birds of paradise headdresses, deadly bows and arrows, fighting shields, wooden digging sticks, house building and more.

The elaborate displays will take place in a modern building situated in a narrow gully carved out by the noisy little Kop Creek.

The creek has flowed since before people settled here in the province.

A visitor joins the fun at the Take Anda grounds
A visitor joins the fun at the Take Anda grounds

Also on display will be the famous Ambum Stone, the Yupun figure, sacrificial stones, traditional salt, life-like photographs of different species of Birds of Paradise, youth initiation ceremonies, men taking part in tee exchanges or pig killings involving hundreds of animals at huge feasts taken at the point of first contact.

The 400,000 Enga people speak the same language but many aspects of their culture differ among the five districts.

The way people dress, the singing and the dance steps are all different.

And of course, this will be spiced up by colourful singsing groups from Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Huli Wigman and groups from other parts of PNG.

For more highlights and information on the 2019 Show get in touch with contact@engashow.com

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