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6 October 2014 / leggypeggy

Mardi Gras meets Halloween at the Goroka Show

Asaro mud men, Goroka Show

Asaro mud men don’t look quite so scary without their spears and masks

Where to start with the Goroka Show? Frankly I’m still reeling from an overload of colours, sights, sounds, songs and jiggling flesh. Oh yeah, I seen enough flesh to last a lifetime.

This show is just one of many tribal gatherings—known as sing-sings—that occur across Papua New Guinea. And they are unique to that country.

Australian administrators got the shows going in the 1950s and 60s as a way to get tribes to celebrate PNG’s extraordinary and diverse cultures.

Imagine bringing together hundreds of different, and sometimes warring or isolated, ethnics groups, and turning them loose in an enclosed area with all the body paint, eleborate decorations, boundless energy and stunning creativity from whatever the jungle, sea and shops have to offer?

Goroka’s sing-sing is one of the biggest and most colourful. It got started in 1956 and is usually on the weekend closest to 16 September (the date in 1975 that Australia gave PNG independence).

For the last few years, a friend in Port Moresby (and someone we travelled with in Africa in 2009) has urged us to see the Goroka Show, so this year we started planning. Poor John is the great organiser, so I left it to him to find a reasonably priced option.

Goroka Show, Papua New Guinea

The crowd watches one tribe strut their stuff

He found a wonderful choice in Best of PNG. The 11-day package included four nights in Goroka, two nights in an Asaro village, and five nights in and around Tufi. The price was fantastic (no, we didn’t get any discount or freebie), and we talked to people on more deluxe packages that spent four times what we did. But I should point out that we slept in basic grass shacks and in dorms at the National Sports Institute in Goroka,

I’ll be covering all the elements in our package, as well as the days we had in Port Moresby before and after. For now, here are a few more introductory pics—I’m still sorting through the hundreds I took. Also hope to post a couple of videos.

Oh, and about my comment that I’ve seen enough flesh to last a lifetime. I was joking. I want to go back next year and the next and…

Performer, Goroka Show, Papua New Guinea

A quiet moment before joining the dance, and yes that’s a bird wing on his head


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne T Ferguson (@mickeydownunder) / Oct 7 2014 12:17 pm

    G’day! Thanks for allowing me to view the world through your eyes Peggy and in learning something new today! Cheers! Joanne


  2. Midwestern Plant Girl / Oct 7 2014 9:42 pm

    Seems kind of like a cheerleader competition! JK.
    That would be interesting to see many tribes at one time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 7 2014 10:02 pm

      Oh wow, what a great description, but they’re much more colourful than cheerleaders. I felt surrounded by thousands of Lady and Lord Gagas!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Year I Touched My Toes / Sep 30 2016 10:41 am

    More please Peggy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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