Skip to content
14 October 2014 / leggypeggy

Bums, backs and bustles—more Goroka Show ‘exposed’

Goroka Show, bum dancing

Dancing cheek-to-cheek—the Junife group from Henganofi

I was totally out of control at the Goroka Show in Papua New Guinea—all that flesh, all those flashy get-ups, all those muscles, all that body art, all that pulsating music, all those thumping drums.

It was a complete sound-and-sight overload, so I caved in and did what I swore I wouldn’t do again after the last time my senses took a similar hammering in the Himalayas in 2011.

So what did I do? I confess. I took 800 pictures (and a few movies) in two days. I’m not proud, but then again, I suppose I am.

Now it’s taking me ages to wade through them (luckily I’m popping quite a few in the trash).

But I’m not going to keep you in suspense while I fiddle with photos.

So I’ve settled on sharing a big dose of bums, backs and bustles (I’ll save that other ‘b’ word ‘boobs’ until later).

But first I’ll tell you a little more about the show. It’s one of many such extravaganzas held each year in Papua New Guinea’s highlands. This two-day event usually occurs on the weekend closest to PNG’s independence day, 16 September.

This year about 130 tribes performed. Interested tribes pay a deposit to secure a place, and are then paid if they appear. No prizes are awarded, which makes sense when you consider the fact that some of these tribes are enemies.

I heard that the organisers had hoped to limit participation this year, but too many tribes already know the show’s bank account details. So they just go ahead and pay their deposit, and are confirmed as being in.

Goroka Show costume

Groups can have any number of people (most are large), and I’m guessing there were at least 2000 performers.

We were VIP guests—a $60 option available to foreigners and well-to-do PNGers. There weren’t more than 400 VIP tickets sold this year (compared to 360 last year). The big bonus in these tickets (general admission is about $2) is early admission. We were allowed in at 9am both days, while the general public can’t get in until noon.

Performers love the crowds and play their parts to the hilt. The great thing for us was being able to walk amongst all the performers. Every now and then, we found ourselves in the midst of a dance or facing a bow and arrow or a brandished spear. But it also meant we could closely examine the costumes and all those magnificent bodies, and even chat to the performers on the rare occasions that they actually took a break. You may have noticed that one of the back decorations is an animal pelt. It’s a cuscus or a PNG possum. Another performer is wearing cassowary feathers over his bum.

In addition to the still pics, I’ve added two short video clips of bums and bustles. I think you’ll agree that these bums, backs and bustles are impressive and expressive. The fellows in the top photos are part the Junife tribe from Henganofi. They were having a great time hamming it up and dancing cheek-to-cheek.

Bustles of the Goroka Show

Bustling about at the Goroka Show


Leave a Comment
  1. suchled / Oct 14 2014 6:37 pm

    I have nothing to say. Publish a book. Get someone you know who may have had diplomatic experience to go to the PNG tourism fellas and say you will publish a book. The photos are too good to just limit them to the 5749 followers who are lucky enuff to see them. Stop stuffing around and publish. I’m old – before I die for goodness sake.


    • leggypeggy / Oct 14 2014 7:57 pm

      Oh, you silver-tongued devil. But now that you mention it, I might know someone who knows someone in PNG tourism. I’ll let you know.


    • weggieboy / Oct 15 2014 4:02 am

      I’m with suchled here, Peggy! You have a treasure trove of experiences and photos that deserve a broader exposure.

      As for bums and boobs, if we all looked that good mostly unclothed, maybe we’d spread the joy around, too! Ha! 😉


      • leggypeggy / Oct 15 2014 8:30 am

        I think doing a book might interfere with my travel plans. 🙂


  2. pagedogs / Oct 15 2014 12:23 am

    I wish we got to be as creative in our daily dress. Animal, vegetable, mineral–it’s all there. Thanks for bringing us along.


  3. simpletravelourway / Oct 15 2014 5:43 am

    Wow! This is a different take from most travel blogs and harkens back to our youths reading “National Geographic.” What a great post and now we’re eagerly anticipating seeing more of the those 800 photos you took.


    • leggypeggy / Oct 15 2014 8:33 am

      I always wanted to work for “National Geographic”, so maybe I can pretend that I do now.


  4. Dorothy / Mar 4 2015 12:36 pm

    Gosh you have seen a lot more of PNG than us and we were there for over seven years. Having to work got in the way, maybe I should go back as a tourist.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 7 2015 2:34 am

      I hope you do go back as a tourist. Maybe I’ll come too. 🙂



  1. No skirting around the Goroka Show—it’s all upfront | Where to next?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: