Papua New Guinea boasts a variety of cultural activities every year, many of which are tourist attractions, while some aimed at preserving culture and transferring local knowledge.
The Women Weavers of Milne Bay (WWOMB) early this month was one such event, which saw women from around the province gather in Alotau for a two-day show and tell event, specifically for sharing knowledge on cultural practices, particularly the art of weaving.
Organisers Elaine Bate and Maxine Nadile from Egwalau Tours and Events brought in women weavers who shared their skills and cultural performances and prepared local dishes.
“There is a lot of talent out there and our women have no opportunity to show and share their skills.”
“The WWOMB is an event we created to help these women,” they said.
The women-run businesses are connected through the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAM), an Australian and New Zealand funded aid program focused on promoting exports from PNG.
PHAMA country manager Sidney Suma, officiated at the event in Alotau last weekend.
“PHAMA helped with the linkages and introductions to markets, but it was important to initiate networking among industry players within the domestic market,” Mr Suma said.
Visiting fashion designer and jewelry and handicraft maker, Annette Sete, who runs Maku Gifts in Rabaul, was appreciative of the creativity among the women.
“These women are amazingly talented.The amount of creativity is very encouraging especially when we look at developing the handicraft sector within the tourism industry,” she said.
As well as sharing in the knowledge and skills, the women organised a fashion show recreating some products from the weaving and jewelry-making into fashion pieces featuring ‘mother nature’ on the runway to commemorate the World Environment Day.
The event was part of a wider initiative by PHAMA to promote handicraft sales to tourists.
Meanwhile, PHAMA is in the process of finalising a video on PNG handicrafts to be shown on board cruise ships, which will be launched in the coming months.
(Source: Post Courier Business 22 June 2017)