Some members of the PNG Community in Vanuatu

On Saturday 10 August 2019, the Papua New Guinea community in Port Vila launched their dance group at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre.

PNG Honorary Consul, Eileen Nganga told 96.3 Buzz FM that this was a longtime plan and that the main objective is to strengthen and teach the kids as well as interested members of the community to learn the cultural aspects of their Papua New Guinean Heritage.

Mrs. Nganga however mentioned that this is not the first time as back in the '90s the late Judith Kere started a small group and taught a lot of the children in the PNG community the Manus dance from where she originally came from.

Unfortunately, as the years went by this cultural programme ceased to exist.

However, the program is being revived because the PNG community is growing, however the children do not seem to know about their PNG heritage, so having this programme will help them to stay attached to their roots.

Project Coordinator, Margret Terry, says this is a three-year project and she acknowledges Capitol Insurance for donating VT600,000 to start the project.

Mrs. Terry says with the money given they will commit themselves to making this happen.

She said the children should learn where their parents came from. This is so that they know where they come from and where they are going.

She is encouraging all children with connection to PNG through one or both parents to go and learn the various dances of PNG and she also encourages the older members to go along if they are interested.

Mrs. Terry says people are only old in their thoughts but inside there is a kid living in all everyone, so no one should think they are too old to dance.

She says when the group performs several PNG dances in future it will give them a sense of pride towards their heritage and show everyone who Papua New Guineans are as a country.

Thelma Tapasei, Country Manager of Capitol Insurance which is owned by the three superannuation funds of Papua New Guinea, says she is excited to be part of the project as the company she manages is a PNG company. She says she can’t see the people in PNG but by sponsoring the PNG community in Port Vila and seeing them gives her the feeling and a reminder of who she is working for.

Papua New Guinea is a nation of diversity and has many different languages and traditions like Vanuatu. PNG Honorary Consul, Eileen Nganga is also appealing to other Papua New Guineans to join in and teach dances to the children from their respective provinces in order to give them several dances to perform to embrace the diversity of PNG.

Mrs Nganga originates from the East New Britain Province located on New Britain Island but has lived in Vanuatu for over 40 years after marrying Meto Nganga of Mele Village on Efate.  

The Papua New Guinea Community has grown a lot over the years. The first Papua New Guineans who came to live in Vanuatu were the wives of New Hebridean students who went to study in PNG and returned with them.

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