An initiative of Riback Stevedores to help the Ahi people of Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Colourful start to Ahi Festival in Lae

A well-choreographed explosion of colour lit up the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium in Lae yesterday (Sunday,  Dec 12, 2010) with the official opening of the inaugural Ahi Festival.

Butibam village beauty Catherine Maliaki leads her team with a traditional dance around the field
Entertainment-starved residents of Lae thronged to the stadium in their hundreds to watch the entertainment and official opening of the festival, sponsored by local company Riback Stevedores, by former Kumul rugby league captain and Ahi’s favourite sporting son John Wilshere.

John Wilshere waving to a fullhouse crowd at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium in Lae
“Let us all enjoy the occasion,” he declared in his brief, straight-to-the-point address.
The opening ceremony started with a colourful march-in of teams from the six Ahi villages of Yalu, Kamkumung, Hengali, Butibam, Yanga and Wagang.
Yalu women performing at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium
This was followed by an opening prayer by Butibam woman leader Giob Gware, national anthem sung in local language by Ampo St Andrew’s choir, a run-in by teams to join hands with staff of major sponsor and organiser Riback Stevedores, festival pledge led by organiser Bob Aaron, release of balloons, and then the opening by Wilshere.
John Wilshere, George Gware and Bob Aaron are all smiles at the success of theAhi Festival
The 16 entrants in the Miss Ahi pageant ended an enjoyable day with a parade in front of an appreciative crowd.
Wagang beauty Jeanette Jana strutts her stuff
Before the opening ceremony, people from the six Ahi villages packed the indoor stadium for a joint church service.
The week-long festival, with the theme ‘Promoting Education Through Sports and Culture’, begins today (Monday) at the stadium.
Highlights of the week will include the Ms Ahi pageant, ‘Carols by Candlelight’ at the stadium on Wednesday evening, displays of traditional culture and stalls set up by non-government organisations and other service providers.
“If the behaviour of our people over the last couple of days was any indication, it should be a very good week for all,” said Riback operations manager and major organiser George Gware.
Riback Stevedores operations manager George Gware...mastermind of the Ahi Festival

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