Amazing talent on display in Alotau, PNG

Papua New Guinea boasts a variety of cultural activities every year, many of which are tourist attractions. In recent times these activities have also been aimed at preserving culture and transferring local knowledge from the older to younger generations.

One such event was the recent gathering of the Women Weavers of Milne Bay early this month. This saw women from around the province gather in Alotau for a two-day show and tell event. It was specifically for sharing knowledge on cultural practices, particularly the art of weaving.

Organizers 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,” Ms Nadile said. “The WWOMB is an event we created to help these women.”

Women of Milne Bay in PNG at the Women Weavers event held early this month.

The women-run businesses were connected through the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program. PHAMA is an Australian and New Zealand-funded aid program focused on promoting exports from PNG.

PHAMA country manager Sidney Suma, who officiated at the event in Alotau last weekend, said, “PHAMA helped with the linkages and introductions to markets, but it was important to initiate networking among industry players within the domestic market.”

He said there were positive spinoffs from linking industry partners that could benefit the communities involved including the village mothers.

The Women Weavers of Milne Bay is an event designed to help women put on display and share their skills.

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 organized 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.

This event is part of a wider initiative by PHAMA to promote handicraft sales to tourists. PHAMA is in the process of finalizing a video on PNG handicrafts to be shown on board cruise ships. This will be launched in the coming months. It has also developed a PNG Handicraft Vendors Guide, to help handicraft producers, makers and vendors produce and sell items that meet Australia and New Zealand quarantine requirements. This guide is critical in promoting exports of handicrafts to tourists.  

For further information, contact Sidney Suma at or on +675 7640 3290


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