By Marrian Rema, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 5 – “The most amazing spectacular opening ceremony” is how HRH Prince Andrew described the opening of Port Moresby 2015 at the Sir John Guise Stadium on Saturday.
The atmosphere at the opening ceremony was electrifying with fireworks shooting across a dazzling full moon as the children of tomorrow surrounded the stadium with their thousands of glowing lanterns which lit up the sky.
The echoes of more than 500 singers from the diverse groups them make up PNG filled the entire stadium with a magical touch of the spirit of unity; one nation, one people, one dream.
‘Wan solwara’ (a show of unity) was evident as tears of joy streamed freely down some of the faces of the 15,000 people who were there to witness the occasion.
“It was indeed a truly magical moment to remember for a very long time. It was breathtaking,” a member of the audience said.
In the warm-up to the opening ceremony, the mascot of the Games, Tura, delighted the audience with its antics and later a performance by two clowns had the crowed in stitches.
The official ceremony began with Motuans, traditional landowners of the host city Port Moresby, swinging their skirts and carrying the Lakotoi (traditional canoes) into position while singing ‘Gaba Gaba’.
Then, in the call to the nation, a man in bilas (a colourful traditional costume) stood on top of one of four towers in the middle of the stadium blowing a Ganige Kuakumba, a flute from the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
His melodies captured the hearts and minds of the audience leaving the first of many lasting memories of the night.
One thousand members of different tribes united the more than 800 languages and 22 provinces that make up PNG as each tribe took to the stage to showcase its cultural traditions with great pride not only to the people of the Pacific but to the rest of the world.
Janet Koka (PNG), the accounts manager at Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited, said the night was very moving.
“The singing groups just reminded me of my roots, where I came from and how I can easily identify myself as a true Melanesian, A true Papua New Guinean,” said Koka, who had tears rolling down her face.
The flag bearers and athletes then entered the stadium wearing their colourful Pacific clothing and as they took to the stage were cheered by the other nations.
The biggest cheers came when New Zealand performed its Haka, a Moiri challenge, but it was the PNG team brought the crowd to its feet.
The ceremony included pipe bands of PNG and creative performances by local artists who sang ‘Never forget PNG’.
To end the opening ceremony, the baton was passed to three PNG gold medalists. First to Ryan Pini, then to Steven Kari and finally Dika Toua.
Toua then ran the baton up the stairs of the stadium to a huge conch where the words ‘wan solwara, one ocean’, a message celebrating the unity of the Pacific nations and the precious ocean which we share, lit up.
Emotions were clearly felt throughout the stadium and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill (PNG) said the message was clear.
“It’s a great time to live in Pacific. The Games bring vast regions together and builds strong bonds between peoples, between teams and nations.”