Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

MR 090309 Aust Week 09


9 March 2009

For immediate release



The Australian High Commission is staging its third annual Australia Week from 9 15 March.

Australia Week is about showcasing Australia to the people of Papua New Guinea and celebrating the close relationship and strong ties between the two countries.

The flagship Australia Week event this year is a major international exhibition of stunning Indigenous Australian art on display at the Australian High Commission. The exhibition, called BALGO: Contemporary Australian Art from the Balgo Hills, brings together some of the finest contemporary Indigenous art touring internationally.

This free public exhibition runs daily from 10am-3pm until the close of Australia week on 13 March.

The Australian High Commission is proud to announce that the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, will launch Australia Week by officially opening the Balgo exhibition. The Prime Minister will be the guest of honour at the Balgo official opening reception at the Australian High Commission on the evening of 9 March.

On 11 March, Austrade andAusAID will jointly host a Trade, Investment, and Development Seminar and Australian wine tasting by Casella Wines, Australia’s largest family-owned winery. Fifteen per cent of all wine products leaving Australia are Casella Wines products; in recognition of this, Casella Wines was inducted into Austrade's Export Hall of Fame in 2005.

Another major highlight this year will be a visit by Christine Anu, one of Australia’s most successful female recording and performing artists and an iconic indigenous Australian.

Christine will perform twice in Port Moresby. On 12 March, she will play a show for competition winners and guests of the Australian High Commission at the Lamana Gold Club. She will also play for members of the public on 11 March at the Lamana Gold Club (tickets are on sale from the venue).

Christine will be the guest speaker at several events during the week, including a children’s charity event at the Australian High Commission for the Buk bilong Pikinini charity, a Professional and Personal Development Lunch hosted by the Port Moresby Rotaract Club and a reception to mark International Women’s Day, to be held on 11 March at the Australian High Commission. Christine will also be visiting Haus Ruth and the Buk Bilong Pikinini library at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

Another exciting event during Australia Week this year is the One Tribe Challenge, which will see PNG’s Under 18 Australian Rules Football League (AFL) team, the Kupundas, play against Australian under 18 Indigenous Youth Team, the Flying Boomerangs.

The Kupundas are coached by former Richmond AFL star Ray Hall, who now lives in Port Moresby where he works as a volunteer in the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development Program (AYAD). AYAD is supported by AusAID. The Flying Boomerangs are coached by former Kangaroos star and Bali bombing survivor Jason McCartney. Accompanying the tour are two men synonymous with indigenous Australian football, Michael Long, a multi-premiership winning player with Essendon, and AFL legend, Kevin Sheedy.

The AFL game itself is set to take place at the UPNG oval at 2:30pm on 13 March. The Australian High Commissioner, Mr Chris Moraitis, will officiate with the official coin toss to start the game and will also be a guest of honour and speaker at the One Tribe Challenge dinner that night. Tickets for the dinner are available by contacting Players will also visit a number of schools across Port Moresby. The Australian High Commission will host the Kupundas and Flying Boomerangs at the High Commission for a “kick around” and a visit to the Bomana War Cemetery on 12 March.

Television viewers will be treated to several Australia Week-themed programs on EMTV including two fantastic documentaries, My Brother Vinnie and The Apology, to be aired on The World Around Us on 11 March. EM TV will also show The Brothers Grimm on 11 March and Brokeback Mountain on 15 March in a special tribute to the late Australian actor and Oscar winner, Heath Ledger.

Simon Fellows, a former member of the band ‘the Herd’ and another talented musician, Paul Murphy (both team members of the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby), will host a series of special Australian Music shows on NBC radio. This will take place on special afternoon editions of NBC’s “Tribe” youth program at 3-4pm throughout Australia Week.

A special screening of the movie Australia will be held for EMTV competition winners and invited guests at the Moresby Arts Theatre on 10 March. A limited number of free tickets are also available in advance of the screening (not on the night) from the Moresby Arts Theatre.

Some important Australia-PNG development projects will be opened during the week.

The Australia-Pacific Technical College will open its Port Moresby Campus in partnership with the Port Moresby Technical College on 10 March. The APTC is great example of how Australia is working with PNG to develop a first class education system for all Papua New Guineans.

A research library, bookshop and information technology centre are among the new buildings that are being opened at the National Research Institute under the PNG-Australia Incentive Fund on 12 March.

The Australian Defence Force will host a golf afternoon with its PNGDF colleagues on 11 March.

The Australian High Commission would like to express its sincere appreciation for the support Australia Week has received from a number of PNG and Australian corporate sponsors. The major sponsors of Australia Week 2009 are Qantas, EMTV, Lamana Hotel, ANZ, Westpac and Casella Wines.

The Australian High Commission is also grateful to NBC, Brian Bell, Pacific MMI Insurance, FM100, The Post Courier and The National for getting behind the week’s events.


Media Inquiries: Francina Thomson, Public Diplomacy Officer, T: 325 9333 ext 276