Students praised for promoting culture

Students from Central Province and their neighbours from Motu-Koitabu in the National Capital District at Divine Word University were praised for using creative means to keep their traditional cultural identity alive.

Governor of NCD, Mr Powes Parkop commended the students during the 4th Diwai Central Night at the SVD Memorial Auditorium of the Madang campus on Saturday evening 5th of July, 2014.

The annual Diwai Central Night is an evening of creative expression of traditional cultures fused with modern influences in song, dance, drama, rituals, folklore and artwork. The students staged the event with an apt theme “Preserving Culture through Vibrant Connections”.

Mr Parkop said he was honoured to witness the students use their knowledge and skills in creative ways to enhance the understanding of their indigenous self while studying at University.

As a show of support for the students, Mr Parkop made a personal donation of K5000 to the Central Students Association as the event was a fundraiser for the association. Secretary for the Depart of Lands and Physical Planning Mr Romilly Kila Pat, who is married to Central province and has a daughter studying at DWU also made a family contribution of K5000 to the association. Other members of the Central and NCD community in Madang and elsewhere also supported the students’ club in cash and kind.

Mr Parkop commended DWU and its President, Fr Jan Czuba for providing the education and creative space for students to engage with their traditional cultures and languages amidst the forces of modernisation impacting on them. The Central Night is one of the “provincial nights” the students at DWU from all the provinces of PNG put on to raise funds for projects take up by their associations such as the annual Cultural Day which falls in August. The students use the provincial nights to promote the identity and features of their provinces.

Mr Parkop said it was fitting that the Central and NCD students staged the event at a time when the nation’s attention is fixed on the importance of preserving cultures through the staging of the 5th Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival in Port Moresby and four satellite venues in the four regions.

Mr Parkop also commended the students and academics from Central province who combined to develop an online Motu language dictionary as a means of protecting the Motu language from extinction.

Mr Parkop said modernisation is seriously threatening PNG’s indigenous cultures and languages and any effort to keep them alive was important.

The dictionary was launched on the night.

Co-author of the dictionary titled Eda Ura, Dr Sibona Kopi said Motu faces the threat of being extinct within 60 years due to the changes impacting the Motuan villages in Port Moresby and Central province.

“When Motu disappears, its impact on Motu communities will be considerable”.

“Motu is what gives Motu’s identity and expresses Motu’s unique worldview which encompasses irutahuna (the indigenous logic of interpreting significant events impacting a Motuan’s life journey).”

Mr Parkop said modernisation of Port Moresby city and surrounding communities is posing a serious threat to the existence and indigenous way of life of the Motu-Koitabu people in NCD and their kindred from the neighbouring villages in Central Province.