A girl smiles while watching crocodile performance in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)
by Levi Parsons
PORT MORESBY, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- As world leaders descend on Papua New Guinea's (PNG) capital, Port Moresby, for Saturday's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting, the tropical South Pacific nation has put on a cultural extravaganza at the national football stadium.
Keen to make the most of the international spotlight and unprecedented media attention, tribal representatives from the country's 22 provinces held an event to showcase PNG's rich and diverse communities.
Drenched in sunshine and bright colors, tribes were equipped with handmade tools, weapons and jewelry, adorning spectacular traditional dress and body paint.
For each tribe, the materials they use to decorate themselves vary depending on the region.
While groups on the coast for example, may use seashells as part of their attire, others in jungle areas might tend to utilize wood carvings and bone as part of their dress.
For the Gaim Enguwal Kuru Ware Cultural Center from the Tambul district in the Western Highlands Province, they wear feathers from the bird of paradise to symbolize their unique region and way of life.
"We choose to wear this for ceremonies, exchanges with others and for our unique tribal dance," chief of the group Nig Wai told Xinhua on Friday.
In Port Moresby to showcase the area's unique traditional dance, he explained, "We practice this from generation to generation and we do not ever want it to die out. We want to keep it going for our children."
"Our Dancing group is very unique and very special. No other tribes in the region can perform our dance," he added.
With towering, rugged mountain terrain in the northwest, wild rolling jungle across much of the west and idyllic white sandy island beaches scattered off the entire coastline, the country remains largely untouched by the modern world.
Although English is the national tongue, because of the country's incredibly diverse landscape, there's over 860 languages spoken among PNG's hundreds of distinct tribal groups.
While isolation and remoteness still remains a problem for some parts of the country, leaders at this weekend's APEC meeting are expected to put a huge amount of focus on enhancing connectivity to these rural areas through sustainable infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative and a series of digital engagement strategies targeted to boost prosperity in tribal communities.
"We are very happy to represent our district and our country for APEC," Wai said.