Auckland, New Zealand: It was a sea of red, gold and black at Cornwall Park on 16th September
in Auckland, New Zealand. It was the day a small kaikai (the sharing of food when a group
gathers) was organized by the PNG Wantoks of Auckland Incorporated to; commemorate Papua
New Guinea’s 48th year of Independence.
Directly opposite the Archery Club on One Tree Hill was the set up for the event, a gazebo lined
with mini PNG flags and a huge flag draped over the backdrop of the tent. Despite it being the
start of spring, the day felt as if summer had arrived because the sun shone so brightly it felt as if
the community was back in PNG. With the weather feeling like home, the event officially started
in true PNG fashion, being late but with an amazing array of people from different walks of life
all connected to PNG.
The guest speaker for the event was Honorary Consul to PNG Dr Paul Hutchison who shared
insightful words of wisdom about his time in PNG and encouraged the community to continue to
connect and be proud of their heritage. Before long, the main spectacle was to happen, the
sharing of kai. The community was encouraged to bring a plate of food which did not disappoint,
as the air was filled with the aroma of tradition coconut dishes and a roasted pig which was
paramount to signify the special occasion.
The day was brought to an end when the kai served was finished and connections were made
between the new and old members of the PNG community. A great deal of families and students
were present, who made the day more eventful by the sharing of stories and experiences. As
indigenous peoples of PNG, the community also acknowledged the traditional custodians of the
land in which we celebrate upon; Ngāti Whātua and Ngāti Pāoa.