Milne Bay Canoe & Kundu Festival

Canoes and kundu drums were historically a significant part of life in the region around Milne Bay, and they are still widely used in local ceremonies and rituals. Traditionally the long 'war' canoes, were hand-crafted from special wood under strict rules to achieve the best result and ensure that the canoe was always victorious. Similar canoes are used in the festival that takes place each November and they are crafted in the same way that the ancestors of the Milne Bay people used to build their own canoes many years ago. The colours and patterns of each canoe reflect the tribe and the region that the canoe comes from.

The first Canoe & Kundu Festival was held in Milne Bay in 2003, and since then event has taken place in early November each year.  The canoes assemble a day earlier at Wagawaga Island and form a colourful convoy as they sail to Alotau for the official opening ceremony. Prizes are given to the winning rowers and, as well as the races, traditional dancing groups gather from all over Milne Bay province, including Eastern parts of the Papuan Region, to create a rich variety of performances. Other activities on show at the festival include arts and craft displays, string band competitions and traditional & contemporary drama performances. 

The 15th annual Canoe & Kundu Festival will be held on the 2nd - 4th of November 2018 in Alotau, Milne Bay Province.

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