The 16th National Kenu & Kundu Festival, 2019

Preparations are now underway for Milne Bay's biggest annual three-day cultural event


The 16th National Kenu & Kundu Festival, 2019

As dawn breaks on the 1st November 2019, the distinctive sound of the Conch Shell signaling the gathering of traditional sailing and war canoes, the rhythmic beating of Kundu drums and traditional dancing heralding the Opening Day of the 16th National Kenu & Kundu Festival 2019 (NKKF) will be heard throughout the township of Alotau, Milne Bay Province, in Papua New Guinea.

Preparations are now underway for this three-day event, which is a unique festival showcasing the finest craftsmen and women in canoe (kenu) and kundu making, cultural dress, artifacts and traditional dancing and exchanges from across the four Districts of Milne Bay Province.

In June 2019, the Milne Bay Tourism Bureau opened up a small office space under its wing for Festival Event Teams for both the NKKF and the recent Huhu War Canoe Festival. The NKKF Team has been hard at work reviewing the 2017 and 2018 internal process audits of the festival’s performance levels before laying out the internal framework for the staging of the 2019 event.

Since its appointment in 2017, the National Kenu & Kundu Festival Executive Committee has its sights set on taking this Festival to the next level and is keen on re-setting the standards which no other festival in the province has ever done, by adopting and implementing its very own management system, policies and streamlined processes with the objective of executing its events to world-class standards and to bring it to greater heights, and in doing so attracting an annual increase of followers and tourists both locally and around the world. This also includes the unrestricted disclosure of financial reports and audits for all sponsors, stakeholders, and the general public. Reports can be downloaded off the NKKF website as well.

This year’s official theme is; “PRESERVATION OF OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE”. The Event Committee and Events Management Team is not only looking to brand and promote the event as a leading platform and flagship for Cultural Festivals across the entire province, but also looking at providing opportunities for women and youth by offering capacity building workshops for employment, SME, and Wealth Creation and Personal Development in order to improve standards for their personal lives.

The need to address attitude, behavior, perception and change in character are seen as a vital aspect of personal development for young people with limited opportunities, and this will go a long way in developing the Province as a renowned and growing tourism hub.  

Come November 2019, Alotau will see a significant difference in how the National Kenu & Kundu Festival is staged, with a framework in place to minimize shortfalls from the past, and increase efforts to bring alive and expand the showcasing of the cultural significance and authenticity of the Canoe and Kundu Culture.

Registration was concluded recently, with over 700 participants signing up for the 2019 NKKF. Cultural Groups across the province visited the Milne Bay Tourism Bureau Events Office at the Media Centre in Alotau to register for the event. The NKKF Committee encouraged all District Members and Administrators including their Local Level Governments to work closely with the Events Office to fully support their respective local groups with their applications and also with preparations leading up to the Festival either in cash or in kind. This would boost their willingness to participate in the National Kenu & Kundu Festival this year.

This year, the NKKF will also host the launching of the 10th PNG Human Rights Film Festival in Alotau, on the evenings of Friday 1 November and Sunday 3 November 2019. This is the first time for this event to be held in the province under the leadership of the film festival patron, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Davis Steven (Member for Esa’ala), the United Nations, and partners. It is hoped that this collaboration will become an annual event in the province, supported by Milne Bay Tourism Bureau and NKKF.

The NKKF 2019 Corporate Sponsorship Kit is accessible on the NKKF Website: or any queries relating to the festival can be forwarded to the Marketing Coordinator via email on [email protected].

A copy of the program can be downloaded here:

For following and updates leading up to the event this year, please visit our Facebook Page at:  


War canoes at the National Kenu & Kundu Festival. Photo courtesy of Milne Bay Tourism Bureau
2018 National Kenu & Kundu Festival. Photo courtesy of Milne Bay Tourism Bureau