Monday, December 12, 2011

PNG is world’s orchid champ

MABONEIt is a first for Papua New Guinea and the win has surely put our country on the map as home to the world’s most elegant and stunning orchids. Be proud PNG for we are now the world orchid champions.
Source: Weekender, Post Courier, December 3-4, 2011
By TRAVERTZ MABONE
AS beautibeautiful and luring as our orchids can be, their unique elegance showcased to the world during the 20th World Orchid Conference in Singapore this month reaped eminence as the World Orchid Champions. Not too bad for first timers on the scene, something I know the PNG Gardener would say ‘You’re too good you are!’ The Orchid Society of Papua New Guinea is the new number 1 World Orchid champions and can be now claimed as the best Orchid Society in the World. Going in with nothing but the best orchids in bloom that Papua New Guinea had to offer, the Orchid Society of Papua New Guinea Inc. (OSPNG) overwhelmingly went, displayed and left with a boom. All the more experienced Orchid Growers and the Societies from around the world and spectators had their winning hopes tattered just at the sight of the elegant display headed by none other than the PNG Gardener Justin Tkatchenko. Tkatchenko who is also the president of the OSPNG revealed that the spoils which the Orchid Society of Papua New Guinea took out included the prize for the best 100 square metre display which had our beautiful traditional carvings decorated with orchid spikes, a bird of paradise sculpture beautifully arranged with orchid blossoms from the highlands and the lowlands of Papua New Guinea. “Also in the display showcased individual orchid plants that won over 15 Awards with Pint Kupal one of our Orchid Society members from Mt Hagen taking out five of those awards for his Highlands Orchids,” Tkatchenko said. And the awards don’t stop there, the Orchid Society also received ‘Reserved Champion’ over all for the best display in the whole show; this includes all the displays from professional orchid growers’ nurseries, organisations and the likes. Mr Tkatchenko said; “For the efforts of the Orchid Society of Papua New Guinea and planning for the event, which took us nearly 18 months to organise, the society won the two top major awards with the major one being the Gold Medal for the 100 meter square display which has created history for Papua New Guinea as a first time entrant. We’ve never won anything like this before.” He stated that this result would not have been possible without the assistance and contribution of many corporate and private businesses, the Department of Environment and Conservation and NAQIA, who have always provided their full support to us of the Patron Sir Rabbie Namaliu, who has enabled the OSPNG to reach their goals and dreams and to the People of Papua New Guinea, thank you for always supporting us by turning up to our Orchid Shows and showing your keen interest and the enjoyment you have for our orchids. Papua New Guineans is proud to know that we are now officially recognised as the world’s best. PAPUA New Guinea’s debut in the 20th World Orchid Conference in Singapore earlier this month toppled 86 countries hands down with their beautifully ordained 100 metre square masterpiece display. President of the Orchid Society of PNG Justin Tkatchenko said “It took us around 18 months to prepare and organise the display and because it was our first appearance I wanted the display
to have the “Wow!” factor, and I got it.” Imagine specially contracted carvers from East Sepik, from Angoram to be exact, carving their masterpieces which were then shipped by a barge to Wewak finding their way to Port Moresby on a Steamships vessel before taking another long boat ride to Singapore in a 20 foot container taking up to six months.
Designing and organising complementary features depicting the strong Papua New Guinean culture and lifestyles to showcase the rare and endemic orchids that are globally
adored and most sought after. Also with organising a team of floral experts to arrange the display, and handpicking specific orchids and complementing plants, getting sponsors on board and doing all this and more in 18 months to get into the 20th World Orchid Conference in Singapore was a feat that paid off dividends with unimaginable world credibility and recognition. Tkachcenko stated that only eight countries, including PNG, took part in the 100 metre square display while the rest showcased theirs in the 50, 40 and 30 metre square displays. He added that the Orchid Society of Papua New Guinea had 30 species of orchids on display which was very good because it was during a time when PNG had most of its orchids in flower. “After 18 months to prepare the show and coordinate the event, all went extremely well with the OSPNG taking out the top prize along with other individual prizes,” Mr Tkachenko said. He said that the next World Orchid Conference which he described as the ‘Olympics for Orchids’ will be held in South Africa. When asked if the OSPNG had plans to take part, he sighed the OSPNG’s intention of attending as it would prove to be quite a handful considering the amount of work done just to get over to Singapore. And for some of the OSPNG’s complementing features such as the carvings and the sculpture, they have been left behind with new homes leaving behind a legacy that the Orchid Society of PNG had created. As eye-catching as our orchids, all carvings too found their place with other green-fingers. The carvings were bought by the Singapore Government on request to find permanent residence in a new park, a botanical garden in Singapore called ‘Gardens by the Bay’. The bird of paradise sculpture that stood as the centrepiece was purchased by Thailand to feature in the Thai Orchid show and the Thai King’s royal birthday next year. What a spectacular ending for an elegant show by the Orchid Society of Papua New Guinea. They should be applauded for stamping the country’s unique beauty on the world’s corneas. It’s a pity that South Africa looks too far now for any chance of retention but hey, they say this is the land of the unexpected.

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