blog / In League For Women’s Empowerment

Fri, 15 March, 2019

In League For Women’s Empowerment

The Grass Skirt Project inaugural Oil Search Hevea Cup Carnival & Wellness Expo 

On 8 and 9 March, the Grass Skirt Project welcomed 4000 visitors to Papua New Guinea’s inaugural Hevea Cup Carnival & Wellness Expo at the Oil Search National Football Stadium. This first sport and health wellness expo event included a Rugby League 9s Tournament and a Wellness Expo. 

The event saw 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams contesting the carnival cup in their respective divisions. On the sidelines, 20 NGOs exhibited at the fair, engaging attendees with important health messages, free health screenings, prizes and giveaways. An activities section, including jumping castles, offered entertainment for the whole family. 

The fast-paced 9’s Rugby League carnival delivered some exciting football as the women’s division was taken out by the NCDC Dragons who defeated the Paga Panthers 14 - 12. The men’s division saw the competition favourites, the Taurama Magpies, defeat the men’s Paga Panthers team 18 -10. Grand final Most Valuable Players were Lisa Dau (women) and Ross Ravu (men). 

Tahina Booth, Athlete and Founder of the Grass Skirt Project, carefully selected International Women’s Day to launch the carnival.


“We, as an organisation, celebrate women and are all about promoting gender equality and highlighting the issues surrounding domestic and sexual violence.”

High profile athletes in attendance were the SP Hunters as well as PNG Orchids Captain Carol Hemue and PNG Palais Captain Debbie Kaore who both fielded teams in the Rugby League Carnival. Grass Skirt Project Ambassador Amelia Kuk, who not only plays for PNG Orchids and Brisbane Broncos but is also a registered nurse, announced open running races at the two-day event. 


“Using rugby league to spread the messages around health, education and awareness of domestic and sexual Violence has been a powerful tool throughout the community,” said Kuk.

10 Hevea Passport major prize winners were announced before the finals matches and shared in over K30,000 worth of goods and vouchers including a 60 inch TV and K3,000 to spend at the Brian Bell Home Centre. 

Lynne Shori, the founder of Wantaim PNG, a non-profit that specialises in education on sanitation, hygiene and women’s economic empowerment, travelled with her team from Manus Island to attend the event to showcase their community-led composting toilet system andHamamas Meri.


“Our programs are relevant to 85 percent of Papua New Guinea’s population who live in rural areas. The overwhelming response Wantaim received over the two days at the Hevea Cup has brought new energy and drive to the team that is invaluable.” 

Grass Skirt Project is a not for profit organisation focused on preventing domestic and sexual violence through the vehicle of sport.

Image 1: Hevea Booth with the Oil Search Hevea Cup.
Image 2: Media Presentation at Oil Search Football Stadium, L-R: PNG Palais Captain Debbie Kaore, Grass Skirt Project Founder Tahina Booth, PNG Orchids Captain Carol Hemue & Former PNG Orchids coach David Westley.


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