deeds not words | wokim ino toktok

Painting a positive future for PNG

Jeffry Feeger’s colourful touch makes Foundation’s fundraiser most successful ever

Last Friday the Kokoda Track Foundation hosted its annual fundraising gala, the Ralph Honner Oration Dinner. The event is a celebration of the Foundation’s work as well as an opportunity to look to the future and help the Kokoda Track Foundation to continue their life changing work in PNG.

The evening began with a fantastic performance by PNG singer Ngaiire. Ngaiire, originally from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and now living in Australia and touring internationally, kicked-off the festivities with some of her finest songs.

The  leadership oration was delivered by the Foundation’s Ambassador, 93-year old Captain Bede Tongs MM. Prior to the oration, renowned PNG artist Jeffry Feeger was invited to create a portrait painting of Bede which he worked on throughout the night – the result was phenomenal. The painting was auctioned off for $6,700 at the end of the night.        

Patrick Lindsay, Chairman of the Foundation said: “The evening was a triumph on all fronts: technically, emotionally and financially. It was a wonderful showcase of the Foundation’s work, of our underlying purpose and of PNG’s great promise – as shown through the brilliant talents of Jeffry Feeger and Ngaiire.”

“And, of course, having our Living Treasures, our Kokoda veterans – highlighted by Bede’s spellbinding address – was the highlight of the night” he added.

The theme of the prestigious event was the Kokoda College, the Foundation’s newest and most challenging initiative. In an attempt to unlock the poverty cycle in Papua New Guinea, the Foundation is building a college in the jungle of PNG. The aim of the college is to train urgently-needed teachers and community health workers to educate and look after the next generation of young Papua New Guineans.

The Foundation raised an enormous $120,000 on the night thanks to the generosity of all who attended. These funds will make an extraordinary contribution to the Kokoda College and will provide training for many teachers and health workers for the Kokoda catchment region.

“This is our best result to date. We have had extraordinary feedback flowing in. The speeches from our PNG guests Rodney, Patricia and Junior resonated with all who attended as they witnessed them receive their awards of most outstanding community health worker, most outstanding teacher, and most outstanding student. It gave our guests a wonderful insight into our work.” Genevieve Nelson, Executive Director of the Kokoda Track Foundation said.

The Ralph Honner Oration Dinner was generously supported by Platinum dinner sponsors: PNG Tourism, Getaway Trekking and On Track Expeditions. An enormous thanks to our additional dinner sponsors including: Kirribilli Club, De Bortoli, Lion, One Water and Bianca Cardenas Photography.