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The 15th Pacific Games 2015 Opening Ceremony in Port Moresby

PORT MORESBY - After years of preparation by Papua New Guinea and hundreds of regional athletes, the 15th Pacific Games opening ceremony has begun in the nation's capital, Port Moresby.

Artistic director of the opening ceremony, Airleke Ingram, said it is a celebration of Papua New Guinea's rich cultural history, while pointing to the country's future direction.

The ceremony's theme is tied to the local region's hiri trade, an important cultural influence.

"It's a really key part of our culture. There are a lot of songs, dances and tattoos," said Mr Ingram, a music producer, traditional drummer and famed percussionist who hails from Gaba Gaba.

The ceremony pays homage to the trade relationship between the Motuan and Gulf Province people, and the role this played in shaping PNG.

"These things set our culture up, where we really got our spirit of generosity and the fair distribution of wealth," Mr Ingram said.

Opening ceremony executive producer Merryn Hughes said it might be the largest sing-sing ever in Papua New Guinea.

"There are about 800 to 900 sing-sing performers," Ms Hughes said.

The sing-sing performers are part of a cast of 3,000 and almost 300 ceremony staff.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, received the games' baton in Port Moresby earlier on Saturday, and tweeted his support.

"I wish everyone 2 successful weeks of sport. Good luck to all the competitors. Congratulations Port Moresby," he said.

Pacific Games events began on Friday, and will continue until July 18. [ABC]

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