Centuries of tradition have melded with modern trade supplies for a performance to remember at Kingaroy’s BaconFest.
Workers from Solomon Islands, Samoa and Kiribati, employed by PeopleIN’s labour hire solutions business FIP Group, performed traditional music and dance at the South Burnett’s popular annual event for the meat processing industry. The performance also showcased FIP Group’s commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of their employees, with community integration a key part of their Community of Care model.
For Solomon Islanders like Richie Isu, sharing the culture of his homeland filled him with pride but it required some ingenuity to bring their unique sound to the BaconFest audience.
“Bamboo is the material we traditionally use to create our instruments but it’s not easy to find in Kingaroy,” Richie said.
“So, instead, we bought PVC pipe of different sizes from Bunnings and then cut and shaped it to create our instruments. During our performance some of these were then hit with thongs to create a sound similar to the one we make with bamboo.
“The crowd loved our performance and the ones by the Samoan and Kiribati performers too. It made us all very proud to see the interest in our cultures.”
Richie, from Solomon Islands’ Malaita Province, has been in Australia for a little over a year. A qualified lawyer in his homeland, he explained his decision to move to meat industry in Australia was due to the need to support his family.
“In Solomon Islands our extended families are very close,” he said.
“My older brother has seven kids and, when he had a heart attack a couple of years ago, he was no longer able to work. Working as a lawyer isn’t like it is in Australia and I need to make regular money to support my family so I moved here.
“We think of Australia as being a ‘land of opportunity’ and it has been good to me since I came here. I’m moving up in responsibility and the community has welcomed us with many of us are playing soccer and rugby and spending time with our colleagues outside of work.”