The Oil Search PNG Orchids represent a group of women who are an inspiration to millions of women in PNG, who can see a path for greater empowerment and a new feature, says Oil Search Managing Director Peter Botten.
Botten was speaking at a function at Sydney’s iconic Opera House, to welcome the Orchids to Australia for the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup. Oil Search is the naming rights sponsor for the PNG Orchids.
Acting Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, also attended the occasion, encouraging the team to give their best.
Lynda Babao-O’Neill, wife of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is also the Patron of the Orchids, also sent well wishes to the team, encouraging them but at the same time reminding them that they carry the hopes and dreams not only of themselves and their families but also of their sisters in PNG, who will look up to them as role models.
Botten said it was only five months ago, with the leadership from the PNG Rugby Football League and the Rugby League World Cup, the PNG Orchids was formed, adding that Oil Search is privileged to be the platinum sponsor for the team.
“Although still young as a team, they have already become a beacon of hope, for many who wish to change attitudes to women in Papua New Guinea,’’ Botten said. “We want this amazing group of talented and dedicated women to be showcased around the world, demonstrating that the national sport of PNG should be the domain of both men and women.’’
He said rugby league in PNG has never had a better year – the SP Hunters won the Queensland Intrust Cup, the PNG LNG Kumuls have won their three pool matches in the 2017 rugby league world cup and now advance to the quarter finals on Sunday in Melbourne.
“Sport is a great platform and pathway to showcase outstanding PNG women to the world and inspire all women to work towards their dreams.
“The Orchids come from a hugely diverse cultural background – whether from settlements, remove villages in the highlands, from all around PNG – you have all given commitment and dedication to be here today. They clearly demonstrate that dreams can be fulfilled for them and many women in PNG.’’
The Oil Search PNG Orchids play their inaugural rugby league world cup game tonight (EDS: Thursday) against England.
Ms Bishop said she was delighted to attend and celebrate the achievements of another country, demonstrating the genuine friendship between the two.
“We are also here to recognise the role that this team has already played and will continue to play, in terms of the leadership, and the mentorship they will provide for young women, not only in PNG, but I believe across the Pacific,’’ she said.
“They will inspire young women in PNG to take up sport, to get involved and make a difference. I don’t underestimate how proud your families and friends and colleagues will be of you when you take on England, in the first game.
“I can’t think of a better outcome than a Jillaroos – Orchids grand final. Your commitment and dedication has brought you rewards, and I hope that’s a lesson for young people in PNG.’’
Source: Media Statement