Toroama increases lead in Bougainville count

Ishmael Toroama head
Ishmael Toroama has consolidated his position as  front runner in the Bougainville presidential election



NOOSA – The trend is your friend, it is said, and the trend in counting votes for the next president of Bougainville remains firmly with Ishmael Toroama, who continue to move ahead of the field.

With the elimination of the fourteenth presidential candidate late afternoon it became clear that only the two leaders amongst the 11 remaining contenders can come close to an absolute majority of 71,725 votes.

The release of updated figures this afternoon showed Ishmael Toroama consolidating his position as the likely winner as he moved out to a 10,500 vote lead over second placed candidate Fr Simon Dumarinu.

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The birth of the Simbu Writers Association

Arnold Mundua
Arnold Mundua
Francis Nii


KUNDIAWA – Sometimes great people’s legacy – their influence on and contributions to society - only becomes fully recognised after their passing.

The late author Francis Nii was such a person. His passing on Sunday 2 August at the Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa left a huge vacuum in the lives of the many people who knew him personally.

Continue reading "The birth of the Simbu Writers Association" »

Welcome to Paradise

Wallace Parimahi
Wallace Parimahi - talented young writer whose winning entry in the Paradise College writing contest, 'Project Infiltration', will be published in PNG Attitude tomorrow

| PNG Paradise College | Innovative School of the 21st Century

PORT MORESBY - I first heard of Paradise College when the principal, Mr Safak Deliismail, contacted me in 2016 to be a guest speaker at their ANIS Writing Competition awards.

I couldn’t make it at that time but three years on I am teaching at Paradise College in the subject I love to teach, Language and Literature.

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Innovation can make suckers of us all

In the USA much presidential policy is dispensed using Twitter feed. Trump has 86 million followers (PNG Attitude has 7,000)


TUMBY BAY - No matter how good an innovation is there will always be people who subvert it and spoil it for everyone else.

This axiom applies from something as simple as people taking undue advantage of a public welfare measure by ripping it off with false claims to the greater complexity of major frauds perpetuated by large corporations taking advantage of loopholes in tax laws.

Continue reading "Innovation can make suckers of us all" »

Elimination starts in Bougainville presidential race


NOOSA – The Bougainville presidential election has moved into its final stage with the end of counting of the 283 ballot boxes and completion of three days of quality checks.

None of the 25 candidates got even close an absolute majority of 72,213 votes so the elimination of lower placed contenders has begun.

Continue reading "Elimination starts in Bougainville presidential race" »

Despite rhetoric, informal economy struggles

Wenogo - Deputy PM Davis Steven
Despite the deputy prime minister launching reform recommendations, PNG's informal economy continues to struggle


PORT MORESBY - When the first audit of Papua New Guinea’s informal economy was launched in 2019, it generated a sense of optimism for the future of this important sector of the nation’s economy.

But a year later, despite legislation and policy encouraging the growth of the informal economy, its participants remain voiceless – and depressed.

The informal economy is estimated to involve 75% of the PNG population.

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Maintaining the Kurai legacy

Paul beside yar tree
The lineage is strong - Paul Kurai in front of the yar tree at Ela Beach in Port Moresby which his father is said to have planted during colonial times


WABAG - Paul Kiap Kurai is probably among just a few Highlands businessman, if not the only one, who has given away a successful business entity to a clansman on a golden platter.

He gave the Neneo Construction company to his Kamainwan people of Kaiap as a gift so they too would benefit from the proceeds of his blessings.

It was an action rarely seen in competitive Highlands society.

Continue reading "Maintaining the Kurai legacy" »

The exploitation of racial & cultural difference

White genocide
White supremacists  empty-headedly claim ethnic diversity is equivalent to white genocide


TUMBY BAY - Just like Australia, the USA is a migrant nation. In both cases the racial and cultural diversity of both populations has contributed to both the wealth and vibrancy of their societies.

While Australia is home to the world's oldest continuous culture dating back at least 65,000 years it is now also home to a people who identify with more than 270 different ancestries.

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It was a real labour of love

Artist Lisa Hilli
Artist Lisa Hilli paid tribute to the FMI Sisters through her art creating a large digital photographic collage of an image of the Sisters and 45 hand-embroidered cinctures.

| Australian War Memorial

CANBERRA - When the Japanese invaded Rabaul on New Britain in January 1942, a group of 45 Daughters of Mary Immaculate (FMI) Sisters refused to give up their faith.

Instead, they risked their lives to help save hundreds of Australian and European missionaries and civilian detainees who were held captive by the Japanese for three and a half years, first at Vunapope and then in the dense jungle of Ramale.

Continue reading "It was a real labour of love" »

Let’s preserve our positive gains

As we were
"The biggest challenge ahead as we break with the past is to continue the struggle to decolonise our minds which keeps us in bondage. Those that do not believe that we can own and run a mine like Porgera are influenced and shaped by our past colonial history" - Gabriel Ramoi


WEWAK - The theme of this year’s Independence celebration should be ‘Preserving the positive gains made over the last 45 years of political independence and those made over the last 12 months under PMJM in particular’.

A bit of a mouthful, I know, but it sums up how I’m feeling this Independence Day.

This year as we celebrate 45 years of independence we can feel a renewed sense of nationalism and optimism in the air.

Continue reading "Let’s preserve our positive gains" »

The Covid-19 ‘new normal’

The 9 Mile market outside Lae city (Michael Dom)

| Diplomatique | Literary Colloquium Berlin

LAE - The global pandemic of Covid-19 has had many repercussions to daily life and keeping abreast with World Health Organisation recommendations, the Papua New Guinea government has also defined the ‘new normal’ for its citizens.

But to thousands of the peri-urban poor, struggling to survive during trying economic times, the impact of policing health measures is just another normal day.

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My father’s last moments on this earth

Charlene Dinipami Nii - Francis was very  ill, but insisted on making the tortuous trip to witness his father's burial


KUNDIAWA - It was on Wednesday 1 April that bad news came to Francis in his hospital bed in Kundiawa.

It was early in the morning when the phone rang. The caller was his cousin Duma Paulus from Diani village.

In broken tones, Duma told Francis that his father, the chief, Nicholas Tura Duma, had passed away.

Continue reading "My father’s last moments on this earth" »

I spent a bit of time in New Guinea


So what did you do for a crust?
Oh, the usual, public service and all that
Me too, I was in health administration
Before that I was a kiap in Papua New Guinea
That’s interesting, who do you barrack for?

I walked the high mountains and deep valleys
I reckon the Eagles will make the finals this year
I met men who had never seen steel before
Go on, is that right, is that your car out there?
And I saw men fighting with bows and arrows

Continue reading "I spent a bit of time in New Guinea" »

BRA chief leads Bougainville presidential race

Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander  Ishmael Toroama
Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Ishmael Toroama - presently leading the Bougainvlle presidential count


NOOSA – Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) commander, Ishmael Toroama, was retaining his lead in the Bougainville presidential election after the 280th count this morning.

The Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission registered 222,333 voters and 446 candidates for the election.

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Covid threatens PNG’s animal rescue centre

Cuscus and handler at Port Moresby Nature Park
Cuscus and handler at Port Moresby Nature Park

| Guardian Australia | Judith Nielson Institute | Extracts

PORT MORESBY - From the heat and dust of the city’s noisy, crowded streets, the Port Moresby Nature Park is an oasis, for the city’s residents as well as the animals it keeps.

Home to more than 500 creatures and spread over 30 verdant acres, the park has spent years rescuing injured, orphaned or trafficked animals from across the country, and protected and nurtured native species, including the endangered pig-nosed turtle, and the magnificent riflebird.

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Persistence: How Paul Kurai became a tycoon

Wasa bridge launch
Worth waiting for - the launching of the Wasa bridge


WABAG – Beginning in the 1950s and until the 1970s, Kurai Tapus - the ‘bosboi’ - and his people built Wabag with spades, wooden digging sticks, picks, axes, shovels, crowbars, bush knives and with their bare hands.

It took many weeks for hundreds of men to carve winding roads around the sides of mountains or through rugged terrain or unstable swampy grassland.

Continue reading "Persistence: How Paul Kurai became a tycoon" »

John Fowke, rough-hewn sage, dies at 81

John Fowke - astute critic and interpreter of the Papua New Guinean condition


NOOSA – John Fowke, an erstwhile contributor to PNG Attitude and forceful critic of what he (sometimes unfairly) perceived as humbug and banality, has died in Brisbane aged 81.

Fowke went to Papua New Guinea as a Cadet Patrol Officer aged 21 in April 1958.

In 1962 he changed career direction when he was appointed a Cooperatives Officer, working in the Goroka region.

Continue reading "John Fowke, rough-hewn sage, dies at 81" »

Living with Rio Tinto’s deadly legacy

Woman panning for gold in Bougainville

| Human Rights Law Centre

MELBOURNE - Mining giant Rio Tinto is responsible for multiple human rights violations caused by pollution from its former mine in Bougainville.

For 45 years, the Panguna copper and gold mine on the island of Bougainville was majority-owned by the British-Australian mining company, but in 2016 Rio Tinto divested from the mine, leaving behind more than a billion tonnes of mine waste.

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Hey G20, where's our K73 billion for Covid?

| Transparency International

BERLIN - In many ways, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down.

Besides the devastating human toll around the world, we have also been living through an increasingly disturbing reality that is marked with rising authoritarianism, reduced civic space and misuse of relief funds.

Continue reading "Hey G20, where's our K73 billion for Covid?" »

Fred Kaad: 100 years of courage & achievement

Brown 11 Brown Kaad
Bill Brown MBE and Fred Kaad OBE - two outstanding figures in the late colonial history of Papua New Guinea, Sydney, 2018 - KJ


SYDNEY - Fred Kaad is an inspiration. And this day, 12 September 2020, marks a notable anniversary for this remarkable man.

We salute his wonderful achievements, his steadfastness and courage and his contribution to all our lives and to the lives of so many others.

This is a tribute of respect and admiration for Fred Kaad on his 100th birthday.

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Aviation could be unforgiving in PNG

3 Tabibuga on final
On final approach at Tabibuga in a Cessna 206. The strip was 1,250 feet long and its 8 degree slope required full throttle to get to the top after touch down


WARRADALE, SA - Flying in pre-GPS Papua New Guinea was certainly an unforgiving process.  I knew a number of people who did not survive it.

Harry Balfour-Ogilvy was a kiap in our intake in November 1965. He, his wife and two infant daughters all died in May 1970 when a dangerously overloaded plane took off from Gurney in Milne Bay.

Continue reading "Aviation could be unforgiving in PNG" »

A new magazine for Papua New Guinea

| Business Advantage International

PORT MORESBY - This week saw the launch of PNG Now, a new lifestyle magazine for Papua New Guinea.

PNG Now is designed to showcase the best of PNG through reviews, guides, articles and tips.

It also offers a platform for exceptional work from some of PNG’s best writers and photographers.

Continue reading "A new magazine for Papua New Guinea" »

Remembering the tragic Tauta plane crash

Brown 4 Dornier DO27
The Dornier DO27 that crashed when its engine failed after taking off from Tauta

| Edited extracts

Acknowledgement: The complete version of senior pilot the late Captain Bryan McCook’s article was originally published on the Professional Pilots Rumor Network. You can link to it here (requires a little downward scrolling)

THURSDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 1964 - My first task on this fateful day entailed flying a DCA aerodrome inspector from Goroka to Nondugl in the Cessna 185.

Nondugl, in the Waghi Valley, belonged to Sir Edward Hallstrom, a prominent industrialist, philanthropist and chairman of Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney. Many birds of paradise and other exotic fauna brought into Nondugl were destined for the zoo.

Continue reading "Remembering the tragic Tauta plane crash" »

Yeah, I know I’m getting on, but….

Phil Fitzpatrick recentPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - We’ve only got one pharmacy in Tumby Bay. I believe it’s been in the same family since it began.

The grandfather passed it on to the father and now the father has just passed it on to the daughter.

I was in there the other day collecting some diabetic gear: a box of needles for my disposable syringes; a couple of packets of test strips for my glucose testing gizmo; and my blood pressure tablets.

Continue reading "Yeah, I know I’m getting on, but…." »

All true stewards of nature


A band of warriors
Bold and brave with spears
Splendour of their forefathers
Invoked deep is their courage
Faces painted traditional colours of war
All true stewards of nature!

Brothers and sisters of Morobe
Spears sharpened in Tutumang haus
They will not give up
Fighting for Huon Gulf's clear beauty
Saying no to the mine's deep sea deposits
All true stewards of nature!

Continue reading "All true stewards of nature" »

Just another convulsion in western civilisation


ADELAIDE - Those of us who went to Papua New Guinea, especially in the 30 years after World War II, were motivated by many things.

For me and many others who became kiaps or didimen or tisa or mastamak,* it was a sense of adventure combined with curiosity about what was then, and remains today, a culture quite unlike our own.

Continue reading "Just another convulsion in western civilisation" »

Shy PNG artist's mentor became his subject

Mal Nagobi and Wesley Wengembo
Mentor Malachi Nagobi and artist  Lesley Wengembo

| Guardian Australia | Judith Nielson Institute

SYDNEY - Alongside Malachi Nagobi, progress across the august grounds of the National Art School in Sydney is constantly – happily – impeded.

“Mal!” comes a voice, “Hello Mal,” another. Every handful of steps, another person wants to stop to chat.

Continue reading "Shy PNG artist's mentor became his subject" »

Understanding can come late in life

Cross-cultural1PAUL OATES

GOLD COAST - In case you haven't read much of my writing, my fellow author and former kiap Phil Fitzpatrick will confirm that for many years I have been banging on about responsibility and accountability.

These are two seemingly inviolate pillars of responsible government. They are something many of us trained in the Australian public service discipline hold near and dear.

Continue reading "Understanding can come late in life" »

Barracks restored after years of neglect

The refurbished buildings behind the perimeter fence
The refurbished buildings behind the perimeter fence


PORT MORESBY - Traffic at the Three Mile roundabout here in the nation’s capital is sometimes very unkind.

Especially in the afternoons and especially if you are stuck in one of those overcrowded city buses.

Overwhelmed with the heat, you slump there helplessly as the bus crawls along in the queue towards the turn.

Continue reading "Barracks restored after years of neglect" »

The story of Francis Nii’s last project

Kin Francis bushfire rally
An ailing Francis Nii leads the big bushfire rally for Australia from his wheelchair in Kundiawa. He saw the huge funds raised from this poor province as a token of the close relationship between the two countries


KUNDIAWA - My friend Francis Nii rang me on a Friday afternoon in early January to say he wanted to meet me about something that had been bothering him.

He briefly told me over the phone that it was about the terrible Australian bushfires and that he was surprised the Papua New Guinea government and other organisations were not doing anything about it.

Continue reading "The story of Francis Nii’s last project" »

One of the best kiap memoirs written

Hardy top Talking to people at Wabag
Graham Hardy talking to a meeting at Wabag, late 1950s


Over the Hills and Far Away: Memoirs of a Kiap in Papua and New Guinea from 1952 to 1975 by Graham Hardy, privately published, 2020, 207 pages with numerous photographs, $42 plus $9.95 postage, available from the author at

TUMBY BAY - If I could live my life over I think I would prefer to have been born 20 years earlier.

That would have made me too young to take part in World War II but just the right age to go to Papua New Guinea as a kiap in the immediate post war period.

That period, especially in the highlands, probably represented the halcyon days of the Australian Administration.

The Papua New Guinean people still lived a largely traditional lifestyle, there remained large areas unexplored, and development after the war was still in its infancy. There was a lot happening and life was exciting.

Continue reading "One of the best kiap memoirs written" »

Let words be not silent or sleep alone


Have all good poems been written
That we today have none to share 
What then of the heart being smitten 
By the beauty of eyes that stare 
Or the walk that none can compare 

Have all good poems been written 
That we today have none to read 
What then of the loss that burden 
A broken heart held by a thread 
Or photo lost to time instead

Continue reading "Let words be not silent or sleep alone" »

Magnificent men & their flying machine stories

Talair near Omkolai 1966
A Talair Cessna over Omkolai, 1966


NOOSA – MAF pilot Dave Rogers’ recent yarn about the skills required to land on and take off from some of Papua New Guinea’s many preposterously difficult airstrips attracted much commentary and many war stories from our readers.

I’ve curated a few here, but first one of mine.

I had just become engaged to my first wife, Sue, at a grand party we had at my remote highlands school 10 or so kilometres from Kerowagi and Sue was on her way back home to Sydney to explain it all to her mother.

Continue reading "Magnificent men & their flying machine stories" »

Those far off days at Kundiawa A

Haus pik
The haus pik - not the perfect location for a primary school but rather more edifying than the Chimbu Club


NOOSA – Amongst the joys in life of most school teachers is to run into or receive a missive from a former student who has done well in life and remembers their schooldays with some fondness rather than as a dreadful chore.

Although I taught school for only three years, this kind of pleasant coming together has happened to me a few times.

Continue reading "Those far off days at Kundiawa A" »

The suffering and death of Francis Nii

The late Francis Nii - showed us what was meant to be an authentic human being


KUNDIAWA - A giant has fallen, his sufferings and distress he has lived. He is gone to his Father’s House where there are many mansions.

It was Sunday 2 August that I visited Francis Nii for the last time at around 11.30 am.

I saw him in so much pain and with complications such that his survival looked grim.

Continue reading "The suffering and death of Francis Nii" »

Man Bilong Buk - what you can expect

MBB writers pic
Francis Nii with Daniel Kumbon, Phil Fitzpatrick, Martin Namorong and Keith Jackson, Noosa, 2016


NOOSA – The manuscript of the Francis Nii Collection, so generously funded by a number of PNG Attitude readers, is nearing completion and shall soon be despatched to Jordan Dean – who runs Papua New Guinea’s only affordable publishing company - for design, layout and publication.

Entitled Man Bilong Buk, the tribute volume includes the best of the late author’s provocative and entertaining essays, revelations from his astonishing life story and insights into how an author imprisoned by his own body in the corner of a hospital ward managed to become such an exceptional figure in fostering a home-grown literature in PNG.

Continue reading "Man Bilong Buk - what you can expect" »

Aviation: Safe landing & taking off in PNG

Dave Rogers and his aircraft
Dave Rogers and his aircraft - safe on the ground

| MAF Australia Pilot

SYDNEY - Probably one of the most common questions I’m asked by friends and supporters back home is, “What’s it like flying in Papua New Guinea?”

I thought I’d take this opportunity to answer it.

The risks of operating light aircraft, particularly in PNG, necessitates strict adherence to procedures and extensive training.

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The unChristianity of becoming a Christian state

Secularity v christianityROBIN OGE
| DevPolicy Blog

PORT MORESBY - In a recent article, Dr Eugene Ezebilo of the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute asserts that “PNG’s Constitution does not recognise Christianity as the country’s religion”.

He proposes that if PNG wants to be a Christian state, Section 45 of the Constitution should be amended to specifically recognise Christianity as the state religion and a state church be established.

Continue reading "The unChristianity of becoming a Christian state" »

The bringing of law in an unfamiliar clime

Kerry Dillon
Kerry Dillon - at 22 plunged into the intricacies of bringing western criminal justice to Papua New Guinea


The Chronicle of a Young Lawyer by Kerry Dillon, Hybrid Publishers, August 2020, 384pp. ISBN: 9781925736410, $35. Available from Booktopia & all good bookstores, and as an ebook from Amazon, Kobo, Google Books and Apple iBookstore

NOOSA – In 1970 I was the 25-year old assistant manager of Radio Rabaul, my main responsibility being running its news service.

For most of my time at the station my staff consisted just of me.

The Mataungan Association, a proto-independence movement, was in full cry and its legitimate call for social equity and fairer land apportionment for the Tolai people was mixed with the illegitimacy of rebellion and violence.

Continue reading "The bringing of law in an unfamiliar clime" »

Law & the unfairness we face


FACTION - I sidled up to Ve’ Maghe working on his next piece of writing or legal argument.  He was engrossed in penning a few lines and did not look up.

I’d been friends with Ve’ Maghe for a long time and had been around him so long I think he could recognise my smell, especially the lavender cologne that I liked to wear.  It was registered in his brain.

Continue reading "Law & the unfairness we face" »

We must rebuild a Hela worthy of forebears

Tari student killed & grieving schoolmates
The murdered Tari student and his grieving schoolmates


ADELAIDE – We have joined in grief with students of Tari Secondary School to mourn the loss of a young man, inspired to be educated and become a leader, whose life was cut short - slaughtered in the name of tribal revenge.

Hela proudly became a separate province of Papua New Guinea in May 2012 and we hold in the highest respect the founding fathers for giving back to our generation the true Hela identity.

Continue reading "We must rebuild a Hela worthy of forebears" »

Two extraordinary PNG politicians

Sir Iambakey Okuk - the famed Simbu politician who died prematurely and is not a prisoner of the Vatican as the mythology would have it


CARDIFF – There are two significant moments in Papua New Guinea’s political history that I will never forget.

The first was when Lavongai’s bikman Walla Gukguk was persuaded by Wally Lussick and Goroka MP Sinake Giregire to stand for the Kavieng open electorate in 1977.

With huge support from the followers of Lavongai’s TIA (Tutukuval Isukal Association - ‘Stand Up Together and Plant’) and the main island’s TFA (Tutorme Farmers Association) Walla easily beat his opponents.

Continue reading "Two extraordinary PNG politicians" »