The poverty of PNG’s 6-question census



WEWAK - The national population census has begun in Papua New Guinea, with the entire process scheduled to be completed in two weeks by 30 June.

From what I heard from PNG’s development partners during a briefing at the World Bank office in Port Moresby, a census questionnaire usually has 70-80 questions.

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A gripping memoir of a nation’s birth


Timeline Papua New Guinea: 1949-1975 by Bill Brown MBE, a photographic memoir of the development and birth of a nation. Available free for viewing at YouTube here

Brown family 1966  Michael  Pamela  David & Bill
The Brown family in 1966:  Michael,  Pamela,  David & the Great Man himself

NOOSA – A couple of years ago, Bill Brown emailed me a link to a project he was working on and which was nearing completion.

Timeline Papua New Guinea: 1949-1975 is a slide-based memoir that traverses PNG’s critical years from the early post-war period to 1975, the year of its independence.

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Never a better time to be a writer….


Illustration from The Gates of the Kingdom (John Birmingham)
Illustration from The Gates of the Kingdom (John Birmingham)

TUMBY BAY – In 2013 I set up the book publisher Pukpuk Publications when I was looking for a lower cost alternative to the publisher we'd used for the first two editions of the annual Crocodile Prize anthology.

It was in that search for cheaper books that I came across Amazon’s CreateSpace online publishing tool as an economical method of producing the anthologies, my own work and, from 2013, books by Papua New Guinean authors.

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PNG King's Birthday Honours List



Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)

Sir John Bangkok BEM. For services to Business and to the Community.

Knight Bachelor 

Sir Arthur Llewellyn Jones OBE. For services to Business and to the Community.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Andrew Charles Abel. For services to Surfing Industries.

Ahmad Bin Ismail. For services to Business and to the Community.

Commodore Phillip Poleware MBE

Ian Alan Tarutia OBE. For services to Business and to the Public and Private Sectors.

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PNG’s Chinese emerge as influencers


The Chinese in PNG Cover

The Chinese in Papua New Guinea: Past, Present and Future, Edited by Anna Hayes, Rosita Henry and Michael Wood. Published 2024 by ANU Press, Australian National University, Canberra.  Free PDF can be downloaded here. Paperback version also available for $60 plus postage

TUMBY BAY - My first extended encounter with the Chinese in Papua New Guinea was in Mount Hagen in 1967.

There were several Chinese stores in the town, and a great restaurant. I think the Chinese community also had something to do with the picture theatre that was built around 1968-69.

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The impending, testy vote on B'ville

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – On Monday, not for the first time, the contentious matter of Bougainville’s future was debated on the floor of Papua New Guinea’s parliament.

The most controversial issue of all is that the result of the 2019 referendum, in which 97.7% of Bougainvilleans voted for independence, was intended to be non-binding.

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Put Enga first, Speaker Pomat tells MPs

| Academia Nomad

UNDPEngans desperately try to dig for victims of the landslide (UNDP)

PORT MORESBY - I’ve never been a fan of Job Pomat (and for good reason), but what he said today in parliament is that what every national leader should say and do in times of disaster.

After the prime minister and opposition leader had belatedly spoken about the Enga landslide and offered condolences, Pomat, speaking in Pidgin, said something along the lines of the following:

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B'villeans sue miners over land damage

| Bougainville News


(Radio New Zealand)          Bougainvilleans want compensation for environmental damage caused by the Panguna mine (Radio New Zealand)

BUKA - A class action involving thousands of people is being brought against Rio Tinto and Bougainville Copper Ltd over the environmental and social destruction wrought by the Panguna mine in the autonomous region of Bougainville.

The action is headed by Martin Miriori, the brother of Bougainville’s first president, Joseph Kabui, and former secretary of the separatist Bougainville Interim Government during the civil war.

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Shock Pangu Pati split. What happens now?

| Academia Nomad

Allan Bird and James Marape (Radio New Zealand)
Likely challenger Allan Bird and troubled prime minister James Marape. Bird is the highly respected Governor of East Sepik Province (Radio New Zealand)

PORT MORESBY - Pangu Pati, the leading coalition partner in the current Papua New Guinea government, has split.

My test for a successful change in government in PNG is when there is a significant split within the biggest coalition party.

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Cautious notes for social media activists

| Academia Nomad

Publicly criticising the judiciary is usually a bad idea.
(Bing image inspiration created by by AI)

PORT MORESBY – The recent arrest and refusal of bail for social activist and political commentator Samson Komati arrest is reminiscent of Bryan Kramer’s arrest before he became an MP. Bryan was an activist and a prolific social media commentator on politics and related matters.

Under two prime ministers, Papua New Guinea has become a place where social media activists are arrested and jailed.

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