I was interviewed this afternoon for Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program [weekdays 5 am, 4 pm and 6 pm] on the contribution to PNG broadcasting of Sam Piniau, OBE, who died at Vunapope Hospital on 20 February aged 68. During the interview, I related an anecdote from my visit to Rabaul last October.
You may recall that, during that visit, I met Sam for the first time in 30 years. He then spent two days guiding Ingrid and me around the Gazelle, including visiting his modest house in Rakatop village in the hills behind Kokopo. As Sam manoeuvred his vehicle gingerly down the gullied clay track into Rakatop, he pointed out his latest project with pride - the power poles were being erected to bring electricity to the village for the first time.
Sam had a lovely sense of humour. As we were driving through the bush not far from Rakatop, he stopped the car and pointed to a spot beside the road. “This is where my people killed and ate the first Christian missionaries from Fiji,” he told me. “It was a very hot day and the Fijians had struggled to the top of this hill. They were plump and glistening with sweat. They looked so good my people just couldn’t help themselves”.
[Photo: Sam and I pose in front of the NBC logo at Radio East New Britain last October. Sam reminded me how we’d designed the logo together over a beer in 1973 and how Hal Holman OAM later made something good and tangible of it.]