NB Mr Rudd: time Kiaps were recognised
Swimming 101: no champs, no chance

Pursuing avenues likely to work

Auckland. New Zealand beckoned and so we flew across the dutch. One of the few benefits of modern air travel is that, just like that which we used to enjoy so much, it provides time to contemplate. Prompted by responses to a short reader survey that accompanied the most recent newsletter, I have been reflecting on the content of The Mail, and, indeed, of this blog.

There were only three survey questions, but even this appeared like overload to many of you! Replies have been coming in at only a trickle – 20 so far from our 400 or so readers. But what this response has so far lacked in weight, it has made up for in insight. “What you need,” my advisors suggest, “is a more current view of PNG and Australia from inside PNG.”

That’s a good thought because we Australians whose relationship with PNG is essentially historical, nostalgic or informed mainly by inflamed media reporting need something a bit better than that. And this can best be provided by insiders with a vested interest in the present and future of PNG.

PNG citizens like John Fowke, Aloysius Laukai and Graham Pople are occasional and always welcome contributors to these Notes, and their views and assessments are valued. Increasingly I want them to be joined by other voices and I am trying to recruit

The PNG Association of Australia may at present be a shaky foundation on which to build a more effective civil relationship between Australia and PNG but, until it gets its act together, there are other avenues – as groups like the Oro Project, the New Dawn radio station on Buka with which I've been associated and the very existence of PNG ATTITUDE demonstrate.

By the way, the three simple survey questions that readers can still answer by are:

1 – What do you like about The Mail?

2 – What do you dislike about it?

3 – How can we improve it?

Go to it. Email me.


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John Fowke

Whilst I don’t mind at all being described as a PNG citizen, in fact I am not one, having been born a Pom in Sri Lanka with British, Irish and Dutch roots in that island going back to 1660, plus a touch of the tarbrush in Madras in 1700-odd where a direct ancestor founded a three-generation-long Indian Fowke dynasty of East India Co functionaries, one of whom was charged with treason against Warren Hastings.

In 1947, by which time we had migrated to NZ, we became Kiwis and I still hold NZ citizenship - never remaining long enough in Oz to qualify for citizenship as opposed to the permanent residency and age-pension entitlement which I enjoy. There you have it! A Kiwi Curry-muncher, but with not enough soot to attract the interest of the British Royal family.

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