NGVR/PNGVR supports PNGAA reform
Richard closer to story than ‘Bulletin’

Kiap recognition project takes next step

Viner_Smith  The Office of the Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary, Senator John Faulkner, has agreed to meet with ex Kiap representatives, including Chris Viner-Smith [left],  who are seeking to hain official Commonwealth Government recognition for former PNG patrol officers.

Martin Bonsey, senior adviser to Senator Faulkner, has said that he and officers of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be pleased to meet with representatives to discuss issues which have been raised in correspondence with the Minister.

The meeting, scheduled to take place in Canberra in late March, provides the best opportunity so far for some form of official recognition to be given to former Kiaps. Senator Faulkner himself recently wrote that “the story of patrol officers is certainly an extraordinary one and one that deserves a higher level of consciousness than that which exists in contemporary Australian society.”

And Dr Hank Nelson, one of Australia’s most eminent historians, has said of Chris Viner-Smith’s submission on the question, “You make a good case”, adding, “It is difficult to know something of the work of the Kiaps without becoming an admirer of their work.”

Then there’s that wonderful quote from British war hero and one time Australian Governor-General Viscount Slim, who said to Paul Hasluck in 1960: “Your young chaps in New Guinea have gone out where I would never have gone without a battalion and they have done on their own by sheer force of character what I could only do with troops. I don’t think there’s been anything like it in the modern world...”

So in late March, Chris Viner-Smith and I and perhaps one other will assemble in Canberra to see whether we can bring success to this pursuit and more meaning to those words. I’ll keep you informed.

Photo: Chris Viner-Smith, ‘volunteered’ by his SES Commander to represent the Pialligo Unit at a photo shoot for the ACT Storm Safe campaign.


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Carol Kovingre

I'm Carol of Wewak checking on former PNG kiaps from the colonial days, 1956 and onwards, who were never rewarded.

My father was assistant kiap and native affairs officer in Wewak and Sandaun. They did a hard job.

Paul Oates

Carol raises an excellent point. Did PNG kiaps have some recognition from the PNG government for the work they did on behalf of the PNG people?

The PIR as it then was and now the PNGDF would have their own 'bilas' as does the RPNGC.

It would be a pity if our local equivalents didn't have the same available opportunities.

Does anyone know what the answer might be?

Carol Albina kovingre

I want to join on behalf of my late father, Sgt Henry Robert Kovingre 870199 Wewak Platoon.

Hi Carol - This project was restricted to expatriate kiaps (patrol officers) and came to a close some years ago - KJ


Michael Somare asked the P/NG High Commissioner in London to attend David Seakman's funeral. It was great to see people of P/NG recognise the work patrol officer's did. (Although it was probably the work David did in the House of Assembly that Michael Somare remembers most.)

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