The parliamentary vote of 84-13 represented a great honour for a man who, despite the burdens of vice-regal office, has not shied away from addressing the tough issues facing PNG.
Sir Paulias has sometimes been criticised for not taking a more activist stance, but it’s a fine line he needs to walk in his role, and he treads it with great diplomatic finesse.
He has spoken out strongly against corruption and poor governance just as he has continued to promote the virtues of education and literacy.
In a country that has had cause to find so many flaws in its leaders, the Governor-General is a stand-out.
Sir Paulias was born in 1931 at
He was educated at
Sir Paulias’s career then accelerated. By 1964 he was a school
inspector based in the Southern Highlands and, after other inspectorial
appointments, he became the first Papua New Guinean District Education Officer, based
In 1969 he was promoted to Superintendent of Teacher Education and, later that year, became a founding member of the Public Service Board, responsible for training and localisation in the Public Service.
Sir Paulias became the first Papua New Guinean to head a government department in 1971, as Secretary of the Department of Business Development.
From 1975-80 he was the first PNG Ambassador to the
Following this international service, Sir Paulias returned to PNG as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
He retired as a public servant (but, he stresses, not from public service) in December 1985, when he decided to “return to my own community to plant cocoa and coconuts.”
Sir Paulias has a string of honours (GCL, GCMG, KStJ, Kt, CMG, OBE), awards and honorary doctorates. He has served in a voluntary capacity on many commercial, educational and cultural organisations, and has found the time to write 44 books.
His motto as Governor-General is ‘Serving with Love from Government House!’ [note the explanation mark] and the renewal of his tenure is a sign of stability and indicates that Sir Paulias’s already long and distinguished career working in the greater good of Papua New Guineans has a lot left in it yet.