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Media: Getting down & dirty with Sir Michael

Sir Paulias Matane reappointed as PNG’s G-G


Closeup_Speaking SOME THREE months short of his birthday on 21 September – and 79 is a grand age anywhere – Sir Paulias Matane has been reappointed for another term as PNG Governor-General.

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 Viviran Village in the Toma-Vunadidir area of East New Britain Province.

He was educated at Tauran Primary School to Grade 4 and at Keravat High School from Grades 5-9. He undertook teacher training at Sogeri in 1956 and, after teaching in his home area for five years, returned to Sogeri High School in 1962 to complete Form 4 under the Queensland Syllabus.

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 West New Britain.

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 US and the United Nations. At the UN he was twice elected chairman of the Asia-Pacific group of nations.

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.


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Rodney Ramadi

Many students hate school because the students control the school. Teachers can not control students if so many refuse to obey school rules.
Students find great difficulty to study with so many problems around them.

Papua Tauna

Marilyn - Most PNGeans are worried like you about the mine waste, so you are not alone here.

I further note that you unwittingly inserted your comments under the Governor-General comments in this forum. Is this deliberate?

Perhaps the Vice-Regal has been too quiet of late so you would want, like all the other interested blog readers here, to at least hear him say something about what he thinks of this whole issue.

Yes, it would that be nice to hear our GG defend the citizens' right to raise their collective concerns to the 'powers that be' in Waigani to fix this issue once and for all than let the Chinese ride 'rough-shod' over them.

Marilyn's comment had been moved to a more appropriate spot before PT's comment was posted - KJ

Bruce Copeland

How would the politicians respond if Sir Paulias did not accept the position in the present circumstances? But nominated again?

I am the father of two PNG citizens and have the right to speak for
my daughters.

Reginald Renagi

Bruce - There are no negative comments, but good people who have observed what has happened recently in PNG are merely stating the obvious.

Bruce Copeland

Reg - Please do not be too negative with the overseas dimdims. This is your country not theirs.


Well, I believe Sir Paulias is a good honest man. I have met him several times, and spoken to him about his beliefs and experiences. He told me he did not want to go into politics as he did not want to be corrupted.

The process of his election may be suspect (there are some untold stories and motives here), but I believe he is above this.

The post of G-G is rather special and has not been subject to Supreme Court intervention (maybe apart from Sir John Kerr in Australia).

I give him joy. (Check your Patrick O'Brian if you don't understand this.)

Tim King

If the Governor General is the man of integrity and honour that you describe, Keith, then he will not accept the scandalous manner of his reappointment and he will publicly call for a proper vote.

I hope he proves you right by distancing himself from the actions in Parliament last Friday. If he does not then I think your faith will have been misplaced.

Does the GG believe the vote was fair and proper? If he does then we know exactly where he now sits. If he does not believe it was right then he should step aside and demand a proper election.

Paulias Matane

Thank you very much for your very positive article to appear in PNG ATTITUDE. I am so humbled about what you wrote. Many thanks. Have a nice day. God bless.

Ian Brooks

A man of integrity, a man of honour; a servant of the people and a servant of God.

Reginald Renagi

Congratulations to the Governor-General, Vice-Regal or whatever you call this true Grand Chief, Sir Paulius Matane, on his re-election by parliament for a second term.

The GG will go on his anti-corruption marches and campaigns for good governance, and it is a good thing as he will keep reminding Michael to ensure he runs the government in an honest and clean way from here on.

Barbara Short

Sir Paulias Matane has been re-elected as Governor General of PNG. He will be 79 years in a couple of months, which is a great age to be still working and doing the many trips all over PNG that this role involves. It is also a great age in PNG where so many still die young.

He didn't campaign to be re-elected and was voted for by men from all parties in the Parliament. He has been outspoken on corruption so one can only hope that the politicians can learn a thing or two from this old Public Servant who is "Serving with Love from Government House".

Let's hope that they will respect his wise comments on what is needed in PNG, especially when it comes to overcoming corruption.

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