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154 posts from October 2011

Media ethics issue triggers heated debate


When prominent journalist and blogger Malum Nalu began to write stories defending logging company Rimbunan Hijau (better known as RH), which also owns The National newspaper, without disclosing he was on its payroll, there was outrage in Papua New Guinea.  Meanwhile, observations on Malum’s stance have placed PNG Attitude contributor Martyn Namorong at the epicentre of a fascinating national debate.  (We did ask Malum to respond to the criticisms but received no reply) - KJ

MARTYN NAMORONG, whose blog is called the Namorong Report and who is a recent Crocodile Prize winner, has upset long time PNG journalist Malum Nalu with his article on Rimbunan Hijau and Nalu’s role in the continuing story in Pomio, East New Britain Province. Nalu is employed by The National newspaper which is owned by RH.

The Namorong Report called Nalu out on his trip to Pomio, the whole sad saga of RH’s behaviour and Nalu’s pitiful response to the PNGexposed blog.

What has caused me to take fingers to keyboard on this issue is something quite striking. And that is the response by Nalu and his supporters - several working for large-scale extractive industries of course and how that contrasts greatly with those who support Namorong.

Martyn Namorong sells buai in Port Moresby. Anyone who reads his blogs sees that is a bit strange when you read his analysis of major issues in PNG. He is an exceptional thinker and his blogs have constantly gotten me to think and think critically of our country and issues we face. I have never met Mr Namorong but would like to one day.

His blog on the ongoing crisis in Pomio, where RH’s behaviour has been terrible against our own citizens, where RH has lied about Greenpeace breaking custom laws, and where they are trying to make out that everyone loves logging in the area is typical for RH.

Remember local landowners in Pomio did the right thing. Instead of resorting to violence, they went to the Commission of Inquiry on Special Agricultural Business Leases, testified on their own behalf and returned home.

And when they got there RH sent in the thugs, dressed as police. It’s not the first time RH has done this, but this time, thanks to the social media - which Mr. Namorong pointed out - people are not remaining quiet.

Nalu’s pitiful report made serious allegations that Greenpeace had broken PNG Customs regulations by entering Pomio District. He also claimed Greenpeace had caused friction in the Pomio community when in fact the friction between landowners had been incited by RH and its landowner company “directors” who, in fact, arranged for supportive landowners to act as logging company security due to the confrontations between Gilford’s (an RH subsidiary) Malaysian staff and landowners opposing the logging.

Nalu, who began his sorry defence by trying to make himself a hero saying he risked his life by going out to Pomio, tried - and failed - to make fun of Namorong. He responded by pretending to laugh - a sure sign Namorong got to him with his analysis.

He said Namorong was a buai seller turned blogger and suggested he go back to selling buai. In other words Mr Namorong, you nailed him and upset him. Now Nalu supporters have jumped on the bandwagon calling Namorong lowlife, scum, questioning his sexual preference and laughing amongst themselves.

However those that were supporting Namorong’s right to report or supporting what Namorong had to say never got to that low level of name calling and trying to down Nalu. They stuck to the issue at hand.

As I was watching this I then realised there is a change going on in PNG - and its a big one - and it is reflected in the response of Nalu and friends to Namorong. There is a new generation of Papua New Guineans and they are thinkers - they are not small boys with egos like Nalu displayed in his defense nor are they like those that supported Nalu by name calling.

The new breed think, analyse and try to engage in constructive dialogue. They give a damn about PNG and they want to do something about it and they will. And when they see what happened in Pomio when, once again, RH comes in plays the bully it has always been they a re not going to shut up. They are seeing it, calling it out and they are moving towards action.

While the name calling egotists ramble on the new generation isn’t going to put up with it any more. Things are going to change. At a price for sure, but it’s coming. Thanks Martyn - your blog analysis of the situation in Pomio has brought it all home. And I am feeling good about my country again.

Rimbunan Hijau - stumbling through Pomio


YOU COULD almost feel sorry for Rimbunan Hijau (RH) if it weren't for the fact they are Rimbunan Hijau.

Since they sent the thugs over to Pomio to intimidate the landowners (who respected the law and attended the SABL Commission of Inquiry instead of getting violent), to their ridiculous attempt to put a negative spin on Greenpeace, to their latest attempt to have Malum Nalu tell the story for them.  They have failed miserably.

The most encouraging thing besides the landowners still being strong has been the most incredible analysis on the numerous blogs about the situation in Pomio.

It is clear that RH has is bumbling its way along. Bribes and force are being seen for what they are.

In addition, the failure of Malum Nalu to convince anyone who wasn't already working for RH, or other large scale extractive industries, that RH were good guys in all this, has been most impressive.

Mr Nalu, who is a fine writer has been under attack - and rightly so, as his defence has been weak. But the extent of the analysis by his detractors has been impressive as has the fact that fewer and fewer people buy the RH line is most encouraging.

Things seem to be changing in PNG and change begins with the mindset of the people from the village to the top.

Despite RH, which has the money and uses it, people are resisting. That includes RH’s hilarious attempt to use locals to bring a case against their rival newspaper the Post Courier through the PNG Media Council. No one buys it.

So good on the people of Pomio, the bloggers who write about the issue and the other people who are speaking out. Keep it up.

We can still make the companies more responsible - you are proving it. And remember if you call them out you are simply anti-development. They don't get it at all do they?

Source: PNG Exposed Blog, 30 October

PNG landowners ask government to end logging


CUSTOMARY LANDOWNERS are calling on the Papua New Guinea government to call a halt to logging operations until a commission of inquiry into the nation's controversial land leases has concluded.

Greenpeace will today present a petition calling for moratorium on logging on behalf of 550 landowners in New Britain to Ben Michah, chief of staff to prime minister Peter O'Neill.

Signatories to the petition say their land has been fraudulently acquired by Gilford Limited and its parent company Rimbunan Hijau.

They are calling for logging to cease until a commission of inquiry reports back in March next year with its recommendations on PNG's controversial Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABLs).

SABLs offer up land for 99 year leases to companies to be used for raising livestock, however they have been the feature of long running court battles in PNG amid allegations they are land grab and a cover for clear-fell logging.

"The petition calls for the forest clearing authority to be suspended until the commission reports back," Greenpeace forest campaigner Paul Winn told AAP.

He said 16,000 hectares of trees had already been felled in New Britain, and that royalties paid to landowners were at the discretion of the logging companies Gilford and RH.

Greenpeace vessel, Esperanza, returned from New Britain to Port Moresby on Saturday after visiting landowners in and around the village of West Pomio.

While there Greenpeace blockaded the logging ship, Fu Tian, which it say had illegally acquired logs from the area.

Two weeks before that visit, Pomio landowners accused police of conducting a campaign of fear against the local population at the behest of Malaysian logging company RH.

PNG police have since admitted RH paid for officers to fly from New Britain's capital Rabaul to Pomio, but say they were there on a peacekeeping mission.

"Funding or the lack thereof is a major and real problem for PNG police operations nationwide," police spokesman Dominic Kakas told AAP.

"To maintain peace and law and order in isolated and remote parts of the country we have had to take advantage of logistical support and arrangements in place or provide by private companies ... in the form of transport (usually air) and accommodation.

"In these types of situations we ensure that there is peace and dialogue instead of physical confrontations."

Greenpeace forest campaigner Paul Winn said police operating in the area at the time beat villagers with fan belts and sticks across the head, as well as pulling a 12-year-old boy from a bed and threatening him with a machine gun.

The commission of inquiry into SABLs is currently conducting interviews around PNG.

Source: AAP, 30 October

Bougainville’s weak govt unable to stop looting


THE FRIENDLY SMILES, calm turquoise tropical sea and palm-fringed white sandy beaches are a facade in this group of South Pacific islands with a tortured history.

But the main island of Bougainville is indeed Treasure Island.

Home to one of the world’s largest known copper and gold deposits, Panguna mine proved to be a curse. The violent civil war that began in 1988 was exacerbated by a blockade of the island by the Papua New Guinea government.

An estimated 15 000 people died in the fighting and as a result of the blockade, which involved the cutting off of essential medicines to the people.

The blockade existed until a ceasefire was brokered in 1994. However, in rebel held territories, the looting had already begun.

Tony Kevi was a young boy when the crisis began in 1988. His mother is a Panguna landowner. This is how he described the looting and infighting that ensued in rebel held territories.

“We couldn’t get enough of the material things the white man could give us,” he says. “It was obvious, you know, when after the ceasefire when we chased off the [PNG government], we started fighting amongst ourselves over cars.”

Tony said that one rebel commander would pull a car out of another’s hands and there would be trouble. Today the looting continues in various forms.

Albert Kinini heads the screening committee of the Commerce Department of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. He estimates that about K300 million worth of alluvial gold is illicitly leaving the island.

The Bougainville government does not receive any revenue from these exports. Much of the alluvial gold mining is being carried out in the tailings region and at Panguna.

The Commerce Department is currently screening applications for scrap metal buyers. Indeed, a lot of scrap metal is being exported from the former mining region through the port of Arawa.

No one really knows the value of the exports and the once again, the government does not collect revenue from this activity.

But perhaps the biggest resources coup has been the story of the speculative investment by Invincible Resources of Canada, giving it access to every single oil, gas and mining activity on Bougainville.

For the cheap price of K20 million, Invincible Resources owns 70% of a company created by an Act of Parliament in Bougainville.

The company, known as Bogenvil Resources Development Company, was given exclusive rights to all mining and oil and gas activity under the Act.

Meanwhile a 30 000 hectare oil palm project is to be developed at Torokina on Bougainville’s west coast. Hakau Investments, a company linked with Lae-based businessman Sir Henry Chow, is currently undertaking surveying and feasibility studies.

The area contains tracts of tropical hardwood that are expected to be clear felled and sawn into timber. The project is being opposed by the member of the Bougainville House of Representatives along with members of the six landowning clans.

All of these activities are taking place in the context of a policy and legislative vacuum. There are currently no mining, forestry or fisheries policies and enabling legislation. Bougainville’s fledgling government also lacks institutional and financial capacity.

This has resulted in many foreign businesses bypassing the government and dealing directly with local landowners and leaders. One such case involves partnerships between landowners and foreign interests in a project called Nisina Mines within the lower tailings region of Panguna.

So the looting that began after the departure of Papua New Guinea’s military and police forces continues today in various forms. Powerful and influential men are amassing wealth and weapons to protect their interests. The government is weak and its exercise of authority limited.

“People are back into materialism, and we are repeating the same things. It’s all about what I can get for me today. The real threat here is that people have virtually forgotten what it was like during the blockade,” warns Tony Kevi

Time to start connecting the population dots


A COMMON GAME of yesteryear was to use a pencil to connect successively numbered dots on a page in a puzzle book. As each dot was connected in the right sequence, a picture would be revealed.

In our modern Information Age, this activity seems rather quaint. Yet if we took a little time to use the resources available to us to make some connections, we might join the dots and be able to gain a holistic picture of what is happening to the world around us.

It has been calculated that the world’s population will reach 7 billion tomorrow. To try to come to grips with this number is mind boggling. However certain factors seem to stand out.

Firstly, it has only taken the last 30 years for the world population to double in size. Statistically, it will take less than 30 years (that is by the year 2040) to double again.

Most developed counties like Australia have a birth rate of no more than 1 or 2 percent. This is hardly enough to replace the death rate and population growth has occurred only by immigration.

But in many developing countries, the birth rate far exceeds the death rate.

The UN Population Fund has warned that demographic pressures pose “mighty challenges” for easing poverty and conserving the environment.

Its 126-page document, The State of the World Population 2011, highlights a surge that began with the post-World War II baby boom - a numbers bulge that shows up in following generations as they in turn have children.

The impact of an ever increasing population has a dramatic impact on available resources including fresh water, arable land and fuel for cooking and heating.

The report said it now takes the Earth 18 months to regenerate the natural resources that we use in a year.  You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to realise that means our resources are being depleted.

Future concerns focus especially on water stress. "Analysis suggests that the world will face a 40% global shortfall (in water) between forecast demand and available supply by 2030," says the report.

Eighty million people each year are added to the world's population. People under 25 comprise 43% of the total.

There is a recognised consequence of what is referred to by demographers as ‘a youth bulge’. After every youth bulge in history, it has been claimed, there proceeds social unrest, civil strife and the potential for open warfare.

Australia is a very dry continent and our available water resources are very dependent on seasonal rainfall. A micro example of the potential future came about during the last very severe drought.

Australia could not produce the usual harvest of Riverina rice and the reduction in Australian rice in Papua New Guinea raised serious questions about feeding the local urban population. Some people in PNG thought Australia was intentionally withholding the rice crop.

As Australia advances into 2012, we owe it to ourselves and our nation to pause, reflect and start ‘connecting the dots’.

Blogs offer insights into the nation’s politics


Blogs are increasingly shaping perceptions of Papua New Guinea’s political, economic and social issues. Notable PNG bloggers MARTYN NAMORONG and KEITH JACKSON share their views on what to expect ahead of the election next year.

WHILE PNG’s media enjoys enviable freedom compared to most of its Pacific neighbours, some observers believe PNG’s press has always been light on editorial and commentary on the country’s more troubling concerns.

Into this void a series of PNG blogs have emerged in recent years, and their popularity is escalating as PNG’s political situation becomes more complex.

Namarong, a former medical student who makes a living selling betel nut in Port Moresby, is perhaps the most controversial of PNG’s blogging scene yet he is clearly finding an audience which is also more international than one might expect.

From the end of July – when Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare’s retirement due to medical reasons was prematurely announced by his son – to the beginning of September, Namarong had more than 15,000 visits to his blog.

About 200-300 regular readers are Papua New Guineans, compared to more than 1000 Australian readers, while Americans make up the next biggest readership base.

“Most of my PNG readers are high school and university students,” Namarong told PNG Report. 

“I think there is a growing tide of dissatisfaction amongst their youth concerning the state of affairs of this nation. Young people see my blog as their blog – my thoughts are their thoughts – my frustrations are theirs as well.

“I also know that the colonised elite of PNG are reading the blog. They have to because it is a blog that takes a swipe at their failure to lead.”

Namarong sees blogging as a form of protest and believes he is articulating the thoughts of millions in PNG.

“We see the need for an alternative development path that differs from the current exploitative development model that is largely in favour of capitalists. We see the darkness of neon lights.”

Jackson, a former PNG-based journalist and a broadly-experienced media veteran, first got into blogging to maintain contacts between Australians who served in pre-independence PNG.

“As president of the PNG Association of Australia (2008-09), which I had hoped might evolve as a more instrumental organisation in facilitating closer relationships between our two countries, I saw, because of the nature of its membership, it would have great difficulties in doing that,” Jackson told PNG Report. 

“So I decided to quit the presidency and put my time into transforming the networking blog, called ASOPA People, into a more broadly-based site, PNG Attitude,  aimed at building people-to-people links between Australians and PNG nationals by focussing attention on the PNG-Oz relationship. 

“I think this proved to be the right move at the right time.”

In early September the PNG Attitude blog had a record 1700 hits on a single day, which coincided with the controversial news that the O’Neill coalition government had removed Somare from his East Sepik seat.

Jackson said PNG Attitude’s page views had generally doubled from the previous year to more than 1000 a day.

“We cover the big PNG issues with robust and independent commentary,” Jackson said of the growing popularity.

He also credited the greater awareness of the blog to a rising presence of Papua New Guineans online and the inclusion of more stories from PNG nationals with his site featuring about 40 frequent contributors.

“The PNG national contributors have not only become more numerous over the last year or so, but bolder - more willing to comment publicly and frankly on PNG affairs,” Jackson said.

“I'm especially delighted at the growing willingness of PNG nationals to write analytically and with great insight on their own political and social issues.” 

Continue reading "Blogs offer insights into the nation’s politics" »

Court decision will seal fate of Michael Somare

THE GOVERNMENT of Papua New Guinea will find out if it legally took power from Sir Michael Somare when the Supreme Court hands down its decision on Friday 9 December.

The decision will follow months of legal wrangling over the August election of Peter O'Neill after 70 MPs decided to dump the Somare government.

The Supreme Court rose on Friday after two days of closing arguments.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said a panel of five judges will take the “whole month of November” to decide whether the dumping of Sir Michael was constitutional.

Lawyers for Sir Michael, former acting prime minister Sam Abal and the East Sepik provincial government have argued no vacancy existed in the prime ministership when Mr O'Neill was elected.

Sir Michael had been in Singapore for four months recovering from two heart operations when the decision to oust him was taken.

It is also argued deputy prime minister Belden Namah and Speaker Jeffery Nape did not wait a legally-mandated 24 hours before electing a new prime minister.

“Whatever way you look at it, the events on the second of August were unconstitutional,” said Ian Molloy, lawyer for the East Sepik Provincial Executive.

Also in question is Mr Nape's decision in early September to dump Sir Michael from his parliamentary seat.

Mr Nape said Sir Michael had missed three straight sittings of parliament - a disqualifier under PNG law - while Sir Michael's lawyers say he missed only two.

In their arguments, government lawyers have said Sir Michael was incapacitated and could not do the job of prime minister, and that the decision to switch power was in the national interest.

Earlier this week, the government's legal team twice tried to derail the case, but failed.

Since his return from Singapore in early September, Sir Michael has made few public appearances.

Source: Bigpond News, 29 October

Japanese midget sub found in Rabaul harbour


A JAPANESE World War II submarine wreck was found partially buried in the seabed of Simpson harbour during a search for unexploded munitions, Australia's military said on Friday.

Australian and New Zealand warships found it 55 meters underwater while working in the area to clear explosives from the major WWII Japanese military base.

The wreck is partially buried in sand but upright. Australian navy historians had concluded from underwater images that the wreck is Japanese.

"The Royal Australian Navy will now work with Japanese authorities to assist in determining the wreck's identity," it said.

Gary Oakley, an Australian War Memorial curator and a former submariner, said it appeared to be a midget submarine crewed by one or two men.

"My best guess would be it's a Japanese midget submarine. It doesn't look big enough to be an ocean-going submarine," Oakley said after examining indistinct images of the wreck released by the Defence Department.

Japanese midget submarines were transported by ship or larger submarines and used covertly to infiltrate enemy targets including Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and Sydney Harbour.

Such a submarine could have been destroyed by an American air raid or naval bombardment or even scuttled by the Japanese toward the end of the war, Oakley said.

Source: Huffington Post, 28 October

Scientists learn the art of storytelling


WRITING IS AN ART – even scientific writing.  Scientific and technical articles are meticulous and precise but ‘there is always a story to be told’. The challenge is to tell it well.

The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) recently conducted a course on scientific writing under a European Union funded ACP Project.

This learning opportunity was taken up with enthusiasm by twenty young scientists from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, who spent two weeks at NARI’s Bubia Station in Morobe, dissecting and reconstructing their technical articles.

There were inspiring seminars from senior colleagues, tutorials, group work and discussions about how to write better papers. This training will raise the quality and quantity of journal articles reporting on research findings in these three Melanesian nations.

For any research article it is best to choose beforehand in which scientific journal you wish to publish. In PNG there are five: Journal of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Journal of Research, Science and Technology, Science in New Guinea, Niugini Agrisaiens and the Journal of Institute of Chemists.

Regionally there are many others, including the popular Journal of South Pacific Agriculture and historically there was PNG’s renowned journal Harvest.

It is every scientists dream to publish in the internationally distinguished impact journals, such as Science and Nature. But more often the research findings are relevant within our own regional and local communities and this local publishing must be promoted.

As one wiseacre said ‘to make the best cup of Arabica coffee you need a very sharp bush-knife’.

Our young agricultural research scientists tackle the many challenges we are faced with. Communicating the results of their research, telling the story of their good science, is an imperative for us to move forward along our development path.

Let them be our five-ninety Tramontina* to clear the way!

* Tramontina is a well known brand of bush-knife/machete, which at one time was sold for K5.90, and the model with the longest blade was so popular it was given the name ‘five-ninety’.

No prize for first place in complaining contest


SOMETIMES I THINK we’re all in one big competition. Trying to see who can complain the best. Who can articulate society’s problems most cleverly and clearly? And who can say it first? Who can best fuel the flames of frustration and get most people on the same whingeing-wagon?

Who can promote a complaint to get the admiration of our people—with praises that we’ve “hit the nail on the head”? We want people to adore our complaints and extend them till we’re singing a dirge together. Now there’s not a great deal of wrongs with complaining. It is a form of noise and perhaps when enough noise is made, action can be taken.

David Sode once said that it’s like we humans are built to complain. If all the problems we currently complain about were to be solved, we would then complain about how imperfect those solutions are! We just have’s human nature!

Turn to the letters section of any daily newspaper and see how many people are complaining (among them my proposed solutions). Now with technology and the internet it’s very easy to get a better glimpse of the degree of complaining going on.

I complain too. So I’m talking to myself as well. But I try to limit my significant complaints to matters that I am ABLE to do something about. Or to communicate them to people who can do something about them. And I try to include potential solutions in my complaints. 

I once read about a leadership guru who got so tired of his people complaining a lot to him that he set a rule. No one was allowed to bring a complaint to him unless they also brought along three possible solutions to that problem.

Immediately the number of people complaining in his organisation decreased greatly; and the problem-solvers rose up. This is because it takes less wit to identify a problem than it takes to identify a solution. I think one solution is worth ten complaints when it comes to using our mind power (an unscientific assessment of course). 

The problem is people want to say things...but they don’t want to think too much. So the solution to that problem is easy. Say things that don’t require much thinking; ergo...complain! Problem solved! We said much without having to think much!

Are you a complainer or a problem-solver? You don’t have to think about solving the world’s problems. But you can think about solutions to problems in your immediate sphere of influence.

Think about those little problems that you can impact. Then think harder about the solutions to those problems. I’m quite confident that you’ll become more influential as you continue to work within that sphere—solving those problems that you can solve. Eventually that sphere will get larger. Complaining and worrying won’t extend your borders.

As my Good Friend says, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”  Yes, that’s my Good Friend Jesus.

Happy problem-solving!

If only I knew


If only knew I wouldn’t see tomorrow

I’d prepare myself, to face the horror

If only I knew my time on earth was up

I’d sit with ease, though so abrupt

If only I knew I wouldn’t see my child

I’d say to him and her, my flight will be defiled

If only I knew, I’d miss thanksgiving

I’d cancel my flight, as graduation is approaching

If only I knew, this would be my last time to fly

I’d hug and kiss my family goodbye

If only I knew God would call me that day

I’d say to God, yes I am ready today

If only I knew Christ was the way

The sinner’s prayer I would pray

If only I knew

Jacinta Yadamatti was born in 1986 at Popondetta in Oro Province.  She graduated from Divine Word University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Accountancy and works for NGIP Agmark Limited in Kokopo, East New Britain.  She developed an interest in literature in high school and has ambitions to be a professional writer.

Underwater find is not missing submarine AE1

AE1 in Sydney Harbour, 1914

AUSTRALIA'S MOST ENDURING maritime mystery, the disappearance of the World War I submarine AE1, looked like being solved with the discovery of a shipwreck near Rabaul.   But it was not to be.

The RAN's first submarine, AE1, sank with all 35 hands on 15 September 1914 off the Duke of York Islands.  It was Australia's first naval loss of the Great War.

On Wednesday afternoon, as two Australian and New Zealand navy vessels scanned the sea bottom looking for unexploded munitions, the outline of a wreck appeared on the screen of the hydrographic survey vessel HMNZS Resolution.

The find was in the Simpson Harbour area not far from where the 600-tonne AE1 was last sighted near the entrance of Mioko Harbour.

AE1, under the command of Royal Navy Lieutenant Thomas Besant, was to assist with the capture of German New Guinea.

But the submarine found three days ago has been identified as Japanese, from World War II, not AE1.

The mystery remains.

Losing our pigs and our ancestors: after Rappaport


The Tari GapIN 1968, DISTINGUISHED anthropologist Roy Rappaport wrote a seminal publication of human ecology: Pigs for the Ancestors: Rituals in the Ecology of a New Guinea People which integrated cultural ritual with the necessity of maintaining pre-existing relationships with the environment.

Documenting the behaviour activities of the Tsembaga Maring tribe in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Rappaport recognized how various activities of the tribe’s intrinsic culture was a direct product of that peoples’ relation with their natural environment.

The ritual slaughter of pigs, which are tantamount to the pinnacle of wealth and prosperity for many Highlands peoples, was no mere cultural artifact, but done to pay homage to the limits and requirements of population and ecological limitations.

Herds of pigs would be reared and fattened until their resource requirements extended beyond carrying capacity and would ultimately lead to land degradation. Upon which the pigs would be slaughtered in a great mumu feast and shared generously amongst members of adjoining family clans.

The competition itself between human and pig, much like competition for niche space within an ecosystem, was sufficient enough for the human masters to keep numbers in check and keep energy exchanges constant.

As Rappaport argued, culture and ritual could also be disruptive to ecological systems when it served its own ends (economic or political institutions) rather than those of the society and the ecological limitations from which it was derived from.

More than forty years later, I paid a visit to one such tribe that has similarly co-existed and valued pigs in much the same way.

In a community that has seen little outside influence prior to the last two decades, the cultural and environmental impacts are the harbingers of a socio-economic malaise with land stripped of its productive value and indigenous communities left at the whim of a money-based economy with no way to understand, let alone benefit from it.

A suitable metaphor might be ‘pulling out the rug from under them’. They can neither go back to adhering to their cultural traditions, nor can they proceed to adopt the new economy and expect to compete in it with the sapped resources left.

Meanwhile, some of the world’s most biodiverse and least-studied forests risk great loss at the helm of this unfortunate cultural war.

Read the complete article here

Source:, 27 October

British American to sponsor lifetime literary award


BRITISH AMERICAN Tobacco (PNG) has announced that it will sponsor one of the major awards in the 2012 Crocodile Prize.

The British American Tobacco Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement will be given to a prominent Papua New Guinean writer who, in the opinion of judges, has contributed with distinction to PNG literature over a period of many years.

“We feel privileged to be a part of such an important contribution to our nation’s culture,” said Ako Toua, BAT(PNG)’s head of corporate affairs.

“We are delighted to sponsor the naming rights for lifetime literary achievement," he said.

Meanwhile the respected award-winning journalist, Sean Dorney, has lent his support to the Crocodile Prize.

“I would encourage all Papua New Guineans to think seriously about picking up a pen or thrashing your keyboard to turn out an entry,” he told PNG Attitude.

“It is simply terrific that there is an avenue now for Papua New Guinean writers to see their work in print.

“I was fortunate enough to meet Sir Vincent Eri and The Crocodile was one of the first books that I bought and read when I first arrived in PNG in 1974.

“PNG is going through such an interesting time that I have no doubt that there are talented people there who can translate this constant, exciting transition into quality literature.

“I would encourage all potential sponsors to support this most worthwhile initiative.”

Potential sponsors interested in naming rights are asked to contact Keith Jackson here.

Writers who wish to find out more about the competition should link here.

PNG is at high risk from climate change

WHEN THE world's nations convene in Durban, South Africa, next month in the latest attempt to inch towards a global deal to tackle climate change, one fundamental principle will, as ever, underlie the negotiations.

It is the contention that while rich, industrialised nations caused climate change through past carbon emissions, it is the developing world that is bearing the brunt.

It follows from that, developing nations say, that the rich nations must pay to enable developing nations to develop cleanly and adapt to the impacts of global warming.

The point is starkly illustrated in a new map of climate vulnerability.  The rich global north has low vulnerability, the poor global south has high vulnerability.

The map shows that many areas of Papua New Guinea are classified as being at high risk, and a few at extreme risk, and that it is likely to be the poorest sections of society that bear the brunt of exposure to climate related hazards.

This is witnessed by large slum populations present in many of the rapidly growing cities where residents frequently have fragile livelihoods and poor access to basic resources, such as clean water.


PNG could be the world tuna capital by 2016


LAST MONTH, a Philippines company tried to fill an order for five loads of canned and pouched tuna for the French market but unfortunately it could not deliver because export prices were just too high. It was instead advised to go to Papua New Guinea to source the market’s tuna requirements.

Why PNG? Because it is the new kid on the block in the global tuna trade. In fact, it aims to become the tuna capital of the world by 2016.

It will almost certainly deal the Philippines’s tuna presence in the European Union the coup de grace. Then we can kiss our tuna exports goodbye.  Last year they already fell to $359 million from $400 million two years earlier.

In 2010, the Philippines was EU’s third largest supplier of canned tuna with a market share of 12% after Thailand (18%) and Ecuador (17%). PNG had a market share of only three percent. But things have changed since then.

PNG is now the recipient of a generous economic partnership package that allows tuna exports to be accorded duty-free status. The EU gives the privilege mostly to former colonies that have not moved up from the category of least developed countries. In contrast, Philippine tuna exports are assessed import duty of 24%.

As such, PNG enjoys a clear built-in price advantage of at least 20% compared to exports from other countries, including the Philippines.

But if it is any consolation, two of PNG’s top tuna producers are investors from the Philippines -- RD Tuna Canners and Frabelle/Frescomar, a diversified marine-based group. But not for long.

EU’s special treatment has triggered a scramble by foreign investors to put up tuna processing facilities in PNG.

As expected, China is at the head of the pack, funding a multibillion-dollar development in the north-western part of the country called the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone. PMIZ will host 10 large tuna plants which will easily boost PNG’s production capacity to more than 2,000 tons per day.

Raw material will hardly be a problem. In 2010, PNG’s tuna catch was 749,000 tons, or roughly 17% of world catch. Thus, it will be able to sustain its own processing requirements without resorting to imports; which will in turn translate to export prices that will be difficult to match by competitors.

With its huge war chest, China certainly knows where to place its bet. Today, the tuna of its eye is PNG.

Source: Business World, Philippines, 26 October

Lawyers are thin on the ground says new study

A LOW LAWYER rate in Papua New Guinea is hampering access to justice, while in other South Pacific countries many lawyers have no understanding of their financial services legislation obligations. 

These findings are made in a new report released by the South Pacific Lawyers’ Association as part of the first comprehensive study into the needs of developing law societies and bar associations in the South Pacific. 

The survey reveals a number of findings that will be used to assist the South Pacific law societies improve the quality of services they provide to members and the community, said SPLA Chair Ross Ray QC.

“Specifically the research gives an insight into the legal profession in the South Pacific and highlights the current status of legal services and resources available.

“PNG, with a population of over six million people, has only 591 lawyers.

“The research suggests this low lawyer to population ratio is common within the South Pacific indicating an obvious access to justice issue for the region.

“This issue, combined with a lack of infrastructure, resources and training means the long term sustainability of the profession will be compromised unless immediate action is taken.”

Source: The New Lawyer, 26 October

The National and RH: Credibility at its worst


THE EDITORIAL in yesterday's The National railed against the actions of Greenpeace in the Pomio area of New Britain, as the environmental group sought to obstruct the export of local timber.

By an amazing coincidence, the parent company of the timber company involved in the exporting of local logs and the The National newspaper is … one and the same.

Yep!  You’ve got that right.  Conflict of interest, what’s that?

The editorial went on to suggest that Greenpeace may be losing its credibility.

Examples of how this may be happening included Greenpeace’s actions in destroying an experimental wheat crop in Australia.  It was claimed increased wheat yields might have benefited people currently starving in the Horn of Africa.

No one should condone illegal activities like the destruction of the legally grown wheat crop, irrespective of the reasons offered.

But the editorial then took this a step further – a step too far perhaps - and suggested that, by obstructing the export of Pomio timber, Greenpeace was actually opposing the expansion of the local oil palm industry.

The National claimed that research (exactly who did this research and relevant details were not stated) had shown that Greenpeace’s actions were threatening a K5 billion project that would support 3,000 jobs and 15,000 people’s lives over the next 25 years.

This equation alone suggests an extrapolation on a grand scale.

Exactly where these jobs are located and who would actually benefit from the K5 billion was not detailed.

Perhaps the number of jobs was a lot fewer and them merely the executives of a global conglomerate that is responsible for removing huge amounts of irreplaceable PNG timber resources for a song, in this case to plant oil palm plantations.

Oil palm plantations are notorious in producing nothing for the local people except some minor paid employment to harvest the crop and a vulnerable cash economy.

This pittance soon evaporates at the local trade store to buy food and essentials that were previously obtained from the local forest and land now growing inedible oil palms.

Yet, it is claimed, Greenpeace’s credibility is on the line. Yeah right!

Rio Tinto genocide claim reinstated by US court


RIO TINTO GROUP, the world’s second- largest mining company, has lost a bid to throw out genocide and war crime claims in a US lawsuit filed by Papua New Guinea landowners accusing the company of human rights abuses and environmental damage.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Tuesday reversed the dismissal of the two claims while upholding a lower court judge’s decision to toss out claims of racial discrimination and crimes against humanity.

The court said claims of genocide and war crime fall within the limited category of issues that can be considered under a law allowing non-citizens to sue in the US for violations of international law.

In the 2000 lawsuit, landowners claimed Rio Tinto and the PNG government formed a joint venture to operate the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville, once the world’s largest, and were responsible for thousands of deaths related to civilian resistance to the mine.

The appeals court has sent the case back to federal district court in Los Angeles for further proceedings.

The case is Alexis Holyweek Sarei v Rio Tinto PLC, 02- 56256, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco).

Source: Business Week / Bloomberg, 25 October

ABG convenes summit on development issues

THE AUTONOMOUS Bougainville government has invited all Bougainvilleans to a development resource summit that runs in Arawa for three days from today.

The summit will discuss resource development issues that have affected Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, including land, minerals, oil, gas, fishing, forestry, agriculture and carbon trading.

The topics for discussion include the conduct of multinational enterprises in respect to human rights in resource development, UN conventions on the rights of indigenous people and the property rights of indigenous people according to customs and traditions.

The summit will also address recognition of customary land, resource ownership and rights, the types of types of contracts for the extraction and development of resources and the fair sharing of benefits from resource development.

Guest speakers include constitutional lawyer Peter Donigi, who is president of the Mama Papa Graun Party.

Source: Papua New Guinea Mine Watch, 25 October

Solomon Airlines Dash 8 still not flying

THE DASH 8 aircraft on lease to Solomon Airlines from Airlines of PNG remains grounded whilst the airline awaits further information regarding outcomes of investigations into the Madang accident two weeks ago.

A team from Dash 8 manufacturers, Bombardier, Transport Canada, and the Australian and PNG air safety bureaus are still deliberating on what caused the crash and whether the fleet can be released to flying operations.

Solomon Airlines indicated that further advice from Airlines PNG is expected later this week.

Passengers have been asked to maintain in contact with the airline offices and agents.

"The safety of our passengers is paramount and this major disruption will not deter our policy of safety first,” the airline said.

“We are seeking to find solutions as quickly as possible to continue a safe Dash 8 operation in the Solomon Islands."

Source: Solomon Times, 26 October

Allied Gold pours 250,000th ounce from Simberi

GOLD PRODUCER Allied Gold Mining reached a milestone at the company's Simberi Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea this week, pouring the 250,000th ounce of gold.

Production commenced at the mine three years ago, with the initial plan indicating an eight year mine life.

The mine life has now been extended, with the company eyeing a 100,000 gold ounce annual operation from mid-2012 - with the boost a result of expansion and efficiency initiatives. The cash costs are targeted at $850-$900 an ounce.

The company has speculated that a sulphide processing circuit could further increase production to 250,000 ounces from 2015.

Source: Proactive Investors Australia, 26 october

HMAS Broome averts maritime disaster in Coral Sea

Broome with Vega Fynen under towTHE CREW OF Royal Australian Navy patrol boat, HMAS Broome, prevented an environmental and maritime catastrophe off Papua New Guinea on Monday night by providing assistance to a container ship which had lost power and was drifting towards Ragelapra Reef.

On Monday morning the Australian Maritime Safety Authority requested Defence support in aiding the container vessel MV Vega Fynen, which had lost engine power and was drifting towards a reef, 100 nautical miles south-east of Port Moresby.

Commanding officer of Broome, Commander John Navin, said his ship’s company was preparing to berth at Alotau when the new orders were received.

“The crew took the change of task in their stride as our patrol boat turned away from port and increased speed,” Commander Navin said.

On receiving the call, Broome sailed 146 nautical miles to rendezvous with the 13,000-ton Vega Fynen and made contact with its captain to offer assistance to his crew should they be required to evacuate their ship.

While on-station, Broome’s command team confirmed Vega Fynen’s drift rate and direction and worked to develop options to prevent the almost certain grounding on the reef.

Commander Navin said his team planned a stern-to-stern tow option in the hope they could at least arrest the drift of Vega Fynen until commercial salvage vessels and tugs arrived.

“The tow line was passed to the Vega Fynen only 700 metres before the ship entered uncharted waters as the sun was setting.”

Despite the Vega Fynen’s large size and tonnage, Broome was able to arrest the northerly drift of the container vessel, and slowly pull the vessel south and away from immediate danger.

The Armidale Class patrol boat, dwarfed by the commercial carrier, kept the ship under tow for six hours before passing the tow line to a commercial tug better suited for the role.

After successfully handing over the job, the ship’s company of Broome sailed back to Alotau to continue their planned activities.

This morning they awoke to a congratulatory message from Port Moresby’s Rescue Coordination Centre saying that the actions of Broome almost certainly averted a major environmental disaster.

“The measured risks taken in this dangerous evolution proved of great benefit and not only held the Vega Fynen but slowly brought her back into deeper waters,” the message stated.

Commander Navin said the ship achieved a complicated task on a scale that had not been attempted by an Armidale Class patrol boat previously.

“The crew are proud of their achievement and satisfied that their training and skills were put to good use to save lives and save the environment.”

Source: Australian Department of Defence, 25 October

Christian trek carries a tonne of aid to the Mamusis

The nine day, 900 kg trekLAST WEEK, Christians in Papua New Guinea carried their neighbours' burdens -- literally.

A couple of months ago, the Mamusi people suffered severe damage from mudslides triggered by heavy rainfall.

News of the disaster reached Jan and Annette Wols, missionaries with New Tribes Mission.

"Believers from five different language groups and missionaries in the region as well as some in other parts of the world have responded to the news by giving and helping," wrote Jan.

The result was 63 packages of supplies. Canvas tarpaulins and food were all donated to help the plight of the Mamusis. The weather left the mountains of the region soake, however, and the only way to get the supplies to the Mamusis was on foot.

Neighbouring Ata church leaders jumped at the opportunity to help their neighbours. Dozens of believers from the Ata church carried the 63 packages--which totalled more than 900 kilos--on their shoulders for the 9-hour walk over steep, muddy terrain to get to Ata village.

After another full day of hiking, the group reached the Mamusis. The people were still in shock, and few spoke when they received the aid.

For two months, the Mamusis had lived in rough conditions after many of their homes, gardens, and meeting houses were damaged or destroyed.

Source: Mission Network News, 25 October

Lower sales affect Oil Search, but output is OK


PAPUA NEW GUINEA-focused Oil Search posted a drop in revenue during the third quarter of the year as oil sales and prices fell.

Revenue for the quarter slipped 26.4% during the third quarter to $160.2 million, compared to $217.8 million during the second quarter of the year.

The fall in revenue reflected a 25% drop in oil sales, from 1.6 million barrels for the June quarter, to 1.2 million barrels.

Output for the quarter also fell 16%, to 1.5 million barrels of oil equivalent, due to the planned two week shutdown of the Central and Agogo processing facilities for the associated gas tie-in project to enable oilfield gas to be delivered to the PNG liquefied natural gas project.

“Apart from the shutdown, underlying field performance during the period was in line with expectations and production rates have now returned to pre-shutdown levels,” Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said.

He added total output for the year was expected be towards the upper end of the company’s forecast range of 6.2 million – 6.7 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Despite the slump in revenue during the third quarter, the company’s total operating revenue for the first nine months of the year was $531.3 million, a 26.9% rise on the $418.8 million booked during the same period in 2010.

During the quarter the company spent $55.7 million on exploration and evaluation activities, $308.5 million on the PNG LNG project and $42.6 million on oilfield development work.

The PNG LNG project is on schedule for first production in 2014 and will initially produce 6.6 million tonnes per annum from two liquefaction trains.

Oil Search holds a 29% stake in the project along with operator ExxonMobil (33.2%), the government of Papua New Guinea (16.6%), Santos (13.5%), Nippon Oil Exploration (4.7%), Mineral Resource Development Company (2.8%) and Petromin PNG (0.2%).

Source: Upstream Online, 25 October

Lack of law & order prompts offer of police support

AN AUSTRALIAN government minister says raising the quality of policing in Papua New Guinea is critical to making improvements in sectors such as health and education.

The Australian government is considering a PNG government request for additional policing assistance.

There are presently 14 Australian Federal Police working in PNG and Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, says the government is considering sending more.

He says they won’t be frontline police but will work in an advisory capacity.

Mr Marles, who visited PNG last week, said it’s clear that law and order remains a significant issue in PNG.

“You can make all sorts of advances in the areas of health and education which can then be undermined by a lack of law and order,” he said.

“I think that there is a desire on the part of the PNG government to address this.

“It is something we really welcome and we want to do what we can to help in supporting that and so that is really what is the driving motivation behind this proposal.”

Source: Radio New Zealand International, 25 October

Reading culture is growing slowly but surely


FOLLOWING MY LAST commentary on the reading culture (or lack of) in Papua New Guinea, it seems the bookworms have really been let out. Responses are quite uplifting.

We heard from people who share the same burden for the reading culture in PNG. People were starting small book club programs in their homes, getting their families in on the action, even reading to their babies in the womb!

And they were seeing positive impacts from such programs. A few colleagues of mine were so encouraged that they’ve suggested we do book club at work. So now we’ve designated a lunch time once a fortnight to have book reviews.

I was even encouraged to start an online book club. I didn’t think it would be received well at first, but I did so anyway—on Facebook.

The response was overwhelming. The Facebook page PNG BookClub grew to 2,800 members (and climbing!) in the space of four days! I’ve never been so happy to be proven wrong.

There are people out there who are actually reading books like crazy...and they’re quite excited that they have a forum in which they could just talk books.

People are conversing as if they’ve known each other for years, all because they share a common love for books and favourite authors!

On that Facebook page, people have been recommending books and authors; giving snippets of books they’re currently reading or just completed or starting. They’re setting up meetings with each other to exchange books.

More stories of family book clubs are shared. People who lost the passion for reading are telling us that they’re now picking up books again—inspired by the collective passion. Aspiring writers (including me) now have hope that we will surely have readers for our books when they’re published.

People have expressed frustration too with the fact that the public libraries in the major centres are non-existent and that access to books is almost zero at the moment for rural and semi-urban areas.

A story of a boy named Ngaru Nen—who goes to school in the US—distributing books to rural Watut has warmed our hearts. And news of others also attempting such deeds is encouraging. People with an abundance of books are even willing to contribute to a distribution effort—from within and abroad!

There’s even talk going on to materialise the movement into a formal club—aimed at building and sustaining the reading culture in PNG. A blog for book reviews and a website have been created (but not yet complete).

People want a place where they can meet and exchange books both physically and in cyberspace. They also want to get involved in distributing books to people (especially children) who need them. Many ideas are put forward but we’re keen to just take it one step at a time. All good things are built slowly.

The bottom line is that people are being encouraged to read. We don’t yet know the full extent of the influence of the PNG BookClub on Facebook. All we know is that members of the page are being encouraged to read more, and whoever they interact with (beyond Facebook) are also being inspired to read...and a lot of them are! That gives us hope.

Vision2050 expresses a desire to see PNG people become “smarter, wiser”. These qualities are slowly being realised as more and more people pick up books and read. We can’t rely only on our education system to make people smarter and wiser.

Nor do we have to wait for the government to make things happen. It can start with us; wherever we are. We hope that you will pick up book soon—if you haven’t. And that you will encourage those within your sphere of influence to read books.

You can prod them along by holding book review meetings—which are both educational and fun. Give books to them and follow-up regularly. Eventually your involvement will become unnecessary as they will soon get hooked on reading.

Most young people in PNG know Dr Ben Carson’s story. The power of reading is well-illustrated in his story. Yet many still need to unlock their reading passions. There’s no doubt that if we are to become smarter and wiser, we must read.

It takes more than just one week a year to highlight the importance of book-reading. We must prod the young people of our young nation to get their heads out of the clouds and into the books. True and long-lasting change starts right there.

To change the attitude of people we need to change the mind of people. Books can do that.

Delay as supreme court looks at O'Neill election


A SPECIAL supreme court hearing looking into the election of prime minister Peter O'Neill was adjourned yesterday after one of the five judges was unavailable.

The East Sepik provincial government is questioning Mr O'Neill's election on 2 August, claiming there was no vacancy to elect a new prime minister.

The full hearing is listed for this week but Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said Justice Bernard Sakora - one of five members to hear the case - was on court circuit in Oro province and could not make it back to Port Moresby on time due to delayed flights.

Sir Salamo told lawyers the full bench should be present to hear the case and adjourned the hearing until today.

Source: Radio Australia News, 24 October

Planning for new Australian police assistance

A DECISION is expected soon on exactly what assistance Australian will provide to improve the performance of police in Papua New Guinea.

Both countries recently agreed Australia would help improve the capability of PNG's police service.

Australian Federal Police are expected to be sent to PNG but not to work on the frontline.

A previous initiative to send the AFP came undone in 2005 when PNG's Supreme Court found the immunities granted to them were unconstitutional.

During a visit to Port Moresby last week, Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, said a final decision on what will happen will be made before the end of the year.

Source: Radio Australia, 24 October

Pacific community plans for deep sea mining standards

LEGAL EXPERTS hope to have new legislation in place within three years to protect Pacific marine environments from possible damage caused by new deep sea mining projects.

Deep seabed minerals have the potential to be a major economic resource for countries across the Pacific but there is concern about the lack of laws governing the practice.

The world's first seabed mining project in waters off Papua New Guinea is expected to begin in 2013.

Hannah Lily, a lawyer for the secretariat of the Pacific Community's Deep Sea Minerals Project, is working with 15 Pacific nations to establish the regional framework before mining begins.

Ms Lily said a regional standard would be developed that every country could agree to.

"It's about making sure the Pacific region is working together and setting standards that the rest of the world can follow."

Source: Australia Network News, 24 October

Health workers battle against the odds in Saidor


Dilung Gama & Martina Gama (mother and daughter)DILUNG GAMA and her daughter Martina [pictured] sit on bed in a small maternity ward at the Saidor Health Centre.  Martina, who suffers from epilepsy, gave birth near their village a few days ago.

The child has been given away for adoption and Dilung - who appears to be in her 60s - says this was because Martina has too many children.  She doesn’t say how many, but she points to a boy behind her and says: “That’s one of them.”

In Saidor, like in many other parts of Papua New Guinea, stories about the plight of women and children are all too common.  We’ve become desensitised to images and stories that would cause panic and alarm in other countries.

Martina is one of the lucky few who have made it to a health centre.  Her village is beside a road and she was fortunate that relatives brought her to Saidor in time.  Many others aren’t so fortunate.

Lynette Dawo - Community Health Worker“For instance, we get a radio message that says there’s a women in pain,” says Lynette Dawo [left], a community health worker.  “In fact, she’s been in pain for the last three or four days and the message has just reached us because it took several days for her husband to get to a radio.”

The Raikos area of Madang shares a common border with the Morobe Province.  The area is rugged and mountainous.  It’s people are scattered along a thin coastal strip stretching from the Astrolabe to Wasu in Morobe.  Many more live in hamlets in the precipitous hills overlooking the coast.  And transportation is extremely difficult when it comes to medical emergencies.

Lynette and other workers at Saidor are dedicated health professionals.  But their dedication and commitment has not always been enough to save lives because of transport difficulties.

“It is a painful place to work,” Lynette says.  “Our patients are like family.”

She recalls a medivac she requested several years ago for a woman who was suffering from birth complications.  She died while Lynette and other staff were desperately trying to find a boat.

“I cried for her.  I went to the health office and I said: ‘Why did it take so long to find the boat. We let her die’.”

Saidor had a sea ambulance once, bBut the heath centre didn’t have the money to get it fixed after it broke down 10 years ago. 

The health centre buildings are also badly in need of maintenance.  Workers point out that all available resources are channelled towards saving lives.  Transportation alone eats into the meagre user fees collected by the health centre.

Gabriel Puak - Nursing officer, Saidor“Sometimes we try to get the patients to pay for emergency transportation,” says Gabriel Puak [right].  “But they can’t afford it.  Transport difficulties also have a major impact on the local economy and people’s ability to make money.”

Gabriel holds a bachelor’s degree in midwifery.  In Saidor he has been able to reduce the number of deaths during birth.  He knows he could do a lot more if only he had the money and the transport to get the medicines and staff to the many rural locations that demand attention.

“Sometimes I sit at home and wonder why I was born here and why I chose this profession,” he says. “I’ve got the skills to do the job, but how do I get to those many people who need help?”

The No1 Short Course farewell dinner, 31 May 1945


No 1 Short Course Farewell Dinner

THEY SEEM like a group of somber – not to mention sober – young men at Canberra’s Land Headquarters School of Civil Affairs.  And the ladies are not nurses, they're waitresses.

The men in uniform had completed their training and soon would be bound for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, as Australia began the process of restoring civil administration in the closing months of World War II.

But a simple dinner menu and program provided to us by former District Commissioner Bill Brown MBE belies the rather stern appearance of these young kiaps.

I’ll get to that in a moment, but first a bit of history.

On 11 February 1942, with the Japanese already well entrenched in New Guinea, civil government in the Territory was suspended and the Cadet Patrol Officer training scheme managed by Sydney University ceased.

In 1944, Lt Col Alf Conlon, the Australian Army’s Director of Research and Civil Affairs, was appointed to head a new School of Civil Affairs to train service personnel in the art and skills of colonial administration in TPNG.

By 1945, the School was established at Royal Military College at Duntroon in Canberra, where the photograph above was taken.

On that first ‘short course’, the staff outnumbered the students 47-40; Alf Conlon was nothing if not an empire builder of rare talent.

In the following year, the School of Civil Affairs changed its name to the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) and, in 1947, it moved to temporary premises in two Quonset huts at George’s Heights and then to Middle Head in Sydney – where the training of young kiaps, and later young teachers, continued apace.

And now, here are those pieces de resistance…. 

Continue reading "The No1 Short Course farewell dinner, 31 May 1945" »

Porgera report seen as wake-up call for miners

THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of a mining watchdog says this month’s report on the Porgera gold mine is another reminder to Papua New Guinea mine operators they must do something about their activities.

The report by the Porgera Alliance, which represents landowners near the mine, cited human rights abuses including killings, rape and torture as well as health issues created by the mine operation.

But the mine operators, Barrick Gold Corporation and the Porgera Joint Venture, have dismissed the report and say its content is based on inaccurate information.

The executive director of the Australian-based Mineral Policy Institute, Charles Roche, says the report should be another prompt to the mine operators.

“That there is a problem; that people are dying and that they need to be resettled,” Mr Roche said.

“And until the company takes action, groups like the Porgera Alliance will need to write these reports and keep pushing the company and the PNG government to take action.”

Mr Roche said he hopes the new government will do something about making the mine operators live up to their obligations in the face of gross human rights abuses at the mine.

Source: Radio New Zealand International, 21 October

Three short poems


Lone Mountain Palm

Strike by the wind’s tentacles
O’er and o’er and
O’er again.

You kneel to


Oh, swaying sorrow. 


Rollicking dances,
I wonder where it comes from.
Refreshes my breath. 


Silly clouds
Save them for the rainy days
Watch them blossoming
Silly thoughts

Kaprisiousness continues


William KaprisAlas! The sentence was decreed
For our dirty dozen accused
Who dared to do the dastardly deed
A criminal mind had brewed
Victims now of their capricious creed

Justice has been done
And unstintingly so
We foot the bill and who has won
Penge, what have you to show
The robbery–done, the money–gone

For our new-age Barabbas
An incarcerated Master Thief
Paying a lifetime behind bars
His confessions met with disbelief
One more case-file for barristers

His infamous interview was YouTube fare
Though Kapris was a celebrity for a time
His accusations were deemed unfair
And his star had lost its shine
Of the truth we remain unaware

A convenient scapegoat this wolf became
For justice demands its sacrificial lamb
And punishment for ill gotten gain
But the taste of this vengeance is bland
The scales we use are not the same

One may still wonder at those names
And consider at the next ballot box
If the character in the poster frame
Represents a true leader or a fox
Make your stand or share the blame.

Written on 27 May 2011 after the judgment of William Nanua Kapris [pictured] and 12 others involved in the Bank South Pacific bank robberies.  Published in the Writer’s Forum of The National newspaper, 22 July 2011.  Submitted here with minor editing

The intertwined roots of the Bougainville conflict


THE BOUGAINVILLE armed secessionist crisis that erupted in the late 1980s took a toll of over 15,000 Bougainvilleans and a decade to appease.

This loss of life, along with property, depicts clearly how much pain and exploitation people endured from the subjugating division of their homelands.

Yet most foreigners, and many Papua New Guinean academics, still narrow down their understanding of the conflict solely in terms of the economic problems and the unequal distribution of wealth stemming from the Panguna mine. 

How many other issues do we need to explore, including colonialism, in order to show the world why we took up arms? Or, more simply, to say, this is where you failed us?

To answer this question we have to firstly look at ethnic identity; then we need to explore culture and lastly, one has to know exactly where and when the mining issue came into play.

The French explorer Louis De Bougainville first sighted the island in 1768. In 1889, after an exchange of letters with the British, Bougainville became part of German New Guinea. Thus, the largest and the richest island in the chain did not become part of the adjoining British Protectorate comprising the rest of the Solomon Islands declared in 1893.

After the Germans were defeated in World War 1 Australia annexed the island and, after a failed independence attempt, it became politically part of Papua New Guinea at independence in 1975,

Ethnic identity was not a factor that the Bougainvilleans were conscious of before 1768; that was a concept introduced by the colonisers and the missionaries. 

As Anthony Reagan explains in an article in the Journal of Pacific History, Bougainvilleans developed ‘their identity as they were integrated into the world beyond the narrow limits of their past’.

Both the colonial administration and the missions, indirectly or otherwise, taught Bougainvilleans to create an ethnic identity and ranking. Bougainvilleans came to see each other differently; mountain people as ‘backwards’ and coastal people as ‘progressive’. 

In the village of Araba (root-name of Arawa), outside the Tunuru Catholic Mission, for instance, an old woman on Sunday would poke fun at the mountain people, who came dressed properly for mass, by saying, ‘Nasioi people, very good at dressing nice, but your pidgin is backwards’.

This is one factor to explain why most inland people were often not interested into going to school on the coast. Ethnicity was at play but a few made it to school anyway.

Furthermore, the oral histories of the various traditional groupings show that Bougainvillean cultures were far from uniform, there were wars and tensions. One group saw or did things differently from another. 

Continue reading "The intertwined roots of the Bougainville conflict" »

Police destroy homes in Madang land dispute


MORE THAN 100 people have been left homeless in Madang Province after police allegedly destroyed their homes to make way for a controversial marine industrial park.

Police said they were illegal settlers on a state land allocated for the proposed Pacific Marine Industrial Zone.

The settlers claim police used force to destroy their homes and food gardens without much warning.

Madang's police chief, Anthony Wagambie Junior, said police had to execute a lawful order to allow foreign investors into the marine park.

''If we don't move these people what's going to happen with the investors. There is no room for the investors to move in," he said.

The government said the proposed Pacific Marine Industrial Zone would create thousands of jobs and boost the PNG's fisheries sector.

Source: Australia Network News, 21 October

Sean Dorney’s interview with PM Peter O’Neill

SeanDorneyPeter O'Neill with Belden NamahLAST WEEK in PNG Attitude we ran the video of an important interview recorded during Mr O'Neill’s first official prime ministerial visit to Australia.  Here's the transcript....

SEAN DORNEY: Mr O'Neill, you were the Treasurer for a while, I think, under Sir Michael Somare. And then I think just before the change of government you were Works Minister. Why was it necessary to bring about that change?

PETER O'NEILL: Well, the change was because the Somare government was not managed by a mandated leader for well over eight months.  Only Parliament can mandate a leader to run the country, leave of absences for a short period of time in any job, and the Parliament felt that the Prime Minister's absence was for quite some time was unnecessary.

The dishonesty of the then leadership by not informing the country about his health, about his extended absence, was creating massive uncertainty within the stability of the country.  Massive.

SEAN DORNEY: You had a massive vote in your favour. But in forming the new government you've actually got quite a number of ministers who actually served in that previous government as well. Is that going to be a problem of governance?

PETER O'NEILL: Not necessarily, because the number of former ministers were limited to about seven out of the 33 ministers that we have. And the majority of them were sacked from the previous government because of their stand against the activities of many of the leaders who were leading the government at that time.  So as a result we were able to muster the numbers to change the government in August 2.

SEAN DORNEY: Do you feel you're leading a clean team?

PETER O'NEILL: We are doing our best to lead a clean team. And I think the issues that we have attended to so far clearly indicate our determination to the cleansing process that we are turning out as a government.

There is no protection of anybody, members of Parliament or ministers. Everybody is subject to the same law and we intend to make sure that the process in which we are carrying out some of the allegations against the former government and senior public servants especially is being carried out in a transparent and accountable manner.

SEAN DORNEY: You've announced free education up to Year 10?


SEAN DORNEY: How are you going to afford that?

PETER O'NEILL: Well you know people have questioned that and fairly so. But in the recent supplementary budget we have set aside over 300 million kina which will go to funding this initiative that we have taken.

A further 600 million kina will be allocated in the 2012 budget. So the amount of money that is required to fund the initiatives that we have taken is already there.  I've always stressed in our country, funding is not an issue. It is the management of those funds and the delivery of the services it is going to make a difference in our country.

SEAN DORNEY: You met with Prime Minister Julia Gillard. What has come out of your discussions? 

Continue reading "Sean Dorney’s interview with PM Peter O’Neill" »

Homosexuality to remain illegal in PNG, Solomons

PAPUA NEW GUINEA, Solomon Islands and Samoa have told the United Nations they won't decriminalise homosexuality despite pledges by Palau and Nauru to do so.

The two Pacific nations made the commitment following a review by the UN Human Rights Council. Fiji changed its laws early last year.

PNG UNAIDS coordinator Stuart Watson told Australia Network News that laws against homosexuality were a legacy of the colonial era.

Mr Watson said the organisation was aware of the "cultural and religious sensitivities" around people who have sex with members of their own sex.

"But we believe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities should enjoy human rights as well as any other individual in society," he said.

Source: Australia Network News, 21 October

THE RENAGI APPEAL is coming to a close and currently stands at K6,800 ($3,060).  Donate via Keith Jackson - BSB 082-302 - Account 50650-1355.  In the 'Description' box, mark gift ‘FOR REG’.  Thanks to the many generous readers who have provided support to Reg at this very difficult time

It is a friend indeed who helps a friend in need


Renagi_ReginaldIT WASN’T QUITE by accident that I first met Reg Renagi in the flesh.  On my recent visit to Port Moresby, we’d had a loose arrangement to meet some time after I arrived at the Crowne Plaza.

It was one of those Melanesian sort of arrangements where a matter is generally agreed without being nailed down with final certitude.

So it was around 7.30 pm that, having checked in late, I was wandering around the hotel trying to get my bearings when a tall, good looking man approached me and said: “You must be Keith”.

Reg had been hanging around for the best part of two hours, honouring a vague arrangement with far more loyalty than it deserved.  And so we had a beer and dinner and talked about all the things good friends talk about.

Two days later, after the writers workshop and Crocodile Prize awards ceremony at the Australian High Commission – throughout which Reg was a diligent and active participant – I briefly met his wife, Myria (Lulu), an attractive woman in both looks and demeanour.  From the way Reg deferred to her, I guessed that I was talking with a real anchor point in a relationship.

A month later, Lulu was dead – killed in the Madang Dash-8 crash, along with 27 other innocents.

Reg Renagi is well known to readers of PNG Attitude.  Three year ago he became the first Papua New Guinean to contribute regularly to these columns as both a feature writer and a commentator.

And, in lending his name to all he wrote, he encouraged many other Papua New Guinean writers to do likewise - and if you don't know that that takes courage you don't know PNG.

“I write about certain key strategic issues our government needs to address in PNG’s national interest,” he told readers two years ago. "Concerned citizens have to keep reminding them."

Through his writing – most frequently on matters of government, ethics and defence - he built up a strong and loyal following of readers, who felt here was a man they could have a conversation with – even though they had never met him.

In September 2007, Reg and Lulu had lost their beautiful daughter, Jeannie, after a long illness.

“She failed to respond to the long term regime of medicinal drugs, special diet, family love and support, and left us to meet her maker,” Reg told readers.

“It was such a gut-wrenching experience for an anguished father and a desperate family - watching our beautiful daughter’s life slip away daily in the terminal stages of her illness.

“I miss my daughter terribly and still mourn for her in my quiet moments and say a short prayer for her before I start my day and before I go to sleep each day. The healing will take some time as she was my favourite girl since she was a baby.”

And now tragedy has struck again with extraordinary cruelty – Lulu killed on the way to Divine University in Madang for the graduation ceremony of their son.

We have started The Renagi Appeal to give readers the opportunity, in the most practical way, to express their condolences to Reg, to assure him that we share his grief and to thank Reg for what he has done in the past and for all that he will do.

I hope you’ll see fit to contribute.  You can do so by making a deposit to:  Keith Jackson BSB 082-302  Account No 50650-1355.  In the Description box, mark your gift ‘FOR REG’.  And drop me an email

The clan ascendant: the O'Neill's of PNG


O'Neill Coat of ArmsPAPUA NEW GUINEA’S prime minister, Peter O’Neill, probably has the blood of the legendary 5th century High King of Ireland, Niall Noigiallach, running in his veins.

The surname O’Neill is an Anglicisation of the original Gaelic Ua Néill, which is variously thought to mean “grandson of the champion”.

The grandsons of Niall Glúndub, a descendant of Niall Noigiallach, were the first to use the surname.

The O’Neill’s spread far and wide but they originated around Innishowen in County Donegal in Eire and then spread east into Ulster in Northern Ireland, which they now call home.  In Ireland clans are known as septs.
The principal seat of power of the kings of the O’Neill septs was at Tara.

(There is an interesting irony here.  Peter O’Neill is the prime minister of an independent country but the place where his paternal ancestors come from is still a British colony.)

The coat of arms of the O’Neill’s is a red left hand on a grey or white background.

Legend has it that Ireland was promised to the first man able to sail across the sea and touch the land. 

The race was hard fought and the contenders were running neck and neck until a man called O’Neill cut off his left hand and threw it on the beach, thus claiming the first touch and the prize.  Clearly a man able to seize the moment!

There are three principal O’Neill dynasties today that are each represented by the direct descendants of the original independent kings of Ulster. 

The kingly titles were originally passed on under Irish Brehon law and later by other titles through first born sons. 

Today these dynasties are represented in Ireland, Spain, France, Scotland, Portugal, England, America, Australia and now Papua New Guinea.

The O’Neill’s still maintain a confederation of its septs in Ireland that meets annually.  In 2010 the group met to formulate a new global sept and to plan an O’Neill museum to be built in Ulster.

That’s his father’s side of the story.  Fifth century is not so long ago.  No doubt the ancestors on his mother’s side go back a lot further.

On the much-maligned hawkers of Mosbi


Fish Trader, Port MoresbyIF YOU LIVE IN PORT MORESBY for a while (and not just on Shit Scared Hill) you realise there are an amazing variety of street traders doing the rounds of the housing estates every week.

It's like 19th century London. Some even have a special song for their arrival.  I've likely been conned, fleeced, amused and bought some bargains from these traders, who come knocking at your door at all hours.

I know I was ripped off a few times. But occasionally you get a bargain. Like the Hagan axe for K20 (I'm looking at it now), the Sepik shield for K80, a kundu drum for K100, the kina shell bride-price necklaces for the same - but above all the seafood.

I managed to get some pretty lovely Trobriand and Sepik carvings, food, vegetables and above all fresh seafood from such people - for example the terrorist mudcrabs which attacked me (surely secretly working for Al Quaida), a 10 lb barramundi about two hours fresh, and even some noisy and whingeing chooks that I fed and gave names to.

But the best was the huge Red Emperor.

I was planning Christmas dinner and thought some seafood would be nice. My favourite fisherman came to the door on Christmas Eve with this giant Red Emperor in a bucket of seawater. He was still kicking (the fish that is). So I thought it would be a good buy.

"How-mas dispela?"


"Tumas - maski K80?"

"Mi laikim K100."

So we settled on a price.

I'd got a seven kilo Red Emperor for little more than $50 for a Christmas eve feast.

But the old bubu fisherman has another condition.  It was dark - around 8 pm. "Please, yu drive mi home."

So I did. To the wilds of the Morauta settlement - in the dark - in the Car from Hell.

Not far, but exciting.

We only got held up once, and broke down once. My old friend berated the raskols roundly and they let us pass.

"Displela laikim mi tru. He buy pis long mi. Letim pass"

And so they did. And next day we enjoyed the best fish Christmas Eve dinner I have ever had, complete with kaukau, taro, greens and panpan - cooked in banana leaves over an open fire (with coconut milk, gene and chili of course).

Focus on component failure in Madang air crash


AUSTRALIAN OFFICIALS investigating the Airlines of Papua New Guinea Dash-8 crash on approach to Madang on 13 October are focusing on a possible component failure.

The Airlines PNG flight was en route from Port Moresby via Lae and crashed while on approach to Madang, killing 28 people. There were 32 people on board.

The four survivors included 35-year veteran Australian captain Bill Spencer, 64, (18,000 hours) and New Zealand first officer Campbell Wagstaff (over 2,500 hours.).

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Accident Investigation Commission of PNG are apparently looking at the failure of a throttle governor in the aircraft that led to the loss of power to both engines while on approach to Madang, according a source close to the investigation.

The Dash-8’s propellers went into an overspeed condition, causing a total loss of power because of an alleged failure of a restricting gate for the throttles when they are put into idle, the source said.

The engines apparently failed soon after the pilots started their steep descent into Madang after clearing a mountain range.

After examining the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, the ATSB has apparently concluded there were no maintenance issues and determined that weather was not a factor. It also found no fault with the pilots.

PNG’s first secretary to the Minister for Civil Aviation, Levai Wama, alluded to mechanical or component failure based on information the pilot gave to the towers that smoke was coming out of the engines and the aircraft was running out of power.

The pilots then said they would try a forced landing.

The aircraft’s manufacturer, Bombardier, declined to comment on the investigation.

Source: Air Transport World, 20 October

Air services expansion not in doubt: O'Neill

WHILE THE Papua New Guinea government has cancelled the planned merger of Air Niugini and Airlines PNG, it is determined that the national carrier will be further strengthened and that scheduled air services will be extended to many more of the country’s smaller communities.

Expansion of the domestic network was a key factor in the planned merger, along with rationalisation and possible extension of regional routes.

The merger was cancelled by the National Executive Council in the wake of the recent Airlines PNG Dash 8 crash.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill cited this as a key reason for the cancellation but also pointed to the need for a clear policy on the commercialisation of state-owned enterprises before proceeding further.

While the proposed airline merger had been generally well received, there had been some questioning as to whether the model was the most appropriate and most likely to succeed.

Mr O’Neill said that the Independent Public Business Corporation would work with Air Niugini on plans for a new third level airline operation, to ensure that the priorities of expanding national coverage were met.

Source: Air Cargo Asia Pacific, 20 October

Peter O’Neill’s breakthrough visit to Canberra


PNG and Australian  ministers meetTHE VISIT OF new Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to Canberra last week represented something of a breakthrough in bilateral relations.  Mr O'Neill brought nine cabinet ministers with him, who met with Australian counterparts in the 20th bilateral Ministerial Forum (pictured).

Importantly, Prime Minister Gillard took the opportunity of her welcome speech to recognise the role of women in leadership and support efforts in PNG to reserve seats in parliament for women. 

Despite past differences of opinion and a staunchly independent approach to politics, Papua New Guinea's population does take notice of what happens in Australia.

Australian news dominates the PNG media and Australian television stations are available to most who have access to television. With its first female prime minister and first female governor-general, Australia has a unique opportunity to influence a change in attitudes towards women in PNG politics.

Unlike his famous predecessor, Sir Michael Somare, Mr O'Neill was remarkably frank in his comments about PNG's development progress. He was also open about PNG's poor corruption record.

Mr O'Neill's comments to the media that there would be 'no protection of anybody – members of parliament or ministers' suggested the government would pursue politicians for corruption, another departure from his predecessor.

Australia's Opposition also recognised the importance of the relationship with PNG. Foreign Affairs and Trade Spokesperson Julie Bishop had led the way with this speech to the Lowy Institute in June.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's participation in the lunch the government hosted for Prime Minister O'Neill on the same day the Carbon Tax legislation was passed in the House of Representatives reflected a welcome bipartisan commitment to good relations with Australia's nearest neighbour.

The occasion of the Ministerial Forum allowed both governments to announce the long-awaited results of the review of the PNG university system led by Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Professor Ross Garnaut. Both governments committed to funding the reforms proposed by the review.

The PNG Government has also committed to providing free education to all students up to year 10 by next year, following similar initiatives for primary school in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. If realised, this promises to make a big contribution to improving PNG's poor education outcomes of recent years.

The introduction of a Work and Holiday visa arrangement is probably not as exciting as it sounds. This type of arrangement is typically a political tool, offered to add breadth to a bilateral relationship but with only limited benefits for the young people of either country.

Unlike the more liberal Working Holiday Visa available to young people from a number of European and North Asian countries, the Work and Holiday visa has a quota of only 100 in PNG's case and requires applicants to have the support of their government, putting the onus on students to convince their government they are worthy of inclusion in the program. 

Our nearest neighbour deserves visa arrangements a little more generous than this, and than the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (which has so far not seen large numbers of Papua New Guineans participate). But it is nevertheless a good start to encouraging closer people-to-people relations.

As a sign that the official relationship is evolving beyond aid, both countries agreed to sign an Economic Cooperation Treaty. Australia committed to further assistance for the establishment of PNG's sovereign wealth fund.

The much more significant role played by business in the Ministerial Forum and during O'Neill's visit is a further indication that Canberra acknowledges relations with Australia's 15th largest trading partner should be about more than aid. The establishment of a committee of senior government officials and business leaders is also a positive move.

O'Neill may only be Prime Minister until national elections are held in mid-2012, so he has little time to prosecute the reforms he promises before being subjected to the infamous uncertainty of PNG elections.

But on initial impressions, he and his government appear to be serious about changing PNG and deserve the serious attention they are attracting from Canberra.

Photo courtesy of

Source: The Lowy Interpreter, 19 October

More Australian policing aid to PNG


AUSTRALIA WILL increase its support for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary but there will be no front-line policing by the Australians. 

It was made clear at a meeting of prime ministers in Canberra last week that no Australian police would be on the beat in PNG like they were in the failed Howard Government deployment in 2005.

The PNG Supreme Court ruled that such a deployment was unconstitutional and the 115-strong Australian police contingent was flown home. 

Under what’s termed the next phase of the PNG-Australia Policing Partnership, AFP officers will work in senior strategic roles.  No numbers were mentioned and final details will be determined in further talks between the two governments.

Australia also will provide a range of training and support services to improve the capabilities of the PNG police.

Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard agreed to give help needed for next year’s parliamentary elections in PNG.  This will include planning, police communications, command and control mechanisms, and the training of PNG police officers. 

Ms Gillard congratulated PNG on the impending first ever deployments by the PNGDF to a United Nations peacekeeping mission.  Australia has provided training to PNGDF members who will serve in South Sudan and in Darfur.  

Will Genia nominated for international honour

AUSTRALIAN SCRUM half Will Genia has been short-listed for the 2011 International Rugby Board (IRB) player of the year award. 

The PNG-born Genia is one of six players – three from New Zealand, two from Australia and one from France – being considered for Rugby’s top honour. 

Genia already has been voted Australian Rugby player of the year and he captained Australia in one of its early games in the present Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Along with the other Australian nominee, flanker David Pocock, Genia will play in today’s World Cup third-place play-off against Wales. 

The player of the year will be named at an awards ceremony that takes place in Auckland on Monday - the day after New Zealand and France meet in the final.

AFL taskforce kicks off in Papua New Guinea

THE PNG Australian Football League Taskforce has met for the first time during a visit to Port Moresby by the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles.

The meeting was chaired jointly by Mr Marles and the PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Ano Pala.

"We know PNG is a sports-loving nation and this Taskforce is an important step in the development of a game much loved in Australia but less developed in PNG," Mr Marles said.

The Taskforce has set a range of goals including code development, community assistance programming, an elite player pathway with an expanded Academy program and the possibility of a PNG representative team playing on a weekly basis in an Australian football competition.

About 27,000 young Papua New Guineans currently play in school-based AFL clinics and competitions. Nine PNG boys are on AFL scholarships signed to clubs including Carlton, Essendon and the Brisbane Lions.

Participating in the meeting were senior government and AFL representatives including Tony Woods, AFL International Development Manager and John Kali, Secretary of the PNG Department of Personnel Management.

"We hope to create greater opportunities for gifted players to represent PNG professionally at home and abroad," Mr Marles said.

The meeting opened with an exchange of AFL guernseys. Mr Marles presented Mr Pala with a Geelong jumper signed by the 2011 AFL Premiership side while Mr Pala presented Mr Marles with a signed Mosquitos guernsey.

Source: Office of Hon Richard Marles MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, 19 October

Motherhood is the art of being a mother


Mother and BabySince the beginning of time, women around the world have played a vital role in making possible the miracle of procreation hence sustaining the evolution of mankind. Where would we be if it weren’t for our mothers?


I live to fulfil my roles and responsibilities
I declare victory when I am at ease
Highlands MotherI am stronger than the strongest lion
And mightier than the mightiest river
You call upon me and I claim you as my child
My sword fights for your rights to maintain my dignity
My customs makes me unique and my traditions shall never forsake me
I am who I am, even on those days when I am less than what I should be
My hands stretch out, touching hearts, comforting the lonely and securing every need
Proud MotherNo one doubts me for who I am because I am who I am…

YES! A Mother indeed.


Joyce Moiwo was born in Kundiawa in 1984.  She has a degree in Human Resource Management and works for the Clough Curtain Joint Venture in the Liquefied Natural Gas Project.  Her hobbies are playing soccer, reading and writing poetry and gardening.