Dramatic increase in cancer among PNG women
The fascinating history of Tok Pisin & Hiri Motu

Not forgetting that PNG had its own complex history too


I TEACH COLONIAL HISTORY at the moment and this brief article defines the direction I want my students to take in considering the history of their country.

We have looked at the events in Europe like the Renaissance, Reformation, Industrial Revolution and others. These events played a major part in the evolution of Europe.

Then we have also, just on Tuesday, talked about pre-colonial society in Papua New Guinea using as a basis on John Waiko's book, A short history of PNG.

This produces the realisation that we Papua New Guineans had our own social, economic, and political systems that long pre-dated colonialism.

Our ancestors were interdependent on the physical environment, people, spiritual and non-physical beings for their survival.

Socially, our ancestors had a communal society where land and everything was shared based on our kinship system.

Economically, our ancestors had a very complex trading system; in Waiko's words, like a spider’s web.

They traded their surplus for what was scarce. For the Hiri trade the Gulf people traded sago for Motuan clay pots.

Politically, we had the Big Men in the highlands and the Chiefs down on the coast.

These systems were working perfectly for our ancestors up until the age of exploration and discovery.

Bernard Yegiora’s grandfather was one of the early colonial policemen from the coast who helped the Australian Administration build the highway to the highlands. After gaining university degrees in PNG and China, Bernard now teaches at Divine Word University in Madang. You can read more from him at his blog, The Yegiora Files


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Bernard Yegiora

Thank you Barbara and Adam for the praise.

As I student and now teacher of history and politics I thank you all - meaning Barbara, Keith, the old Kiaps and everyone who played a part in PNG's development.

Without you people I would not be here typing on this computer.

Mrs Barbara Short

I've just enjoyed reading The Yegiora Files. Excellent!

In the past I ended up on a committee working on the History Syllabus for National High Schools and fought for more "PNG history" to be included.

It is good to hear about present day history teaching in PNG and I feel Bernard Yegiora has a lot to offer.

He is interested in Chinese culture and the Chinese influence in PNG history, which of course is on-going.

As Martyn has pointed out, in his usual dramatic way, all civilizations rise and fall.

In fact, back in the 1970s there was a lecturer in Prelim Year at UPNG who taught History and one of her courses was the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. I think she was American and she included the Rise and Fall of the American Civilization.

It made me laught at the time but I guess she knew a thing or two!

But then, the Chinese Civilization has been great in the past. This is its second Rise!

Keep up your good work, Bernard. Maybe if all PNG men took pride in their history then they would want to work in any way possible to promote the country's future!

Adam Neira

Interesting comments by Bernard Yegiora. Well done to him.

Papua New Guinea's leaders should adopt a long term perspective. The country has great potential and is abundant with resources.

The organs of an effective nation state must be facilitated, managed and defended.

These are: Government; Defence Force; Intelligence Service; Civil Service; Judiciary; Police; Customs; Coast Guard; Sheriffs and Prison Services.

The private sector must also be encouraged to provide employment for citizens and to stimulate growth.

As the GDP of the nation rises the general welfare should also increase for as many people as possible. The key here is education.

Good leaders are also required to steer the ship of state. PNG needs as many points of light, stability, order and spiritual uplift as possible.

Prayers for PNG.

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