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108 posts from August 2013

Indonesia foreshadows role as bridge to Pacific


Susilo_bambang_yudhoyonoINDONESIAN PRESIDENT SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO has been active in the past few months strengthening bilateral relations with countries in the Pacific, while also fostering ways to connect the Pacific and Asia.

Within a span of less than three weeks between June and July, Indonesia had the privilege to receive four Pacific leaders including Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill.

With each of these leaders, SBY not only produced a new cooperation commitment and framework, he provided a sense of interregional partnership and a sincere outlook for deeper cooperation within the Asian-Pacific region.

Continue reading "Indonesia foreshadows role as bridge to Pacific " »

It's time to start sending in your entries
The K500 Rivers Writing Prize

Theme - “A good life for the people. Is there a Melanesian way?”

Check out the rules here. Entries to PNG Attitude here

Announcing the PNG Attitude 'write for peace' prize


THE ESSAY AND POETRY CONTEST I am announcing today is for those people who are both writers and thinkers. I’m putting K500 on the table for the best piece of writing designed to promote a peaceful and harmonious Papua New Guinea.

The winner of the K500 prize will be announced on Remembrance Day (also known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day) at 11 am: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marking the end of World War I in 1918 and commemorated since in Commonwealth countries.

I pondered what the exact theme might be, finally settling on “A good life for the people. Is there a Melanesian way?

Continue reading "Announcing the PNG Attitude 'write for peace' prize" »

PNG needs tariff compensation on agricultural products


THE COMPETITION BETWEEN Papua New Guinea and Australia in imported grains is a David and Goliath contest where David will always lose unless our farmers have tariff compensation.

Economist may be able to demonstrate that the multiplier effect of such an initiative could make the idea a plus for the economy.

A network of seed and produce merchants would channel the tariff compensation and associated paperwork. This would enable feed manufacturers to be located in most towns supplying the local economy.

Continue reading "PNG needs tariff compensation on agricultural products" »

On big ticket events & white elephant venues


IF YOU THINK THAT a lot of money is being wasted in Port Moresby on white elephant venues for the Pacific Games circus then prepare yourself for much more expenditure of an unsustainable nature.

Because in 2018 Papua New Guinea is the designated host for the APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum] gathering and Port Moresby will need to accommodate 3,000 delegates with the highest levels of security and amenity.

The Presidents of the USA and China, the Sultan of Brunei and many other significant heads of state, CEOs, economic advisers, and the world's media will converge on Port Moresby and all will need to be accommodated within multiple venues and facilities for their forum activities. 

Continue reading "On big ticket events & white elephant venues" »

Talks on Bougainville as PNG funding breaks down

LIAM FOX | ABC PNG Correspondent

POLITICIANS, ACADEMICS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS gathered in Port Moresby yesterday to discuss the future of the country's autonomous province of Bougainville, more than 10 years after the signing of the island's peace agreement.

Signed in 2001, the Bougainville Peace Agreement formally ended the island's bloody civil war in Papua New Guinea - a decade-long conflict that had been sparked by local opposition to the Australian-owned Panguna copper mine.

The agreement's three main pillars were to grant Bougainville a high degree of autonomy, the de-militarisation of Bougainville, including weapons disposal, and a future referendum on independence from PNG.

Continue reading "Talks on Bougainville as PNG funding breaks down" »

My quest begins & great names once more emerge


BELDEN NAMAH’S POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY is well underway after many interesting people responded to my toksave on Facebook.

At least five of the people who established contact with me really deserve a book to be written about their life history!

Every writer needs confidence and I especially appreciate that KJ empowers his contributors by giving them that extra confidence to continue to share stories.

Continue reading "My quest begins & great names once more emerge" »

Greta Hard, pioneering E-Course lecturer, dies in NSW


Greta Hard - champion teachers college athleteGRETA CLARICE HARD died in May this year at the age of 81, after spending many years in the Newcastle area of NSW.

She trained as a teacher at Newcastle Teachers College, where she was a champion athlete (picture), and taught at Canley Vale in the western suburbs of Sydney and in England before transferring to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea Education Service in 1959.

Then TPNG director of education, GT Roscoe, identified that the new E-Course six-month training program for expatriate teachers based in Rabaul required an expert to lecture in Infant Method – “a little weakness we can overcome by posting a stronger, more experienced person to Rabaul,” he said.

Continue reading "Greta Hard, pioneering E-Course lecturer, dies in NSW" »

Power of prayer: A new airstrip for the Hewa Tribe

JONATHAN KOPF | Christian Post

Hewa woman and childWHEN THE HEWA VILLAGE LEADERS asked me to help them build a runway in the jungle, I had no idea how we could ever accomplish such a daunting task.

I knew it would dramatically improve their lives, especially giving them the ability to get proper medical attention in time of need.

The infant mortality rate in the Hewa Tribe is more than 80%. With an airstrip, newborn babies would be able to receive better care.

Continue reading "Power of prayer: A new airstrip for the Hewa Tribe" »


Sonja Barry Ramoi is writing a biography of PNG Opposition Leader, Belden Namah. She would like any reader with information or stories about Mr Namah to email her here.

Contributor Paul Oates is keen to receive comments from readers with experience of Australia’s new visa arrangements for Papua New Guineans. Email Paul here.

And coming soon – a writing contest for Papua New Guineans on a theme related to ‘how we can make PNG a peaceful place for us all to live’, winner to be announced on Remembrance Day at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Details in next few days.

Are improvements to visas for PNGns real or illusory?


 A 'SENIOR OFFICER' OF the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Mann, has been discussing (Post-Courier, 28 August) the new online Australian visa arrangements that apply to Papua New Guineans.

According to Mr Mann “this new online service will be handy”. He also mentioned that, from Sunday, there will be new passenger lane arrangements at Cairns and Brisbane airports that will facilitate PNG, Australian and New Zealand passport holders’ entry to Australia.

And he added that Australia “is ready to welcome” 100 young Papua New Guineans to visit and work here as part of the Work and Holiday Program.

Continue reading "Are improvements to visas for PNGns real or illusory?" »

I think our markets are a development agenda

Michael Dom and PNGMICHAEL DOM

I USED TO RACE FROM the university campus to Waigani bus stop every morning at six o’clock to get the fastest, cheapest one-way bus to Malaoro, then down to Sabama free of charge.

Hopping off at the bus stop I’d stroll down dusty Pari Road to the Kilakila laboratories. Every morning it was the same; the market vendors were there before me at Waigani, Malaoro and Sabama.

Not that I was racing with them – we all race against the same ‘unforgiving master’ – they might work harder, but I got paid more.

Continue reading "I think our markets are a development agenda" »

The root of the matter: 30 dentists for 7 million people

CLARE QUIRK | Warrnambool Standard

Peter KaoWARRNAMBOOL, VICTORIA, DENTIST PETER KAO has helped bring smiles to some of Papua New Guinea’s poorest people.

Dr Kao has returned from an 18-day trip to the Western Province, where he helped provide dental care which most Australians would take for granted.

Dr Kao said out of a population of seven million people, there were only 30 registered dentists.

Continue reading "The root of the matter: 30 dentists for 7 million people" »

Elevate role of NGOs in aid says Kokoda Foundation


THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT should direct more of its Papua New Guinea aid budget through established NGOs operating there to improve its effective delivery to the people who need it most, according to the Australian-based Kokoda Track Foundation.

“At present the vast bulk of our PNG Aid is filtered through commercial consultants and intermediary companies,” says Kokoda Track Foundation Chairman Patrick Lindsay.

“The locals call it ‘Boomerang Aid’ because so much of it returns straight back to Australia in costs and fees. There is no doubt that an unacceptable proportion of our aid to our nearest neighbour fails to reach the ground there.”

Continue reading "Elevate role of NGOs in aid says Kokoda Foundation" »

PNG needs a vibrant village based farm economy


I BELIEVE THAT PETER O’NEILL’s vision of future Papua New Guinean megacities sharing three million immigrants from rural areas is an accurate view of what may lie ahead of tis nation.

The occupants of these places will have a miserable life. The megacities will have little industry and will gain their increase in population for the wrong reasons.

I believe that farming communities throughout PNG are not developing as they must.  Our rural communities should offer an attractive lifestyle for most of our youth. The way to do this is to raise the level of their economic and social activities; but this will take massive improvement in infrastructure.

Continue reading "PNG needs a vibrant village based farm economy" »

West Papua freedom flotilla fears activists will ‘rot in jails’


ABORIGINAL ELDER KEVIN BUZZACOTT, on board the West Papua 'freedom flotilla' says campaigners on board the flotilla will ‘rot in jail’ if the Australian government refrains from helping them if they get into trouble.

The flotilla has gathered a range of pro-independence campaigners on the journey going from Lake Eyre in northern Southern Australia, via New South Wales and the Queensland coast, across the Torres Strait to Daru in Papua New Guinea and finally Merauke in West Papua, where the flotilla is scheduled to arrive early September.

The objective was “to free our brothers and sisters up there with all the bad stuff that’s happening”, Buzzacott said in an interview with Pacific Scoop.

Continue reading "West Papua freedom flotilla fears activists will ‘rot in jails’" »

Bougainville: the nuts & bolts of a return to mining


Joseph PangkauA HIGH-LEVEL TEAM from the Bougainville government’s mining department has told a conference in Madang of how the autonomous province is preparing itself for the resumption of mining on the island.

Bougainville was represented at the three-day community relations mining workshop held earlier this month. At the workshop, mining officials shared each other’s experiences with each other and with the industry.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG) Department of Mining was represented by a team of four led by mining engineer Joseph Pangkau (pictured), Director of the Development & Coordination Division, who invited me to attend the meeting.

Continue reading "Bougainville: the nuts & bolts of a return to mining" »

A novel and a biography: Two new books by David Wall


Sepik Blu Longpela MurukSepik Blu Longpela Muruk [Kindle Edition] by David Andrew de Berigny Wall; Amazon, $2.00; Kindle: $2.00 (includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet); 168 pp

IN THE SECLUSION of pre-independent and post-independent Papua New Guinea, we find a group of expatriates, from an eclectic yet progressive Dutch priest to the money grabbing John Pietro.

Among them is James Ward, an Australian Malaria Control Officer in the East Sepik District where this story begins.

James Ward, in confronting his own values and those of the New Guineans, is on a humorous path of life, at once real and imagined.

Continue reading "A novel and a biography: Two new books by David Wall" »

Peter Waieng of Gam Kane, where leaders are born


ALL SIMBUS AND MANY Papua New Guineans know that the late Peter Waieng, who was murdered last week in Port Moresby, was a well-educated and talented man.

He studied at the Universities of Papua New Guinea and Wollongong, gaining a master’s degree in politics, and went on become a successful businessman, diplomat and politician.

However, Simbus know little about his roots and the special history of his hamlet, Gam Kane.

Continue reading "Peter Waieng of Gam Kane, where leaders are born" »

TV program exposes Australia-PNG aid corruption link


AUSTRALIAN AID IS BEING LOST to corruption, with an estimated $1.7 million being stolen from Papua New Guinea's budget annually.

The stolen money is then brought to Australia to be hidden in our banks and the Queensland property market.

Around 59 people have already been charged with corruption offences in PNG, and it is alleged much of their illegally obtained money is spent in Cairns.

Continue reading "TV program exposes Australia-PNG aid corruption link" »

Embarking on the Namah biography – & an invitation


Belden Namah does Scorsese“YOU HAVE MY TOTAL BLESSING to be my biographer,” Papua New Guinea Opposition Leader and Member for Vanimo-Green, Hon Belden Namah, told me.

And so it happened that last Monday I was able to publicly announce that Mr Namah had appointed me as his official biographer.

I want to thank the Opposition Leader for his trust and confidence that I will portray the truth and nothing but the truth in my forthcoming biography of him.

Continue reading "Embarking on the Namah biography – & an invitation" »

We lived those memories - Bougainville way back then


WW2 relic in Boku areaWELL OVER 40 YEARS AGO, I WORKED on road construction in the Boku area of Bougainville as a surveyor and can vividly remember the fun, frustrations and trials we faced.

THERE WAS the mad kiap who rafted on a tyre tube across the flooding river alongside our camp. His goal was to have a drink with the construction crew on the other side.

Later, much the worse for wear, he returned the same way but clutching a carton of South Pacific beer to his sodden and heaving chest. We cheered as he disappeared around a corner of the creek, spinning in the current. Next day he appeared quite OK, except for the odd headache…

Continue reading "We lived those memories - Bougainville way back then" »

Australian election should focus more on corruption

Roger Gyles QCIt is sometimes observed, with some justification, that disproportionate attention is drawn to corruption in Papua New Guinea when it can be just as pernicious a blight in Australia. Leading barrister ROGER GYLES, who is also chair of Transparency International Australia, proposes that Australian governments – of whatever colour – ought to be doing more

THERE IS NO ROOM for complacency about corruption in Australia.

Two former New South Wales Ministers, Eddie Obeid and Ian McDonald, and a number of businessmen have been declared by NSW ICAC to have acted corruptly and criminal charges have been recommended. 

These disclosures alone are cause for grave concern, but they are by no means isolated incidents.  In recent times, for example, two Federal members of Parliament (Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper) are facing criminal charges involving the misuse of funds – in one case of a trade union and in the other of the Commonwealth. 


Continue reading "Australian election should focus more on corruption" »

Unequal distribution of PNG revenue is ‘obscene’


AT A RECENT MEETING of the Goroka Chambers of Commerce it was decided we should make a public statement regarding our dissatisfaction at the obscene unequal distribution of revenue, especially the massive sums being squandered on the South Pacific Games and the National Capital District.

The founding fathers of Papua New Guinea, conscious of the fact that we were erecting a nation out of more ethnic groups than any other nation on earth, framed a Constitution which emphasises that sharing what we have to allow all of us to develop at the same pace.

The Constitution's First National Goal calls for "every effort to be made to achieve an equitable distribution of incomes and other benefits of development among individuals and throughout the various parts of the country."

Continue reading "Unequal distribution of PNG revenue is ‘obscene’" »

Meeting of cultures: Yirrkala students at Brandi,1973


Yirrkala students dance at BrandiBACK IN 1973 WHEN I WAS AT BRANDI High School near Wewak, I offered to coordinate a six- day visit by a group of 22 Aboriginal students, four aboriginal elders and two teachers from Yirrkala Mission School at Gove in Australia’s Northern Territory.

The trip was sponsored by the Dhanbul Association, the Northern Territory Education Department and the Aboriginal Benefits Trust Fund. The Yirrkala students and staff had spent many months preparing dances and songs to share with us.

They flew from Gove in a chartered Bush Pilots DC3 and were met by a selected group of Brandi students who I had arranged to look after them.

Continue reading "Meeting of cultures: Yirrkala students at Brandi,1973" »

Brothers until the end

A short story by EPHRAIM TOIRIMA

TWO BOYS OF THE SAME AGE lived in the same neighbourhood.  They grew up together playing every day, sleeping over at each other’s house and having fun as kids do. 

They were the best of friends and no matter how they played and fought over toys and games, like kids do they still ended up laughing and smiling at the end.

On their first day of school, although their parents had enrolled them together, they were put into different classes.  The two would sneak into each other’s classroom when the teacher was not around and play and have fun causing a lot of nuisance.  The teachers in the school eventually gave up and allowed them to be in the one class.

Continue reading "Brothers until the end" »

The killing of Arenama, the retarded man at Enamira


Anthony ImakoIN 1989, HAVING SATISFIED THEIR APPETITE with the burning of most villages along the road in Panguna’s Tumpusiong Valley, the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) began a careful infiltration of uphill areas away from roads accessible by vehicles.

One hamlet that had a visit from the PNGDF was Enamira, situated at the foot of Panguna’s Deumori Catholic Mission.

The unique fact about this desolate hamlet, situation on the ridge directly above the main entrance of the mine’s pit drainage tunnel, was that it was home to Arenama, a mentally retarded person who had abandoned his wife and children.

Continue reading "The killing of Arenama, the retarded man at Enamira" »

Churches blast Australia-PNG pact on asylum seekers

PETER KENNY | Ecumenical News

CHURCHES IN AUSTRALIA AND THE PACIFIC region are concerned about the location of asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea for assessment and resettlement.

Critics have lambasted the arrangement as one of shifting humanitarian responsibility offshore.

The president of the Uniting Church Assembly in Australia, Rev Andrew Dutney described the policy as an "abdication of responsibility" by the Australian government.

Continue reading "Churches blast Australia-PNG pact on asylum seekers" »

PNG needs accountable leaders, not quick fix solutions


ELECTION RELATED VIOLENCE has cost the state millions of dollars and continues to be a drag on the entire country. Violence continues to pressure our judicial system, as politicians dispute the results in a challenge to the courts and the rule of law.

The abuse of process for political gain and ability to use state resources for political gain are totally uncalled act of suppression and oppression by those who given mandated powers.

I have come to a stage where I no longer believe in a united Papua New Guinea. I have lost confidence in our efforts to correct many wrongs that divide and tear our country into ethnic divide.

Continue reading "PNG needs accountable leaders, not quick fix solutions" »

How the Pacific war boosted Australian anthropology


Scholars at WarScholars at War: Australasian Social Scientists, 1939-1945, Geoffrey Gray, Doug Munro and Christine Winter (eds), ANU E Press, Australian National University, 2012. Available online at 

THE EXPERIENCE OF individual anthropologists during the Pacific War accelerated and consolidated the emergence of anthropology as an applied discipline.

Australia had long had an interest in Papua (an Australian territory from 1906; until then it had been administered by Britain) and New Guinea (a German territory until 1914 when Australia occupied it on the declaration of war, and then, from 1921, a League of Nations ‘C’ Mandate under Australian administration).

Continue reading "How the Pacific war boosted Australian anthropology" »

Money goes mobile & expands PNG’s frontier banks

BEN BLAND | Financial Times

WHERE AFRICA'S BANKS led in pioneering the development of mobile money, setting up Kenya’s successful M-Pesa money transfer system, Papua New Guinea's lenders are following in their tracks.

Bank South Pacific’s branch in Kerema will be one of more than 40 slimmed down BSP Rural outlets to combine cutting-edge technology with the best facets of PNG’s age-old, close-knit tribal society.

BSP Rural employees sign up customers on the spot using a Samsung tablet computer that records their signature and sends their details to headquarters via the mobile phone network.

Continue reading "Money goes mobile & expands PNG’s frontier banks" »

'Freedom flotilla' sets sail; faces gaol in Indonesia

SAM IKIN | SBS World News

Freedom Flotilla posterINDONESIAN AUTHORITIES SAY anyone on board a 'freedom flotilla' headed for West Papua could be arrested or detained if the boats arrive without authorisation.

Foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said, after discussions with Australia and Papua New Guinea, all three countries are in agreement.

"Indonesia, Australia and PNG are all on the same page in not wanting such a stunt to interrupt or disrupt our relations," Mr Natalegawa says.

Two yachts set sail yesterday with about 30 crew members.

They were warned that if they enter West Papua waters they will be intercepted by Indonesian Navy vessels.

Continue reading "'Freedom flotilla' sets sail; faces gaol in Indonesia " »

Papua New Guinea’s ports in line for major overhaul


Albatros at berth in MoresbyWITH THE CONSTRUCTION PHASE of Papua New Guinea’s liquefied natural gas project nearing completion, the government is poised to roll out a maritime transport program to support its bid to diversify economic interests.

The far-reaching plans include overhauling ports, expanding capacity and, in some instances, relocating facilities or building new outlets to meet rising demand.

With shipping firms expecting business to remain strong throughout next year and beyond, the government is keen to push its maritime projects forward at a brisk tempo.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea’s ports in line for major overhaul " »

One of world's richest gas fields off PNG, says Palmer

DARYL PASSMORE | The Courier-Mail

Clive PalmerMINING MAGNATE CLIVE PALMER says he has identified what may be one of the world's richest gas fields off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

"This asset could be worth in excess of $US35 billion," Mr Palmer said.

The discovery could rival the North West Shelf in Western Australia, he claimed.

Continue reading "One of world's richest gas fields off PNG, says Palmer" »

No head bashing, Bougainville wants more NZ police


NEW ZEALAND WILL SEND more police officers to Bougainville in response to the autonomous province’s request for further training.

A group of six officers are already mentoring Bougainville's Community Auxiliary Police, but NZ foreign affairs minister Murray McCully says the mission will be renewed in December.

"I think I can say with some certainty at this stage that it will continue. While the current phase comes to an end, the discussions are already under way as to what the new phase might look like," Mr McCully said.

Continue reading "No head bashing, Bougainville wants more NZ police" »

Over 1,000 emails urge O’Neill to release land report


PNG PRIME MINISTER Peter O'Neill has received more than 1,000 emails over the last two weeks calling on him to publish the SABL land-grab Commission of Inquiry Report.

The emails have come from all four corners of the globe, reflecting world-wide concern about the land grab in Papua New Guinea which has seen rights to over 5 million hectares of customary land given to foreign companies.

The email campaign was organised by community advocacy group ACT NOW!

Continue reading "Over 1,000 emails urge O’Neill to release land report" »

How the curse of pigbel was identified and tamed

Shann_FrankIn Kundiawa in the mid-1960s, the resident medical officer Dr (later Prof) Tim Murrell investigated a disease colloquially named pigbel, or, more crudely, ‘gangrene of the gut’.  Here PROF FRANK SHANN (pictured) reviews how this dreadful condition came to be identified and conquered. It turned out to be more complex than simply eating undercooked pig meat, as we in the Simbu thought at the time….

TIM MURRELL MADE VERY IMPORTANT observations about pigbel, but he did not identify the key factors in its pathogenesis.

So pigbel remained the commonest cause of death in highlands children over 2 years of age until some brilliant research done by Greg Lawrence in the 1970s.

Continue reading "How the curse of pigbel was identified and tamed" »

PNG solution deepens Australian neo-colonialism

DUNCAN RODEN | Green Left Weekly

PRIME MINISTER KEVIN RUDD’s announcement of the “PNG solution” — where refugees who arrive in Australia by boat will be denied resettlement and sent to Papua New Guinea — has sparked the largest refugee rights rallies in Australia since John Howard was in power, as well as opposition from within PNG itself.

On August 2, 2000 students at the University of Papua New Guinea held a protest against the proposed plan.

Police prevented the protest from marching to the Australian High Commission as planned. Peter Numu, president of UPNG’s student council, told local radio: “We are targeting the Australian high commission by way of protest, [and informing] the PNG government as well that the university students, the intellectuals of this nation, through proper analysis and research, are of the view that [the deal] is not in the best interests of the nation.”

Continue reading "PNG solution deepens Australian neo-colonialism" »

The next generation of Pacific artists is revealed


Sepik River Series, Jeffry FeegerFIVE OUTSTANDING YOUNG ARTISTS from the Pacific Islands region have been selected to the 2013 Next Generation Pacific Artists program.

Lalovai Peseta, Béatrice Camallonga, Francis Pesamino, Jeffry Feeger, and Yvonne C Neth now have their works on display in a virtual gallery organised by the Pacific Islands Society.

These exceptionally talented young artists each bring unique style and interpretation to their work.

Continue reading "The next generation of Pacific artists is revealed" »

PNG part of Qld? Nearly happened; would've been ugly


Conspiracy of SilenceTHE AUSTRALIAN STATE OF QUEENSLAND has got an absolutely horrific history when it comes to the treatment of its indigenous people.

When the pastoralists began moving north into what was to become Queensland, they pursued practises which were designed to exterminate the Aboriginal population.  They continued to do this for over 50 years.

They were aided and abetted by the notorious Native Police Force, which was made up of Aborigines from the remnants of the native tribes.  

These men wrote a whole new chapter in the annals of barbarity.  So brutal were they that their actions and the actions of the white squatters who directed them alarmed even the hard men of the Colonial Office in London.

Continue reading "PNG part of Qld? Nearly happened; would've been ugly" »

Sunshine Coast neighbours succumb to Lihir's lure

KATHLEEN DONAGHEY | Courier-Mail (Brisbane)

Michael Watson with Masahet Island peopleTHEY HAVE BEEN NEIGHBOURS for 17 years, now Sunshine Coast builders Michael Watson (pictured) and Andre Sauvage share the same job on a remote tropical island in Papua New Guinea.

They used to go camping together as families but these days the only time the men see each other is during job handover on Lihir island, New Ireland.

When construction manager Michael Watson is on the island, his good mate Andre Sauvage is back in Dicky Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Continue reading "Sunshine Coast neighbours succumb to Lihir's lure" »

PNG men: Take a stand & stop violence against women

NIGEL SPENCE | Women’s Agenda

"Any argument I have with my wife, I have laid on my children. It is psychology that when you don't want to do it to the wife you do it to the children, but they are innocent."

TAINA GEBAI IS A COMMUNITY ELDER living in Port Moresby who regrets once having been violent towards his wife and children.

He has transformed to a peaceful man after being violent in his younger years and says he has come to see that life is better if men and women walk alongside each other as equal partners.

I met with Taina during a visit to Papua New Guinea, where ChildFund Australia has been working for almost 20 years. He impresses as a thoughtful, caring man, respected in his community and deeply concerned about the violence experienced by women and children in his country.

Continue reading "PNG men: Take a stand & stop violence against women" »

Farewell My Bougainville Prophetess


THE STENCH OF BODY ODOUR and sweat poisoned Dabuna’s psyche as she jostled her way through the flesh of high spirited travellers in the Buka airport departure lounge.

On her tail was her proud mama, Itonani, who braved her way through the curious eyes of the black men hanging onto the windows silently saying goodbye to their fellow countrymen and countrywomen.

Laborious was the posture of the queue for the check-in counter but the joy for a daughter going to the foreign land of erereng to be educated belongs not in the pocket. It was something to be expressed by being beside her daughter, steadfast till she was airborne.

Continue reading "Farewell My Bougainville Prophetess" »

Colonial times broadcaster, John Kalinowski, dies


ANOTHER LEGEND has left us. John Kalinowski was with ABC in Port Moresby for many years and there at the transition to the National Broadcasting Commission.

After returning to Australia, he was with ABC in Brisbane for many decades until he retired.

John had been unwell for some years and, at the time of his death, was almost blind.

He lived in the Brisbane riverside suburb of Chelmer with his wife Patra, who he was married to for over 50 years.

John was a fine broadcaster with a deep resonating voice.

He was also a delightful character and a very special guy.

Toktok save igo long Bougainville. I am trying to get in touch with Robert Aneisia,  who is CEO of the Communications & Media Division of the Autonomous Bougainville Government . If any reader knows his email address, could you forward it to me here? Tenkyu tru - KJ

Pawa Meri: Papua New Guinea’s women of power


PNG womenSINCE THE CREATION of the new PNG government in 2012, three Papua New Guinean women have been in the national limelight: parliamentarians Lou Jaya Toni, Delilah Gore and Julie Soso are currently the women in power that all of PNG is watching to see how they will lead.

However, there is a significant group of women who have always led their communities. The Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka has embarked on an amazing project called Pawa Meri, which means ‘powerful woman’ in Tok Pisin.

The project aims to portray willful female role models, challenge stereotypes and to inspire young women to become leaders.

Continue reading "Pawa Meri: Papua New Guinea’s women of power" »

Reprising ‘The Kiap Song’ – sure caused a stir in its day

The Kiap SongThe Kiap Song appeared on the CD/DVD release of the band Not Drowning, Waving's 1988 album Tabaran.

The lyrics of The Kiap Song, written by David Bridie, certainly did not endear the band to some of the old timers in Papua New Guinea when they toured there.

A kiap was (usually) an expatriate Australian patrol officer in PNG's pre-independence days (pre-1975), but the term is still used today to refer to colonial authorities.

Continue reading "Reprising ‘The Kiap Song’ – sure caused a stir in its day" »