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113 posts from September 2013

Is corruption behind lack of action on land grab?

Act Now logoIN A BOMBSHELL statement this morning, community groups in Papua New Guinea say they fear that corruption is behind prime minister Peter O'Neill's failure to take action over fraudulent SABL leases.

"The prime minister has told the nation the leases were fraudulently issued, there was no consent from local landowners and promised agriculture developments were bogus,” said Effrey Dademo, program manager for ACT NOW!

“Yet O'Neill is sitting on his hands and doing nothing to stop the stealing," she said.

Continue reading "Is corruption behind lack of action on land grab?" »

What lies have I heard….

Martyn Namorong, March 2013MARTYN NAMORONG

Lies Lies Lies
All around me buzzing like flies
I hear the whispers from the corridors of power
Bursting my eardrum every hour
And the sound of truth seeps through my veins
Awakening my consciousness to a nation’s pains
We don’t get free healthcare folks
We pay for fake drug stocks
We don’t get free education
In many a rundown institution

Continue reading "What lies have I heard…. " »

The brutalisation & escape of Rose’s sister Kiak


WE HAD HEARD RUMOURS of the mistreatment of Rose's sister Kiak. Mistreatment is a euphemism.

To tell the brutal truth, Kiak had been repeatedly raped, tortured and beaten by her husband in Banz. She was chained to a bed, kept as a slave, not allowed to even go to the toilet.

When she heard what was happening, Rose was white with anger and quickly marshalled me and the family into action.

Continue reading "The brutalisation & escape of Rose’s sister Kiak" »

If Only I Was a Man

Ishmael Palipal 2ISHMAEL PALIPAL

IF ONLY I WAS A MAN is my reflection on my uncle (mother’s brother), Uanu Lahai, who died on the border of Solomon Islands during the Bougainville crisis.

As he sailed off in search of medical supplies to help my people during the blockade, we lost Uanu forever and nobody ever found his body or knows how he really died.

The two men who were with him told us only that he was burned with the boat and that they themselves were lucky to escape. We did not believe this story and I’ll write more on that later. But for now, enjoy reading the poem.

Continue reading "If Only I Was a Man" »

Foreign capital will not lift our people out of poverty


IF OK TEDI MINING LTD files for voluntary liquidation next year after it licence to operate as a miner at Mt Fubulan is not renewed by the PNG government, what will happen to its assets?

Do its assets include the Singapore based US$1.5 billion long term fund currently managed by HSBC and Schroeders? This is the question that Sir Mekere Morauta as former Prime Minister should answer.

The Long Term Fund is governed by trust deeds which contain the list of trustees which Sir Mekere is privy to.

Continue reading "Foreign capital will not lift our people out of poverty" »

Bigger state control of assets won't help PNG grow

ROWAN CALLICK | The Australian

OH DEAR. KERRY O'BRIEN couldn't help himself. He introduced Marian Wilkinson's ABC1 Four Corners show about Papua New Guinea last Monday night as one about "paradise lost".

The program was entitled Preying on Paradise. There should be a law against it -- not just the preying but setting up the notion of "natural" PNG as a place of Rousseauian perfection, from which the fall is all the more devastating.

If only, this paradigm of paradise hints, the place had been left untouched, like Eden.

Continue reading "Bigger state control of assets won't help PNG grow " »

ANUs Howes far from independent in Ok Tedi debate


AS TENSIONS OVER OK TEDI and its acquisition by the O’Neill government reached boiling point recently, the Australian and PNG media went in search of an ‘independent’ expert to evaluate the impact of this political move.

Supposedly they found one, Prof Stephen Howes, Director of the Development Policy Centre, a think tank attached to the Australian National University.

Interviewed on ABC, Prof Howes warned that the move to ‘nationalise’ Ok Tedi would deter foreign investors from taking the plunge into PNG, crippling its economy. The Post-Courier gave Howes an entire page to express his views on this political episode.

Continue reading "ANUs Howes far from independent in Ok Tedi debate" »

If I can’t get my way, get out of my way!


THE SACKING OF PNGSDP CHAIRMAN, Sir Mekere Morauta, is but just one of a number of decisions where the government, using its parliament majority and legislative privileges, has warded off opposition.

While the government claims its action is to protect the interests of the people or stabilise the operations of government, the manner and motive surrounding such decisions cannot go unquestioned. 

In 2012, when the Supreme Court ruled against the O'Neill-Namah government, the Judicial Conduct Act was immediately passed.

Continue reading "If I can’t get my way, get out of my way!" »

Uncle Joseph Kabui


Kabui_JosephWe’ve known each other as long as I could remember
Then you suddenly departed and left me alone in this world
You told me you would always be there for me
Every time my heart rises with the sun, hoping to see you again

As the sun sets over the mountains,
I feel my heart ripping apart…
I still hear your voice and feel your love in the cool breeze

Words cannot express the way I feel about your departure
I will always treasure you in my heart, so that
There will be another you, Uncle Joe Kabui

Donalyn Bentenani PipinoDonalyn Bentenani Pipino comes from Kavarongnau hamlet in the Panguna District of central Bougainville. She was educated at Darenai Primary School in Panguna until 2008, when she completed Grade 8.

Donalyn is now married with a son. Her husband is a primary school teacher. Donalyn is a mama (mother's cousin) of prominent Bougainvillean writer Leonard Fong Roka

Troops to PNG for training exercise Olgeta Warrior

EMILY MACDONALD | Townsville Bulletin

Sergeant Jason MacKlaren practises with the M4 carbine in preparation for the PNG exercise (Photo - Evan Morgan)AFTER A DECADE SPENT FIGHTING WARS in the desert across the Middle East, soldiers from Townsville will once again work on their jungle terrain skills as part of Exercise Olgeta Warrior in Papua New Guinea.

The exercise, which will extend throughout October, involves infantry, engineers, logistics and aviation troops sharing their knowledge with the PNG Defence Force.

The infantry component, Exercise Wantok Warrior, will involve 160 soldiers drawn mostly from the 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment's Alpha Company. They will go to Wewak where they will work with the 2nd Royal Pacific Islands Regiment.

Continue reading "Troops to PNG for training exercise Olgeta Warrior" »

It's time to start submitting your entries for....
The K500 Rivers Harmony Writing Prize
Theme - “A good life for the people. Is there a Melanesian way?”
Essays – Stories – Poetry – Drama - Articles

Check out the rules here. Entries to PNG Attitude here

The street people for whom there is no tomorrow


THE PROBLEM OF ORPHANS is getting serious that the government cannot ignore it any more. The number of waifs and strays on the streets is constantly on the rise.

As you travel around the cities and towns of Papua New Guinea today, you will notice the faces of young children mainly between the ages of 6 and 12 going from street to street collecting empty cans and bottles and, doing small errands for a few toea to buy flour balls for the evening.

If they are lucky, a cup of coffee complements the flour balls. Otherwise cold water suffices.

Continue reading "The street people for whom there is no tomorrow" »

Ancitha’s plea: Please give students work experience


Ancitha SemosoTHE DIVINE WORD UNIVERSITY’s Department of PNG Studies and International Relations requires its students to undertake part-time job exposure over the university vacation at the beginning of their fourth year.

They have to provide the Department with a certification of their experience for assessment and evaluation.

Ancitha Semoso, a Bougainvillean student from Lonahan village on Buka, is a student in the Department was keen for the work experience and sent email after email with a letter of interest and references to offices in Buka in the hope of securing a part-time position.

Continue reading "Ancitha’s plea: Please give students work experience" »

RSL & ADF restore & rededicate Taurama army graves


The refurbished graveyardA MILITARY GRAVEYARD left neglected and vandalised for many years at Taurama Barracks in Port Moresby has been restored after a combined effort of the Port Moresby RSL and the Australian Defence Force.

The decrepit state of the cemetery was brought to light by former Army education officer Terry Edwinsmith in an article in PNG Attitude last year.

Two years ago, Terry had also written the story of one of the graveyard’s most celebrated inhabitants, Warrant Officer Frederick Wilson.

Continue reading "RSL & ADF restore & rededicate Taurama army graves" »

Free education is not all it’s cracked up to be


I BELIEVE THAT ALL SCHOOLS should be centres of excellence and doorways into an improved lifestyle.

Children should be exposed to ways and means of living that will open their eyes to lifestyles available but previously unknown.

For the past few years I have offered field days on my farm to the Wau high school. The farm has a piggery, fish ponds, contour drain beds, clay brick making and a ram pump that uses water to pump water. I also have a general store that uses the only computerised point of sale in Wau.

Continue reading "Free education is not all it’s cracked up to be" »

Coral beneath your wheels on the Boluminski Highway

CHRISTINA ERB | Men's Journal

Nusa Island Retreat in New IrelandNEW IRELAND IS ON FIRE. Black smoke from a thousand burning pits spirals up past the plane windows toward the heavy clouds hanging over Papua New Guinea's fourth-largest island.

Home to 140,000 people and 22 languages, 8,650-square-kilometre New Ireland is the sort of place where barefoot locals cook over open flames and burn their trash.

In contrast to PNG's capital, Port Moresby, a sprawling city of machete-wielding raskol gangs and barbed wire-wrapped luxury hotels, this territory is a tropical escape from the complications of modernity.

Continue reading "Coral beneath your wheels on the Boluminski Highway" »

Panguna committee discusses moving forward

THE FIFTH MEETING of the Joint Panguna Negotiation and Coordination Committee (JPNCC) was held in Port Moresby yesterday.

The JPNCC was established in March and consists of representatives from the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), the United Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (UPMALA), the Government of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL).

“The JPNCC is an important step forward in the potential resumption of mining at Panguna,” said BCL company secretary, Paul Coleman.

Continue reading "Panguna committee discusses moving forward" »

Could Australia’s extra aid to PNG be in jeopardy?


IT IS BEING REPORTED IN Australia that Treasurer Joe Hockey said he provided "no specific commitment" to Papua New Guinea counterpart Don Polye at a recent meeting on future levels of Australian aid.

Earlier, according to PNG’s The National newspaper, Mr Hockey had told Mr Polye there would be “no changes” to arrangements agreed between former prime minister Kevin Rudd and Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

The recently defeated Labor government had promised a $420 million boost on top of Australia's annual $500 million aid budget to PNG.

Continue reading "Could Australia’s extra aid to PNG be in jeopardy?" »

Remarkable story: The nationalisation of Ok Tedi

Howes_StephenSTEPHEN HOWES | Devpolicy Blog

I WAS IN PORT MORESBY LAST WEEK for our third budget forum with PNG’s National Research Institute. The week was dominated by the PNG’s Government’s takeover of Ok Tedi and the Sustainable Development Program, which was front-page news for several days.

It is a critical but complex issue which I wrote about earlier this year (here and here). Though the subtleties and implications are manifold, a simple summary of what happened last week is that in a single day, Wednesday, legislation was introduced into and unanimously passed by the PNG parliament to give the PNG Government ownership of the country’s largest company, Ok Tedi Mining Limited, and control over the country’s second largest development organisation, the PNG Sustainable Development Program.

The short version of my argument is that, while the Government has achieved a stunning victory, it is quite possibly a temporary one, and it is an outcome which represents poor public policy and a setback to development in PNG. The long version follows below, starting at the beginning.

Continue reading "Remarkable story: The nationalisation of Ok Tedi" »

The music and travels of Mana Dau from Simbu


Mana Dau with WaiglMANA DAU IS MY SIMBU MOTHER-IN-LAW. Now forget those old jokes. She is a lovely lady and, although she has lived most of her life in a remote Papua New Guinea village, she has a heart of gold.

I hope to show that humanity and goodness can shine out from all of us, no matter where we come from.

Mana [pictured here with Waigl] is from Goglme, in north Simbu. But she has travelled - to Banz and Kundiawa and Port Moresby. No great feat you might say, but try walking it.

Continue reading "The music and travels of Mana Dau from Simbu" »

The exotic Russian who wanted an independent NG


Nikolai Miklouho-MaclayTODAY PAPUA NEW GUINEA LIES off the Australian radar; our closest neighbour, usually forgotten unless tourists are being attacked there or our government is looking for somewhere to process asylum seekers. 

But this was not always the case. During the 1870s and 1880s there was a state of excitement over New Guinea in the Australian colonies; it was regarded as the last unknown and the next big thing.

The people of New South Wales and Queensland in particular were eager to lay claim there, hoping to strike it rich with gold, timber and pearl shell. Public meetings with travellers and missionaries recently returned from New Guinea drew crowds in the hundreds.

Continue reading "The exotic Russian who wanted an independent NG" »

Peter O’Neill puts Westminster system under a cloud


PAPUA NEW GUINEA PRIME MINISTER Peter O'Neill has asked the nation's Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) to consider scrapping the Westminster system of government in favour of federalism.

Under the proposal, first raised by former prime minister Sir Julius Chan in parliament last week, the prime minister would be directly elected by the people, Mr O'Neill said.

Sir Julius, one of PNG's founding fathers, has been campaigning strongly for a federal system and argued it was fair and representative for PNG and it's more than 850 cultures.

Continue reading "Peter O’Neill puts Westminster system under a cloud" »

John Momis says UN gender violence report is wrong


THE PRESIDENT OF Papua New Guinea’s autonomous province of Bougainville, Dr John Momis, is calling on the United Nations to apologise and withdraw a survey on gender violence he says is flawed.

The UN Gender Violence Survey was released last week and included assertions that some of the highest rates of sexual violence in the Asia/Pacific region occur in the province.

It said a quarter of men who admitted rape had first committed the offence by the age of fourteen.

Continue reading "John Momis says UN gender violence report is wrong" »

O’Neill’s plan to defuse standoff over West Papua

ROWAN CALLICK | Islands Business

A BREAKTHROUGH MAY BE ON THE WAY for one of the most intractable conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region.

Relations between Indonesia and the Melanesian nations, led by Papua New Guinea, have remained awkward ever since the Dutch withdrew from “Netherlands New Guinea,” and the Pacific islands became independent states.

The plight of “West Papua” as it is often called, has prevented Indonesia, the biggest and closest country in South-East Asia, from building the links that might otherwise have been expected, with the island countries to its east—even since it became a liberal democracy 15 years ago.

Continue reading "O’Neill’s plan to defuse standoff over West Papua" »

Wanted: Politicians who understand the middle way


BACK IN THE 1970s, when I taught Economics to students at Keravat National High School, I would usually start off with drawing a line on the board, showing the planned Communist economy on the left and the laissez-faire unplanned economy on the right.

I would then provide examples of countries on the far left and far right and explain how all countries could be placed somewhere along this line.

Then I’d go on to describe the virtues of the middle way – the semi-planned economy.

Continue reading "Wanted: Politicians who understand the middle way" »

Six weeks in Bogia as I train for Panguna teaching


Delpine PirukeBOUGAINVILLEAN TRAINEE TEACHER Delpine left Madang Teachers College (MTC) on 27 July and headed north to Bogia for six weeks of practical primary school teaching. She felt isolated from Bougainville and Madang, but there was a world before her.

Delpine and her group of nine other trainees took off on a Saturday and were on the road for six solid hours, keeping Leonard connected for what seemed like every minute with texts on her mobile phone.

Six stressful hours on the road from MTC: I was worried about leaving Leonard, my husband-to-be; the pain was with me all throughout the journey. To keep it under control, I ordered my fiancée to have his phone on so I could feel peace when my texts were received.

Continue reading "Six weeks in Bogia as I train for Panguna teaching" »

Shocking land grab report released by Peter O'Neill


PNG PRIME MINISTER Peter O’Neill has heard our voices and has released the Commission of Inquiry report on the massive SABL land grab.

After months of delay, more than 1,000 emails from ACT NOW! supporters and a series of joint-media campaigns with concerned civil society organisations, Peter O'Neill has finally acted and the findings of the Commission are devastating.

Widespread corruption and mismanagement mean only four of the leases were lawfully granted. For the rest there was no consent from the local landowners and the promised large-scale agriculture developments were completely bogus.

Continue reading "Shocking land grab report released by Peter O'Neill" »

Seeking a place for small rural industry in PNG


IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA rural industry is most noticeable by its absence.

Other countries with most of their people in rural areas offer some appearance of rural business to support the agronomy practiced by the majority. But not PNG

Agronomy itself has much more to show for itself in countries with a longer tradition of mixed farming.

Continue reading "Seeking a place for small rural industry in PNG" »

New Zealand trains first female PNG army officers

REBECCA QUILLIAM | New Zealand Herald | APNZ

Officer Cadets Saroa & Esward, NZ Army Capt Tiplady, Officer Cadets Moiya & NulTHE FIRST FEMALE Papua New Guinea army officers have just completed a rigorous training exercise with the help of a New Zealand Army Captain.

Captain Anika Tiplady was deployed for two weeks to PNG to help train the 24 officers - four of them the first women officers to serve their country.

It was the first officer training the country had run for 10 years, and Captain Tiplady said it was great to be able to help mentor the women and inspire them to be the best they could be.

Continue reading "New Zealand trains first female PNG army officers" »

Senior journo offers sage advice to mining companies

TEVITA VUIBAU | Fiji Times Online

In PNGGAIN THE CONFIDENCE of both sides and remain impartial. That's the advice from ABC Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney as he shared his experiences on reporting on mining in PNG with journalists from the Asia Pacific Region.

Mr Dorney, who was stationed in PNG and reported on mining issues in Bougainville, said journalists needed to be objective when reporting on mining issues and not let personal feelings cloud their judgment.

"I think it's important, firstly in terms of mining stories I think it's important that you build up trust on all sides," Mr Dorney said.

Continue reading "Senior journo offers sage advice to mining companies" »

PNG: Beautiful people & the Black Cat tragedy

Emma SteendamEMMA STEENDAM | She Sows Seeds Blog

WE’RE BACK! BACK ON AUSTRALIAN SOIL, warmed by the tropical heat of Papua New Guinea, bags jammed with traveller’s treasures and memory cards full of amazing images.

This was our third trip in four years to PNG – we’re practically part of the furniture now, we no longer blink an eye at things which stunned us four years ago when we first ventured there.

Going through Port Moresby airport is easier knowing the blunt nature of Papua New Guinean people; I’m a lot more confident in speaking Pidgin; I can definitely understand faster conversation.

Continue reading "PNG: Beautiful people & the Black Cat tragedy" »

Preying on paradise: 4 Corners on PNG corruption


Photo by Louie Eroglu, Four CornersPreying on Paradise, reported by Marian Wilkinson and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 23rd September at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is replayed on Tuesday 24 September at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm and on ABC iview and at

A BUSINESSMAN IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA is accused of taking millions of dollars for government work that has never been completed. He is charged but released on bail.

Then, using an Australian issued 457 Visa, he comes to this country and avoids justice, telling authorities he is too sick to travel back to PNG.

Continue reading "Preying on paradise: 4 Corners on PNG corruption" »

Francis Ona, the visionary who brought disaster


PortraitIT WAS AN AGE OF SUPPRESSION, exploitation and indoctrination that led to rebellion on the Solomon island of Bougainville. It was brought about by sentiment against Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) and the Papua New Guinea government that reached a crescendo in late 1988.

There was violence to shut the Australian Panguna mine in the heart of Bougainville that was championing the exploitation of the land; there was violence to free Bougainville from the stinging political, economic and social claws of PNG and built a new nation in the heart of the Pacific.

It all unfolded in Panguna in Central Bougainville in 1988 when the late Francis Ona (pictured above) and his band of followers, known as the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), executed a sabotage campaign against BCL property and threatened its employees in order to put an end to a mine that promised so much but gave very little to Bougainvilleans.

Continue reading "Francis Ona, the visionary who brought disaster" »

Ballad of meri Koromira


Bougainville schoolgirl painting at Tarlena Catholic School, 1965 (Patrick Mallinson)This girl of Koromira that he loves
she is pretty and lovely in her ways
her eyes blaze like the morning sun
and glows with a light of a skylight sun
her eyes are welcoming and resistible
This meri Koromira she is very adorable

Her lover said her body is so tender
it is a fine craftsmanship of the creator
the touch of her skin is a magic feeling
a feeling that can you send you off dreaming
of fantasy that she might be yours forever
to hold her tied in your hands wherever

Continue reading "Ballad of meri Koromira" »

Tears of my uncles; revenge of the Black Tiger


BEFORE THE BLOODY BOUGAINVILLE CRISIS, my uncles were just young, enjoying life in a normal way.

Laughter, peace and happiness were what you can see on their faces. Some were about to get marry, others were about to complete school and work with Bougainville Copper Limited and others were still schooling.

At this time one cannot imagine living in an ugly town but Arawa town which was known to be the safest and beautiful town in Papua New Guinea was where many spent time with family and friends.

Continue reading "Tears of my uncles; revenge of the Black Tiger" »

Year of consolidation for PNG, but not the Croc Prize

Phil (crop)After two glorious years, the Crocodile Prize literature contest in 2013 has hardly been a roaring success and its structure is currently under review. Nevertheless PHIL FITZPATRICK has managed to assemble a collection of fine Papua New Guinean writing for publication in the third annual Crocodile Prize anthology. This is Phil’s foreword to the book, which will soon be on sale…

AFTER THE TUMULTUOUS POLITICAL EVENTS of 2012 this year has been one of consolidation in Papua New Guinea.

The government has settled down to the job of governing and to addressing major issues, such as corruption, inefficiencies in the public service and the parlous condition of state infrastructure and the delivery of health and education services.

There is a reassuring mood of stability in the country and tentative signs of improvement and better times ahead.  At the same time, no one imagines that the huge task of pulling the country up by its bootstraps will be easy.

Continue reading "Year of consolidation for PNG, but not the Croc Prize" »

Bill Babbington – the man they knew as Masta Gol

DAVID WALL | Deberigny Blog

THE RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS on the Black Cat Track – Salamaua/Wau – reminded me of a great friend I had in Maprik in the sixties and seventies, Bill Babbington.

Bill was a remarkable person – a man who put his age up to fight in World War I, and put his age down to fight in World War II. A plantation manager, gold miner and Department of Mines officer.

His stories about mining in pre-war New Guinea were a great source of information about those fascinating times. He spoke of Errol Flynn and other famous characters of that era.

Continue reading "Bill Babbington – the man they knew as Masta Gol" »

Using rugby league for positive change in PNG


Adam EverillADAM EVERILL’S NEVER-GIVE-UP ATTITUDE set him on the right track to start Rugby League Against Violence, a not for profit organisation that has gone from strength to strength since starting in 2011.

The father of two children under four, who also works full time as a partnership broker for The Smith Family in Wollongong, Adam leads the organisation that works with violence-affected communities in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

“It was really hard going at the beginning, I was a one man band until only recently when it started to kick off at the end of last year,” Everill said.

Continue reading "Using rugby league for positive change in PNG" »

The growth of manufacturing industry in PNG

KRISTY ATTARD | Business in Focus

THE ISLANDS OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC often bring to mind sparkling beaches lined with coral reefs and lush rainforests rather than manufacturing, innovation and progress.

Papua New Guinea is renowned for its rugged natural beauty and vibrant tribal culture but, interestingly, the country has seen some significant growth in manufacturing.

In recent times, there have been some intriguing developments taking place that are having a positive impact on the economy and local industries.

Continue reading "The growth of manufacturing industry in PNG" »

The Namorong effect – changing PNG public discourse


Bernard Yegiora and Martyn Namorong at DWUOVER THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS I have been experiencing some problems in posting comments in PNG Attitude. Thus, I have taken the liberty of writing my comments as opinion or reflective articles to keep the conversation going.

In that way different individuals can look at the issues and ideas highlighted in the various articles from different perspectives in order to promote a sound understanding.

I started off by discussing Garry Juffa’s article about stability and then moved on to Sil Bolkin’s ‘one day millionaires’. My intention thus far is not to discredit what my fellow writers have expressed but solely to keep talking about what they have written.

Continue reading "The Namorong effect – changing PNG public discourse" »

Abbottism: Our region’s new foreign policy tenet


AUSTRALIA BELIEVES IT HAS an important role in the Pacific region?

Think again.

Tony Abbott's new government has just removed the role AusAID played in Pacific development - subsuming it into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and undercutting its claims to be independent of government influence.

Continue reading "Abbottism: Our region’s new foreign policy tenet" »

Asylum seekers: Boat people could be Australia’s hope


IN THE 1990s I WAS TRAVELLING a bit in Queensland - in Roma, St George and other places. I was told everywhere in these places that they had a problem with declining populations.

The Australian Administration in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in its day moved thousands of people by creating resettlement schemes at Hoskins, Talasea and Kindeng.

The local people sold their land to the Administration, and it was then subdivided into agricultural blocks, and leased out to applicants from other districts. Everyone granted a lease received a loan from the Development Bank to support them in making their land productive in oil palms and garden produce.

Continue reading "Asylum seekers: Boat people could be Australia’s hope" »

PNG government takes full ownership of Ok Tedi


THE PAPUA NEW GUINEA GOVERNMENT will take full ownership of the controversial Ok Tedi mine, after the prime minister pushed new legislation through parliament.

Standing orders were suspended yesterday so prime minister Peter O'Neill could pass a bill giving the state complete ownership of the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Western Province.

The charitable trust PNG Sustainable Development Fund (PNGSDF) had owned 63% of the mine with the state owning the remaining 37%.

Continue reading "PNG government takes full ownership of Ok Tedi " »

With the authority vested in me as the kiap….


ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I DID when I was posted to Olsobip Patrol Post in late 1969 was replace the dilapidated aid post.

We dug a sawpit in the nearby forest and cut roughly squared timber for the frame and boards for the walls.  Elsewhere, I managed to ‘acquire’ enough corrugated iron to roof it.

The finished building was a sight to behold.  We despatched the old sideways-leaning, sacsac-roofed aid post with a splash of kerosene and the flick of a match.

Continue reading "With the authority vested in me as the kiap…." »

Replace mindless change with cultural balance


FOR THE MAJORITY OF OUR Papua New Guinean people the change we have accepted has not served us well but made us dull and sick.

The aesthetic traditional regalia and body paintings have made way for faded western rags. One can smell the stench of mobile buai sellers when they stroll across to the bus stop. 

The hausman system was a by-product of both good and evil experiences encountered and evolved over some 45,000 years.

Continue reading "Replace mindless change with cultural balance" »

I know when I’ll celebrate, but now isn’t the time…


I DID NOT CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY here in Tabubil. I started work at 7 and finished at 11 after nightshift.

The reason being that I felt there was nothing much I could celebrate. I’m still paying very high taxes (between K700 and K1,000 every payday depending on overtime). My employer’s contribution to superannuation will also be heavily taxed, leaving me with almost nothing.

The real estate industry in PNG goes unregulated, and thus I’m paying K500 every fortnight for low cost accommodation (it could be in a settlement in Port Moresby or a house in a village on the outskirts of Madang).

Continue reading "I know when I’ll celebrate, but now isn’t the time…" »

Reflections on Independence Day, Port Moresby 2013

MARTYN NAMORONG | The Namorong Report

Boys waving national flag at 4 MileTHERE IS A CERTAIN INNATE CAMARADERIE that lies dormant for much of the year and emerges during the Independence Day celebrations in in Papua New Guinea.

One can be sceptical about it and shy away from the festivities or join other fellow Papua New Guineans who are increasingly finding their identity in the nation state and not in their indigenous tribal groupings.

On Monday I saw typical highlander-looking kids wearing PNG shirts, carrying Radaaz bags and waving Madang flags.

Continue reading "Reflections on Independence Day, Port Moresby 2013" »

Tribute to Kevin Trueman – a real islands entrepreneur

PETER JOHNSON | Deberigny Blog

A young Kevin Trueman in AngoramKevin William Patrick Trueman (b. Winchester, England 20 September 1944 d. Port Vila, Vanuatu 7 June 2013)

THE SUDDEN DEATH of Kevin Trueman in Port Vila, Vanuatu on the night of 7 June, surprised and shocked his family and multitude of friends around the South Pacific.

Kevin, of English and Irish parentage, was born in the ancient cathedral city of Winchester, Hampshire, England. His family migrated to Australia whilst Kevin was still in his teens.

Continue reading "Tribute to Kevin Trueman – a real islands entrepreneur" »

Women in PNG play a stronger role in agriculture


PNG woman (Laura Keenan, World Bank)IN 2006 THE COCOA POD BORER, a crop disease, decimated the cocoa of thousands of small farmers in Papua New Guinea’s East New Britain Province.

In total, the pest destroyed more than 80% of cocoa production, which took a devastating hit on the local economy.

Florence Mormor’s cocoa blocks were among the first to be infected. “I had worked so hard to maintain my cocoa. It killed my morale. At that time, it was hard, really hard, to find the will to go on.”

Continue reading "Women in PNG play a stronger role in agriculture" »