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115 posts from April 2014

Ridin' de crocTHE CROCODILE PRIZE 2014 – K35,000 IN PRIZES
PNGAA Crocodile Prize Publishing Program
Kina Securities Award for Poetry
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum Award for Essays & Journalism
Buk bilong Pikinini Writing for Children Award
Steamships Award for Short Stories
Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year
Ok Tedi Mining Lifetime Achievement in PNG Literature

Crocodile Prize organisation boosted by five new members

Jane Awi & Keith JacksonKEITH JACKSON

WITH only two months to go before entries close in the 2014 Crocodile Prize, lamps will be shining late in writers’ rooms throughout Papua New Guinea as stories, essays, articles, poetry and books are teased – and sometimes bludgeoned - into existence.

At the Crocodile Prize Organising Group (COG) - a virtual organisation that knows no fixed abode – the pace is also quickening as we seek to ensure that all is in readiness for judging, publishing, award-giving and the many other activities that surround the Prize.

COG has been strengthened recently by the addition of a number of new committee members – all of them from PNG and all of them familiar with the Crocodile Prize– who have joined its ranks.

They are Corney K Alone, Ruth Moiam, Jane Awi (pictured here with me), Steven Ilave Snr and Bernard Yegiora.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize organisation boosted by five new members" »

Bilum hanmak blo ol meri (The bilum is women’s handiwork)

Sewing the bilumMARY FAIRIO

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

I presented this poem at the Ohio University’s International Women’s Festival in early March. Its central theme is the recognition of women through arts and culture, with the bilum being a significant part of our lives in PNG. It has an impact on the way we live and shows the agency of women through their handiwork. To the women in PNG for their creativity in making the bilum.

Continue reading "Bilum hanmak blo ol meri (The bilum is women’s handiwork)" »

The story of Nembare - who found a wife in the Bari tribe

Highlands sceneBOMAI WITNE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing

IN 1966, Nembare followed his father Bomai to Mormapir village. It was a journey that required stamina.

They got up in the morning and walked more than 10 kilometers along the bush tracks of Eka’pa to Pildimna and across the fast flowing streams of Yon’ma, Genabona, Komi’kamale, Talpmina until they eventually arrived at Mormapir.

Continue reading "The story of Nembare - who found a wife in the Bari tribe" »

Bougainville combatants want to put respect in weapons disposal


SIGNED in Arawa on 30 August 2001, the Bougainville Peace Agreement formally ended the 10-year Bougainville civil war. The Agreement includes three major pillars for Bougainville to uphold until referendum on independence is held at some point between 2015 and 2020.

The three pillars are autonomy, the referendum and weapons disposal, which specifically targets all combatants with the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and the Bougainville Resistance Force (BRF).

Around mid-2003, the United Nations verified that the Bougainville weapons disposal program had reached Stage II (weapons locked in containers ready for destruction). But the weapons disposal process since has attained only a 50-50 success-failure rating.

Continue reading "Bougainville combatants want to put respect in weapons disposal" »

Chant for the spirit world

Marupial mask dancer ( KANAMON

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Betel nut stuff in his mouth, jaw grinding it skilfully
Bush knife on his right hand, clearing the bush track
His grandchildren followed
To his right side and to his left
Spewing the mashed betel nut stuff from his mouth
Into the air like thin smoke from his smoking pipe

Spirits of the jungle, spirits of our ancestors
I bring before you my grandchildren
Your great grandchildren
Bestow upon them your blessings
Strength, courage and wisdom
Protect them against the wiles of the evil forces

Continue reading "Chant for the spirit world" »

How a unified whole-island nation of Papua might be achieved

Kumul and Morning Star fly togetherBERNARD YEGIORA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

REGARDLESS of the many cries about corruption and the marginalisation of its indigenous people, Papua New Guinea is following a development path which will gradually lead the nation to the apex of power in the region.

This optimistic view is powered by the fact that the island nation is an island of gold floating on a sea of oil powered by gas” - a saying that is becoming legendary across the island as many writers use it to give hope to the hopeless and throw the seeds of patriotism into a nation divided by tribalism.

Continue reading "How a unified whole-island nation of Papua might be achieved" »

Albert Schram begins to tackle grievances at Unitech


THE newly re-installed vice chancellor of Papua New Guinea's University of Technology, Dr Albert Schram, says he's taking immediate measures to resolve long standing grievances.

Dr Schram has been back at the university in Lae for three weeks after being forced out of the country over a year ago after the university council took issue with a reform program he was undertaking.

He is back after students’ boycotted classes and staged other protests, demanding that he be re-instated as vice chancellor and given a visa to enable his return to PNG.

Continue reading "Albert Schram begins to tackle grievances at Unitech" »

Letter from the Solomons: rehabilitation & reconstruction

Togoniade Mervin prepares drum oven for weldingFR AMBROSE PEREIRA SDB

THE floodwaters have left a trail of destruction. Lives and property have been lost. Most of the disaster victims have returned to rebuild their homes and their lives.

We applaud the efforts of the authorities and the aid agencies to reach out to the disaster victims, to see that they are housed and fed and finally returned home with food, household and other necessary equipment.

To assist the people as they rebuild their lives, the Salesians of Don Bosco, through Salesian Missions Australia, have funded household items. Drum ovens, tables and chairs will be fabricated for the most needy families.

The machine fitting students have commenced fabricating drum ovens. Priced at SBD1,500 the ovens will be for the families in the Foxwood and Nalibiu area. The carpentry students will be preparing tables and chairs for the Tumurora Primary School.

Continue reading "Letter from the Solomons: rehabilitation & reconstruction" »

Westpac finances company accused of land grabs, says Oxfam

Greedy banks graphic by independentaustralia.netSAM CLARK | Australia Network News | Extracts

LEADING Australian banks are financing companies accused of land grabbing, child labour and illegal logging, according to an Oxfam report released today.

The report, Banking on Shaky Ground, identifies four cases in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Brazil where Australia's biggest banks have funded - directly or indirectly - companies accused of improperly or illegally acquiring land from local people.

Oxfam's chief executive Helen Szoke said the big four - National Australia Bank (NAB), Commonwealth (CBA), Westpac and ANZ - are not living up to their image as global leaders in sustainable banking.

"There is a gap between what the big four banks say they do and what they actually do," she said.

"We think there is a real problem around due diligence - around them actually focusing on their investment practices and making sure they put their money where their mouth is, in terms of ethical and sustainable investment practices in these agricultural businesses overseas."

Continue reading "Westpac finances company accused of land grabs, says Oxfam" »

PNG’s corporate welfare widens gap between rich & poor

InterOil Papuan gas fieldMARTYN NAMORONG

THE Student Representative Council of the University of Papua New Guinea has chosen a different playbook than the Unitech folks regarding the K3 billion loan the PNG government has negotiated through global private bank UBS.

Whilst some people are sceptical of their approach, the SRC must be commended for taking a stand on an issue of national significance - affecting every citizen.

As such, it is unfair to place the burden of addressing the matter solely on the shoulders of UPNG students.

Oil Search and the government of PNG have got themselves into a mess over their arrangement with InterOil.

Continue reading "PNG’s corporate welfare widens gap between rich & poor" »

Thanks to Ben, the Crocodile Prize website is up & running

Crocodile Prize website home pageKEITH JACKSON

THE Crocodile Prize, Papua New Guinea’s national literary contest, was established in 2010 to encourage Papua New Guineans to write and also to provide the people of PNG access to a home-grown literature.

Both a writing competition and a publishing program were initiated with the first prizes were awarded and the first Anthology published in 2011.

News and information about the contest - including details of how to enter it – have long been included in PNG Attitude but now – thanks to its manager Ben Jackson – the contest has its own website,, which you can link to here.

Continue reading "Thanks to Ben, the Crocodile Prize website is up & running" »


Madang accidentDAVID KASEI WAPAR

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

There is a solution to every crime
There is a way to correct the unrighteous
No force or even violence can bring forth smiles
But only peace can make a difference

Another victim shrieks under the deafening police sirens
Clothes ripped off and a face so distorted covered with blood
That’s the price for his actions, the cop says.

Continue reading "Peace" »

Illegal logging makes up 70% of PNG’s timber industry

A truck hauls timber from a forest in Papua New GuineaJEREMY HANCE |

CORRUPTION, weak governance, and powerful timber barons are illegally stripping the forests of Papua New Guinea, according to a new report from the Chatham House in London.

The policy institute finds that 70% of logging in PNG is currently illegal, despite the fact that 99% of land is owned by local indigenous communities.

"The biggest challenge is dealing with collusion between corrupt officials and logging firms," author of the report Sam Lawson told "The logging industry in PNG is very powerful, while the government is extremely weak. The largest logging firm owns one of the two national newspapers, for example."

Continue reading "Illegal logging makes up 70% of PNG’s timber industry" »

Griwo’s story: Where there's a will, there's certainly a way

Griwo Kraembi graduating from Divine Word University in MadangALBERT KAUPA TOBE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

GRIWO Kraembi hails from the Awin and Hore clans of Senamrai village in the Bige area of Kiunga, Western Province.

He is 38 years old and married to Betty from the Telefomin in Sandaun Province. Griwo and Betty have three kids, Ismael, Regina and Izrael.

Recently Griwo graduated with a Bachelor of Management from Divine Word University in Madang through its Flexible Learning Centre. Monday 3 March was a big day for him and Betty. Unfortunately, his beloved and hardworking parents were not able to witness his graduation as they had passed away some years ago.

Griwo was diagnosed with polio when he was one year old. The disease permanently immobilised both legs. Despite his disability, Griwo beat all the odds - being formally employed for more than 20 years and successfully graduating from one of the top universities in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Griwo’s story: Where there's a will, there's certainly a way" »

Sorcery finds an edge in a nation lacking electrification

Kimbe BayFR GIORGIO LICINI | Catholic Reporter PNG

YES, Christian churches must step up, as The National newspaper said on Thursday in reference to sorcery.

But, as I was talking with a group of university students about the issue, a few insights emerged, including that some students feel personally threatened by sorcery.

A girl originally from Gulf Province said she had never set foot in her village since she was born.  She maintained that about 20 of her relatives succumbed to sorcery in the last few years alone. Her father barely survived it when he travelled from Port Moresby to the remote area to settle some land issues.

Continue reading "Sorcery finds an edge in a nation lacking electrification" »

Papua New Guinea novel released free on Internet

South Sea GoldUNITED States author Keith Dahlberg has released his mining novel South Sea Gold on PNG Attitude as a gift to the people of Papua New Guinea.

The novel began appearing in serial form in March on Keith’s blog (it can be downloaded at the end of this article) in recognition that many Papua New Guineans have difficulty affording to buy books.

The novel, which carries a serious message, tells of Tom Akani, reporter for the (fictitious) Port Moresby Journal, who has his eyes opened to conditions in his country's mining industry when he gets threats to his family and to the newspaper. His ongoing investigation reveals a plot endangering the national government itself.

A reviewer of South Sea Gold, Dorothy Harper, writes: “The author chooses a country and culture that is obscure to many, if not most, of us to demonstrate that the engine that drives advances and economic prosperity is the same everywhere (unfortunately): greed and corruption.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea novel released free on Internet" »

Did the PNG doctors association forgo a principle of medical ethics?


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism


THERE is a principle in medical ethics called non-maleficence. It is summed up in the Latin maxim, primum non nocere – first do no harm.

It is the ethical responsibility of doctors who have taken the Hippocratic Oath to always first consider the harm they may cause, and to ensure they avoid it.

Primum non nocere does not seem to have been the top of mind in the Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals scandal. This should be a major cause of concern for the general population of PNG.

Continue reading "Did the PNG doctors association forgo a principle of medical ethics?" »

Yule Island's pioneer Bishop de Boismenu on the path to sainthood

Alain-Marie Guynot de BoismenuBISHOP ROCHUS TATAMAI MSC

POPE Francis has officially recognised the “heroic virtues” of Alain-Marie Guynot de Boismenu, former Apostolic Vicar of Yule Island, who just before Easter was declared “Venerable”.

There is now the need of a miracle to enable Alain de Moismenu to become a “Blessed” and from there a “Saint.

de Boismenu was born in 1870 in Britanny in France, the 11th and last child in his family.  He never knew his mother since she died 15 days after his birth so his elder sister brought him up.

He always wanted to become a missionary and during his novitiate in Belgium he displayed a strong missionary spiritand made his first profession as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart in 1888.

Between 1888 and 1891 he completed philosophical and theological studies in Antwerp, then taught in an apostolic school before being ordained priest in 1895.

Continue reading "Yule Island's pioneer Bishop de Boismenu on the path to sainthood" »

Where She Is


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

No amount of time can gather regret,
That is glum and deep but hasn’t happened yet.
Such sweet sorrow and loneliness over whom I cannot see.
Rustic love, hewn true- Where she is my heart will be.

My dreams of her torment me by night.
She- with no name, face nor heart but yet alive.
What devilry possesses my heart in such foolish plight?
Reticent, her gaping mouth holds no words- a queen in my hive.

Continue reading "Where She Is" »

A wartime patrol through the New Guinea highlands

Hal_LogohuAt 92, and still going strong, the artist and sculptor HAL HOLMAN OL OAM bears the national awards of two countries – Papua New Guinea and Australia. - along with his military regalia. During World War II he was an Australian commando in New Guinea. This chapter from his unpublished memoir, The Phoenix, tells of his first patrol through the PNG Highlands….

ON 8 January 1943, I was one of a group of 13 men who volunteered for a patrol in the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

The Highlands was strategically vital to the New Guinea defences against the invading Japanese forces. It was a vast plateau at an average altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level.

We boarded three Lockheed Hudson aircraft at Ward's airfield (one of the several landing fields in the area) in Port Moresby and were flown to our starting point, a crude 1,200 meter landing strip at Bena Bena, constructed entirely by native labour who had been employed by the missionaries before the war. 

The grass on the airstrip, we found out later, was kept mown by the Bena Bena tribe using only sharpened and bent lengths of flattened steel, a sarif, that looked like a machete, the blade tip of which was hooked at an angle similar to a golf club (not like a scythe).  By slashing to and fro the grass was kept short.

Continue reading "A wartime patrol through the New Guinea highlands" »

Remembering when World War II came to Manus

The American MemorialPHIL FITZPATRICK

THE Japanese occupied the Admiralty Islands in April 1942.  The small AIF garrison under the command of Lieutenant Palmer had taken the advice of the local kiap, DH Vertigan, and hidden a small schooner in a creek on the south side of Manus Island in case of this eventuality. 

When the coast watcher on one of the Ninigo Islands to the west alerted them to the approaching Japanese Palmer’s men set booby traps at the likely landing places and burnt all the houses and destroyed anything else of use to the Japanese.

As the Japanese landed, the men escaped south and boarded their schooner.  As darkness fell they set sail for Bogadjim, south of Madang.  From there they walked to Bena Bena, near Goroka, and were flown to Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Remembering when World War II came to Manus" »

First flight to Tadji: The airstrip’ll be finished when you get there


Rob Parer writes: This is a great story about the day after General McCarthur's invasion of Aitape-Tadji on 22 April 1944.The Allies took it in one day! Imagine the soggy mess the strip would have been. The RAAF were amazing landing on it and not losing the lot of them. The Americans pulled out in October 1944 and the Aussies took over and fought their way to Wewak, and were there for the Surrender in August 1945.

WE set off from Cape Gloster on the long hop to Tadji Airstrip knowing that there was, as yet, nowhere for us to land - no properly prepared strip, only an area that had previously been a small enemy air strip.

On the plus side there had been a previous softening up of the place by naval bombardment and air strikes, and we were reassured by the fact that our assault troops, ground support and strip building units had gone ashore and were rebuilding the strip.

Even as we took to the air, additional landing barges were at the beachhead unloading all the necessary supplies to set up a brand new functional operational base.

So – away we went with blind faith.

Continue reading "First flight to Tadji: The airstrip’ll be finished when you get there" »

1PIR's WO1 Frederick Wilson: A boys’ own adventurer

Frederick Wilson's tombstone (Edwinsmith)TERRY EDWINSMITH

This article is adapted in part from an unpublished story entitled “Boomerang Boy” by David Wilson, a memoir of Warrant Officer First Class Frederick Wilson (1924-68), the Regimental Sergeant Major of 1PIR

SOME of the strangest stories are fact rather than fiction. This story, I believe, falls into this category.

On 24 June 1924, a boy known as Frederick was born to Kate who had given birth to Fred’s older brothers, Henry and Philip, some years before. Fred was the son of Captain Alfred Henry Willson, an engineer at Woolwich Arsenal (UK) who had seen service overseas including the Boer War and other affrays of the Old Empire.

Kate was the de facto wife of Alfred, now retired, who had worked his way up through the ranks from humble beginnings. Later, a sister for the three boys was born to Kate and she was named Mabel.

Continue reading "1PIR's WO1 Frederick Wilson: A boys’ own adventurer" »

The trials & perils of the regional city: A case study from Goroka

Trouble in West Goroka (Joeri)BOMAI WITNE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

THE buildings swallowed by the flames were 40 to 50 years old.

A friend working with the Goroka fire brigade, responding to my question of what they did to save the buildings, replied “it happened at the weekend when most of us were not at work”.

He added that, even if the incident occurred on a weekday, the brigade might have saved only a small part of the building.

Continue reading "The trials & perils of the regional city: A case study from Goroka" »

A post-war family in New Guinea: The Parers of Aitape

Rob & Meg Parer & family in Aitape, 1983MARY MENNIS MBE

AFTER World War II, Wilfred (Bob) Parer, his brother Bernard and cousin Cyril formed a syndicate to buy the salvage rights at Torokina in Bougainville, which had been a huge base for the Americans.

Bob was the main organiser of this difficult operation. As there was no coastal shipping two large barges would ply between Torokina and Rabaul where the large P & O ships would pick up the old equipment from an array of smaller barges.

It was a two-year project which involved taking out high interest loans and it did not give the men much return. Some of the equipment was sold in Brisbane and the rest in Sydney. Thiess Bros which was to become a powerhouse in Australian construction purchased a lot of the heavy machinery including cranes, bulldozers and graders.

In June 1954, Bob took over the lease of three Wewak Catholic Mission coconut plantations in and around Aitape: Tadji, St Anna and Tepier.

The Divine Word (SVD) missionaries  had arrived in 1896 and set up plantations to provide financial backing for their endeavours. However the SVD sustained heavy losses during the war and was unable to provide personnel for all the mission stations.

Continue reading "A post-war family in New Guinea: The Parers of Aitape" »

From the Kundiawa News – 50 years ago today

Haus Pig (Pig Sty), Kundiawa, 1964By Friday 24 April 1964, as the Kundiawa News published its fourth issue, my co-conspirator Murray Bladwell and I thought we might be on to something. The three-page newsletter began to cover more local news although the humour (‘Wanted: Bell-bottomed swing swiffle with uther-sonar attachment’) still crept on to the page. A Kundiawa News contribution box was placed in the Chimbu Club. No one was ever known to make use of it….


The central theme of this issue is devoted to having a look at the three main problems which face the town at the present moment.

These are: accommodation for single officers; need for a new Primary A School; and the Chimbu Club dilemma.

Continue reading "From the Kundiawa News – 50 years ago today" »

Comparing the education systems of China & Papua New Guinea


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

AS a student studying and living in China, I’ve seen and experienced so many things including the education system.

One of the most observable differences is the number of students in class. Chinese teachers typically teach two classes of 55-65 students in an eight period day. In PNG I’m more used to class sizes of 25-30.

For decades, China has utilized ‘the cohort system’. A cohort is a group of students who work together to achieve the same academic outcome.

Continue reading "Comparing the education systems of China & Papua New Guinea" »

Minister Kondra takes aim at taxi drivers who rip off passengers


PNG’s Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Boka Kondra, says is appalled at the reported mistreatment of tourists by Port Moresby taxi drivers.

“We cannot afford to intimidate taxi clients whether they are from Papua New Guinea or overseas”, he said after a taxi driver drove off with a souvenir bilum when a tourist refused to pay a K120 fare for a 45-minute trip.

“I condemn this act, this is unacceptable,” Mr Kondra said.

He said he wants a stringent system put in place so taxi tariffs are properly policed and taxi operators licensed by the government as professional organizations with a culture of courtesy and care for their clients.

Continue reading "Minister Kondra takes aim at taxi drivers who rip off passengers" »

The story of Nembare – who left his tribe & saw many things

Near Gumine ( WITNE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing

IN the gorges and gullies of the Mon and Maril Rivers, in the tribal land of the descendants of Alai-bia, within the Nulai-kia clan of Omdara, were two sons Kurkaul and Tolpari.

According to Kurkaul’s grandson Guna Nembare Maikel, brothers Kurkaul and Tolpari could have been born and raised in the 1910s.

This was an era when the coastal part of the island of New Guinea and New Guinea islands were more than two decades on from official German and British colonisation. But the highlands area, in particular the birth place of Kurkaul and Tolpari, was devoid of European contact.

Continue reading "The story of Nembare – who left his tribe & saw many things" »

The boys’ transition to manhood – the Madang way

Man-boys line for the initiation (Wapar)DAVID KASEI WAPAR

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing

I WAS fortunate to join the Yagaum and Teitab clans in the south Ambenob ward of Madang for a special occasion during the Christmas holidays of 2011.

The manhood ceremony is an important part of the Madang culture, particularly in the Amele, Bel and Rai Coast areas where it has been practiced for countless generations.

The haus man is a sacred place where boys are gathered and kept away from their homes and all impurities while taught to live as mature men.

Continue reading "The boys’ transition to manhood – the Madang way" »

Is it time to reconsider Papua New Guinea’s land laws?

Port Moresby housing (Masalai Blog)PHIL FITZPATRICK

ELVINA P Ogil recently tweeted about whole families living in the doorways of buildings in Port Moresby.

We shake our heads and say, “Why don’t they just go back to their villages?  They should have realised by now that the idea of finding the good life in the big towns is just a myth.  Surely they are much better off living on their own land as subsistence farmers!”

Unfortunately the sad fact is that many of these people don’t have any land back in their home provinces to go to.

Continue reading "Is it time to reconsider Papua New Guinea’s land laws?" »

Sijo for Papuan New Guineans



You say I am of the highlands; stone headed and hard hearted.

But my children dance amidst heavens fresh tears, shed on mighty peaks;

Whose sweet strength you cannot taste, in salty seas where you fish.


You say I am of the coastlands; sleek skin salted and sun-lazed.

But my children dance beside the pregnant swell of the deep blue sea;

Whose warm love you cannot touch, on lonely peaks where you hunt.


Crafted from 22 February to 18 April 2014

Little Figures

Little people ( TUNNE WAKPI

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

As morning wakes and stretches
As its presence reaches out and
Touches men and beasts and birds
Little figures stir and rise to see
Mothers by the fire boiling tea

One kaukau, two kaukau, three
From ashen ovens freed, then
Dusted off and wrapped in leaves
Little figures down their teas and
Eat one kaukau (two they keep)

Continue reading "Little Figures" »

Bougainville Manifesto 13: An economic road for Bougainville


BOUGAINVILLE needs protectionism for its politics, economy and cultures for the island and its people to gain the maximum benefit from their resources.

“My fighting on Bougainville [is] based on these factors: (1) that is, we are fighting for man and his culture, and (2) land and environment; and (3) independence,” stated the late Francis Ona, rebel leader during the Bougainville Crisis of 1988-2005 (Coconut Revolution, 1999, documentary film by Darren Bender & Mike Chamberlain).

Francis Ona believed that Bougainville and its people were staggering to their fate under PNG and BCL’s three burdens: great exploitation of the Panguna mine; forceful indoctrination through the PNG education system; and a foreseeable fate through genocide, where Bougainville identity and dignity would be nothing.

Continue reading "Bougainville Manifesto 13: An economic road for Bougainville" »

Seven months in Bougainville

Mark ChambersMARK CHAMBERS |Wake Up in the Pacific Blogspot | Extracts

WE'VE been back in New Zealand ("civilisation" some people have said to me) for two weeks now. During my last few weeks in Bougainville I was thinking a lot about my stay there. Or in particular, my impact. What have I changed? What have I left behind?

I'll start with the conclusion: It’s really hard to find a balance between the very great things and the very harsh things I've experienced.

For starters, no one in Bougainville goes hungry. The bucket loads of rain and sun are a winner for photosynthesis and things grow just about everywhere.  Every family has land and as well as a house they keep gardens.  Many also have a share of a plantation, growing either cocoa or coconuts to sell overseas.

Continue reading "Seven months in Bougainville" »

80 years on: 500 pilgrims walk from Madang to Mt Hagen

Pilgrims climb up Gena mountain near MigendePAUL PETRUS | Catholic Archdiocese of Mt Hagen

ACTIONS speak louder than words in Papua New Guinea culture. It is customary that when a person does something good, words do not fully express the appreciation. One has to reciprocate with action.

A common practice is the idea of saying thank you with action rather than words. Accordingly, the Catholic Archdiocese of Mt Hagen organised a pilgrimage to say thank you for the 80 years of the Gospel in the Highlands.

This year is a special year for the Catholic Archdiocese of Mt Hagen, which includes both Jiwaka and Western Highlands provinces. The Archdiocese is celebrating 80 years of the Catholic faith in the two provinces and the rest of the Highlands.

Continue reading "80 years on: 500 pilgrims walk from Madang to Mt Hagen" »

Tricks & traps on the Queen's highway: Givim 60 lo Posmosbi!

Man & his busGARY JUFFA

DRIVING in Port Moresby is stressful at any time for motorists with common sense. (I can hear you scream that this is an understatement.)

Anyway, the number of idiots who sit behind wheels is unusually higher in Port Moresby then in any other town in Papua New Guinea, possibly the world.

Turning with no indication and stopping anywhere to chat are apparently not traffic offences since so many motorists do it.

Then there are the falling apart trucks driving carting rubbish commanded by a character who looks like he barely could walk upright let alone speak.

This Captain of Chaos wears a filthy singlet and spits betelnut streams at will as he drives at snail’s pace strewing rubbish from his death mobile, oblivious to the carnage he leaves in his wake as he turns anywhere, anytime with no warning.

Continue reading "Tricks & traps on the Queen's highway: Givim 60 lo Posmosbi!" »

PNG governor says independence vital for anti-graft body


THE Governor of Papua New Guinea's Oro Province and national parliamentarian, Gary Juffa, has said the country's new anti-graft commission must be truly independent if it is to work.

The Peter O'Neill-led government has passed legislation to create an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

This came as Pomio MP Paul Tiensten was jailed for nine years this month over the misuse of $US3.8 million in public funds.

Gary Juffa said there is more corruption now in PNG because there is more money in circulation.

"There's also more opportunity and more people involved in it,” he said.

Continue reading "PNG governor says independence vital for anti-graft body" »

PNG political activists to defend ‘benchmark’ defamation case

Tony Christie WaisiKEITH JACKSON

SOCIAL media and political activists Noel Anjo Kolao and Sonja Barry Ramoi have instructed Port Moresby lawyer Tony Christie Waisi (pictured) to defend them in defamation proceedings filed against them in the PNG National Court by prime minister Peter O’Neill.

Interim orders have been obtained by Mr O’Neill’s lawyer, Tiffany Twivey, restraining Mr Anjo and Mrs Ramoi from publishing defamatory imputations against the prime minister in mainstream media and social media pending the hearing and determination of the proceedings on Thursday.

The case has been characterised by some social media activists as an attempt to suppress free speech in PNG, although media watchdog Pacific Freedom Forum believes these fears are unfounded.

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After the Guadalcanal flood, a sad walk to Calvary

Margaret pensive and thoughtful as she ponders the destruction of the Nalibiu riverFR AMBROSE PEREIRA SDB

"I DO not know how to describe my feelings and what to say", said Margaret as she stood on the now extended bank of the Nalibiu River.

The river had taken away her palm oil plants and half of her banana plantation. What remains now is a sandy patch of land.

"The palm oil plantation would provide for school fees of the children,”said an obviously sad Margaret. “The bananas would be for sold for the patients at the National Referral Hospital.”

"We had to swim to get away from the surging water", said Anna as we drove along and road where the water rose to about 10 feet. The huge logs brought down by the river provided the evidence.

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A real man of New Guinea: Albert Speer MBE dies at 92


ALBERT Speer (1922-2014), who died peacefully in Sydney last Wednesday aged 92, was born in Goulburn NSW and served in New Guinea with 2/2 Australian Field Ambulance from 1942-45, marking the beginning of his long association with Papua New Guinea.

Aged just 17, he needed his mother’s permission to join the army , becoming a medic and serving at a number of locations including Milne Bay and Wau.

After the war, he joined the PNG Administration as a medical assistant in 1947 with early postings to Kerema, Madang and Saiho, where he led the medical team in the evacuation of victims of the 1951 Mt Lamington disaster.

In the 1950s documentary film, New Guinea Patrol, he was part of the team that was in the field for 70 days with a line of carriers half a mile long.

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‘Bye Nigel’ - mourning in the true spirit of Melanesia

Mourning (David Wapar)DAVID KASEI WAPAR

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing

FOR someone who had never witnessed the famous Wopaka of the Western Highlands, the heavy chanting and wailing, and the feet-stamping almost made me run for dear life.

Not to mention the sharp clanging of knives and hefty thud of wood against the pavement which I shifted my full attention to in case the participants chose something more human than the lifeless bricks.

I still marvel at the spirit of aggression and sorrow that this famous war cry drew back then, and I got to learn a little bit more about the Wopaka while writing this.

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We Care

Cathy Kata makes a bilumDOMINICA ARE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

We are Visionaries
We are strong and determined with a desire to achieve
We have defied the impossible odds
We have travelled amazing distances, had amazing trips

We get soaked in rain, crossed the mighty rivers and rough seas
We had rough road rides, covered in mud, walked miles in blistering hot days
We had shaky flights and get stranded in the bush, climbed rugged mountains
We had near death experiences and suffered a number of setbacks

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Leo Bera: Another old kiap heads for that patrol post in the sky

PNG Kiap postage stampPHIL FITZPATRICK

BACK in the 1960s the top end of what was then the Western District was a wild and woolly place.

New tribes were still being contacted in the Star and Victor Emmanuel Mountains, the Biami were still carrying out cannibal raids and Indonesian paratroopers were chasing OPM guerrillas across the border in the lead up to the farcical Act of Free Choice for West Papua.

That part of the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea was still very much the domain of the kiap, including a sprinkling of local officers. They were tough and highly competent, the likes of which PNG would not see again.

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PNG government should welcome, not suppress, honest critics


I AM EXPRESSING my grave concern over views expressed by politicians regarding comments made by researchers and academics in an attempt to silence them.

In some countries where democracy is not supported and valued, people with critical views based on sound analysis are exterminated or deported if they are foreigners.

This would be bad for the development prospects of Papua New Guinea if we want to become a wealthy, wise and prosperous nation.

Current comments made by politicians about contributions attributed to Paul Barker, the executive director of Institute of National Affairs, at a National Research Institute-hosted budget forum last week are uncalled for.

The budget forum was looking at the implications of the PNG government budget for the sound development of our country. The forum was a venue where the public was invited to hear the views of experts who carried out sound analysis of the 2014 budget.

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The man that came between


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamships Short Story Award

IT was Dianne’s first day at university. After getting settled in her room, which she will be sharing with two other girls, she started rifling through her things and unpacking.

Her two roommates were not here yet so she got to choose the bottom bunk and her locker first. It feels good to go to university at last and experience and learn new things, meet new friends, people and just have a lot of fun.

‘Hi!’ Dianne was startled and spun around to the door she left ajar.

‘I’m Tracy’, her intruder poked her head in and extended her hand to Dianne. After a brief introduction, Tracy said she was just bored so walked around to meet all the new faces.  At that moment, they hit it off. They became the best of friends and as the years ensued their bond became stronger.

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