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126 posts from August 2014

This year’s DWU cultural day – when the gown met the town

DWU - Gupela bilas truDAVID WAPAR

THE much anticipated Divine Word University (DWU) annual cultural day attracted a large number of Madang town residents to the university’s Madang campus.

This year for the first time, students from the new Hela and Jiwaka provinces proudly strutted their stuff; accompanied by proud parents who travelled the highlands highway just to be part of the event.

DWU Vice President Student Affairs, Ted Alau, hailed the occasion as a success and highly commended the students.

“Those who attended left with good memories” Mr Alau said. “I noticed that many of our overseas visitors took lots of pictures and they will have something to show friends and wantoks later.

“The dancing groups from the provinces were special and spectacular. The skill and artistry in the presentations were of high quality.

“I congratulate the students for a job well done,” Mr. Alau said.

He also acknowledged the contributions from staff, an example of good community service.

Continue reading "This year’s DWU cultural day – when the gown met the town" »

SWA continues its mission for Simbu literary excellence

Read, think & write EnglishJIMMY AWAGL

RURAL schools in the rugged and remote north-west of Simbu Province have been visited by Francis Nii, Arnold Mundua, Mathias Kin and Jimmy Awagl to promote literature among early age school children.

SWA, the Simbu Writers Association, is very interested in targeting students to develop better English through speaking, reading and writing.

Since little Tom Kaupa, a grade seven student entered his short story in the Crocodile Prize and had it selected and published in the annual Anthology, the message was understood that we must drive the Simbu heritage crocodile to visit rural schools.

Continue reading "SWA continues its mission for Simbu literary excellence" »

On the contribution of black people's music


I know this looks like a ridiculous generalisation. And I only use the term 'black people' to provide a distinction with the music of 'white people'.

I mean the whities have Monteverdi, Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. And the rest.

What do black people have?

Well they have also have music which goes back thousands of years, in Papua New Guinea no less than elsewhere.

As Mana taught me with her Kuman singing (God nina unagle dingra wo wei. Naya sugl mola wo wei).

Then there is American Gospel.

Continue reading "On the contribution of black people's music" »



Slowly back home
Past nymphets whispering
Thoughts parting from where my steps roam
Carried by crows crowing
To Dreamers’ Dome,

Wardley Barry, 26, comes from the Eastern Highlands but was born and bred in East New Britain. He is a student at Sonoma Adventist College and has been writing poetry since fifth grade and his passion for poetry has been bubbling since

Phil Charley - a man of dignity, generosity & resilience

Phil and Marie CharleyPETER CHARLEY

MY father was born on a Monday and died on a Friday. Monday to Friday. A week. A lifetime. In the 89 years between the beginning and the end, he experienced the best of times and some of the toughest times, too

He was born on 26 January 1925. Australia Day. His family at the time was immensely wealthy. His grandfather, Major Philip Charley, was one of the founders of BHP. At that time, he owned a seventh of the company, a personal share that amounts to around $28 billion in today’s terms.

Throughout his childhood, Dad was surrounded by the trappings of extraordinary privilege: one of the grandest houses in Australia, a place they called Charley Castle, with a Rolls Royce in the driveway, a private zoo, the whole of Mount Tomah as a personal playground, and a horse stud where ‘Breaker Morant’ worked, before his fateful one-way journey to the Boer War.

Dad spoke of dinner parties attended by the Duke of Windsor amongst other notable foreign visitors, and of his grandfather’s gracious love of entertaining.

Continue reading "Phil Charley - a man of dignity, generosity & resilience" »

Phil Charley - those brilliant Papua New Guinea years


PHIL already had 25 years of broadcasting under his belt when he and the family arrived in Papua New Guinea early in 1970.

Those New Guinea years turned out to be very good years for the Charleys, and the aura of that time - and the many friendships made - extend to this day.

Phil and I were recruited to the PNG Government Broadcasting Service at the same time: me from the ABC in Moresby; Phil from commercial radio in Deniliquin.

Phil was despatched to manage Radio Eastern Highlands, and his favourite PNG yarn comes from this time.

A large crowd had gathered for the formal opening of the new studio complex in Goroka.They included Phil’s office boy, Semena, at the time aged around 50.

Semena’s officialrole at the station might have been modest, but he was a man of influence. This was signified by the papier mache London Bobby’s helmet he wore at all times.

Continue reading "Phil Charley - those brilliant Papua New Guinea years" »

Visitants: Is this the greatest PNG novel written by an outsider?


EMINENT Australian author Drusilla Modjeska is lecturing on Randolph Stow’s great Papua New Guinea novel, Visitants, at Sydney University on Monday.

Drusilla says that it remains, after all these years, the great Australian novel on PNG.

“No contest,” she asserts.

Visitants has been described as underrated. To which the retort has been that’s an understatement.

The novel, which was published in 1979, is set in the Trobriand Islands and, in Drusilla’s view, remains unsurpassed in outsider fiction of Australia’s “complex near-neighbour, PNG.

“Each time I read it, I admire it more," she says.

Continue reading "Visitants: Is this the greatest PNG novel written by an outsider?" »

50 Years Ago: A brief history of education in Chimbu


From the Kundiawa News Special Goroka Show issue of 29 August 1964

IN 1933 the first white men set eyes on the Chimbu Valley. In 1934 the first Mission was established and in 1938, less than four years later, the first Government school was started.

This was a class of thirty pupils conducted by a Tolai teacher, To Mamua. The school building was a crude kunai structure situated on the hill above Kundiawa station - about half way between the present school site and the Compound.

In 1939 To Mamua was replaced by another Tolai teacher named Jotham and he in turn·was replaced, in 1940, by two teachers - one a Tolai named To Vuvu and the other a Buka, Tue.

At this stage the enrolment was increased to 80 and another classroom was erected. These two teachers carried on the good work for two years until 1942 when they were replaced by New Irelanders Yaraka and Pius.

In 1941 it was decided-that some of the brighter children should be sent to the coast for further schooling and with an eye to giving them teacher-training at a later date - in turn, bringing them back to Chimbu to help with the education of their·people.

Continue reading "50 Years Ago: A brief history of education in Chimbu" »

PNG is undermining Bougainville's independence moves


PAPUA New Guinea was built at the cost of the alienation of the Solomon island people of Bougainville.

The Bougainville people were belittled by the influx of non-Bougainvillean and non-Solomon people and cultures. Bougainville suffered environmental destruction that will take hundreds of years for ecology to put right, caused by the extraction of ore to finance PNG’s independence.

For this injustice, a people took up an armed struggle against the state of PNG, its peoples and the mining company, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL).

This armed crisis was backed by an unprepared political leadership and resulted in a decade long struggle of civil conflict, ultimately resolved by a negotiated multilateral peace process that was more-PNG friendly and not Bougainville oriented.

Continue reading "PNG is undermining Bougainville's independence moves" »

Dreams of my childhood: To fly like a bird


WHEN I was about eight, nine and ten years old in the early 1990s, mum taught at Lumi Community School.

The school catered to children of public servants at Lumi station and children from villages surrounding the station.

Back then, Lumi was a fully-fledged district of West Sepik Province. It is now just a sub district, Aitape being the headquarters of the restructured Aitape-Lumi District.

So it was that our home was right at the station, the centrepiece of which was the Lumi airstrip. The airstrip ran right through the middle of Lumi station, with houses on either side.

Continue reading "Dreams of my childhood: To fly like a bird" »

50 Years Ago: A brief history of contact in Chimbu

Geoff Burfoot in 1964G H BURFOOT

From the Kundiawa News Special Goroka Show issue of 29 August 1964

MUCH of the early history of the Chimbu lies unrecorded in the memories of the men who explored and subdued the warlike Chimbu who dwell in one of the most mountainous and densely populated areas of the Territory.

A little more can be found in dry official reports and academic publications. I have before me a nineteen page essay on the history of Chimbu prepared by Patrol Officer [Pat] Dwyer last year, but this gives but a brief coverage.

In an article such as this I shall briefly touch only on the salient points of the last thirty years and hope that one day, whilst most of the pioneers are still alive someone will devote the time and research required to write a full history of most interesting region.

Continue reading "50 Years Ago: A brief history of contact in Chimbu" »

Domestic violence – the damage it causes to our PNG women

Seeds Theatre Group enactmentGEORGE KUIAS

“I chopped off my left hand pointer so my husband will have pity on me. I am sick and tired of his mistreatment,” she said when I interviewed her.

She had been beaten and torched with hot embers for some time. Her body was full of sores and scars from her husband’s abuse.

Her husband did not care – even when she fell unconscious. At times she was locked out of house and sought refuge elsewhere.

At seven o’clock last Thursday night as I was dining, I spotted a light glowing on the path to my house. I greeted her and invited her to sit in my hauswin (rest house).

Her left hand was covered with a green tee-shirt.

Continue reading "Domestic violence – the damage it causes to our PNG women" »

New Dawn FM: The independent & united voice of Bougainville

Aloysius LaukaiMARYANNE HANETTE | Bougainville 24

NEW Dawn FM is a community radio station on the island of Bougainville that provides informative programming to listeners.

The conflict years Bougainville left parts of Bougainville underdeveloped and many people do not have access good roads, electricity or communication systems.

Some people have a radio and as a result, radio is one of the best ways to share important news.

This gave Aloysius Laukai (pictured) the idea of starting a community radio station.

So in 2005, he began New Dawn FM.

Continue reading "New Dawn FM: The independent & united voice of Bougainville" »

50 Years Ago: Chimbu

Kundiawa Airstrip, December 1963 (Keith Jackson)R N DESAILLY

From the Kundiawa News Special Goroka Show issue of 29 August 1964

THE township of Kundiawa is situated on a hill overlooking the junction of the Chimbu and Wahgi rivers in the heart of the Chimbu Division of the Eastern Highlands.

A ramshackle grass-thatched building, soon to be replaced by ba modern permanent structure, serves as the District Office and shares the hilltop with the the District Officer’s residence and the court house.

This was the site commonly used by well-known government officer and explorer J L Taylor during his early patrols in the Chimbu, and from it may be seen the Lutheran Mission station still occupied by the Rev Bergmann, a pioneer missionary who settled there three decades ago when the people were only beginning to discover that a whole world lay beyond their mountains.

Continue reading "50 Years Ago: Chimbu" »

The Hela gas exploitation: will the people avenge the Big Pig?


HELA Province is the host to the multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas project. But, operating alongside the wonders of modern technology, is a culture full of rich tradition and custom.

Culturally, Hela functions on the patrilineal system, where the male owns the land. Men gain prestige by marrying many wives who look after their pigs. During a pig killing ceremony, the big man kills many pigs and distributes them to his extended family and other neighbouring clans.

He gains pleasure by seeing his pig killed and observing the distribution of the meat to his people. In the process, the big man gains fame and popularity. He builds new relationships and cements existing relationships.

The village folks who feast upon the big man’s generosity praise him and call him man bilong kilim pik )- the man who kills pigs. He is praised by friend and foe alike. His status increases and he becomes a big man in the community as a result of his pig killing exploits.

Continue reading "The Hela gas exploitation: will the people avenge the Big Pig?" »

The problem of children's rights: Enough of the toktok

H&SFR JOHN GLYNN | We Care Foundation

WE have good laws, and there is plenty of awareness of the problem of children's rights, but sadly the protocols, or the machinery, for making the laws work is just not there.

One Fr Jude's AIDS orphans who I have been helping is a young girl called G. She has been living with her extended family and they allowed her to continue her schooling after Fr Jude left. I have been paying her school fees, buying her uniforms, shoes and similar things.

This year G was in Grade 8 at Eki Vaki Primary school and I promised to get her into my school, Jubilee Secondary, next year if she did well in her exams. When I returned from overseas recently I found that G was no longer in school.

She had been taken out and is being kept at home to care for a sick relative. Her education is finished. The family is no longer in Hohola - I don't know where they have moved to.

Continue reading "The problem of children's rights: Enough of the toktok" »

We must not lose sight of sustainable agricultural development

Farming in the PNG highlandsMICHAEL DOM

WHILE I have reservations about the term 'subsistence' farming, I believe that some form of subsistence living will remain a globally important means of livelihood for the foreseeable future.

To assume that everyone in the whole wide world will gain paid employment is perhaps stretching the reality of environment, economy and human society a bit far. (We may hope for better, but what works best is usually what we have to arrive at.)

It is worth pointing out that, even in oil rich Middle East nations, herders still thrive in areas far from the shadow of modern sky scrapers. They face challenges which are not dissimilar to many small-scale farmers and herders in other nations.

Continue reading "We must not lose sight of sustainable agricultural development" »

Rude sisters of the delivery theatre – mothers must have dignity

Mothers & new babiesKELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

WOMEN in Port Moresby have to cope with bullying and humiliation from the hands of human beings that came into the world through a mother’s womb.

The sentence doesn’t sound rational but that is the way things are in PNG’s national capital.

Our mothers and sisters fear the men in blue cruising around in troop carriers, whipping any Tom, Dick and Harry as if these humans are black stallions in a Melbourne cup.

Women are whipped with fan belts just as hard as the psychopaths caught at Gordon’s market trying to rape a school girl in broad day light.

Rational people wonder what prompted the men in blue to come down so low to whip the mothers with fan belts who toil to make ends meet in an unforgiving society like Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Rude sisters of the delivery theatre – mothers must have dignity" »

They arise early in the hills! We announce first winners of free books


YESTERDAY PNG Attitude began a competition in which we will send 10 free copies of the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 – free of charge and to be handed out freely – to those PNG readers who provide a good description of where the books could be of the most use.

Winners will be allowed to keep a copy of the Anthology for themselves so long as they distribute the other copies to libraries, schools, universities, hospitals, aid posts and other good places.

Today I can announce the first three winners – Jimmy Awagl, John Kaupa Kamasua and Arnold Mundua. Writers all, they are not unknown names to us.

“I would like to distribute those books among three schools in the isolated setting in Simbu,” Jimmy writes.

“Mai High, Parua Primary and Ku High. Ku High School has built a new library and called it after the Simbu Writers Association.

Continue reading "They arise early in the hills! We announce first winners of free books" »

The virus of corruption that threatens the lives of us all


ALL of us who use computers know that there ever lurks a threat that, if we are not attentive, can attack and destroy our valuable information. We call it a virus.

And, thinking about this, I realised that Papua New Guinea faces another type of virus, a socially destructive virus that destroys government, citizens, politics, the economy and society.

In its original version this is the virus of corruption: bribery, nepotism, wantokism, white collar crime, secret deals, cheating, overpricing and fraud - among the rest.

Day by day, we try to develop the antiviruses of policies, reforms, rules, checks, investigation, prosecution, marches and petitions.

The more we try, the more we seem to fail.

Continue reading "The virus of corruption that threatens the lives of us all" »

Here’s how to win a free Anthology - plus copies to give away

_Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 CoverKEITH JACKSON

THANKS to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia – which provided a significant grant to assist publish the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 – copies of this wonderful 500-page book are now being distributed throughout PNG.

Now we’ve come up with a great scheme that you PNG readers may be able to help with.

We will provide you with 10 copies of the Anthology – free of charge and to be handed out freely – if you are one of the lucky winners of this competition.

Continue reading "Here’s how to win a free Anthology - plus copies to give away" »

Educating people by degree – Sam Koim’s ‘anti-corruption capsules’

Anti-corruption-poster (Raymond June)The head of PNG’s corruption-busting Task Force Sweep, SAM KOIM, still with a job after intervention by the courts, uses Facebook to publish his ‘anti-corruption capsules’. They’re always well-read, much favoured and we offer one here as an example….

AS a nation progresses, so do its people. Many people get educated. Many find a decent job that sustains and propels them to prosper in life.

Crime also grows in the absence of strong mechanisms to curtail its growth.

Those who want to engage in crimes such as stealing and fraud are often too educated to employ primitive gang looting methods with the use of arms. Thus the crime rate on that front may decline.

Continue reading "Educating people by degree – Sam Koim’s ‘anti-corruption capsules’" »

Cunning plan thwarted when the pig was let out of the bag

Simbu pig (Jimmy Awagl)JIMMY AWAGL

THE pig, one of the symbols of Simbu wealth and identity which still has great significance today, was ripe for stealing.

The scene was the rugged terrain around Kalumnigle village in Simbu Province.

It was a fine Saturday afternoon and we were unable to say ‘no’ to commit a silly act to satisfy our hunger, thirst and eagerness for protein containing a lot of fat.

I, along with a couple of muscular, aggressive and fearless boys, had a common thought: to explore the wealth that irritates someone enough to cause aggression and violence.

Continue reading "Cunning plan thwarted when the pig was let out of the bag" »

Australia boosts access to court services in Oro Province


A fully equipped National and District Court complex has been opened in Popondetta, greatly improving access to justice for the people in Oro Province.

The refurbished court was opened as part of a K450, 000 package to the province under the PNG-Australia Law and Justice Partnership.

Australia’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Deborah Stokes, said Australia is proud to have invested in the facility as it would increase the sittings and circuits of the courts. Two courts can sit simultaneously in comfortable courtrooms.

Continue reading "Australia boosts access to court services in Oro Province" »

Small-medium enterprise for sustainable growth & development


IN a growing economy such as Papua New Guinea’s, where the riches of the state are underpinned by the minerals sector, it is important not to take a short-sighted view of the path we should take to achieve national stability and progress.

Minerals are not there forever and the growth of an economy cannot remain stable when the minerals inevitably deplete.

Strategies to overcome economic downturns have been proposed and need to be implemented to safeguard the common good in the future. One such strategy is the introduction of a strong small to medium sized enterprise (SME) culture in PNG.

Continue reading "Small-medium enterprise for sustainable growth & development" »

A letter to my mother and all PNG women


DEAR Mom - There is nothing I can do or say to convince you that I love you and owe you much.

I am sorry for all that happened where my capacity to help was vulnerable.

But now I have grown up to notice all the pain and struggle that you have graciously taken for my sake.

The day you left made me a wanderer.

I realise now that, as my mother, you did all you could to put water and food on the table.

Now I realise the times you made me cry were circumstances beyond your control.

I am sorry for all that I have done without realising the effort that hurts you a lot.

Continue reading "A letter to my mother and all PNG women" »

The true Diwaii spirit of national unity

Brothers in armsDENNIS URAMANI

This poem is dedicated to the school brothers of my era at Divine Word University

We first came into a world of diversity
We first came to DWU as strangers
We came from different cultures
Shaped by our own origins

As strangers we became brothers
We spent years in our studies
We shared times of need that accomplished brotherhood
We shared one thing in common as agents of change

Continue reading "The true Diwaii spirit of national unity" »

All mining projects generate waste – but this can be useful

Ekwai West from TrukaiROBSON URAI describes the development of a mining process and considers how waste – generally seen as a problem - can be effectively converted into useful products

IN Papua New Guinea a mining exploration company, upon meeting the statutory requirements, is issued with the special mining lease licence and environmental permit by the relevant state agencies and departments.

When exploration is completed, as well as a feasibility study for mine infrastructure development, facilities are constructed.

Appropriate mining plans and methods, containing mine wastes treatment and disposal plans are signed and approved.

Construction of mine infrastructure and facilities commences. The developer constructs roads, airstrips, bridges, camp sites, waste dams, hydro dams, tunnels and so forth.

Continue reading "All mining projects generate waste – but this can be useful" »

Leadership wanting: Australian anti-corruption policy on PNG

PNG corruption memeGRANT WALTON & STEPHEN HOWES | Dev Policy Blog

AROUND the world international donors have become more and more comfortable with the ‘c-word’ – corruption that is.

During the Cold War, corruption was largely absent from international aid discourse – both sides of the iron curtain were more interested in gaining the support of ‘Third World’ governments, than monitoring how they spent their aid.

Corruption was a word not muttered in polite company, not in front of one’s friends (strategic allies) anyway.

That changed in the 1990s with the rise of Transparency International, and the World Bank signalling – through President James Wolfensohn’s now famous ‘corruption-as-cancer’ speech – its intention to fight corruption through its projects and programs.

Continue reading "Leadership wanting: Australian anti-corruption policy on PNG" »

Holmes & the incredible mystery of the dinosaur of Mt Wilhem

Sherlock HolmesAnother ripping Sherlock Homes yarn from the rusty typewriter of PETER KRANZ, forensic debutante, dilettante, bacchant & confidante of the late Dr John Watson

HOLMES was absorbed with something and was hovering over his microscope, whilst Watson was enjoying a comfortable afternoon cup of Earl Grey with a Bourbon Cream.

"Watson, what do you make of this?" cried Holmes peering down his Kohler microscope. Watson spluttered. "Have a heart Holmes, I've just sat down to afternoon tea lovingly provided by Missus Okuk!"

"Put that treat down Watson and come and see this. It's a specimen sent to me by my good friend Sir William McGregor."

"Well I never! A gentleman should never be interrupted in his afternoon Beetons!"

"Oh do shut up and come and look at this."

Continue reading "Holmes & the incredible mystery of the dinosaur of Mt Wilhem" »

If govt is serious about pensions, don’t forget informal economy


WHILE the PNG LNG project will remain as one of PNG’s greatest achievements, the biggest question facing the government centres on its ability to transfer the huge revenue inflows to the bulk of the population.

This is a major challenge given that PNG does not have the systems and infrastructure to support the direct transfer of monetary benefits to its citizens.

Therefore, the government’s move to introduce a national identification system and a social protection policy including a pension scheme can be seen as concrete steps towards achieving equitable wealth distribution.

Regular population data collection and updating has been a great challenge and it is hoped that the national identification system will ensure that real time data is available to support the planning process.

Continue reading "If govt is serious about pensions, don’t forget informal economy" »

Small town spite: Flora’s Cairns kofi haus draws local flack

Kofi Haus owner Flora Pondrilei at her coffee shopSCOTT FORBES | The Cairns Post

THREE jars of cookies and a coffee machine have landed Cairns entrepreneur Flora Pondrilei in serious hot water.

Her humble little PNG-style kofi haus has operated without any issues as a social club in the garage of her McLeod Street Queenslander home since 2006.

That was until a local business complained to Cairns Regional Council that Ms Pondrilei was operating illegally.

“We only aim to break-even,” Flora said. “This isn’t a commercial operation, it’s a meeting place for us.”

On average, Wantok Kofi Haus sells just seven cups of coffee a day.

Continue reading "Small town spite: Flora’s Cairns kofi haus draws local flack" »

Phil Charley OAM, PNG commercial radio pioneer, dies at 89


THAT headline understates Phil Charley's achievements by a long shot, although it does point to one of the great successes of his long career in broadcasting.

You have to look behind the curriculum vitae to find the real essence of Philip Nivison Charley – which was articulated both in his positive impact on successive generations of broadcasters and his engagement with whoever he met throughout his long life.

Phil's career in radio began during the last years of World War II, after he was boarded out of the Royal Australian Air Force with a medical condition.

And this life's work was brought to an end just a few years ago when, in his mid-eighties and after 65 years in broadcasting, he decided to call it a day, for the last time closing the door of his office at Macleay College in Sydney's CBD,  where for many years after nominally retiring he taught the radio advertising course.

Phil died early Friday morning of an aggressive lung cancer, diagnosed only recently. Ingrid and I flew to Sydney to see him a fortnight ago and, despite his obvious frailty, we found him in good spirits and well up to sharing a conversation along the lines of “bastards we have known….”

Continue reading "Phil Charley OAM, PNG commercial radio pioneer, dies at 89" »

Exposing the truth about the attitudes of some nurses

Warning_nurse_in_bad_moodGEORGE KUIAS

AFTER graduating from the Highlands Regional College of Nursing at Goroka in 2002, I was accepted for employment by the Catholic Health Services of West New Britain based in Kimbe.

My first post was at Kilenge Sub-Health Centre in the Kandrian-Gloucester District. Kilenge is at the tip of West New Britain facing Siassi Island of Morobe Province.

Well, without further ado, let me get into attitude of some of the nurses not only in Kilenge but at other centre’s where I have worked.

“Morning sista!” No response. Her face was as dull as the black clouds above about to let off rainwater. Her lips pouted.

Continue reading "Exposing the truth about the attitudes of some nurses" »

SWA undertakes its first literary awareness in rural schools

Josephine Peter, Francis Nii & studentsJIMMY AWAGL

IN the outer regions of Simbu Province are schools in rugged terrain which are accessible only by Toyota LandCruiser.

But this was no hindrance for Francis Nii and me on our drive to Kewamugl Lutheran High School in the early morning of Monday 18 August.

It took us two hours of bumping through the gorges of Jiwaka and Simbu Province to reach the school, located on the border of Mid-Waghi and Kuman languages villages. It’s a small school with about 250 students.

We entered the school precinct at 12 noon as the bell rang for lunch hour. The students on their way to the mess for lunch were caught by surprise as we made our way across their superb lawn.

Suddenly, the head of the English department, Josephine Peter appeared and told the students to convene at the assembly ground. She informed them that they had visitors on campus to talk about writing.

We sat beneath one of the huge pine trees while the students headed in our direction.

Continue reading "SWA undertakes its first literary awareness in rural schools" »

Friends of Nano quietly go about supporting communities


THE Ningil Friends of Nano are an enthusiastic and committed group of women, men and youths in the picturesque highlands of the Sandaun Province of Papua New Guinea.

The group, supported by Sr Bernadine Telami, meets regularly to pray, share and reflect on the Gospel and life and work of Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters.

The growing awareness of human rights and justice encourages the Friends of Nano to seek ways of acting to make a difference within their community.

The prevailing cultural practices and attitudes of the Papua New Guinea society can either hinder or support an expression of human rights.

Continue reading "Friends of Nano quietly go about supporting communities" »

Sean Dorney on 40 years of reporting PNG & the Pacific

Sean Dorney (Dean Lewins, AAP)Pacific Correspondent SEAN DORNEY has left the ABC after covering the region for 40 years. He says the Pacific is more dynamic and problematic than it was when he first went to PNG in 1974

PAPUA New Guinea had not gained its independence from Australia when I arrived in Port Moresby in early 1974 to join the newsroom of the then recently created National Broadcasting Commission of PNG.

I was on secondment from the ABC and had the enormous privilege of being able to watch and report from close up PNG's emergence as a nation in September 1975.

Continue reading "Sean Dorney on 40 years of reporting PNG & the Pacific" »

Treasury report shows that PNG’s budget situation is over-stretched

Mark EvansMARK EVANS | Pacific Politics

OVER recent months, a few morsels of information have come to light suggesting that the financial situation is tightening around the government of Papua New Guinea.

Now with the benefit of the Treasury’s mid-year report we have a much clearer picture. As expected, it’s not pretty.

What we see is a government struggling to play by its own fiscal rules and to deliver on its own budget. It’s not obvious how long the country can safely continue down this path.

The Treasury report confirms that low commodity prices have caused revenues to undershoot expectations. Dwindling mining and petroleum tax revenues are the main cause.

Continue reading "Treasury report shows that PNG’s budget situation is over-stretched" »

Crocodile Prize founder says aim is to foster PNG’s creative talent

Keith & anthologiesABC AUSTRALIA PLUS

THE Crocodile Prize was first awarded in 2011 and has been a nurturing force for Papua New Guinea's writers. KEITH JACKSON, co-founder of the Prize, told the ABC’s LIAM COCHRANE how it all began….

JACKSON – [The Prize was initiated] to ensure there was some incentive and recognition for creative writing in PNG. There had been, around the time of independence, a great burgeoning of literature in PNG – poetry, short stories, memoirs, histories – but, over the years there was no structure to support it and there was no publishing industry, so it really faded away.

In 2010, Phil Fitzpatrick, an Australian author and former patrol officer in PNG, and I got talking and wondered whether we might be able to do something to fix it.

COCHRANE – And since those early days, how have things developed?

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize founder says aim is to foster PNG’s creative talent" »

Joint negotiations continue on Panguna mine re-opening issues

Lawrence Daveona and Justin 'Ted' RogersBEN JACKSON | Bougainville 24

BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited (BCL) has told representatives of Panguna mine-affected landowners that it welcomes direct dialogue between parties as well as collective discussion through the Joint Panguna Negotiation Coordination Committee (JPNCC).

Some representatives of the nine mine-related landowner groups that met in Buka last Friday at a regular meeting of the JPNCC said they would like informal contact with BCL to raise issues not covered by the JPNCC’s terms of reference.

The JPNCC is responsible for a range of activities including environmental, social and economic studies and the reconciliation process known as belkol.

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From the Kundiawa News 50 years ago today



Former Kundiawa District officer, Mr LJ Doolan, has been transferred to Goroka as Acting District Commissioner. This surprise move has come on the eve of the Goroka Show, the big social and commercial occasion of the year in the Eastern Highlands and leaves Mr Doolan with the turmoil and hectic organisation of the final week before the Show.

Mr Doolan was accompanied to Goroka by his wife Robin and children terry and Margret. He replaces former Acting District Commissioner, Mr O Mathieson who left suddenly for Australia following the death of his father.

Mr Doolan came to Kundiawa from Samarai in May 1963 and, even during this short time of administration, the town has progressed no small distance. His impact as Acting DC should resound right through the Eastern Highlands.

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21st century so very far away: PNG’s tragedy of remoteness

On a Sepik tributaryGEORGE KUIAS

SO here I was at Mirsey health sub-centre in the Ambunti area of the upper Sepik. There was no oxygen, the hydrocortisone and salbutamol had run out and even the manual foot pump for nebulising the patient was malfunctioning.

Martin, my patient, was developing severe shortness of breath and was cyanosed due to lack of oxygen. Even the antibiotics had not helped. He was restless and gasping for air.

I tried to resuscitate him but failed. He needed anti-asthma drugs to revive him. The only option was to refer him to Boram hospital in Wewak - 14 hours by dinghy along the main Sepik River and then by ambulance to Wewak.

After sorting out the fuel and the boat operator we trundled off following a tributary of the Sepik. Due to low water levels and submarine tree stumps, we could not travel at speed.

At seven o’clock in the night my patient Martin told me to stop and turn back to the health centre. I hesitated. My aim was to save his life.

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How Australia & the US gave away the people of West Papua

Netherlands New Guinea stampGAN DONKER

IN 1953 I was posted to Hollandia (now Jayapura) as a Dutch East Indies Army Signals Intelligence (Sigint) Officer.

We needed to know if Australia and the United States would support us (the Dutch Government) in bringing West Papua to independence.

As we learnt from our intelligence intercepts, the two countries pretended to support the Dutch but did not do so in practice.

I was working as a freshly minted E-Course teacher in the Sepik District when Rockefeller disappeared in 1961 and took a great interest in the case which, ultimately, took a more concrete form in 1962 when I was posted to Vanimo not far across the border from Hollandia.

As it happened, the Hollandia Yacht Club made occasional sailing excursions to Vanimo where I met them and discussed the still hot topic of Rockefeller’s disappearance.

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Pan Aust says it will own 80% of Frieda mine – I beg to differ

Frieda River projectGABRIEL RAMOI

THE Frieda Mine project is Papua New Guinea’s largest reported copper, gold and silver resource. The value of the copper alone, not counting , gold and silver, is about $US75 billion and an investment of $6 billion is required to realise this.

This is the resource that Pan Aust Ltd said it will pay $125 million to own. It has put down $25 million as deposit and will pay another $50 million by the end of 2015 after it has taken control of the mine. The balance will follow later.

On Monday of last week, Pan Aust announced to the Australian Stock Exchange that the condition precedent of the September 2013 deed of sale with Glencore had been satisfied allowing the sale to proceed. The condition referred to was approval from the PNG government.

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Rio Tinto offers a more nuanced view of its Panguna intentions


CHAIRMAN of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), Peter Taylor (pictured), has been reported by Radio Australia as saying parent company Rio Tinto may yet return to Bougainville.

In an earlier statement, Rio said it would review its majority stake in its subsidiary BCL.

The Australian newspaper reported this morning that this meant Rio was “likely to quit” its 53.8% stake in Bougainville Copper.

But in a more nuanced statement Mr Taylor told Radio Australia he's optimistic a solution can be found.

"One can't pre-empt what the outcome of that study is," he said, referring to the Rio review.

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Media reporting that Rio is threatening to quit Bougainville

AbandonedBARRY FITZGERALD | The Australian | Extracts

RIO Tinto is likely to quit its 53.8% stake in Bougainville Copper (BOC) after the listed subsidiary was stripped of its mining rights to the abandoned Panguna copper/gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

Panguna was abandoned in 1989 because of attacks on the operation by secessionist rebels on Bougainville island.

The response by Rio to the recent stripping of Bougainville Copper’s right to mine under new mining legislation passed by the Autonomous Bougainville Government is to “review all options’’ for its BCL stake.

That prompted speculation that Rio could look to gift its BCL stake to charitable foundations, as it did recently with a project in Alaska, or hand the interest to a trust for the long-lasting benefit of the local people.

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Bougainville's ambiguity: Desire for autonomy & the PNG challenge

Leonard Roka May 2014LEONARD FONG ROKA

THERE may be a war of words occurring around the transitional mining legislation passed through Bougainville's parliament last week, but the good news is that we now have our own law to deal with mining in the province.

Of course, mining has been a controversial issue on Bougainville since the 1960s. We all know it sparked a crisis that cost many Bougainvilleans their lives.

Observing the protests over the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) creating this mining law, both sides seem to have good reason for argument: Bougainville has ambiguous problems within which Papua New Guinea is the catalyst.

In his 1997 doctoral thesis, Dr Jerry Semos stated plainly that “in 1964, an Australian mining company, Conzinc Riotinto of Australia (CRA) came to Bougainville, uninvited.”

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