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131 posts from September 2014

To avoid Church is to run away from peace & harmony

Most people today ignore churches and worship daysJIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

PAPUA New Guineans might be well-known for their Christian religion but most people between the ages of 10 and 45 are managing to avoid attending their local churches.

Church is meant for humanity to enjoy God’s providence, yet the benches are increasingly vacant as large numbers of the congregation spontaneously avoid church.

People use Saturdays and Sundays for social activities namely; Sports, barbeque, drinking and leisure activities are evenly done on those days. It becomes a common trend for peers to accustom to this practice of abandoning churches.

Church promotes the divine word of God as the ultimate foundation for human blessings in terms of peace and harmony. Humanity departing church is an indication of people moving into a world of hatred and aggression. It is also an indication of a missing moral obligation.

Continue reading "To avoid Church is to run away from peace & harmony" »

Church's new pastoral plan emphasises social concerns

Bishop Otto Separi of Aitape hands a copy of the plan to a Goroka familyKEITH JACKSON

A new Pastoral Plan for the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands places great emphasis on the family, the poor, youth, street kids and a wide range of social concerns.

The document was officially launched in Goroka on Sunday and is the culmination of two years of work within the church. It is the first time that Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have developed a common Pastoral Plan.

A new evangelization is at the core of the pastoral plan along with its social concerns and a new focus on the media.

“The world and the church are in the midst of a deep and ongoing crisis such as we have never experienced before”, the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Arnold Orowae of Wabag, said in his presentation of the plan.

Continue reading "Church's new pastoral plan emphasises social concerns" »

Temlett Conibeer rides again – this time into West Papua

Temlett Conibeer CoverPHIL FITZPATRICK

‘At the West End: Temlett Conibeer in West Papua’ by A C T Marke, Frogmouth Press, Low Head, Tasmania, 2014, ISBN 9780646919164, 300 pages. $30, including postage from the author

THIS is the fourth in Andrew Marke’s Temlett Conibeer novels. The central character in all the novels is a sexually repressed and ultra-conservative Englishman with distinct Victorian attitudes.

Temlett Conibeer works in pre-independence Papua New Guinea as a malaria control officer.  Among his close friends is an ex-Nazi who was in the SS during World War II.

Critics of the novels range from those who regard them as appallingly bad literature to those who find them inexplicably fascinating.  I fall into the latter category, as did the late David Wall to whom this latest volume is dedicated.

Continue reading "Temlett Conibeer rides again – this time into West Papua" »

A puppy for all people


AUSTRALIAN singer-songwriter, and great friend of Papua New Guinea, David Bridie, has a wonderful song entitled Raskol Dusty. (Buy the CD ‘Succumb’ and be true to him.)

My wife Rose, when a girl, had a pet dog called Dusty. Named after Slim, the country singer once adored throughout PNG.

Dusty went everywhere with Rose in a bilum. She sneaked pieces of kaukau and chicken from the family mumu to feed him. He even went to school with her.

And he was bilum-trained. He gave a little bark when he needed to do his business.

Rose loved him and he loved her.

Continue reading "A puppy for all people" »

Should PNG get rid of the peddlers & mobile traders?

Wabag street-sellerBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

WHILE much emphasis has been placed on the role of markets in encouraging the growth of the informal economy, very little has been said about those who operate small informal businesses outside its gates.

Mobile traders and peddlers are seen by most governments as problems rather than solutions, a notion based on the difficulties authorities have in controlling how they conduct their activities.

In addition, many mobile traders sell counterfeit products which pose competition to formal enterprises. Aspiring entrepreneurs who conduct informal business within the vicinity of their homes are not so much of a problem as it is easy to identify them and hold them accountable.

Building a physical market is a good strategy, not only to promote the growth of the informal economy but also to control the problems of an open and uncontrolled environment.

For instance, a lot of vendors, especially women, complain of loss of revenue and insecurity when they conduct business outside the ambit of a formal market.

Continue reading "Should PNG get rid of the peddlers & mobile traders?" »

Moresby’s mighty taxis & their drivers of strong opinion


IT wasn’t so long ago that getting into a Port Moresby taxi was an act of faith.  You might get to your destination or you might be driven out to a settlement and mugged.

However, like most things in modern Port Moresby, things have changed for the better.  Nowadays taxis are a great way to get around Papua New Guinea’s national capital.

Any visitor contemplating hiring a car and driving themselves around the choked, colonial-era road system will quickly discover they are dicing with death. 

There is an unwritten code of conduct among Port Moresby’s drivers, which includes frequent use of the car’s horn. 

If you are not au fait with these rules you can get into all sorts of strife.  In the interests of personal survival it is better to take a taxi driven by someone who knows what they are doing.

Continue reading "Moresby’s mighty taxis & their drivers of strong opinion" »

Three new PNG-related websites that shine & sparkle

Website - TribalmysticKEITH JACKSON

THERE are many splendid websites devoted to Papua New Guinea and its people and they’re often produced by folks who have both a great feeling for PNG and a wonderful sense of design and art.

Today I want to bring to the fore three sites which are published by people with a real commitment to Papua New Guinea and which are well worth a visit.

In their own ways, they're quite different in their intent and execution but, like PNG Attitude, they all have a strong connection with PNG.

Continue reading "Three new PNG-related websites that shine & sparkle" »

How K20 & a pocket Bible took Petrus to his goal


An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

IT was in 1986 when Petrus was introduced to western education. Petrus from the Telefomin district, the only son in the family.

He had left his village to attend a mission-run boarding school in Aitape and was a committed student who got good marks.

One day, watching the school tractor slicing the grass, he expressed interest to the driver.

“Would you like to drive?” asked Palai, the tractor operator.

“I would like to,” replied Petrus. “Would you teach me?”

But the school administration would not allow a student to drive a tractor.

Continue reading "How K20 & a pocket Bible took Petrus to his goal" »

The ocean is taking away my island

Ursula RavokaURSULA RAVOKA | Executive Director, Tulele Peisa*

I was born on the Carteret Islands, a group of six atolls just off the northeast coast of Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea. They are home to over 2,700 people.

Women are the traditional custodians of the land here. My grandmother passed our small island to my mother and she passed it on to me. But I will never be able to pass it to my daughter. Her heritage will be gone by then.

I don't know much about science. What I know is that our shores are being eaten away. And nothing can stop the erosion.

The hardest thing I have ever had to do was tell my family and friends that we needed to leave our homes.

We are climate refugees. And we are fighting for our lives.

Our best option is now 71 hectares of land on Bougainville Island that have been generously allocated to us. One hectare of land has been given to the seven families who have already relocated.

Continue reading "The ocean is taking away my island" »

Humanity is Peace and Harmony


An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

Every human activity creates peace to prevail
Even causes peace to depart within the hearts
Peace is for man to uphold in every circumstance.

Peace comes after suffering,
But walks away during pain and agony,
Restores after disputes and quarrel but,
Departs within fighting and assaults.

Continue reading "Humanity is Peace and Harmony" »

Bro Bert Webster, Marist brother and educator, dies at 76

Bro Bert WebsterJOEL HAMAGO

BROTHER Bert Webster FMS, an influential Marist Brother and educator, passed away on 18 September after giving almost 40 years of his life to Papua New Guinea.

I first met Brian Bertrand Webster over 10 years ago and we immediately connected. His gentle sensitive nature allowed me to open up. I felt he understood me.

He became a spiritual guide and, with me along with many young men, he instilled not only spiritual growth but also confidence. He loved PNG and its people.

Bro Bert had a special way of praying. I asked him once what was the best way of prayer and he answered, “There are many ways to talk to God. You can sometimes sit before the altar and say nothing. Just bask in the glory of God,” he said.

Bertie would visit my mother when she was very sick and would sit and talk with her in an encouraging and healing manner.

Continue reading "Bro Bert Webster, Marist brother and educator, dies at 76" »

Editing for excellence - the writer’s dilemma

Some of the writers at the Croc Prize workshop 2014PHIL FITZPATRICK

THE halcyon days of Papua New Guinean literature just prior to independence were dependent upon three factors: the emergence of talented writers; an atmosphere that nourished their aspirations; and the availability of mainly Australian publishing houses.

When PNG achieved independence, Australian interest in it began to wane.  It was similar to what happens when a beloved child reaches adulthood and strikes out on its own.  The fondness remained but the support structure fell away.

The same happened to PNG’s writers: their support structure disappeared virtually overnight and there was nothing available to replace it.  They were cast adrift to look after themselves.

Continue reading "Editing for excellence - the writer’s dilemma" »

Simbu students learn what happens after school at career expo

Scene at Simbu student careers expoJIMMY AWAGL

A Career Expo for Grade 12 Students in Simbu Province last Thursday drew almost 1,300 students from five secondary schools to the Kundiawa Lutheran Day High School hall.

With the theme “Empower Simbu Students from Career Expo”, the event featured presentations from the Office of Higher Education, the Measurement Service Branch and 13 tertiary institutions from throughout PNG.

The OHE representative gave insights into government scholarships for school leavers and elaborated on matters such as board and lodging, airfares and allowances.

“These are not the rights but a privilege so you need to work hard to earn them,” he told students.

Continue reading "Simbu students learn what happens after school at career expo" »

From the Kundiawa News - 50 years ago in the Territory


We continue our series of extracts from the Kundiawa News, a Papua New Guinea colonial times newsletter that flourished in the mid-1960s. Today’s insights are from No 19 of 25 September 1964 - a special issue running to 20 pages that included a supplement for the Chimbu Ball….


MHA for Gumina, Mr G Pople, hit out many inadequacies in the Territory in his main speech at the last sitting of the House of Assembly which ended just over a week ago.

In a scathing critique of the Treasurer, Mr A P Newman, Mr Pople said, “Let me first compliment Mr Newman on his fine speaking voice and the confident manner in which he presented the bill. It is a grave pity that he talked so fast and used such complicated language that the majority of members were unable to understand him and the interpreters found it impossible to properly translate the speech.

Continue reading "From the Kundiawa News - 50 years ago in the Territory" »

Church must always be free to influence the public sphere


I appreciate Dr Paulus Ripa’s comment in PNG Attitude and as a product, even something of a victim, of a western secular ‘liberal’, democracy with a fairly strict division between church and state, I agree with him entirely.

I say a victim because, for most of my childhood, the State did not assist my education because I was in a Catholic school and the burden was carried by my parents with considerable stress on our family income.

The Papua New Guinea Catholic Bishops Conference has consistently maintained that the State should adequately budget for and fund the areas for which it is responsible: roads, communication, civil infrastructure, education, health, security, law and order.

If the State adequately supported the economic infrastructure, and generated employment, our people could earn their own money and freely contribute for religious and other purposes.

Continue reading "Church must always be free to influence the public sphere" »

PNG workers miss out as work begins on Nadzab highway

Work starts on Lae-Nadzab highwayKEVIN O’REGAN

LIKE most users of the stretch of road from Lae to Bulolo junction and on to Nadzab, I am delighted to see work finally commence on construction in the 6 Mile area.

We have been reading about it for two years, saw the ground-breaking ceremony some months ago by Works Minister Francis Awesa and to see work actually commence is a relief to all users.

But, alas, it looks like the local Papua New Guinean workers are to be spectators as graders, excavators, wheel loaders and even dump trucks have Chinese operators and drivers.

Even the humble role of spotters for each machine is occupied by a person of Chinese origin.

Continue reading "PNG workers miss out as work begins on Nadzab highway" »

‘Cascade’ Games outcomes to benefit tourism says Minister


TOURISM Minister Boka Kondra has called on the University of Papua New Guinea, the Tourism Promotion Authority, PNG National Events Council and Pacific Games 2015 Limited to research the cascade effects of the 2015 Pacific Games on the PNG tourism sector.

Mr Kondra was keynote speaker at the Eighth Tourism Conference organised by UPNG’s School of Business Administration.

“Papua New Guinea stands apart in history as the three-times host of the Pacific Games - in 1969, 1991 and soon in 2015”, he said.

“Three thousand athletes, 500 team officials, and 1,000 technical officials and dignitaries from 21 neighbouring countries will converge upon Port Moresby for the Games.

Continue reading "‘Cascade’ Games outcomes to benefit tourism says Minister" »

Panguna landowners call on Jubilee Australia to apologise


CHAIRPERSONS of the nine landowner associations affected by the Panguna mine in Bougainville have told Jubilee Australia it should be ashamed of a report that claimed ‘near universal’ opposition among landowners to re-opening the Panguna copper and gold mine.

The nine leaders have also called upon the board of Jubilee Australia  to apologise to them and their people “for presenting a wrong, misleading, and divisive picture of what we think about mining”.

According to Jubilee Australia's website its mission is to “promote accountability for the causes of poverty and injustice in the Asia Pacific” and “elevate the voice of affected communities”.

This criticism from the representatives of people Jubilee Australia claimed to be speaking for is the latest blow to the NGO following trenchant criticism earlier in the week from Bougainville president, Dr John Momis.

Continue reading "Panguna landowners call on Jubilee Australia to apologise" »

Saving Samuel - SCF gives abused orphan a new life

Samuel's slash woundsJIMMY DREKORE

LAST Monday, after I came back from the Crocodile Prize Award ceremony in Port Moresby, a letter was dropped in at my office.

It was from Dr Ian Jaworski asking the Simbu Children Foundation (SCF) if it could take his patient into our custody.

Samuel Koima, a 10 year old boy from the Gena tribe in the Kerowagi District of Simbu Province, had never seen his biological parents.

They divorced when he was little and went their separate ways. Samuel was left in the care of his uncle.

On the eve of 17 August, after taking heavy marijuana, his uncle chased his wife and, accusing Samuel of being a sorcerer, slashed him across head and shoulders and down his back accusing.

The cuts were so deep that Samuel bled profusely and went into coma at which time he was brought to the Kundiawa General Hospital. Dr Jaworski and the surgical team immediately attended to him and managed to save his life.

Continue reading "Saving Samuel - SCF gives abused orphan a new life" »

Tisal the stone seller & the pyramids of the Poreporena Highway

The stone sellersPHIL FITZPATRICK

WHEN you drive along the Poreporena Highway and down the hill into the Port Moresby central business district the first thing you notice is the frenetic construction that is going on. 

Great swathes of the Paga and Touaguba hills are being carved out to construct massive buildings on the precarious slopes thus created.  What might happen if a substantial guria hits Moresby is anyone’s guess.

Every time I visit, Fairfax Harbour seems to have grown smaller under relentless landfilling. And the same building frenzy is happening out at Waigani and in Port Moresby’s other suburbs.

What you don’t tend to see as you hurtle down the hill are the little pyramids of rocks standing beside the road in the highway cutting. I hadn’t noticed them on previous visits and this time they intrigued me.

Continue reading "Tisal the stone seller & the pyramids of the Poreporena Highway" »

Toowong Rotarians supply special hospital bed for Francis Nii

Special beds arrive for Francis Nii at Kundiawa GeneralKEITH JACKSON

DISABLED Papua New Guinean writer Francis Nii was assisted to regain his health last year by the donations of many PNG Attitude readers.

And Francis has now received a fully adjustable hospital bed gifted by the Rotary Club of Toowong in Brisbane and once again transported into the Highlands by the redoubtable Terry Shelley.

In addition to the bed for Francis, the Club – whose project was spearheaded by Murray Bladwell – has also provided an additional bed to Kundiawa General Hospital, which is Francis’s home.

“Unfortunately, we could not send the upmarket electrically controlled beds as Francis said the power supply to the hospital was unreliable,” said Murray.

In addition to the beds, the Rotary Club also provided mattresses and bed linen.

“Thank you so much my wantok, Murray,” said Francis. “I am so happy and so is my family.”

Let’s build our Rome


When the torch of flame symbolizing hope and eternity is lit tonight on the hills of independence, we would have chosen a new destiny and a new path.
Now the call of our ancestors echoes through the corridors of time
Saying hear now, hear now oh beloved children
Grant us your youthful exuberance and boldness and we shall gratefully spare our dreams and wisdom to you.
Tonight we shall meet destiny eye to eye and together carve out our future in its heart.
Then tomorrow we shall begin the work to build our Rome.

Among the herd of servants you shall bestow your full authority on a chosen few and for a time they shall be the walls of our Rome.
Watch them close but don’t keep them close to your heart for our Rome must be strong.
They seek your hand to be that shining armour of hope and all that we believe in and cherish.
Yet we are too familiar with the terrible stories of wounded men and women dying out in the cold.
Of our land and sea laying vulnerable at the mercy of the crows and scavengers.
So tonight we make a vow to draw our sword, wear the shield of patriotism and march forward to build our Rome.

Continue reading "Let’s build our Rome" »

It was his first visit to Lae, but it all went terribly wrong

Welcome to KondiuJIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

IT was in October 1996 after the Grade 10 examination when Kerenga departed Rosary Secondary School Kondiu for Lae.

Kerenga, from Yongomugl, had left the auditorium after the final speeches and walked excitingly into the dormitory to pack his belongings.

He was farewelling Kondiu after being at the school for the last four years.

It was a tradition that, before heading home after the final exams, students shed tears before parting from from their schoolmates.

Kerenga had a close friend, Yomba, who came from the same tribe in Yongomugl. They farewelled each another and shed tears.

Yomba, who was moving on to Grade 11, was very emotional and told Kerenga they would go on a journey to Lae as a token of appreciation for Kerenga.

Continue reading "It was his first visit to Lae, but it all went terribly wrong" »

John Momis shirtfronts Jubilee Australia over “biased report”

Voices-of-bougainville-coverKEITH JACKSON

BOUGAINVILLE president Dr John Momis has strongly rebuked the Jubilee Australia organisation for claiming that opposition to re-opening the Panguna copper and gold mine is “near universal”.

On its website, Jubilee Australia says its mission is to “promote accountability for the causes of poverty and injustice in the Asia Pacific” and “elevate the voice of affected communities”.

Earlier this year it conducted a survey of 65 people in the Panguna area and has just published a report entitled Voices of Bougainville.

In a letter obtained by PNG Attitude, Dr Momis calls the report “factually inaccurate, biased, methodologically unsound and dishonest in claiming that interviews with 65 individuals selected by its authors allows it to represent the voices of 300,000 Bougainvilleans.”

Dr Momis added that these failures “have been compounded by even more inaccurate public statements about the Report and its findings made by Jubilee Chief Executive, Brynnie Goodwill.”

Continue reading "John Momis shirtfronts Jubilee Australia over “biased report”" »

Brothers in need

Men from  NiuginiFIDELIS SUKINA

Peace be with you my friend, shalom my friend, shalom.
I know how it feels to be happy yet inside you feel like ending it all,
you smile joke but no one knows your life is slowly depleting.

I know it’s a hard thing to tackle, to live life like this, to try to live each day but still regret,
I know it’s hard for us men to discuss our short falls and anger issues,
I know why you drink a lot and complain too much.

I know it’s a hard comprehension, it needs a breakthrough;
somehow we hope we can breakthrough and find the root cause.

Continue reading "Brothers in need" »

The slightly seedy side of Port Moresby


THE Crocodile Prize is necessarily an exiguous affair.  In simple terms that means it runs on the smell of an oily rag.

For an enterprise that is dependent upon the sometimes fickle goodwill of its sponsors, prudence in matters financial is mandatory.

Getting up to the Crocodile Prize Writer’s workshop and awards ceremony involved the judicious use of Frequent Flyer points and finding the most reasonably priced accommodation possible.  The latter is no mean feat in Port Moresby where hotel rooms are extraordinarily expensive.

Travelling with fellow writer, Trevor Shearston, was a distinct advantage.  We both live relatively frugal lives and are both interested in local colour.  Staying somewhere interesting is infinitely preferable to staying somewhere that is blandly luxurious and cut off from the real world.

Continue reading "The slightly seedy side of Port Moresby" »

Tok Pisin under microscope at PNG Linguistic Society conference

Conference registrationDAVID WAPAR

THE joint conference of the Linguistic Society of PNG and the International Council for Traditional Music was held recently at Divine Word University (DWU) in Madang.

The conference themed, Celebrating Tok Pisin and Tok Ples, featured presenters from the University of Hawaii, the USA, Australia, West Papua and Papua New Guinea’s UPNG, University of Goroka and host DWU.

DWU president Fr Jan Czuba proudly welcomed the delegates saying that DWU’s Friendship Library holds a vast collection of old literature on the development of Tok Pisin dating back to pre-independence.

The president made special mention of pioneer SVD priest and Tok Pisin Dictionary producer, Fr Frank Mihalic, who amongst others paved the way for Tok Pisin documentation in Papua New Guinea.

Fr Czuba said that, while PNG is coming of age, it is important to treasure Tok Pisin and the Tok Ples languages which are important aspects of culture.

Continue reading "Tok Pisin under microscope at PNG Linguistic Society conference" »

Jimmy Drekore appointed chairman of Crocodile Prize Organisation


AWARD winning Papua New Guinean writer and founder of the Simbu Children Foundation, Jimmy Drekore BSc, has been appointed inaugural Chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG.

Jimmy, 38, from Kundiawa, is an industrial chemist by profession who retired from Newcrest Mining’s Lihir gold mine in 2013 after 14 years with the company.

He returned home to work with the Simbu Children Foundation, one of PNG’s most successful home grown charities which he had founded in 2004.

He is also Chairman of the Kundiawa-based company, Organic Mountain Produce (OMP), which was established this year.

Jimmy will be supported in his leadership role at COG by Phil Fitzpatrick as Publishing Director and by me as Executive Director as well as by a revamped COG committee.

Continue reading "Jimmy Drekore appointed chairman of Crocodile Prize Organisation" »

Else where




A bed, neither drowsing nor dreaming:


                                        Well, sort of           


In your wake;

Where are you now?

I think

It is morning _:_

Continue reading "Else where" »

Government funding to churches is wrong & can compromise

Fr Peter Ripa at Thanksgiving Mass outside Mount Hagen CathedralPAULUS RIPA

THE recent announcement that prime minister Peter O’Neill donated several millions of kina - public money - towards the construction of the Catholic Cathedral in Mt Hagen leaves me with many misgivings.

Whilst it may be a relief for thousands of Catholics in Western Highlands and Jiwaka provinces, it is wrong for the Church to accept donations from the government.

Firstly, over the last couple of hundred years the development of liberal democracy has seen the definition of roles of church and state to be separate. 

History has shown that when church and state are intertwined there develops intolerance, ecclesiastical corruption and oppression of minorities who do not profess the faith of the ruling religion. This is making a comeback in fundamentalist Muslim states now.

Continue reading "Government funding to churches is wrong & can compromise" »

Dr Alexis Sarei, priest, politician & diplomat, dies at 80


THE Bougainvillean leader Dr Alexis Sarei CBE, 80, has died after a long illness.

Alexis Holyweek Sarei was born on 25 March 1934 and was a Catholic priest turned politician, becoming the first district commissioner of the North Solomons (1973-75) and president of the secessionist Republic of North Solomons (1975-76).

He was also twice premier of the North Solomons Provincial Government (1976-80 and 1984-87), later pursuing a career in national politics as Papua New Guinea high commissioner to the United Kingdom.

After returning from the United States with his wife, at the age of 76 he contested the 2010 Autonomous Bougainville Government elections, winning the Buka seat of Peit.

Continue reading "Dr Alexis Sarei, priest, politician & diplomat, dies at 80" »

The day the PM visited the Lutheran conference in Boana

Boana Kumul Bilong MorobeSANANG ZAZORING

BOANA is in the Navaeb electorate of Morobe Province and is in the land of Tikingic (mountain man).

A Lutheran missionary from Neuendettelsau in Germany, Gustove Bergman, first evangelised these people.

To be in Boana is to be in the hub of Morobe, seeing and experiencing scenery, flora and fauna you have never faced before.

Boana is nicely located in a pothole surrounded by mountains and looks in a northern direction towards the beginning of the seemingly endless Finisterre Ranges.

Boana station has both government and church district centres including the Lutheran church headquarters, police station, hospital, primary school and other facilities providing adequate infrastructure for the event which is to come.

The road linkages are in place and bus services can travel forth and back, making business activities convenient for the Boana people. Thanks to the Morobe government.

Continue reading "The day the PM visited the Lutheran conference in Boana" »

Crocodile Prize: from here PNGns increasingly take the reins

Ben Jackson & Boka Kondra, Minister for Tourism, Arts & CultureWith Keith Jackson unable to attend the fourth awards, BEN JACKSON, editor of the Crocodile Prize website, spoke to the 100-strong audience at last Thursday’s Prize event….

KEITH sends his regrets at not being able to attend tonight, but it is an honour for me to be invited to speak in his place and I am proud to be following his footsteps in PNG.

Congratulations to all our winners – Iriani Wanma, Leonard Fong Roka, Agnes Maineke, Arnold Mundua, Diddie Kinamun Jackson, Sil Bolkin and Sir Paulias Matane.

I also want to take his opportunity to congratulate every person that submitted entries to the Crocodile Prize, because you put the flesh on the bones of the crocodile.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize: from here PNGns increasingly take the reins" »

Life is full of ups and downs: Crocodile Prize vicissitudes

Trevor Shearston at the writers workshop 2014PHIL FITZPATRICK

IF you live in Papua New Guinea, there tend to be more downs than ups.  Fortunately people are able to adjust and improvise and life goes on.

And so it was with the 2014 Crocodile Prize Workshop and Awards.

For our part, we know it is always wise to arrive in Papua New Guinea a couple of days early to sort out any unforeseen problems.

This year the venue for the Writers’ Workshop was the American Corner in the National Library. 

Through a series of ill-advised maintenance contracts that have the unfortunate taint of cronyism about them, the library had managed to exhaust its operational funds and two weeks prior to our arrival had its electricity turned off because it couldn’t pay its bill.

This is an all too common occurrence in Papua New Guinea.  True to form nobody had thought to tell us about it.

Continue reading "Life is full of ups and downs: Crocodile Prize vicissitudes" »

PNGAA’s Symposium was a valuable & worthwhile project

PNGAA Symposium - Kiap discussionPETER COMMEFORD

AN involvement with Papua New Guinea touches people in many ways and in fact there seems to be three degrees rather than six degrees of separation which comes with this involvement.

This was a contributing factor to the relaxed social aspect as well as the formalities of the recent Symposium initiated and hosted by the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia to mark the centenary of the relationship between Australia and PNG.

The first night dinner allowed me the opportunity to meet and chat briefly to familiar faces from the media like Sean Dorney and politics, Charlie Lynn MLC, PNG High Commissioner Charles Lepani and former Australian Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffrey.

Continue reading "PNGAA’s Symposium was a valuable & worthwhile project" »

Financial inclusion: Bringing light to the black economy

Waiting for the bankBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

FINANCIAL inclusion is the process by which people who are said to be “unbanked”, that is, not part of the formal financial system, are brought in through policy reforms that make such accessibility possible.

In Papua New Guinea one does not have to go far in order to appreciate the magnitude and complexity of the issue when the reality is that majority of the population is based in the informal economy, and cannot get formal sector jobs.

The majority of these “unbanked” are subsistence farmers or micro-enterprises in the agriculture or artisan industries.

These enterprises cover petty trading to large scale businesses that escape government scrutiny in the form of income tax and other requirements.

Continue reading "Financial inclusion: Bringing light to the black economy" »

Kainantu roadblock characterises law & order breakdown

Destruction at the Barola road block (EMTV)BOMAI D WITNE

THE brutal murder of a young Kainantu secondary schoolteacher by a Public Motor Vehicle bus crew between Kainantu and Lae on the twelfth of this month caused road blocks between the Barola Hill and Kainantu sections of the Okuk Highway.

Angry relatives and tribesmen of the deceased demanded an explanation for the murder and the road block affected many people and organisations doing business along the highway.

A few betel nut traders who were bringing betel nut to Goroka and other highlands provinces are making windfalls. A betel nut that would normally sell for 50 toea is now fetching K2.50.

Old habits die hard, the highlands people are aggressive betel nut chewers. And they go for the expensive nuts.

Continue reading "Kainantu roadblock characterises law & order breakdown" »

How to gain government project support: achieve something

Mathias Kin with the Kundiawa Gembogl 2050 Vision StatementJIMMY AWAGL

AT Kundiawa airport in mid-September an informal session with the an experienced politician and a public servant gave in sights into how Simbu and other PNG politicians perceive non-government organisations.

At 12 noon on the Saturday, I was with former politicians and current public servants as they chatted among themselves on the issue of recognising the difference between the words critique, criticise, comment and condemn.

The hottest debate was between Mathias Kin (pictured) and ex-politician Peter Gul.

Peter Gul was the former Premier of Simbu Province (1984-86). He is the current protocol officer of the Simbu Governor.

He never had a university education but, after , completing Grade 10, he mastered a good command of English. He is said to be a keen learner and ‘a scholar from the streets’.

He highlighted that he was taught without books and what he learned was mainly through living a hard life.

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A full wrap of the great fourth Crocodile Prize Awards

Crocodile Prize Awards - Charles AbelKEITH JACKSON

THE warm reception from the Papua New Guineans brought home to me the importance of the Prize in preserving stories and building a literary tradition,” a senior diplomat told me, in what was a common reaction to Thursday’s Crocodile Prize literary awards in Port Moresby.

The main purpose of the event was to recognise and award seven Papua New Guineans for their writing.

But the evening turned into much more than the presentation of awards.

The day had begun with a writers’ workshop in the American Corner of the National Library – where there had been no power and water for a fortnight due to electricity bills not being paid.

The United States Embassy had offered the facility for the workshop and made various commitments to support the event, but its organisation was sadly lacking.

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PNG's past will feature large at Cairns archaeological conference

Prof Summerhayes and Loretta Hasu (UPNG) at Koil Island (Matthew Leavesley, 2006)MATTHEW LEAVESLEY

JAMES Cook University in Cairns is seeking sponsors to assist archaeology students at the University of Papua New Guinea attend a major archaeology conference in December.

Members of the UPNG Laboratories Group would benefit greatly from being able to participate in the annual conference of the Australian Archaeological Association [details at the end of article].

In recent years local and international interest in Papua New Guinea archaeology has dramatically increased with several important projects presenting exciting new results.

Archaeological investigations in the Owen Stanley Ranges were pioneered in the mid to late 1960s by Dr Peter White, who reported important information from the Kosipe Mission site in the Ivane Valley of the Goilala District of Central Province.

Then, in 2005, Professor Summerhayes (University of Otago, pictured with Loretta Hasu of UPNG) with Emeritus Professor Geoff Hope (ANU) and Dr Judith Field (UNSW), took a series of teams, including staff from the PNG National Museum and staff and students from the UPNG Archaeology Laboratories Group, to explore the region further.

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DWU students celebrate PNG Week to a huge turnout

DWU - Parading the flagDAVID WAPAR

DIVINE Word University (DWU) staged a colourful 39thPNG Independence celebration at its Madang campus which kicked off on 13 September.

PNG Week (themed Wok bung wantaim long strongim pasin tumbuna = Working together to enhance cultural values) has become part of the university’s calendar.

It features dances, quests, a movie night, a debate, stage performances and sport, which ended on Wednesday after a flag raising ceremony.

The celebration, especially the dances and mini quests, were staged in the evenings and attracted a huge turnout from nearby communities such as Gavstoa and Nabasa. People went home satisfied.

Vice-President Student Affairs, Ted Alau, observed that many students turned up for PNG Week activities and gave their best despite the hot weather.

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Another costly COI interfering with criminal prosecution

Sam-KoimSAM KOIM | Chairman, Investigative Task Force Sweep

THE Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the allegations of payments of court judgements and legal fees by the Department of Justice and Attorney General and Finance and Treasury headed by retired Judge Warwick Andrews would directly interfere with court proceedings already in motion.

This was revealed in a report submitted to Justice Minister and Attorney General Ano Pala containing findings, conclusions and recommendations by Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITFS).

Investigations and findings by ITFS into the same allegations as directed by prime minister Peter O’Neill on 13 May 2013 have already made recommendations which the government failed to implement.

In a letter to Minister for Justice and Attorney General Ano Pala on 11 September, 2014, I said that ITFS was a multi-agency team comprised of various government agencies including police and they would implement their own findings as and when appropriate.

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Australia & PNG - a mature relationship with still much potential

Julie BishopJULIE BISHOP | Extracts

PAPUA New Guinea holds a very special place in my heart. I have grown to love this country and its people. I can't claim to have long family connections but, like so many Australians, PNG has intersected my life over the years.

My Year 9 teacher at school thought, rather presciently, that the 14-year olds in her charge should learn a bit more about Australia’s closest neighbours. And so it was that I, and the other girls in my class, became pen-pals in 1970 with a class of 14-year old boys at Martyrs School in Popondetta.

Sadly, my correspondence with young Oscar of Oro Province petered out, but recently I spoke of my penpal and produced a faded photograph that he had sent to me. Well, that started the PNG Post-Courier on a hunt for Oscar. And many people named Oscar claim to be my penpal.

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Resettlement of refugees can be a strategic advantage for PNG


PAPUA New Guinea became a member of the international community when it gained independence in 1975.

As a member of the international community, PNG cannot avoid discussions or decisions pertaining to the issue of asylum seekers and refugees.

PNG is a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, an action taken on 17 July 1986.

Article 42 (1) of the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (CPRSR) allows countries to make reservations to certain articles of the Convention. PNG made seven reservations. They covered wage-earning employment, housing, public education, freedom of movement, refugees unlawfully in the country of refuge, expulsion and naturalisation.

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PNG’s Sovereign Wealth Fund: still too many loose ends

Evans_MarkMARK EVANS | Pacific Politics

SINCE August, Papua New Guinean government ministers have hinted that we might soon see an update on the state of the proposed Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).

Despite the recent parliament sitting, the government’s plans remain unclear. We wait for answers to two important questions:

When will the Sovereign Wealth Fund be finalised and implemented?

Will the operational rules and responsibilities, and the overall role of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, actually be what they said it would be at the outset?

With PNG’s LNG exports now regularly reaching Japan’s shores, the government should be ready to answer these questions.

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Val Rivers wanted Papua New Guinea's writers to consider how to create a harmonious society.
So in 2013 she funded this literary prize.
You are asked to write an article, story, essay or poem on the theme 
Peace & Harmony in PNG – Past & Present
K1,000 first prize; two prizes of K350 each for runners up
Closing date: Monday 17 November.  Details here

Crocodile awards an outstanding success; Simbu here we come

Hon Charles Abel at the Crocodile prizeBEN JACKSON

ALL expectations were surpassed last night at the 2014 Crocodile Prize awards at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.

The ceremony and reception celebrated the literary achievements of award winning writers Arnold Mundua, Iriani Wanma, Diddie Kinamun Jackson, Leonard Fong Roka, Agnes Maineke, Sil Bolkin and Sir Paulias Matane.

In a magnificent act of dedication to Papua New Guinean literature and culture, PNG Planning Minister Charles Abel (pictured) and Oro Governor Gary Juffa each pledged K10,000 to the 2015 Crocodile Prize.

And, as announced in PNG Attitude yesterday afternoon, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Boka Kondra handed over more than K5,000 for a new writing award in the area covered by his portfolio.

In another major development, it was also announced – to loud applause - that next year’s Crocodile Prize awards will, for the first time, be hosted outside Port Moresby, when they move to Kundiawa in Simbu Province.

Earlier in the day a workshop was held for Papua New Guinean writers and aspiring writers to learn about the creative process, share ideas about writing and debate the future of publishing.

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Write for peace & harmony: Rivers Prize enters 2nd year

Peace, love, harmonyKEITH JACKSON

THE Crocodile Prize has just experienced its most bountiful year – more than 600 entries from 130 writers. And, in December, we’ll be calling for entries for the 2015 Crocodile Prize.

But to keep writers busy over the next few months, we’re running the second year of the Rivers Peace and Harmony Prize.

The award, sponsored by colonial days expatriate teacher Val Rivers, offers K1,700 in prizes: K1,000 first prize and two K350 prizes for the runners up.

This year we’re asking contestants to provide no more than 1,500 words (they may take the form of article, story, essay or poem) on the theme of ‘Peace & Harmony in PNG – Past & Present’.

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