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107 posts from September 2015

A night at the Lowy Institute - 40 years of PNG Independence

The Lowy Institute in SydneyBARBARA SHORT

A few nights ago I hired a limousine driven by a man named Eric and went into the city of Sydney at about five in the evening.

The traffic was horrendous as there was a breakdown in the Harbour Tunnel but Eric was able to take the bus lane so we arrived at our destination in half an hour.

I was let into a building, a very old one, constructed from sandstone. It had been a men's club long ago and had high ceilings and tall walls covered with paintings. I was shown into a huge room that seated 100 people and provided a lovely cool orange drink.

The evening was organised by some charming young Australian girls and boys who work for the Lowy Institute for International Relations.

Continue reading "A night at the Lowy Institute - 40 years of PNG Independence" »

Reflections on 40 years of PNG Independence


FORTY years on, we can look back and see that the peaceful transition of Papua New Guinea into Independence in 1975 reflected the power of Melanesian diplomacy.

The forefathers of modern Papua New Guinea truly applied all the skills of diplomacy in a challenging environment.

That was our past and there are some very important lessons all Papua New Guineans should draw as we sail into the future.

Today our population has reached almost eight million and our country’s infrastructure is struggling to cope with this growing population.

Continue reading "Reflections on 40 years of PNG Independence" »

A people united in common culture, spirituality, belief & values


AS the debate on the removal of the totem poles at our Parliament House rages on, I want to leverage off the writings of the late Bernard Narokobi, described as perhaps one of the greatest Melanesian philosophers of modern times.

I am sensing an undertone that fellow citizens feel sidelined and not well represented in the present architectural design of our Parliament House. There is a false consensus that unity will be achieved if the symbolism of one culture does not dominate others.

It is unfortunate to feel marginalised like this. These are outlooks of defeat and despair, betraying an inability to not only appreciate but most importantly tolerate and transcend others' cultures.

It is also inopportune that religious zeal is used to cloak these sentiments, acting as a front in what is a futile guise to try and unite an already united people of many cultures with the aim to drive changes in beliefs and values.

Continue reading "A people united in common culture, spirituality, belief & values" »

USA congratulates PNG on fortieth Independence Day

John KerryJOHN KERRY | US Secretary of State

ON behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I wish you and the people of Papua New Guinea a happy Independence Day.

In its 40 years of independence Papua New Guinea has made incredible strides towards a more prosperous future.  We extend our heartiest congratulations for the remarkable accomplishments you have achieved.

Our bilateral relationship continues to grow. The United States and Papua New Guinea cooperate on a range of critical issues such as sustainable fisheries and reducing carbon emissions.

Continue reading "USA congratulates PNG on fortieth Independence Day" »

Never go back

Kundiawa Airstrip, December 1963 (Keith Jackson)PHIL FITZPATRICK

THERE are several Papua New Guineas.

The most obvious are the two different countries occupied by the educated elite and the rural-dwelling subsistence villager.

While these two different countries exist in real time, in the same place, and often merge into each other there is another Papua New Guinea, equally alive, that exists in an entirely different dimension.

This is the Papua New Guinea that exists in the minds of Australians and other expatriates who worked there prior to independence in 1975.

Continue reading "Never go back" »

2015 - The year of crossing over to the other side

Theo ZurenuocTHEODORE ZURENUOC | Edited extracts

The article from which these extracts were taken was first published in February this year but escaped our attention. Thanks to Barbara Short for rescuing it from the vault

THE year 2015 marks a significant period of our nationhood. The year marks the end of a 40 years journey since PNG attained independence from Australian rule in September 1975.

Generationally, a 40 year period speaks of the end of one generation and the beginning of a new one. It denotes the passing on of the leadership baton by the older generation to the new.

It also speaks of a period of preparing the succeeding generations to reach their full potential and maturity. At age 40, physical, mental and spiritual maturity is said to have reached its peak and succession begins.

Continue reading "2015 - The year of crossing over to the other side" »

A hunger for healing

Baroida Plantation Community SchoolRAYMOND SIGIMET

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

THE sun was still beating down as students left after lessons ended for the week. The dry spell was taking its toll on the school ground. The greenery had turned brown.

A band from the local evangelical church adjacent to the school was practising its rendition of the gospel track, Heal Our Nation, a composition of the popular Papua New Guinean group Higher Vision.

They had been practising every afternoon since Monday in preparation for a major crusade planned for Independence week.

Continue reading "A hunger for healing" »

The quest in life


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony





I ask




what is


quest in life



all creation’s











I was told




in life


should quest for



all creation











Now I know


is a quest in life



peace & harmony




Only a forgiving heart can foster peace and harmony


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

I was told that only a forgiving heart can foster peace and harmony.
Owe no man anything but to love one another.
For to err is human, to forgive is divine.

But I know that it is not easy to forgive and overcome hatred,
Or smile and take the first step to apologise.
I know that it is not easy to admit error and being laugh at,
Or shoulder a deserved blame and begin over,
I know that it is not easy to profit by mistakes
Or recognize the silver lining.

Continue reading "Only a forgiving heart can foster peace and harmony" »

Half-century old news magazine returns to its Simbu home

Murray Bladwell, Jimmy Drekore, Keith JacksonKEITH JACKSON

THE chairman of the Simbu Writers Association, Jimmy Drekore, was presented with a rare publication from his native Simbu Province during a recent visit to Brisbane.

The 50-year old copy of a special issue of the long defunct Kundiawa News, one of only two in existence (the other is in the National Library of Australia), was given to Mr Drekore for safe-keeping by the original publishers Murray Bladwell and Keith Jackson (pictured).

The special issue was a supplement to the Kundiawa News which flourished in Simbu between 1964 and 1966.

Continue reading "Half-century old news magazine returns to its Simbu home" »

40 years of experimenting with PNG’s constitutional democracy

Sam KoimSAM KOIM | Extracts

Edited extracts from a presentation as part of the SSGM public lecture series, ‘Papua New Guinea at 40’, Australian National University, Canberra, 10 September 2015

I am one of the controversial persons in Papua New Guinea.

Controversial in a sense that in my line of work, I am accused if I do my job, accused if I don’t and find myself out of job if I do it too well.

16 September 2015 is just another year marking our independence.

Continue reading "40 years of experimenting with PNG’s constitutional democracy" »

PNG authors beware: con artists of the vanity press on the prowl

Publishing-scamHAGAR COHEN | Background Briefing, ABC

PUBLISHING books has always been a tough business, but there's never been a shortage of writers willing to give it a go. And right now, the book industry is thriving. A whopping 7,000 new titles are released every month into the Australian market.

But there are concerns that a growing number of authors—particularly those who are writing for the first time, and are unfamiliar with how the industry works—are being exploited by their publishers.

Angelo Loukakis from the Australian Society of Authors is particularly worried about the rise of what's become known as the ‘vanity press'.

Continue reading "PNG authors beware: con artists of the vanity press on the prowl" »

The day I realised the essence of the Papua New Guinea flag

Flag of Papua New GuineaKEITH ANGEN

IT was November 2000 and MV Solomon Queen approached Buka wharf in what was then termed the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea.

The passenger ferry berthed alongside the jetty to disembark passengers from Rabaul, almost all of them Bougainvilleans.

The Bougainville secessionist rebellion had ended four years before, after the capture and massacre of PNG Defence Force soldiers at Kangu beach in the south of the island. There was uncertainty and mistrust between Bougainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "The day I realised the essence of the Papua New Guinea flag" »

Inside the Crocodile: A wonderful 40th birthday present for PNG

Inside the CrocodileGORDON PEAKE | Sydney Morning Herald

Inside the Crocodile – The Papua New Guinea Journals by Trish Nicholson, Matador Books. $27.99

PAPUA New Guinea, which celebrates its 40th birthday this month, is a country that could do with a brand makeover.

Media reports from the country are hardly enticing - stories of utter misery from the Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre, lurid accounts of hikers getting hacked, terrifying descriptions of witchcraft, crime and sexual violence, and eye-watering tales of financial chicanery.

Every time I present myself at the check-in counter to travel to Port Moresby, airline staff give a look of sympathy.

Of course, slants likes this are only that - slants which do not tell the full story of life in Australia's nearest neighbour and its only ever colony. 

Continue reading "Inside the Crocodile: A wonderful 40th birthday present for PNG" »

Musician in paradise: a first encounter with Papua New Guinea

David-bridieDAVID BRIDIE | AUS-PNG Network

IN 1986, I followed through on Worthy’s advice and booked myself on my first overseas trip to Papua New Guinea.

I managed to convince four other mates, two men and two women, to accompany me on a holiday that took in Moresby, the Sepik, Madang, Manus, New Ireland and Rabaul. It was to change my life.

Escaping the Melbourne winter - ples bilong ice box as singer George Telek would come to call it - we spent a whirlwind two days in the dry bustling capital of Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Musician in paradise: a first encounter with Papua New Guinea" »

Tony Abbott rebuffs Pacific leaders' coal ban call

Broelman cartoonJOHN KERIN | Australian Financial Review | Extract

AUSTRALIAN prime minister Tony Abbott has rebuffed calls from Pacific Island leaders for Australia to adopt a tougher stance on climate change and ban new coal mines to help avoid catastrophic changes in sea levels.

Leaders of some of the tiny Pacific nations speaking before the Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby, which started on Thursday, said limiting the effects of climate changes was vital to their survival.

"I think they [Australia] need to come to the party. If they are really are our friends then they should be looking out for our future as well," Kiribati's President Anote Tong told the ABC.

Continue reading "Tony Abbott rebuffs Pacific leaders' coal ban call" »

El Nino strikes Bena Bena with a devastating impact


THE Bena Bena area lies west of Goroka and is predominantly a savannah grassland valley with the Bena River a blessing in this semi-arid habitat.

Because of its geography and vegetation, the Bena Bena area is highly vulnerable to the effects of prolonged drought and El Nino. This was evident in 1997 and we have a replica of those conditions this year.

On a recent visit to Kopafo village in the area, I observed a number of serious effects including the dry beds of creeks and streams which cause people to walk many kilometers to get water.

Ropes and leaves of kaukau wither as a result of the earth cooking and people are now dependent on cassava, certain species of banana, African yams, pumpkins and sugar cane.

Continue reading "El Nino strikes Bena Bena with a devastating impact" »

How the discarded siblings forgave their parents


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

AKINA Kamane and his wife Moro and their three children lived harmoniously on a steep hill. Of the three kids Waim and Kerenga were boys and Ogan a girl.

At the age of seven they enrolled at a nearby primary school. Kerenga was a bright kid and Akina and Moro focussed on him and gave less attention to Waim and Ogan.

One afternoon, Akina called his kids for the dinner and, before handing out the dishes, he told them to sit around him.

“Kerenga is quite intelligent so he will continue in education,” said Akina, “but Waim and Ogan cannot continue since your results are poor. Rather than going to school, you will make gardens and tame the pigs.”

Continue reading "How the discarded siblings forgave their parents" »

Remembering the great Simbu leader, Kondom Agaundo

Kondom AgaundoMATHIAS KIN

KONDOM Agaundo was the son of a fight leader, Agaundo, of the Narku tribe. He was born at Wandi village probably in 1917. His mother’s name was Singa.

Agaundo died when Kondom was still young and the boy grew up with his mother’s people at Kogai near Kundiawa.

By the late 1940s, the young man was already outspoken and charismatic and much liked by his Narku people.  

In 1951, when he was in his thirties, Kondom was appointed a Luluai and became the kiaps’ favourite among all the other Luluais of the area.

He was a popular agent for the work of the kiaps and missionaries in the Simbu, Eastern and Western Highlands.

Continue reading "Remembering the great Simbu leader, Kondom Agaundo" »

Bid for Oil Search is overshadowed by PNG's sovereign risk

OSL_Highlands-ExplorationJOHN KERIN & PERRY WILLIAMS | Australian Financial Review | Extract

PAPUA New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill may hold the key to whether Woodside's $11.6 billion takeover pitch for Oil Search proceeds.

The PNG government holds a prized 10% stake in Oil Search and with the liquefied natural gas industry now a mainstay of its economy, Mr O'Neill is not thought to immediately be a willing seller.

But the government is facing a severe budget revenue shortfall due to the decline in commodities prices and so the bid could provide it with an unexpected way of easing the fiscal crisis as part of a planned supplementary budget next month.

Continue reading "Bid for Oil Search is overshadowed by PNG's sovereign risk" »

Australia’s 40th birthday gift to PNG: $25M for national museum

O'Neill & AbbottTONY ABBOTT MP

YESTERDAY I met with Papua New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O’Neill ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum.

This is my third visit to PNG as Australian prime minister.

Australians value the bond we share with PNG, forged through history, geography and our enduring links.

We have shared many significant moments, including 16 September 1975 – the day PNG became independent.

To mark this milestone, I am pleased to announce that Australia will provide $25 million over four years to support the upgrade of PNG’s foremost national cultural institution, the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery.

This will ensure that the remarkable building continues to showcase and preserve PNG’s rich cultural heritage.

Continue reading "Australia’s 40th birthday gift to PNG: $25M for national museum" »

If we forget our traditions we can forget good practices


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

DON’T put all your eggs in the one basket ... eh, no - don’t plant your garden with one type of crop - multi-crop so that there is always food in the garden, year round. 

That was what my mother did at our one block of garden at Sogopex in Kotiyufa village near Goroka.  We had that garden for a long time too. By the time I left the village at 17 it would have been there for 15 years, maybe more.

The garden constantly replenished itself from multi-cropping. Ma ensured that a legume cropping followed the kaukau. Where she learnt her agriculture to put legume back in the soil is anybody’s guess as she was a nambawan bush kanaka.

Continue reading "If we forget our traditions we can forget good practices" »

Confession of a sinful life & a road to Damascus awakening

 DSida PNG panneau en tok pisinANIEL KUMBON

ONCE again the familiar HOLLYWOOD sign appeared through the mist as the Qantas Boeing 767 from Brisbane prepared to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

I was on my way to Mexico to participate in HIV/AIDS training prior to attending the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. The trip was sponsored by the National Press Foundation in Washington DC.

When I was in the US 17 years before, champion basketball star Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson declared his HIV status through the media. I was overwhelmed that Johnson was able to apologise to his fans and to some hundreds of women with whom he had contact.

Continue reading "Confession of a sinful life & a road to Damascus awakening" »

The three fine young gentlemen trainee teachers

School based liaison officer (standing) with the three University of Goroka trainee teachersRAYMOND SIGIMET

ON the afternoon of Thursday 30 July this year, a group of excited young people along with a few other travellers disembarked from an Airlines PNG aircraft at Wewak’s Boram Airport.

Outside the terminal in the airport parking lot were assembled people there to meet the plane which had left Kagamuga Airport, Mt Hagen, 45 minutes previously.

The young travellers were about to go through six weeks of teaching practice at different schools, which had vehicles lined up to take them to their destinations.

Bags and luggage sorted and the formal welcome over, the trainee teachers departed in the different school vehicles.

Continue reading "The three fine young gentlemen trainee teachers" »

A fed-up ABG distances itself from self-styled Panguna hardliners


THE Autonomous Bougainville Government is seriously considering a move away from Panguna following disgruntled sentiments by so-called hardliners from Central Bougainville.

Acting ABG President Patrick Nisira (pictured) was responding to calls by a group labelling itself as “Central Bougainville Hardliners” which is opposing the Bel Kol (reconciliation) process proceeding in Panguna.

Mr Nisira said the continuous opposition by certain groups in Central Bougainville is a clear indication that the people within the area do not welcome any efforts by the ABG to create peace and build a stable economy in Bougainville.

“From the very first House [of Representatives] led by the late President Joseph Kabui to the current Momis-Nisira government, we have seen the need to build a sound and self-sustaining economy that will cater for development and services to all people on Bougainville,” Mr Nisira said.

Continue reading "A fed-up ABG distances itself from self-styled Panguna hardliners" »

PNG Attitude’s most commented & most liked in August


AUGUST was a month when a big bunch of new readers came to the blog and decided there were a lot of pieces published that they liked.

Hal Holman’s inside story of the tumult behind the design of the Papua New Guinea national flag in the early 1970s was much approved by readers, attracting a record 635 likes.

(Coincidentally, Hal's big format memoir, The Phoenix Rises Eternal - including this story - has just been published in a limited edition.)

And my piece on the Paga Hill Development Company’s gift which will provide a special collection of Crocodile Prize kids’ books for PNG schools scored the second highest approval rating ever with 482 likes.

Raymond Sigimet is a new writer to PNG Attitude but his open letter to the Theo Zurenuoc, Dear Mister Speaker, with 187 likes made an excellent connection with readers.

And there were other stories that were not far behind. It’s a great feeling to kick goals like that for our readers.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude’s most commented & most liked in August" »

The child's mind in us seeks out peace and harmony

Port moresby internationalBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

ALONE now in a place filled with people who are more strangers than friends. Passers-by rush into the departure lounge to catch their flight as the loudspeaker announces their boarding.

As I look around, everyone seems lost in their own world. I sense a mixture of emotion. Some seem excited while a few look worried, most probably because they are leaving behind someone dear to them or nervous about getting on a plane.

Continue reading "The child's mind in us seeks out peace and harmony" »

My child


Dedicated to my daughter, my precious, who will be turning four in November

My child
Did you know that when you were about to come into this world, your mother gave me a call?
So I had to travel some distance to meet you at the hospital

My child
How could I describe the emotions I felt when I saw you for the first time?
I realised that you were another part of me, I wanted to sit and stare at you for all time

Continue reading "My child" »

What Papua New Guineans really think of Australia

Gough Whitlam Sir Michael Somare. PNG Independence Day, 1975KEITH JACKSON

After 40 years of independence from Australia, 77% of Australians said their country has a moral obligation to help Papua New Guinea [Lowy Institute poll]

Australia is a democracy
democracy means freedom
but freedom in your care
is now deprived and denied
for Australia is silently,
through legal means, fascist;
fascist and racist
poetic comment by Jimmy Awagl on Manus detainees, 6 June 2015]

SO here we are, approaching the 40th anniversary of Papua New Guinea independence, with PNG a strong, unified, democratic country and, despite the occasional hiccough, its relationship with Australia in sound and stable condition.

It seems everything in the garden is, or should be, rosy. But is it? We asked a Papua New Guinean focus group for its opinions and this is a summary of the discussion.

Continue reading "What Papua New Guineans really think of Australia" »

Australian writers’ festival link for Crocodile Prize

Jimmy Drekore & Keith JacksonROB PARER & KEITH JACKSON

JIMMY Drekore returns to Kundiawa today after a flying visit to Brisbane that was highly successful.

After a visa scare, Papua New Guinea’s Digicel Man of Honour, poet and chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organisation made it to the Brisbane Writers Festival where, along with colleagues Bob Cleland and Joycelin Leahy, he had productive discussions with the festival CEO.

The main outcome of the talks was to formalise a link between COG and the BWF, which will manifest itself in practical terms by PNG being special guest nation at the 2017 festival.

At a working lunch on the Brisbane River, the COG chairman also discussed the transition of the main administrative functions of the Crocodile Prize from Australia to PNG.

It is still too early to reveal details, but there were indications of a significant breakthrough in the past week which, when added to the Simbu Writers Association’s own planning, provide optimism that the operations of COG can be effectively migrated to PNG.

Continue reading "Australian writers’ festival link for Crocodile Prize" »

How to grow white hair on your arse before you die

Bush material church at Mariant where Daniel attended his first Christmas massDANIEL KUMBON

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

MY first experience of Christmas, in the 1960s, saw me fall asleep on a cold starless night on the bare earth in a hut at a newly established catholic mission in Kandep, Enga Province.

There had been much excitement as people talked about attending a Christmas mass at midnight to celebrate the birth of a man named Jesus, who was sent by God to save the world by dying on a wooden cross. But how was all this possible?

It sounded very much like a Kandep legend about a young girl who went to collect vines in the bush to make a bilum and found a nest with two beautiful eggs which she ate and became pregnant.

Continue reading "How to grow white hair on your arse before you die" »

Paul Coleman, renaissance mining executive, dies in Brisbane

John Momis & Paul ColemanKEITH JACKSON

PAUL Coleman OBE – a mining executive who understood the impact of resource extraction on landholders and allowed it to influence his approach to the task – died in Brisbane on Saturday after a lengthy fight with cancer.

Last year, Papua New Guinea made Paul an Officer in the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service to commerce, the mining sector and charities.

Just a fortnight ago, although very ill, Paul, conscious of his long-standing position as PNG manager for Rio Tinto and as company secretary of Bougainville Copper Limited, made a final visit to PNG.

It was a tough final journey, but he said farewell to his colleagues and friends and to the country he had served with great distinction for many years.

Continue reading "Paul Coleman, renaissance mining executive, dies in Brisbane" »

My better half


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

Peace and harmony can best be achieved through a healthy family built on trust and respect for one another. It is without a doubt that family is the cornerstone of human existence and thus holds the key to the realisation of a peaceful and harmonious world. Indeed, that has been the core message of great religious founders and teachers like Jesus, the Dalai Lama, Dr Rev Sun Myung Moon and others.

For those who wish to seek out love and start a family it begins by seeking out each one’s better half. A better half is the one true partner that will stand by your side no matter what. This is my story and is dedicated to my better half, my wife Dikolia Emmanuel.

SHE tended our son lying in a laplap hammock tied to two sides of the bamboo walls of the village house.

It was Christmas and we had decided to travel to Basilaki Island so her old mother could see her grandson. Our son was fast asleep in the hammock as the south-easterly breeze rocked him back and forth.

Never for a moment did Dikolia abandon our son, even though the temperature inside the house was becoming unbearable due to the scorching heat of the sun.

Continue reading "My better half" »

Series of setbacks shakes the Papua New Guinea economy

Rowan CallickROWAN CALLICK | The Australian

PAPUA New Guinea is preparing to host the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum summit of leaders, including Tony Abbott, this week, and then to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its independence on 16 September.

But its government is being forced to grapple with an unwelcome barrage of challenges, arising chiefly from the economic downturn triggered by the collapse in commodity prices and from the drought and rare frosts caused by a severe El Nino.

Long queues formed outside petrol stations around the country this week as the dominant retailer, Puma Energy, said it lacked access to sufficient foreign exchange to pay its suppliers.

Continue reading "Series of setbacks shakes the Papua New Guinea economy" »

The early Filipino missionaries & boat builder Francis Castro


HIS name was Francis Castro. A robust and sturdy man with strong hands. A boat builder of Cuban descent from the island of Panay in Antique Province of the Philippines.

During the 1880s, Francis Castro along with 13 highly trained Filipino catechists accompanied European priests headed by Fr Alain de Boismenu to Yule Island in Papua.

The other Filipinos were Marcello Fabila, Nicholas Albaniel, Juan Dela Cruz, Gregorio Toricheba,  Telesforo Babao, Gregorio Ramos, Emmanuel Natera, Diego Rendall, Bernadino Taligatus, Juan Malabag, Cirilio Espinosa, Anastacio Buen Suseso and Basilio Artango.

Continue reading "The early Filipino missionaries & boat builder Francis Castro" »

Ancient New Guinea pottery dated to over 3,000 years ago

3000 year old New Guinean potteryUNIVERSITY OF OTAGO

A University of Otago-led research team has unexpectedly discovered the first evidence that the ancestors of Polynesians did not bypass New Guinea on their way from Southeast Asia to colonise remote areas of the Pacific, as was previously thought.

Radiocarbon re-dating of an archaeological site in the rugged New Guinea interior and petrographic and geochemical analysis of pottery fragments found there show that influences of these Austronesian-speaking peoples had penetrated into the already populated remote interior of New Guinea before 3,000 years ago.

The 3,000-year-old fragments, which resemble the Lapita plainware pottery style associated with Austronesian colonisation of neighbouring Western Pacific islands during the same period, were analysed and found to be both produced on-site and brought in from elsewhere.

Continue reading "Ancient New Guinea pottery dated to over 3,000 years ago" »

My mother told me about Heaven, & now I consider our fate

Lucifer v GodOBED IKUPU

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

WHEN I was a little boy, my mother told me about life after death. She explained to me that when we die, we either go to heaven or we go to hell.

She said to me that only good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell.

People who are good are rewarded with a pass into the pearly gates of heaven, where they experience the company of heavenly hosts and the overwhelming awe of God the Almighty.

Continue reading "My mother told me about Heaven, & now I consider our fate" »

Kiaps on patrol

Bob Cleland on Daulo PassRICHARD ANDREWS | Paradise Magazine

This article appears in the current issue of ‘Paradise’, Air Niugini’s in-flight magazine

NOT many public servants face a hail of arrows while performing their duties.

But it was all part of the job for Bob Cleland a former kiap, or patrol officer.

“I was approaching a cluster of villages in the Eastern Highlands, south of Kainantu, who were fighting amongst themselves,” recalls Cleland.

“Both sides of the conflict resented my presence with police and fired arrows at our group from close cover. It was a warning to leave rather than a direct confrontation and there were no injuries. We pressed on and restored order after two days.”

Cleland’s laidback account typifies the understated approach of the stalwart Australian men who patrolled the Territory of Papua and New Guinea (TPNG) until its independence in 1975.

Continue reading "Kiaps on patrol" »

What do Australians think about foreign aid?

Support for foreign aidCAMILLA BURKOT & TERENCE WOOD | Devpolicy Blog

DO Australians support their government giving foreign aid? And if so, how much do they want given, and what do they want it given for?

These seem like simple questions, but getting good answers to them is surprisingly complex. In the latest Devpolicy Discussion Paper we’ve drawn on findings from a range of opinion polls and surveys conducted between 2011 and 2015 in an attempt to answer them.

The aggregate results offer both good news and bad, and plenty of scope for future investigation.

Continue reading "What do Australians think about foreign aid?" »

Teachings of life


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

My mother taught me and my siblings these things which I hope to pass on to my two children. I believe, one way or another, these things contribute to peace within a family and spread out to the community.

Thank you mum for all you have been and continue to be to your children and grandchildren. I would consider motherhood a success if I become half the mother you are.

Sit up straight and do not slouch; you do not want a bendy back when you are older

Walk with you head up and not down; you do not want to crash into something now do you?

Stop cracking those fingers and toes; you’ll get crooked fingers and toes when you are old

Continue reading "Teachings of life" »

How the Gena & Kindi tribes resolved amicably after the bushfire

A rugged mountain near KundiawaJIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

EL Nino has struck Simbu hard and people have been warned not to carry any form of naked flame that could ignite a fire.

On a Wednesday afternoon late in August, Mond Eri from the Gena tribe went to his coffee garden in the gorge of Akan.

The four o’clock sun was hot so he cut a piece of sugarcane and sat chewing it on a limestone boulder.

While enjoying the juice, a fire was ignited not far from where he sat. Mond Eri didn’t know the man who started it nor did he bother too much about it.

Continue reading "How the Gena & Kindi tribes resolved amicably after the bushfire" »

Dozens of deaths from drought reported in Simbu Province

Trucks bring relief supplies (Johnny Blades RNZI)RADIO NEW ZELAND INTERNATIONAL

THERE are unconfirmed reports from Simbu Province in Papua New Guinea that 24 people have died as a result of the severe drought in the Highlands.

Simbu provincial disaster coordinator, Michael Ire Appa, says he understands the deaths are due to a lack of food and poisoned water.

He says the figures could go higher.

"It's a bit hard to confirm but the drought has been here for almost three months now and in affected areas there's a serious food shortage, including water, and some of the districts have not reported,” Mr Appa said.

Continue reading "Dozens of deaths from drought reported in Simbu Province" »

I was once told


This poem is dedicated to those who have fought for peace and harmony in our country when at war. We can only have freedom, peace, and harmony if we has the courage to defend it

I was once told
Strange men arrived on our land in flying machines
Many wore funny clothes
Who could they be?
Were they gods?

I was once told
Blood was shed on our land
Children would wander searching for mama and papa
They had lost everything
Where was the peace and harmony?

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Melanesia has a ‘massive’ rate of oral cancer, says professor

Buai is a mouth cancer threat (ABC)RADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL

MELANESIA has the highest rate of oral cancer in the world – and the worst could be yet to come, according to an Australian medical expert.

Associate Professor Casten Palme from the University of Sydney is an ear, nose and throat specialist who has been working in Papua New Guinea.

He said Melanesia has the highest rates of oral cancer in the world and he believes there are many more people who haven't been diagnosed.

"I think there is already an epidemic and we need to sort of gather a little bit more data to quantify exactly the number of cases,” Prof Palme said.

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What happens when an Enga man hits western culture head on

Dorothy & Enga man (Tribes & Tribulations)DANIEL KUMBON

ONE evening in Cleveland, Ohio, two friends suggested we go for drinks at a bar often frequented by nurses.

I was a bit scared I might end up talking with the wrong woman. I didn’t want a husband, live-in boyfriend or fiancée to catch me talking with their beloved.

And I couldn’t stand it when a woman looked at me in the eyes as we talked. I was not used to women looking at men directly like that.

If she was a relative, yes, you can talk with direct eye contact. But it was uncomfortable talking with strange women.

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A trip to Alexishafen – the historic ghost town of Momase

Alexishafen_KathedraleAMANDA YEOU

ON the dawn of National Repentance Day, Madang was blessed with rain. Such a wonderful blessing, I thought as I got out of bed and packed my bag.

On 26 August, the Divine Word University lecturers and students left for Alexishafen to attend a Catholic Bible study session hosted by FrJohn Ryan SVD.

I was in the group which boarded the bus at 8:30 am arriving in Alexishafen, about 25 km north of Madang, around 9:15.

Alexishafen is an old Catholic Mission Station established by Society of the Divine Word missionaries.

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PNG’s literacy rate is stalling & needs urgent attention

Florence-jonduoFLORENCE JONDUO

AS Papua New Guinea’s fortieth anniversary of independence approaches so does the twentieth National Literacy Week.

With this in mind, we might turn our attention to the state of literacy in our country.

Here’s the short story – the literacy rate is increasing at a snails’ pace.

Last year’s national literacy report revealed that 23 districts in PNG have very low literacy rates, rates below 40%; which is a sad factual situation.

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