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.
Among the Simbu tribes, he assisted the kiaps to stop tribal fights and conduct peace settlements. Although a fair man, he was feared among his people because of his associations with the kiaps and the police.
As a strategy to control and hasten the pacification of the Simbu people, the colonial administration took Kondom to visit many areas outside Simbu - to towns on the coast and overseas - to see how government and business was done.
When he returned from these trips, Kondom brought many new ideas about business, government and social services like roads, schools and health centres.
Today Kondom is remembered for many things including being the first person to bring coffee to Simbu. He planted his own coffee garden near his home at Wandi and from here he distributed seeds to other villagers.
He also introduced cattle and goats to his village. In 1959, he was the first Simbu to own a semi-permanent house and he rode his own horse which made him an awesome figure among the Simbu people. Prior to that only missionaries and kiaps had horses.
Also in 1959 Kondom was elected president of the Waiye Local Government Council, the first in the highlands.
In 1961, he was appointed to the second Legislative Council, a precursor to an elected parliament in PNG. Kondom was the only person who at the time represented the central highlands. Among his early compatriots were Pita Lus from Maprik, Mathias Toliman from Rabaul and John Guise from Milne Bay.
On a visit to Australia in 1963, Kondom addressed an audience at Canberra with these famous words:
“....In my village I am a chief among my people but today I stand in front of you like a child and when I try to speak in your language you laugh at my words. But tomorrow my son will come to you and he will talk to you in your language, and this time you will not laugh at him....”
In the first House of Assembly elections in 1964, Kondom Agaundo lost to his Eastern Highlands friend, Sinake Giregire of Daulo. After that, he devoted his time to other areas of development like roads, schools, hospitals and business.
He spent more time on coffee growing also and assisted other areas of Simbu to also grow the crop. Later that year, he became the first chairman of the Kundiawa Coffee Society which in 1966 became Chimbu Coffee encompassing other coffee growers in the district.
In August of that year, Kondom was returning from a meeting in Goroka when he was killed in a vehicle accident on the Goroka side of the summit of Daulo Pass.
The vehicle in which Kondom was travelling nearly collided with a bigger works vehicle on a bend. It skidded off the road into a trench killing Kondom instantly.
In more recent times, the high school near his grave at Wandi Village has also been named after him.
Today Kondom Agaundo is remembered as a great man and a heroic figure who championed the colonial transition period to bring social development and economic prosperity, especially coffee, to the people of Simbu and the highlands.