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84 posts from February 2016

We must confront our internal ‘masta’ head on


SELF-preservation and self-worth begin when we admit and deal with the overarching presence of the demon “masta” planted in our collective psyche.

In every facet of our lives, we are seeking approval and acceptance of our conduct, both consciously and unconsciously, by our internal masta who is ever present in our minds.

This was evident when I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a newly constructed bridge on a rural road in Papua New Guinea.

A government minister was speaking to the singsing bilas-adorned villagers and a handful of educated elites from the ministerial party.

Continue reading "We must confront our internal ‘masta’ head on" »

My Story: The PNG connection, a benign type of PTSD

Chris Overland16 - CHRIS OVERLAND

On 15 March 2013, PNG Attitude began publishing autobiographical profiles of its leading contributors with ‘Arresting cannibals sure beat banking’ by Phil Fitzpatrick. The series eventually ended many months later with the publication of its fifteenth profile. Since then, the blog has benefited from the memoirs, views and knowledge of many new writers, who have joined the ‘old guard’ in keeping this forum topical and lively. Today we resume this occasional series with Chris Overland’s story….

I WAS born in a small Australian country town in 1951. My parents had been born and raised in the country and neither liked the city nor felt comfortable in it.

Dad had been in the RAAF during World War II, flying a full operational tour in Beaufort Bombers. He was based in Papua New Guinea, mainly at Vivigani on Goodenough Island.

He had several terrifying experiences, surviving three crash landings, but counted himself lucky because 20% of RAAF aircrew died in training or operations. The war changed him but did not break him.

Continue reading "My Story: The PNG connection, a benign type of PTSD" »

11 prisoners gunned down during mass escape in PNG


ELEVEN prisoners have been shot and killed by guards in a severe response to a mass gaol breakout in Papua New Guinea.

Seventeen others were wounded, and police estimate that about 87 managed to escape from Buimo prison in Lae late last week.

Acting Correctional Service Commissioner, Bernard Nepo, says details of the incident are sketchy, but he says a large number of prisoners appeared to have charged the entrance.

Continue reading "11 prisoners gunned down during mass escape in PNG" »

More hopeless excuses from the government on SABLs

Douglas Tomuriesa, Forests MinisterPNG EXPOSED | Edited extracts

Papua New Guinea’s Forestry Minister has defended the government’s handling of the controversial Special Agricultural Business Lease system, saying there will be action to conclude the matter soon - Radio New Zealand

WE HAVE been waiting two-and-a-half years for the government to cancel the unlawful Special Agriculture and Business leases and stop the illegal logging, but they are still making excuses and doing nothing.

Latest to try and explain away the delays is Logging Minister, Douglas Tomuriesa [pictured].

He says 30 months is not a long time to take to implement the findings of the Commission of Inquiry and the government has not been dragging its heels.

The Minister has the cheek to tell landowners and NGOs to be patient, while every day they watch more forests being felled and more illegal timber being exported.

Continue reading "More hopeless excuses from the government on SABLs" »

Polye says that PNG now has a full-blown economic crisis

Don PolyePNG TODAY | Edited extracts

PAPUA New Guinea Opposition’s shadow cabinet says the country’s economy has a cash-flow crisis.

Opposition Leader Don Pomb Polye said funds are not going into providing basic goods and services for citizens and PNG is one of very few countries to not have met any of its Millennium Development Goals.

Mr Polye said it is evident PNG’s economic affairs are being run in an ad hoc manner without much understanding of current economic conditions.

Continue reading "Polye says that PNG now has a full-blown economic crisis" »

Your chance for Attitudinal immortality


A couple of months ago, Keith Jackson asked me to write a history of PNG Attitude and the Crocodile Prize.

After considering a number of possible scenarios and formats, I decided that the best way to do it was to let the blog and the prize tell their own story.

Right now the project has reached a point where I’m compiling a collection of what I think are the significant articles that have appeared on the blog and linking them with explanatory notes and some extra discourse.

Continue reading "Your chance for Attitudinal immortality" »

A publishing revolution. How we discovered CreateSpace


IN 2012 I was  working with one of the regular Papua New Guinean contributors to PNG Attitude editing and tracking down a publisher for a book he had written.

I saw Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin’s The Flight of Galkope as a significant historical and anthropological contribution to the understanding of Papua New Guinean society. Beyond that it was a work entirely researched and written by a Papua New Guinean.

I thought that it brought a new perspective to the study of society in the country separate but complementary to the more academic works hitherto mostly written by expatriates.

Continue reading "A publishing revolution. How we discovered CreateSpace" »

The kind old woman


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

THERE lived an old woman in a village located about just one kilometre away from the mission school.

Her husband had deserted her when he found a new wife from another place and the woman had struggled to raise her three children, a girl and two boys.

When her children became adults, they married and she was left alone. She made her own garden, collected firewood and fetched water. She was very industrious.

One day she went to the market to sell kaukau. As she was walking home, she met a young boy carrying a load of books in his bag.

She asked him, “Where do you live, and how far is your home?” The boy said, “I live in Pamas village, about 10 kilometres from the school.”

Continue reading "The kind old woman" »

Those ratbag Christians: many are glorious; some are chaff

NewguineachristianPHIL FITZPATRICK

SINCE its inception PNG Attitude had scoured a wide range of publications for material of interest to readers. Relevant articles were largely republished on the blog without comment.

Among all of those articles, two types tended to attract vigorous comment. The first were those from the tabloid presses that saw subjects like primitiveness, sorcery and cannibalism as attractive to its sensation-seeking readers.

The second was akin to this but decidedly more sinister. It came from missionaries, particularly those involved in fundamentalist causes.

Continue reading "Those ratbag Christians: many are glorious; some are chaff" »

Trim the cat: When Flinders found New Guinea was not Australia


WELL Sydney has a host of interesting places to visit for people who want to go off the beaten track.

There are the ammunition dumps at Middle Head, the old Quarantine Station at North Head where victims of cholera where imprisoned 100 years ago, the Chinese gardens at Botany, the convict rock graffiti of Parramatta and the secret sewers that lead from Moore Park into the heart of the city itself.

But I write today about two animals preserved in stone in good old Sydney town.

You can see them just five minutes’ walk from Town Hall - Queen Victoria' Scotty dog and Matthew Flinders’ cat.

Now I know Keith will be asking, "What's the Papua New Guinea connection?" (he is) - and I will come to that.

Continue reading "Trim the cat: When Flinders found New Guinea was not Australia" »

Australia supports education, water & sanitation on Kokoda Track

New teacher's house at Efogi Primary SchoolAUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION

ON Wednesday, under the Kokoda Initiative, the Australian government opened a new double classroom, two new staff houses and toilet facilities at Efogi and Kavovo villages on the Kokoda Track.

The infrastructure was funded by Australia under the partnership between Australia and Papua New Guinea to protect the Kokoda Track region and deliver services to its communities.

The new buildings will support more than 272 students and 13 teachers at Efogi, Kavovo and the surrounding villages of Launamu, Kagi, Naduri and Manari.

Continue reading "Australia supports education, water & sanitation on Kokoda Track" »

Plenty of great stories still to be mined in PNG


SEAN Dorney’s The Embarrassed Colonialist should be mandatory reading for every influential Australian media executive and newsroom leader.

Because when it comes to Papua New Guinea, we are the myopic media.

Historical blindness and ignorance is an underlying theme of Dorney’s excellent treatise of what is an emblematic tropical sore for Australia and Australians.

Overcoming this ignorance is the healing balm solution he proffers – and the media, pardon the image, is the bleeding obvious place to start.

There are wonderful individual exceptions, of course: Journalists who would swim the four kilometres from our most northern Torres Strait islands to PNG to report on this vibrant and vexed nation of eight million, so inextricably linked to our past and so critical to our future. And editors and news directors who would, and do, battle internal obstacles to ensure coverage of our biggest, nearest neighbour.

Continue reading "Plenty of great stories still to be mined in PNG" »

A journalist’s insights into the war that ravaged her people

Behind the BlockadeADAM ELLIOTT

I THOUGHT readers would be interested to know that Veronica Hatutasi has just published a book on the Bougainville crisis, Behind the Blockade.

Veronica is based in Port Moresby and has worked for a long time as senior reporter for Word Publishing's Wantok newspaper.

The book starts in Toniva, just south of Kieta, as the conflict builds and follows Veronica’s story from there back to Monoitu in the Siwai District of south Bougainville.

Here Veronica stayed with her family until late 1992 when, in August of that year, she was able to get herself and her family to Port Moresby.

Continue reading "A journalist’s insights into the war that ravaged her people" »

Successful visit to Wewak by P&O cruise ship ‘Pacific Aria’

Pacific Aria in Wewak, 22 Feb 2016 (Mateos Alois)MATEOS ALOIS

HUNDREDS of passengers came ashore from MS Pacific Aria when it anchored in Wewak Harbour on Monday, providing the town with a great boost.

And more than 500 passengers took the paid tour options - Wewak highlights, Maur Village and the ‘Japanese surrender’ tour – pumping even more money into the local economy.

And the response from our visitors? It was great, with the ship rating Wewak’s services and tours as excellent.

Among the passengers were former Wewak residents. including Mr Green, formerly a branch manager with the PNG Banking Corporation, and also the wife of former East Sepik district commissioner.

Continue reading "Successful visit to Wewak by P&O cruise ship ‘Pacific Aria’" »

Why don’t Australians care about PNG? Is it the writers?


MOST people in a literate society understand the power of the written word.

Not just books, journals and newspapers but almost everything people see on television, in cinemas and on social media begins with a writer.

If the writers in a literate society ever went out on strike en masse many things taken for granted would grind to a halt.

Although people may not be familiar with the particular works of a significant writer, they will more than likely have heard of them.

Continue reading "Why don’t Australians care about PNG? Is it the writers?" »

Let’s declare Kokoda a consultant free zone

Charlie LynnCHARLIE LYNN | Kokoda Nuisleta

THE most important asset in the development of a sustainable trekking industry along the Kokoda Trail is the client who pays for the journey.

Without him or her there will be no trek fees, no employment for guides and carriers, no shared benefits for villages, no campsite fees – no sustainable trekking industry.

Of equal importance in a country with complex traditions regarding customary land ownership are local landowners.

Unfortunately the people in charge of dispensing government aid programs from Australia seem to have little appreciation of these essential basics.

Continue reading "Let’s declare Kokoda a consultant free zone" »

The big picture – should we just leave it to the big fellas?

'Hair' performers on stage (Artblart)PHIL FITZPATRICK

I WAS listening to the radio this morning.

There was an interview with the black American singer Marcia Hines, who came to Australia in 1970 to appear in a production of the rock musical Hair. Marcia never went home, making a life in Australia.

I went to see Hair in 1970 when I was home on leave from Papua New Guinea and I must have seen her performing.

The musical was one of those pivotal moments in my life but I didn’t realise it at the time. At the end of the show just about everyone got up and went down to the stage to dance with the cast. I stayed in my seat, deep in thought.

They were heady days. There seemed so much promise.

After the radio interview with Marcia, there was a program reviewing the week in politics with several invited journalists and commentators.

After discussing the slowly deflating balloon that is the Turnbull government they got on to the American elections and the progress in the early primaries.

Continue reading "The big picture – should we just leave it to the big fellas?" »





To be


To have







Tomorrow’s person




Characteristics of modernity

Is this tomorrow’s unity?




Characteristics of emptiness

Is this tomorrow’s oneness?

Is this the new you?

Is this the new us?

When we observe PNG’s problems, we think of the Congo

Joseph-Désiré MobutuDANIEL KUMBON

THE path along which Papua New Guinea is headed is indeed frightening – it’s similar to the route the African country of Zaire, formerly known as the Congo, took many years ago.

The Congo was as rich in natural resources as PNG but was reduced to becoming one of the poorest nations on earth.

The Congolese people suffered at the hands of colonisers and later a dictator of many names – Joseph-Desire Mobutu Sese Seko Koko Ngbendu wa za Banga [pictured], which literally translates as ‘the cock who jumps on anything that moves’.

Continue reading "When we observe PNG’s problems, we think of the Congo" »

Suspicion & generosity: the funding challenges of the Croc Prize


FUNDING the Crocodile Prize and the other smaller causes undertaken by PNG Attitude has always been vexed.

In the case of the latter the readers of the blog have proved to be remarkably generous. If the cause is seen to be just and important people are prepared to contribute to it.

Most of the contributions come from Australian readers. This is understandable because they are usually in a much better financial position that the average Papua New Guinean reader.

Nevertheless, there have been some generous donations from Papua New Guinea. In most cases Keith Jackson has always been prepared to add his own contribution, often substantial.

Continue reading "Suspicion & generosity: the funding challenges of the Croc Prize" »

Australia's ignorance about PNG is a loss for both nations

Sean Dorney in 2009SEAN DORNEY | ‘The Embarrassed Colonialist’ | Extract

AUSTRALIA never spent a great deal of money on Port Moresby when it was the headquarters of Australia’s colonial administration.

Indeed, the contrast between what the British had built in Suva during its colonial governance of Fiji and what Australia constructed in Port Moresby for its administration of Papua New Guinea is revealing.

The stone and concrete Suva buildings are majestic examples of colonial architecture. In Konedobu, on the shores of the Port Moresby harbour, the Australian administration consisted of a collection of unimpressive wooden buildings, some quite ramshackle.

Continue reading "Australia's ignorance about PNG is a loss for both nations" »

Passion, soft power & anti-corruption activism

Grant WaltonGRANT WALTON | Dev Policy Blog

WHILE organised ‘civil society’ is relatively weak, Papua New Guinea has a long history of anti-corruption activism.

The churches, unions, landowner groups, students as well as local and international NGOs have all been involved in fighting abuses of power. And there has been some success.

In 1997, concerns about corruption fuelled protest towards the government’s attempt to bring in mercenaries to fight the civil war in Bougainville, which became known as the Sandline Affair. This led to the resignation of the then prime minister Sir Julius Chan.

In 2005 a Community Coalition Against Corruption (including NGOs like Transparency International PNG and the churches) helped scupper two parliamentary bills aimed at reducing the power of the Ombudsman Commission and increasing Members of Parliament’s constituency funds.

Continue reading "Passion, soft power & anti-corruption activism" »

A message to Dolorose, in medical school & wondering


IT IS indeed an unfair world. I am afraid you will see more of this. From memory I think you are in the fourth year of your Medical course now.

When you do your Paediatric rotation and you go to the paediatric wards you will see more of this unfairness. In the two upstairs wards particularly you will see concentrated the collective misery of Port Moresby’s and Papua New Guinea’s underprivileged.

You will see sick children coming from the settlements where families are packed 30 to 40 in one small house where, if they are lucky, one or two will be employed in menial jobs. The children get the scraps or nothing at all.

You will see products of broken families and you will send home children admitted with severe malnutrition who have been fattened up to only return two weeks later with the same problem because they returned to the same environment.

Continue reading "A message to Dolorose, in medical school & wondering" »

A message to Dolarose: you’re right, the world is unfair


AS I get older my bewilderment grows about the human propensity to acquire and consume wealth far beyond their personal or familial needs, often at the expense of others.

Why do some of us feel so driven to do this even though our better selves know that it is neither necessary nor, in many respects, likely to make our lives much happier?

A recent study in Australia strongly indicated that increases in personal income beyond around $A80,000 pa (which is, by world standards, a very large amount of money) do not significantly increase a person's happiness, well-being or sense of financial security.

Continue reading "A message to Dolarose: you’re right, the world is unfair" »

You really can create the life you desire


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

WE MUST not be indolent and let life happen to us. If we become passive and sit in the cool chair of idleness, we’ll degenerate and live a life of mediocrity and second best.

We will develop a victim’s mentality and underutilise our potential and become slaves of circumstance.

At worst we will squander our innate ability and waste the wonderful opportunities that life offers us.

As a result, we will be named amongst the living dead, who live but are counted as dead because they live unproductively in the status quo.

Instead we must be awake to opportunity and create the life we desire. We need to realise that we have the potential to make things happen.

Continue reading "You really can create the life you desire" »

Foreign owned companies serving poison on PNG plates

Food platePNG EXPOSED | Edited

UNDER Section 3 of the Investment Promotion Regulations 1992, certain businesses are reserved for citizens, ‘fast food take-away, kai bars of all descriptions including mobile delivery food service’.

“Really?” you ask. Yes, really. That is what the regulations say.

But this didn’t prevent Chinese nationals Xing Wu Zhou and Zhongshen Zhang setting up kai bars through their company J & Z Trading Limited.

On 11 March 2007, husband and wife Anita and Andrew Baikisa of Madang purchased fried rice from J & Z, expecting to enjoy their lunch under the shade of a nearby tree. Their enjoyment was short-lived.

Continue reading "Foreign owned companies serving poison on PNG plates" »

The world is unfair


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

AT EIGHT in the morning, I boiled the jug, made myself a cup of tea and prepared for class.

As I looked through the kitchen window, I saw a little girl; less than 10 years old. She wore a blouse over her shorts and carryed a bilum with a single peanut butter container inside. I could see this girl was poor and that she probably did not go to school.

Sometime later, as I looked over some topics before going to class, I saw her carrying firewood and making her way back home, perhaps to prepare a meal for the day or dinner in the afternoon.

The world is unfair.

Continue reading "The world is unfair" »

Is Papua New Guinea’s wealth a curse?


MOUNTAINS of gold floating in a sea of oil. Not to mention vast forests and oceans teeming with fish.

But Papua New Guinea’s enormous wealth may be its greatest curse.

A similar observation was made about the Belgian Congo in 1903 by the British Consul and later Irish Nationalist, Roger Casement. We all know what happened to the Congo.

The Congo was raped and plundered mercilessly and brutally by the Belgians and many Congolese helped them do it.

It is not dissimilar to what is now happening in Papua New Guinea; plunder by multinationals enthusiastically assisted by Papua New Guineans.

Continue reading "Is Papua New Guinea’s wealth a curse?" »

Dare to dream, but in PNG dreaming’s not enough

Dulciana Somare-BrashDULCIANA SOMARE-BRASH | Pacific Institute of Public Policy 

THERE are many people commenting online on the impacts of decisions taken by the current Papua New Guinea government.

Many express their feelings about a looming fiscal crisis, these range from fury to indifference.

In the haste for change, once again it is easy to assume that a new crop of freshly elected leaders in a newly constituted PNG parliament after 2017 will miraculously create the change PNG needs!

We must not forget that the same laws will apply in the same national parliament and provincial houses of assembly.

Continue reading "Dare to dream, but in PNG dreaming’s not enough" »

Great timber heist follows failure to cancel logging leases

PNG_greenpeace_esperanzaEDDIE TANAGO | Act Now!

AN explosive new report exposing tax evasion and financial misreporting by the logging industry in Papua New Guinea emphasises the need to cancel unlawful SABL leases and stop illegal logging says community advocacy group Act Now!

The Oakland Institute report, ‘The Great Timber Heist: The Logging Industry in Papua New Guinea’, exposes how the logging industry avoids paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, depriving the country of much needed revenue.

The logging companies are destroying the livelihoods of local people by taking their lands and forest and now we see they are avoiding paying any taxes.

Continue reading "Great timber heist follows failure to cancel logging leases" »

The days when men were men and umbrellas ruled

Man, man & umbrellaPHIL FITZPATRICK

FORGET mobile phones and the internet. There were more radical and profound technological changes in Papua New Guinea long before anyone dreamed up those things.

I suppose the granddaddy of all technological change was the arrival of the steel axe and bush knife but, other than those, change tended to be more subtle.

In the highlands I reckon (1) umbrellas, (2) men’s jackets, and (3) can openers were at the cutting edge. So to speak.

When I arrived in Mount Hagen in the 1960s, the umbrella reigned supreme. Umbrellas came in two colours, black and blacker; the kinky coloured ones came a bit later.

Continue reading "The days when men were men and umbrellas ruled" »

Prime minister in denial about mounting national debt

Government debt to GDP 2006-2014MICHAEL J PASSINGAN | PNG Blogs | Edited

THE reckless and unnecessary borrowing of prime minister Peter O’Neill is hurting families and crippling the nation with debt that future generations must pay.

Under O’Neill, in 2015 actual government debt reached K18,571.40 per Papua New Guinean household.

That number will increase with new borrowings proposed by the prime minister, including the $1 billion sovereign bond issue.

Families must repay O’Neill’s debt whether they like it or not.

Continue reading "Prime minister in denial about mounting national debt" »

The hope that still remains in ‘don’t stop believing’


LATE night radio listening can unhinge even the sternest of iron-clad hearts.

The nocturnal audience across the Land of the Unexpected are plunged to the depths of melancholia then swiftly lurched to the heights of unshakeable assertiveness all in the space of nine minutes.

Disc jockeys are unsparing when exercising their powers as gadflies of emotional tranquillity.

But, whilst international radio stations cue playlists of trending hits and vocal artists, the Papua New Guinean music palette remains transfixed to the echoes of days gone by.

Continue reading "The hope that still remains in ‘don’t stop believing’" »

Government pay cheques bounce as PNG budget struggles

Peter O'NeillJEMIMA GARRETT | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

PAPUA New Guinea's cash flow crisis is so bad that politicians and public servants are not being paid on time, vital services are not receiving funding and government cheques are bouncing.

Latest figures from the International Monetary Fund show the country's debt is worse than officially acknowledged and government spending commitments have been significantly underestimated.

The new revelations come as PNG seeks to refinance its controversial $US1 billion UBS loan for its 10% stake in PNG-focused company Oil Search. The existing loan is set to expire at the end of the month.

Like many other resource-rich countries, PNG has seen its tax revenue plummet as mining and petroleum companies try to deal with low commodity prices.

Continue reading "Government pay cheques bounce as PNG budget struggles" »

Still today, the rituals of Engan tribal warfare prevail

Engan mock battle ( DAVIDSON

An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

TRIBAL fighting has been a common phenomenon amongst the Engan people since the time their highlands mountains and valleys were first settled.

It was engrained in the thinking and the worldview of the people. The traditional mythical folk hero was the warrior who fought bravely and single-handedly killed many foes during tribal warfare.

The Engan culture valued men who fought bravely. The people saw the fierce fighter as the defender of the tribe; the person they could depend on to protect them.

Continue reading "Still today, the rituals of Engan tribal warfare prevail" »

Wewak – a once glorious town reduced to wrack & ruin


THERE are increasingly disturbing reports emanating from the Sepik region that the once peaceful and prosperous town of Wewak on Papua New Guinea’s north coast is falling into a state of decay and anarchy.

Peter Johnson CBE, a 50-year resident of Wewak for 50 years and member of parliament for Angoram from 1968 to Independence knows the town as well as anyone.

“Sadly it doesn’t get any better,” he has written. “Our local police chief told a resident reporting a crime – ‘I can’t do anything; two-thirds of my police don’t even turn up for duty.’ Happy days here, I fear, are gone forever.”

Continue reading "Wewak – a once glorious town reduced to wrack & ruin" »

Sweet misdirection – a short story

Cobra tattooMICHAEL DOM

“PSHWEH! Abus trutru ol man mas kaikai pinis ia! Mi laik pilai long bun tasol. Brata, mitupela gat biiiiikpela bihain taim istap.”

“Yeh, mi save pinis. Mi harim olsem yu igat sampela wei bilong yu long igo insait.”

“Shhhhhh! Yu noken toktok bikpela tumas, em hait samting ia!”

“Okay, yu weit long tumoro abpinun, bai mi salim em wantaim aunty blong em save salim gwarume ikam long haus b’long yu.”

“Ahhh, raitman! Yu stap insait pinis.”

“Eh, na yu harim wanem samting dispela songan ia ibin tok long yu long las wik Sande?”

“Ah?! Nogat ia, em tok wanem?”

“Mate yu nid long putim was long dispela man ia…”

Continue reading "Sweet misdirection – a short story " »

Michael Dom’s poetic gifts to the people of PNG


MICHAEL Dom has given the people of Papua New Guinea – and, more recently, people around the world – the great gift of his poetry.

During my consulting years in Asia, I was once informed by a proud Bangladeshi that each one of his countrymen was a poet. I have concluded that in every Papua New Guinean there also lies the music and lyricism of poetry – and increasingly the rest of us are recognising this and appreciating it.

And we are learning that things can be said, matters can be raised, through the incisive stiletto of poetry that are more difficult to achieve in prose. Melanesians seem to understand this and are great exponents of it.

Continue reading "Michael Dom’s poetic gifts to the people of PNG" »

El Niño takes its toll on PNG’s agricultural output

DroughtOXFORD BUSINESS GROUP | Edited extracts

EFFORTS to promote agricultural self-sufficiency in Papua New Guinea saw a setback in 2015, with sector growth affected by severe drought conditions triggered by the El Niño weather pattern.

Since mid-2015, when the current El Niño cycle hit the Pacific region, large swathes of PNG have experienced droughts and frost, leading to a substantial decline in agricultural production and forcing some communities to begin shipping in food.

Limited stocks and shortages have driven up prices, with remote areas, particularly those in Western Province, most affected. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, up to one-third of the population is currently struggling as a result of the drought.

Continue reading "El Niño takes its toll on PNG’s agricultural output" »

Taking action: Adding real meaning to existence & exertion

Kamasua_John KaupaJOHN KAMASUA

WHY do we plod along every day exerting ourselves and making an effort? Is it to find meaning and fulfilment?

Going to the office, shopfloor, lecture room, garden or river to derive certain rewards is part of our lives. We do it for ourselves and we do it for others.

I sometimes wonder why all the rush, office to supermarket to school to pick up the children, to house, to a meeting, to another meeting….

By the time the average working Papua New Guinean comes home, we’ve surely attempted more complicated tasks than our grandparents ever thought of.

But is it all necessary?

Continue reading "Taking action: Adding real meaning to existence & exertion" »

The rare commodity that is grassroots knowledge

Goodenough Island outstation (NLA)PHIL FITZPATRICK

ON A bright sunlit morning in 1969, I was walking down from my house on the hill to the station office and airstrip below.

A couple of children from the village further up the hill were happily gambolling along with my dog a few steps ahead.

I stopped abruptly.

The little poppet in the tiny grass skirt put her hands on her hips and stared up at me. “Wanem samting?” she demanded.

I looked down at her and smiled. “Maski, mi tingting tasol, yumi go.”

Continue reading "The rare commodity that is grassroots knowledge" »

The time for excuses is over, Momis to tell O’Neill


ON THE eve of critical talks in Port Moresby, Bougainville president John Momis has said he does not want to hear any more excuses from the PNG national government about its continual denial of outstanding grants to the autonomous province.

This week’s deferred meeting of the high level Joint Supervisory Body which is responsible for PNG-Bougainville relations is to thrash out an issue so vexed that Dr Momis has threatened to take the national government to court.

Dr Momis told EM-TV News last week that he does not want to hear any more excuses from the PNG government when the two parties meet today and tomorrow.

“The national government must first address the status of Bougainville under the Bougainville Peace Agreement that it had failed to honour over time,” he said.

Continue reading "The time for excuses is over, Momis to tell O’Neill" »

My superhero


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

Dedicated to my dad, John Uwen Wo’otong

I HAVE lived my life for him through primary school and secondary school and now I am in college.

I always try to do my best so, that at the end of the year when the marks come out and when he sees I’m at the top of the list, it will put a big smile on his face.

And I will be by his side to share that moment.

For nothing can measure the time he spent caring for us, the care and the love he showed even when he was in the abyss, the courage he displayed when faced with difficult situations, the support he provided as a one-man team and his selflessness in the face of trouble.

Continue reading "My superhero" »

The true story of the evolution of the Trukai Rice logo


WHEN it comes to rice brands, Trukai Rice is synonymous with Papua New Guinea.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Trukai Industries Limited was known as Rice Industries Pty Ltd or by its abbreviation, RIPL.

RIPL was a major producer and supplier of rice to consumers in PNG before and after independence. It was made up of rice growers from the Australian state of Queensland.

In 1982, casual employees of RIPL’s Lae depot were eating their lunch at the workers mess when they were approached by company secretary Brian Troy from Wapenamanda.

Continue reading "The true story of the evolution of the Trukai Rice logo" »

PNG's food bowl near empty as drought affects 2 million

Drought-stricken Maramun village in Simbu Province (Mayeta Clark)MAYETA CLARK | The Age (Melbourne)

OLD Kaupa Bani walks with a tall cane fashioned from a black palm outside his hut in Kanma village. Blind, burdened by joint pains, too weak to work his garden, and with no children to look after him, he has been helped by extended family.

But as a devastating drought hits Papua New Guinea with a force few rural villages were prepared for, the flow of kindness has turned into scraps in the last nine months. Some days Bani eats nothing.

"I have to be fed to get strength," Bani tells an interpreter. "But since the drought, there's been insufficient food, so I've grown very weak.

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Ok Tedi supports starving villagers in Western Province

Loading rice in Aiambak for Middle Fly villagesOTML

DESPITE having temporarily suspended operations since August due to dry weather, Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) has continued to support relief efforts in the food crisis afflicting the Western Province.

OTML and the Heduru Trust have responded to the crisis with each donating K5 million to initially purchase 1,600 tonnes of rice to be delivered from Port Moresby for distribution the.

The company has begun shipping containers to Aiambak and Kiunga ports in order to supply the North and Middle Fly Districts.

The first 115 tonnes of rice is being distributed across the Middle Fly corridor and into Lake Murray villages with the assistance of provincial administration officers, PNG Defence Force personnel, Ok Tedi, Starwest and the communities.

OTML acknowledges Trukai Industries for supplying food at discounted prices and offering cartage to shipping sites for loading and Horizon Oil for sponsoring the cartage of containers to the storage location in Kiunga.

The days when villagers & kiaps built PNG’s infrastructure


MY NOTES and sketches on road and bridge building in Papua New Guinea no longer exist.

They had been jotted down during our five weeks of practical training to become Kiaps at Kwikila at the end of 1969 (Paul Oates, author of With These Tools, and I were on the same course).

But I recently purchased, at bargain basement rates ($25 reduced to $13), the book Maker and Breaker by Army Engineer Lt John Grover.

The book, published in 2008, includes many diagrams on the subject of road and bridge building during the World War II battles at Kokoda, Buna, Wau, Aitape and Wewak.

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