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93 posts from March 2017

'Aid is not charity' says minister in blunt rebuff to PNG government

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (Andrew Meares)KEITH JACKSON

WITH characteristic aggression laced with a splash of paternalism, Australia's international development minister, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, has rejected a Papua New Guinean government request to restructure the way development aid is delivered.

At bilateral talks last month, the PNG government unexpectedly requested Australia to convert its $558 million annual aid program to provide direct assistance to the PNG budget.

At the time, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop said the request would be considered but now Senator Fierravanti-Wells has overruled the proposal.

Continue reading "'Aid is not charity' says minister in blunt rebuff to PNG government" »

The sad story of a village-based clean water pipeline

Mt Gahavisuka - looking from Kefamo villageWILLIAM ROBINSON

THE 80mm PVC water pipeline had been installed by Australian aid some years before my time.

It was laid 700mm below ground starting in the high hills of Mount Gahavisuka in the Eastern Highlands where there was little or no population and the water uncontaminated.

The pipeline wound its way down, crossed under the highway and continued to Nagamiufa village and further.  It passed through some 21 villages in all and a tapped standpipe was placed in each one.

Continue reading "The sad story of a village-based clean water pipeline" »

Corruption overblown, rioting an isolated case, O'Neill argues

Peter O'Neill (Stuart McEvoy  News Corp)KENJI KAWASE | Nikkei Asian Review

IT MAY not be the best time for Papua New Guinea's ruling party to face the voters as the nation dependent on commodity exports feels the pinch of low prices.

Economic growth has slowed from the breakneck 13.3% pace of 2014 to less than 3% last year and is expected to remain around that level in 2017.

But prime minister Peter O'Neill says he is "reasonably confident" about prevailing at the polls despite the headwinds.

Continue reading "Corruption overblown, rioting an isolated case, O'Neill argues" »

Solei Webber is trying to contact Kingsley John Crofts, who would now be in his eighties
and formerly lived in Tavatava 
village near Loloho in Bougainville.
If you can help find Kingsley, contact PNG Attitude through the Comments link below

A lot of expat behaviour in PNG leaves a lot to be desired


IT was a simple congratulatory advertisement for a new ‘Senior Officer Expatriate Services’ placed by Bank South Pacific (right); but it riled up PNG Attitude readers.

And it broadened into a discussion we probably need to have about whether expatriates, and especially Australians, in Papua New Guinea generally behave civilly in their dealings with Papua New Guineans.

I single out Australians both because of the claimed “special relationship” between our countries and because PNG is also a strategic neighbour with which the Australian government wants to maintain good relations at all levels.

Continue reading "A lot of expat behaviour in PNG leaves a lot to be desired" »

Houses razed as police target ‘illegal’ activities at Porgera mine

Wangima family in remains of their home (Robert Yapari)MARTYN NAMORONG

BARRICK Niugini Limited has confirmed allegations made by the Akali Tange Association that a Papua New Guinea police operation on Saturday led to the destruction of homes belonging to Wangima villagers who live near the giant Porgera gold mine.

The Wangima settlement is located on the slopes of Mt Peruk on the perimeter of the Porgera mine pit.

“PNG police mobile units forcefully evicted residents from Wingima village near Barrick’s Porgera gold mine and burnt down some 150 houses,” said McDiyan Robert Yapari of the Akali Tange Association of Porgera. He alleged that no prior warning was given to the residents of Wangima.

Barrick has disputed these claims, saying in a statement that “approximately 18 structures were removed in the police operation.”

Barrick added that the “police operation was conducted under warrants issued by the Porgera District Court, and that notices of eviction had been previously provided by police to persons residing unlawfully in the operation area.”

Continue reading "Houses razed as police target ‘illegal’ activities at Porgera mine" »

PNG is bottom of the charts again; don’t be worried though


EVERY so often a set of statistics surfaces in which Papua New Guinea is invariably sitting close to the bottom of the barrel of whatever is being measured.

Without fail these statistics are sensationalised in the media and waved about and quoted by all the professional doomsayers.

We’ve just had a set of statistics that said that two-thirds of the Papua New Guinean rural population live without access to clean water.

This was followed by another set that told us Papua New Guinea has dropped a notch in the human development stakes. It is now 154th out of 185 countries.

Continue reading "PNG is bottom of the charts again; don’t be worried though" »

Flanagan concerned by PNG media blackout on economic analysis


AUSTRALIAN economist Paul Flanagan says he is “perplexed and worried” by the failure of Papua New Guinea’s media to cover a critical report on the PNG economy by the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Flanagan has long drawn attention to what he analyses as serious deficiencies in Papua New Guinea’s economic management and reporting.

“I can understand why the government tried to suppress this report by an independent umpire,” Mr Flanagan wrote in an earlier article. “Overall, it was a pretty damning report about the O'Neill government's economic mismanagement.

Continue reading "Flanagan concerned by PNG media blackout on economic analysis" »

Seasonal worker scheme remains an unadmitted Australian failure

Seasonal workers from VanuatuPETER KRANZ

IT IS sad to see that the flawed seasonal worker program is still happening with a vengeance five years after I first reported it in PNG Attitude.

Now it's Queensland’s turn and the seasonal workers involved are from Vanuatu.

Some received no pay after several months work. Others are in debt to scammers, have been threatened with deportation and are forced to live in sub-standard conditions with little or no food.

Continue reading "Seasonal worker scheme remains an unadmitted Australian failure" »

World's rarest & most ancient dog rediscovered in the wild

Pregnant female dog (NGHWDF)SCIENCE ALERT | New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation

AFTER decades of fearing that the New Guinea highland wild dog had gone extinct in its native habitat, researchers have finally confirmed the existence of a healthy, viable population, hidden in one of the most remote and inhospitable regions on earth.

According to DNA analysis, these are the most ancient and primitive canids in existence, and a recent expedition to New Guinea's remote central mountain spine has resulted in more than 100 photographs of at least 15 wild individuals, including males, females, and pups, thriving in isolation and far from human contact.

"The 2016 Expedition was able to locate, observe, gather documentation and biological samples, and confirm through DNA testing that at least some specimens still exist and thrive in the highlands of New Guinea."

Continue reading "World's rarest & most ancient dog rediscovered in the wild" »

Sam Lauw is trying to contact Ken Grant, former headmaster of Igam Barracks Primary School in 1968. "I and my siblings
attended Igam primary as my father Sgt T K Lauw was posted there for four years," writes Sam
If you can help, contact PNG Attitude through the Comments link below


Clean drinkable water – the people always knew where to find it

Mul Baiyer man with drinking water gourd  1974GARRY ROCHE

IN THIS photograph I took around 1974, Rumak, from the Kumdi Engamai clan at Kwinka in the Mul-Baiyer area of Western Highlands Province, is carrying a gourd of drinking water.

Rumak is wearing typical traditional everyday dress for that time: bark belt, apron in front and tangit leaves behind. The only concession to modernity is the small key hanging on a chain around his neck, - he would have put a lock on the door of his bush house.

Oil for decorating bodies at celebrations would also be carried in gourds, but what is pictured is a water gourd.  I was told that Rumak, a fine looking well built man with broad shoulders, took this gourd of water with him wherever he went.

In the early seventies in the Hagen area the ‘big-men’ would  have their own supply of drinking water in a gourd. The mouth of the gourd would be sealed with a plug made from leaves or kunai. 

Continue reading "Clean drinkable water – the people always knew where to find it" »

Bougainville will pursue Rio Tinto over environmental damage

The Jaba River deltaKEITH JACKSON

BOUGAINVILLE president John Momis has told Radio New Zealand International that his government is proceeding with legal action against mining giant Rio Tinto over environmental destruction caused by the Panguna mine.

Until last year when it relinquished its shares, Rio Tinto was the majority owner of Bougainville Copper Ltd which ran the mine for 20 years before it was abandoned during the civil war.

Rio Tinto controversially handed its BCL shares to the Papua New Guinea and Bougainville governments and indicated it has no intention to clean up environmental damage caused by its mining.

Continue reading "Bougainville will pursue Rio Tinto over environmental damage" »

Plenty of good water; the problem is getting it from source

Highlands water pipeBAKA BINA

AS a kid, it was my mandated task to ensure that we had water in the house at all time.

So every day, every afternoon, I made sure the two containers in the house were kept filled, I task I continued until I left to go to study Grade 11 outside the province.

The water collection was a 20-minute chore and I loved it. It was a noble task for me as I did not want my mother to look for water after a hard day at the garden.

I grew up without clean water. I replaced the water each day and we never had stale water.

Continue reading "Plenty of good water; the problem is getting it from source" »

PNG opposition wants four remote roads connected to hubs

Polye  Kipalan and Talita greet the people of MaramuniPNG TODAY

THE Papua New Guinea opposition wants the country’s most-isolated districts connected to the rest of the provinces, opposition leader Don Polye told a crowd in Wabag’s Maranumi village on Friday.

Mr Polye said there were four districts in PNG lacking road links: Pomio (East New Britain), Karamui-Nomane (Simbu), Telefomin/Oksapmin (Sandaun) and Maramuni (Enga).

“Our alternative government’s policy is to budget K300 million to link all these areas to the rest of the country,” he told a cheering crowd.

Continue reading "PNG opposition wants four remote roads connected to hubs" »

After a long wait, PNG gets its new chief ombudsman

Michael DickKEITH JACKSON | Sources: NBC News & PNG Today

IT'S been a while coming, but Papua New Guinea got its new Chief Ombudsman when Michael Dick (pictured) was sworn into office last Thursday by Governor General Bob Dadae.

Mr Dick said his main task is to ensure the Office of the Ombudsman Commission lives up to its obligations as a constitutional office.

He was appointed acting chief ombudsman last year and his permanent appointment is for a term of six years.

"The members of the Ombudsman Appointments Committee recommended to the Governor-General that Michael Dick be appointed as chief ombudsman," said prime minister Peter O’Neill.

"The appointments committee felt Mr Dick was the outstanding candidate for appointment," Mr O’Neill said.

Continue reading "After a long wait, PNG gets its new chief ombudsman" »

Rabaul manager's wild excuses after felling of historic trees

Malaguna Avenue as it once was (Rod Miller)CARMELLA GWARE | Loop PNG

THE recent felling of trees along the Malaguna Road in Rabaul, East New Britain, has angered many of the province’s long term residents.

It is believed that the historical shade trees were chopped down to make way for power lines.

Among those who have raised their voices against the ‘outrageous’ exercise was Rabaul Historical Society secretary, Susan McGrade.

A frustrated Ms McGrade told Loop PNG that the shade trees had “survived many, many eruptions”.

“There was absolutely no reason to remove the trees altogether,” she said.

Continue reading "Rabaul manager's wild excuses after felling of historic trees" »

In support of Dulciana Somare-Brash: PNG is not a monarchy

Dulciana Somare-BrashMARTYN NAMORONG | Medium

I AM NOT writing to defend Dulciana Somare-Brash against recent negative social media posts. She doesn’t need anyone to fight her battles. Instead I am writing in support of her.

I am writing because I believe there is a misconception that she is running for the East Sepik Governor’s post to replace her father, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

I believe such perceptions are an insult to Dulciana’s intellect and professional achievements such as being the deputy director of the Pacific Policy Institute and attaining degrees in law and political science.

Continue reading "In support of Dulciana Somare-Brash: PNG is not a monarchy" »

We want action: An open letter to Lands Minister Benny Allen

Benny Allen Effrey DademoEFFREY DADEMO | Program Manager, Act Now PNG

DEAR Minister Benny Allen - Thank you for your response through the media to the demands of affected landholders and the prime minister for answers on the SABL land grab.

Unfortunately, your statements do nothing to alleviate concerns as it is clear you have no intention of reversing the SABL land grab and returning stolen land to rural communities.

Instead you are endorsing and consolidating the land grab using alternative mechanisms of land alienation.

Continue reading "We want action: An open letter to Lands Minister Benny Allen" »

The day the hope of ‘My Walk to Equality’ shone over Brisbane

Rashmii at the book launchRASHMII BELL

After its Port Moresby launch in the preceding week, the first-ever collection of writing by Papua New Guinean women’s was launched in Brisbane on 16 March 2017

Just a small town girl
Living in a lonely world
She took the midnight train going anywhere…

PNG Attitude readers who’ve followed my writing for a while will know my unabashed affection for the eighties pop hit to which that stanza belongs.

In fact, I have previously dedicated some 700 words to describing how its unfiltered presence in my childhood evolved into becoming the backdrop of my children's early years.

Continue reading "The day the hope of ‘My Walk to Equality’ shone over Brisbane" »

Interview: PNG women’s anthology looks beyond the myths

Elvina OgilJOHNNY BLADES | Dateline Pacific | Radio New Zealand International

A new anthology of literature by Papua New Guinea women is challenging the traditional attribution of women's successes to a male reference point. My Walk to Equality was launched this month in PNG and Australia, a milestone publication of poetry, fiction and essays written by 45 PNG women. One of the contributors to the anthology is Elvina Ogil, an Australia-based lawyer and writer who hails from PNG's Mt Hagen. Ms Ogil's foreword to the book argues that PNG as a nation should embrace both literature and the notion of gender equality.

ELVINA OGIL: I don't want to overstate it but I think it's a bit of a landmark publication. First of its kind of indigenous women contributing to literature.

It was open to women across the country, Papua New Guinean women. And 45 women took up that opportunity to contribute. So the breadth of stories in there is quite impressive.

JOHNNY BLADES: And you've got women from a range of ages and vocations, yeah?

Continue reading "Interview: PNG women’s anthology looks beyond the myths" »

PNG one of world’s worst countries for access to clean water

The water carrierWATER-AID | Edited extracts

ACROSS the world 663 million people still do not have access to water; the vast majority of them - over half a billion - live in rural areas.

Papua New Guinea, Madagascar and Mozambique are among the worst performing countries in the world for rural access to clean water.

In PNG, over two thirds of the rural population – 67% - live without access to clean water, while Madagascar and Mozambique follow closely behind, with 65% and 63% of their rural populations without clean water, respectively.

Continue reading "PNG one of world’s worst countries for access to clean water" »

Looting in Port Moresby, buildings ablaze, shots heard

Looting amidst riots in Port Moresby


LOOTING and arson broke out on the streets of Boroko in Port Moresby this morning after a supermarket caught alight yesterday. 

Rhian Deutrom of The Australian said shots were heard on Angau Drive and several buildings were set on fire 50 metres from the Salvation Army compound and a local school.

The compound is staffed by Australian couple, PNG territorial commander Colonel Kelvin Alley and Colonel Julie Alley, as well as local officers.

Earlier this afternoon, Colonel Alley said the situation was “quite serious”.

“Fires are raging, hundreds of people are looting and police are shooting bullets and tear gas,” he said.

Continue reading "Looting in Port Moresby, buildings ablaze, shots heard" »

The venerable Pacific Islands Monthly gets new digitised life

PIM No 1JULIE WHITING | National Library of Australia | Edited extracts

Read the complete, lavishly illustrated article here

Browse the full Pacific Islands Monthly catalogue in Trove here

THE National Library of Australia has recently completed the digitisation of the entire run of the Pacific Islands Monthly magazine and all of the issues can be browsed or the text fully searched in its Trove archive.

Pacific Islands Monthly (PIM) was founded in Sydney by New Zealand born journalist Robert William (Robbie) Robson, who had moved to Australia during World War I. The first issue was published August 1930 and it ran until June 2000.

PIM was originally published by Pacific Publications in Sydney, with the company being officially registered in 1931 with a nominal capital of £1,000 in £1 shares. It was later purchased by the Herald and Weekly Times and after News Ltd acquired the Herald and Weekly Times in 1987, PIM was published from Suva, Fiji. The first issue of PIM was in newspaper format and consisted of 12 pages.

Continue reading "The venerable Pacific Islands Monthly gets new digitised life" »

The bilum – a cultural symbol of deep personal significance


THE significance of the bilum varies throughout Papua New Guinea. In Enga, for example, it is a symbol of the disproportionate societal burden women carry throughout their lives.

Years ago, during my Christmas break from school, my second oldest sister, a young cousin and I were returning home from Laiagam station after a brief visit with our oldest sister.

At the time, my sister had courageously walked away from her abusive husband.

The likelihood of us running into him was real since many clan members loitered around the road which passed through his village. My sister prepped us for a possible attempt by him to take her by force.

Continue reading "The bilum – a cultural symbol of deep personal significance" »

47,000 HIV infections in PNG concerns UN AIDS agency

Stuart WatsonJOHNNY BLADES | Dateline Pacific RNZI

ACCORDING to the United Nations, the latest statistics in Papua New Guinea estimate that almost 47,000 people are infected with HIV in a country whose population is about eight million. UNAIDS' country director Stuart Watson (pictured) says that there's been an increase of 10,000 of people with HIV in the past two years. He spoke to Johnny Blades

STUART WATSON: In 2015 we estimated that the prevalence in the population was 0.7%. Just last week we completed the most recent estimations and projections for the epidemic in Papua New Guinea and we're now at 0.91%.

So contrary to the trends in many parts of the world, unfortunately in PNG, which has roughly 95% of the epidemic burden in the Pacific region, is trending in the wrong direction. So in PNG, those figures translate into just under 47,000 people living with HIV; roughly 3,000 new infections in the last year, of which nearly a quarter were children and youths. So it's definitely not a good situation.

Continue reading "47,000 HIV infections in PNG concerns UN AIDS agency" »

Sir Arthur Gordon - PNG's forgotten colonial benefactor

Sir Arthur (later Baron) GordonCHRIS OVERLAND

I HAVE recently finished reading Stephanie Williams splendid book ‘Running the Show’, which details the lives of some of the men who governed the British Empire.

They were, to say the least, a very eclectic group, ranging through idealists, adventurers, carpet baggers and the occasional madman.

They often worked in atrocious conditions, with illness, injury and death being constant companions. After four consuls posted to Lagos died of fever in rapid succession, the British Consulate there was accurately described as "a corrugated iron coffin containing a dead consul once a year".

Despite the obvious dangers of the work, many of Britain's brightest and best offered themselves to the colonial service. One such was Sir Arthur Charles Hamilton Gordon who, after several lesser appointments in places as diverse as New Brunswick, Trinidad and Mauritius, was appointed the first governor of Fiji in 1875.

Continue reading "Sir Arthur Gordon - PNG's forgotten colonial benefactor" »

When it came to colonisers, at least they knew where they stood

Long canoe at the riverED BRUMBY

IN May 1966, like Administration officers throughout the country, I took part in the first national Papua New Guinea census.

Unlike a conventional census, and given the difficulties in counting everyone in the country, the objective was to collect data from samples of the population and to extrapolate from that to produce a national demography.

Compared to the more arduous patrols assigned to others, I was given a dream assignment: to collect demographic data about expatriates and Papua New Guineans living at mission stations along the lower and middle reaches of the Sepik River.

Continue reading "When it came to colonisers, at least they knew where they stood" »

The touch: Life & death on the tulait buses of PNG

A Highlands Highway busJIMMY AWAGL

ON Easter eve most Christians attended their local churches to mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, while others use this opportunity to visit loved ones at home.

A young man from Jika tribe in the Western Highlands, an accountancy graduate from the University of Technology in 2014, came from a wealthy family background.

He started his own business at Four Mile in Lae and, as a young and determined man, he worked around the clock to ensure his firm became popular and profitable.

In Easter last year, he thought of taking a vacation and decided to kill two birds with one stone: visit his family at home and at the same time undertake some business in Mt Hagen.

Continue reading "The touch: Life & death on the tulait buses of PNG" »

Big moment for Bougainville as autonomy takes a step forward

Raymond MasonoRAYMOND MASONO | Vice President, Autonomous Government of Bougainville | Extracts

I AM pleased to announce the signing of an overarching memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the ABG and the PNG national government on the drawdown of powers in accordance with the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

This is an historic moment and an important step in formalising autonomy arrangements for the people of Bougainville.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding has been a long time coming and it is an important step in giving effect to the very clear intent of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The MOU will act as a guiding document. It puts in place the systems, processes and financial mechanisms to enable the ABG to assume legal responsibility for its own affairs. This, in tum, provides the foundation upon which full autonomy will be achieved.

Continue reading "Big moment for Bougainville as autonomy takes a step forward" »

Kokoda – a balanced, non-conspiratorial view is what we need

Australians on the Kokoda Track  1942CHRIS OVERLAND

WHILE the story of the battle on the Kokoda Track is clearly and unequivocally military in nature and mostly about the men involved, it is also true to say that the women and children caught up in the conflict have been largely ignored.

I have read a lot about the Kokoda campaign and do not recall any mention of women or children. It seems inconceivable that they were simply not there, even if they had hidden in the bush to avoid the combatants.

It would be a worthwhile addition to the history of the Kokoda battle if someone could undertake a research project to discover and describe the experiences of the women and children who were caught up in the conflict.

Continue reading "Kokoda – a balanced, non-conspiratorial view is what we need" »

Australia on Manus: 'Tough luck PNG, refugees are your problem'

Asylum-seekersERIC TLOZEK | Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extracts

I CAN tell you what the Australian government is going to do about the refugees on Manus Island who won't be resettled in the United States. Nothing.

There are potentially hundreds of men on Manus Island who could — if the figure of 1,250 refugees to be taken by the United States is correct — be left behind.

Parliamentary Library figures show there are at least 1,616 refugees on the two islands — 941 on Nauru and 675 on Manus.

Continue reading "Australia on Manus: 'Tough luck PNG, refugees are your problem'" »

Julie’s story – death, despair, neglect, love and redemption

Julie  never before seen the ocean  & DanielDANIEL KUMBON

THE recent success of the book ‘My Walk to Equality’ edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell prompts me to write this short piece – the story of my wife Julie.

Julie is an orphan, the offspring of a polygamous marriage. She was about six years of age when her mother died from injuries sustained after her father’s third wife stabbed her when she was pregnant with her third child. 

Julie grew up in her maternal grandmother’s house after she ran away when her father beat her up badly for missing just one day of school.

Consequently, she missed out on an education altogether thanks to a loving but backward grandmother who never released her to resume classes at Kandep Primary School which was close to their village.

Continue reading "Julie’s story – death, despair, neglect, love and redemption" »

Charlie Lynn pounces on attempt to take ‘mateship’ out of Kokoda

Charlie LynnEAN HIGGINS | The Australian

AUSTRALIAN-funded projects have removed “mateship” from the lexicon used in Papua New Guinea to describe the heroism of Diggers fighting the Japanese on the ­Kokoda Track, in what a prominent critic describes as politically correct revisionism to “demilitarise” the battleground’s history in the lead up to its 75th anniversary.

According to former Australian Army major, Vietnam War veteran and NSW Liberal state MP Charlie Lynn, who for the past 25 years has run treks on the ­Kokoda Track, $65 million of Australian taxpayers’ money has been directed through “a conga line of consultants” to green-leaning and leftist development projects promoting Australian liberal values such as gender equity on the track.

At the same time, he claims, bridges and toilets on the track have fallen into disrepair and Australian-sponsored aid projects such as schools have no desks and clinics no medicines.

Continue reading "Charlie Lynn pounces on attempt to take ‘mateship’ out of Kokoda" »

The ancient philosophers & the need to know yourself


AN ancient Greek philosopher, Diogenes of Sinope, was seen on the streets of Athens with a lighted lantern in his hand in broad daylight.

When out of curiosity people asked Diogenes what he was looking for, he replied, “I am looking for a man?”

Diogenes acted so strangely to stir up his fellow citizens. His contention was that, even though it seemed so obvious that the world was full of human beings, it was not easy to find a person he was looking for.

The philosopher was trying to find a man in the true sense of the word, which he visualised as follows:

Continue reading "The ancient philosophers & the need to know yourself" »

Corruption is a real issue – but how can we change things?

Corruption is a real issuePETER S KINJAP

LIKE in many societies around the world, corruption in Papua New Guinea has become necessary for the conduct of business.

In very many government departments, schools, hospitals and in the legal system corruption is the mode for easing the pathway for commerce.

Public institutions have become the domain of ‘fat cows’ which the private domain is feeding and milking.

The feeders and milkers include politicians, pastors, community leaders, the educated elite and business people.

Continue reading "Corruption is a real issue – but how can we change things?" »

The kiaps & Radio Bougainville: revisited & reviewed

Bill Brown  Canberra  1969BILL BROWN

Keith Jackson writes: I arrived in Kieta as manager of Radio Bougainville in November 1970 with the simple instruction from my Department of Information headquarters in Port Moresby to “fix the station”, which I had been told was aligned too closely with the Department of District Administration (DDA) and the ‘copper company’ (CRA). This, I was advised, was destroying the station’s relationship with large swathes of its Bougainvillean audience. I spent more than two years in Bougainville repositioning the station and in 1975, in pursuit of an honours degree in political science, wrote about the whole issue of government broadcasting in a monograph entitled Maus Bilong Gavman. In the following article, Bill Brown reflects on that paper in the light of his own contemporaneous experience as DDA’s senior administrator on the island. If you're interested, you can read my original 1975 paper here.

I TRY to avoid responding to Phil Fitzpatrick’s cunningly baited lures but the hook buried in his November 2016 post, ‘Musty, dusty books & the goldmines that lie within’ is too important to ignore.

Phil must have known that he was delving into murky waters when he mused that “a more serious breach of the non-political stance of the service occurred when the District Commissioner of Bougainville, Des Ashton, used the local station, Radio Bougainville, to attack individuals in the community opposed to mining and land alienation.”

Continue reading "The kiaps & Radio Bougainville: revisited & reviewed" »

Promoting peace & harmony in Bougainville through literature


IT’S been a while since my last appearance in PNG Attitude and I own some guilt feelings because skimming through the blog is not the same as sharing articles with readers and regular contributors and commenters.

I’ve spent most of my time over the past two years trying to fulfil my career vision as a Bougainville diocesan media operative.

This has included trying to get a radio station running for the Catholic Diocese of Bougainville and at the same keeping the office providing its daily services.

It’s been a great challenge but we now have all our radio equipment here awaiting installation in the coming months.

Continue reading "Promoting peace & harmony in Bougainville through literature" »

The bilum – an icon of PNG design, utility, fashion & identity


AS Papua New Guinea celebrated International Women’s Day recently, my attention turned to the important role in our society of those skillfully netted strings bags known as bilums.

No-one knows when that twine was originally twisted and looped to obtain a robust string bag but we do know that its usefulness and beauty has extended forward in time to continue to be of significance even today.

The prominent British anthropological couple, Marilyn and Andrew Strathern, who spent years in the highlands of PNG, thought the bilum was a result of the practice of spirit worship as they observed women looping the string while singing ritual chants.

Continue reading "The bilum – an icon of PNG design, utility, fashion & identity" »

Sir Mek highlights 6 challenges as he contemplates electoral future


THE result of June's national election will determine the future of Papua New Guinea and it is important that voters are well informed about the issues that are critical to the nation through informed, open public debate.

It is also important to ensure that the conduct of the election itself is free and fair and that electoral systems and processes are transparent and subject to international and domestic public scrutiny.

The adoption of appropriate policies is the key to getting Papua New Guinea back on track, not grandiose schemes, vote-buying and sweet-talk.

Continue reading "Sir Mek highlights 6 challenges as he contemplates electoral future" »

Win or lose, parliamentary training created strong bonds

Veronica Weiang (Graham Robinson  Piksa PNG)DAVID EPHRAIM

VERONICA Weiang is quietly optimistic of her chances in the upcoming national elections after attending week long Practice Parliament for women conducted by UNDP, the National Parliament and the Office of Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates.

Veronica was among 50 women selected from more than 200 applicants who applied to be trained in parliamentary process, the norms of governance and political debate and policy decisions.

The training was conducted at the Gateway Hotel which ended with a mock parliament broadcast live on FM100 Radio.

Veronica said attending the training has provided her the opportunity to bond with many other Papua New Guinean women leaders from around the country and to create a lasting network of friendship.

Continue reading "Win or lose, parliamentary training created strong bonds" »

Panguna is back on track as Momis commits to a new BCL


PRESIDENT of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Chief Dr John Momis has announced his support of the new Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), which has shaken itself off after the sudden exit of Rio Tinto last year.

The government believes BCL has stepped away from the post-colonial, pre-crisis model that left Bougainville at a disadvantage.

The company is now partly owned by the Bougainville government, the PNG government, Panguna landowners, the people of Bougainville and minority private shareholders and, together with the landowners, it still plans to redevelop the defunct Panguna copper and gold mine for the benefit of Bougainville.

Continue reading "Panguna is back on track as Momis commits to a new BCL" »

Black magic: A reality in Papua New Guinea. And for you?


PAPUA New Guinea has some history of being associated with the supernatural.

Our forefathers believed in magic, practiced it and passed it down through the generations until they were challenged by the arrival of missionaries in the 1800s.

Most people in PNG believe in Sanguma, the local term for witchcraft or black magic, and anyone you ask has a story to tell. The belief is widespread among the highly educated and the illiterate – a connection shared with some African nations.

Supposed witches have been tortured and burnt by groups of men often supported by village elders. The torture is somewhat common in most parts of the country.

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Bougainville & PNG governments ready for drawdown of powers


PUBLIC Service Minister Sir Puka Temu (pictured) and departmental Secretary John Kali will lead a top delegation of agency heads to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to execute a memorandum of understanding with the Autonomous Bougainville Government for the drawdown of powers set out in the Bouganville Peace Agreement.

This follows agreement that the Papua New Guinea national government will devolve a lot more of its powers to the ABG including human resource management, education, labour and employment, agriculture and livestock, communications and information, community development, arts and culture, health, tourism, and environment and conservation.

Mr Kali emphasised that the most important ingredient was the development of capacity in the Bougainville public service in terms of its institutions and public servants so the new powers are effectively assumed and utilised for the good of the people in the province.

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'Corruption can be fought if there are more women MPs'

Practice-Parliament-SessionBEN ROBINSON DRAWBRIDGE
| Dateline Pacific, RNZI

WITH only three women currently in parliament out of 111 MPs, an intending candidate for Central Province, Rufina Peter, says she believes more women in the House will reduce political corruption.

"I think having more women in politics and in parliament will be a start towards minimising or reducing the levels of corruption in government,” Rufina Peter said.

“Female politicians will be more concerned about being transparent and to hold leaders to account for certain decisions that they make while holding public office."

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For PNG women a beautiful thought becomes an iconic work

Keith at Brisbane book launchKEITH JACKSON

Here's my talk from last night's Brisbane launch of My Walk to Equality, organised superbly by Murray Bladwell and attended by a standing room only crowd who purchased every available book. So it was two great launches in Port Moresby and Australia for this wonderful first collection of writing by Papua New Guinean women

THE PNG Attitude blog began in 2006 as a small-scale effort to connect people who had attended the Australian School of Pacific Administration, ASOPA.

The full story of the blog can be found in Phil Fitzpatrick’s entertaining book, ‘Fighting for a Voice (Pukpuk Publications, 2016), which you can download for free. 

ASOPA was a training place for kiaps, teachers and other professionals sent to work in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea and the people who graduated there had a fine esprit de corps that kept them in touch with each other down the years.

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PNG Attitude: Feeding our creative & literary brain


IF THE body is made from the foods we eat, then the beauty of the poems we pen, the elegance of the prose we write and the majesty of the books we author can be said to be derived from the books we read.

The ideas, imagery and anecdotes from books, speeches and newspapers are the raw materials that the brain needs to weave its creative magic to mint ideas to fill the blank page.

The creative soul needs a constant dose of good books for reading, to replenish the mental stock. Reading and writing are symbiotic twins. To write well, one needs to read well from literature’s vast spectrum.

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The Sleeping Giant

The Sleeping Giant by Yngve MartinussenRAYMOND KOMIS GIRANA

There you lie beneath that tree of life
Daydreaming about a beautiful wife
Dwarfs scold you and ask for a fight
How long will you be in the night?

Wake up and give life a true meaning
Acknowledge the potentials of your being
Four decades far too long for a big man
Just to sleep and think of a good wife

See if those dwarfs can really fight
And if the fruits are worth tasting
Weigh them all on your shoulder
Wait not when you get older

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Noosa councillors to participate in innovative Projek Wantok

Letter from Noosa mayor to Simbu governorKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA mayor Tony Wellington, just one year in the job, has strongly endorsed a project initiated by the Simbu provincial government to establish a relationship between the people of Simbu in Papua New Guinea and Noosa Shire in Australia.

Cr Wellington also advised that two of his six councillors expressed enthusiasm about participating personally in Projek Wantok (Project Friendship) and will do so.

He was responding formally to an invitation from Simbu Governor, Hon Noah Kool Yalba MP, to sanction the project at an official level.

“I would like to extend the hand of friendship to yourself and the people of Simbu on behalf of Noosa Council and its residents,” Cr Wellington wrote.

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PNG's Torres Strait people are now in horror straits

Malam village youth resting on washed out bridge;  what was a road is now part of the savannah (Tau Kuruwam)MARTYN NAMORONG

COMMUNITIES in the South Fly District of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province are suffering from a leadership vacuum created by the lack of political leadership according Jamie Namorong, a prominent community leader from Malam village in the Trans-Fly.

Jamie Namorong stated that the lack of political leadership coupled with geographical challenges has led to the decline of service delivery in his district.

He said the departure of the PNG Sustainable Development Program from the province has resulted in the decline in mobile communications coverage and many communities that once had access are now cut off from the rest of the world.

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