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55 posts from November 2017

PNG’s 2018 budget: Nice words, poor numbers, strange games

Can revenue real junp this high
Can PNG's revenue really jump this high?

PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics | Edited

CANBERRA - The new Treasurer Charles Abel released his first budget on Tuesday. This was an opportunity to demonstrate the second term of the O'Neill government would help turn the corner on Papua New Guinea’s economic mismanagement. So how did it go?

Overall, there are some wonderful sentiments in this first Abel budget. My sense is that he is very genuine in what he is trying to achieve.

But he seems to be let down by the realities of PNG politics.

Protecting  politicians’ electoral funds, finding money for APEC, trying to regain the upper-hand on the rhetoric of protecting health and education - all within the confines of fiscal responsibility - was simply too much.

Something had to give way in this equation of trying to be responsible while dealing with the political spending pressures. It was revenue credibility.

Continue reading "PNG’s 2018 budget: Nice words, poor numbers, strange games" »

Australian doctors demand access to Manus asylum seekers

Asylum seekers protest (Fairfax)ADELA SULIMAN | Thomson Reuters Foundation

LONDON - A group of senior Australian doctors have written an open letter to their government citing "great concern" for the physical and mental health of hundreds of asylum seekers cleared from an abandoned Australian-run detention camp in Papua New Guinea.

The doctors outlined a range of concerns from poor hygiene and sanitation to the spread of disease and called for an immediate review of the health of the men still on Manus Island, offering to conduct the medical assessments themselves.

"They, like all human beings, have a universal right – enshrined in the United Nations charter – to health and well-being. Their political and citizenship status should not affect this right," read the letter, published on Monday.

Continue reading "Australian doctors demand access to Manus asylum seekers" »

8 million possibilities - the PNG national book project

PNG Career Development logoJOHN K KAMASUA

PORT MORESBY - PNG Career Development Inc is spearheading a national book project entitled 8 Million Possibilities with the aim of getting Papua New Guineans with good stories to consider writing and submitting them for publication in book form.

If you want to motivate many other Papua New Guineans with your story and achievements, including the challenges and hurdles you overcame, here’s an opportunity.

And if you feel your story can inspire young people in the education system, and those starting out on their careers, then it’s for you too.

We want you to tell us how you began your journey to where you are. In the process you will help many people and organisations.

Continue reading "8 million possibilities - the PNG national book project" »

PNG's 2018 budget tries to push away day or reckoning


CANBERRA - Boring people like me spent yesterday and last night going through the fine detail of Papua New Guinea’s just released budget numbers.

As this was written in anticipation and facing the battle to stay awake with too many cups of coffee, I thought it might be useful to reflect on the likely accuracy of the big picture budget numbers we would see.

A good test case for accuracy is the 2016 budget, released in November 2015 one year after the fall in international commodity prices.

2016 is also good because we should have numbers of the actual outcome. We certainly don't have all these numbers for the 2017 outcome as yet.

Continue reading "PNG's 2018 budget tries to push away day or reckoning" »

SA museum’s Pacific collection decision is short-sighted


TUMBY BAY - The South Australian Museum has had a long and fruitful association with the National Museum in Papua New Guinea and holds important collections related to PNG culture and history.

A story in PNG Attitude told of positions of the abolition of positions of curator of foreign ethnology and archaeology at the museum.

I am very surprised and concerned at such a short-sighted decision, particularly as it relates to the museum’s Pacific collections.

South Australia has had a long association with the Pacific region through companies such as the Adelaide Steamship Company, individuals involved in pre-independence administration, myself included, and missionaries, particularly Lutheran, teachers and various specialist researchers.

Continue reading "SA museum’s Pacific collection decision is short-sighted" »

Practical & pragmatic action needed for PNG rugby league

Kumuls - winning & grinning as they make a big impact on world rugby league


PORT MORESBY - It’s time to take stock after the 2017 Rugby League World Cup

The PNG Hunters this year won the Queensland Intrust-Super Cup after being in the competition just four years.

Riding on the back of that success, our national team, the Kumuls, surpassed all previous records and rising above their world ranking of 16 by winning all pool games in front of parochial sell-out crowds at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Now, with PNG knocked out in the quarter finals, the hard lessons need to be learned. Let this world cup be the beginning of bigger and better things for PNG Rugby League.

PNG rugby league board and management have hinted that they need to put in place a junior program, including a schoolboys program. These must happen without haste in 2018.

Continue reading "Practical & pragmatic action needed for PNG rugby league" »

South Australian Museum turns its back on PNG

Dr Barry Craig in the field in PNG
Dr Barry Craig in the field in PNG


NOOSA – Dr Barry Craig worked in the Telefomin area of Papua New Guinea and at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby before moving to the South Australian Museum as curator of foreign ethnology, where he’s been for the past 22 years.

Strange as it may seem, the South Australian Museum has on permanent display a significant collection of objects from Papua New Guinea. It’s a real treasure.

But now it turns out that Dr Craig’s position, along with one in archaeology, has been abolished.

This leaves the Pacific collections and the Pacific Cultures Gallery without an experienced and qualified researcher and interpreter.

Continue reading "South Australian Museum turns its back on PNG" »

Critical issues for discussion between Bougainville & PNG


BUKA - The long deferred Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting which brings together the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea national government has been scheduled for 14-15 December.

Bougainville President John Momis at a special sitting of parliament last week said the meeting will focus on preparations for the province’s referendum on its political future in 2019 and other outstanding issues.

Referendum preparations will be the dominant issue with the need to operationalise the recently formed Bougainville Referendum Commission.

Continue reading "Critical issues for discussion between Bougainville & PNG" »

Sorcery - spiritualism that has crossed over to the dark side

Phil Fitzpatrick at micPHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - My father came from County Waterford in the south of Ireland and my mother came from Suffolk in the south of England.

At one time or another both places were bastions of Celtic culture.

In Suffolk, where I lived as a child, they still spoke about the Celtic queen Boadicea who took on the Romans, as if she was a relative who had only recently died.

With such antecedents I was unavoidably exposed to supernatural, spiritual and superstitious worlds that were as old as time.

My Irish aunts and uncles told me about the little people, the leprechauns, and the frightening witch-like banshees and how to deal with them.

Continue reading "Sorcery - spiritualism that has crossed over to the dark side" »

China-PNG sign huge deal for roads & infrastructure

China-PNG sign road deal
PNG's Peter O'Neill signs a mammoth infrastructure deal with China Railway Group officials

STAFF REPORTER | Global Construction Review

LONDON - China Railway Group and Papua New Guinea have signed agreements for three projects worth about $4 billion - a quarter of the country’s GDP - to upgrade 1,600km of highways and give PNG its first modern road network.

At present, the capital Port Moresby is not linked to any major towns and most highland villages can only be reached by light aircraft or on foot.

The country’s main road, the Highland Highway, is a single carriageway pocked with potholes.

The scheme will also include the Ramu Highway between Watarais and Madang, the Gulf to Southern Highlands highway, the Sepik Coastal Highway, the Magi Highway between Hoskins and Kimbe and other road systems.

Continue reading "China-PNG sign huge deal for roads & infrastructure" »

For Justice. For an end to gender violence. It’s our responsibility

Vanessa Gordon
Vanessa Gordon


BRISBANE - On Friday 17 November a six year old Papua New Guinean child was tortured, sustaining wounds and burns all over her body. This child is the daughter of Leniata Kepari.

In 2013, Leniata was burned to death by a mob in the Highlands after she was accused of practicing witchcraft and sorcery.

The mob that burned Leniata to death has never been charged for her murder.

Her death caused international exposure and a global uproar. Women across the Pacific and around the world came together to fight for gender equality and protest against gender based violence.

Leniata’s death introduced the new term ‘accusation based violence’ in PNG.

The country mourned her death.

Continue reading "For Justice. For an end to gender violence. It’s our responsibility" »

Bougainville disappointed as PNG ‘fails to meet obligations’

John Momis
President John Momis


BUKA - The Autonomous Bougainville Government has been consistently let down by the PNG national government by its continued deferral of meetings to engage on important matters relating to the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Bougainville President John Momis said this treatment was unacceptable given that the ABG is a legitimate autonomous government afforded specific constitutional powers.

“The national government has consistently failed to meet its obligations under the peace agreement,” Dr Momis said.

“The peace agreement established a Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) as the primary mechanism through which the ABG and the national government must consult and resolve disputes,” he added.

“But I am disappointed that the national government has failed to respect the role of the JSB instead using it as a rubber stamp to push through its own views at the expense of the Bougainville people.

Continue reading "Bougainville disappointed as PNG ‘fails to meet obligations’" »

We moved the asylum seekers peacefully to new Manus camps

Gary Baki
RPNGC Commissioner Gary Baki

MEDIA STATEMENT | Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary

Yesterday the last of the asylum seekers on Manus were reluctantly transferred from the 'processing centre' to accommodation in the capital Lorengau after a month-long stand-off. On Thursday this statement had been issued by the PNG police commissioner....

PORT MORESBY - Police Commissioner Gari Baki has said that a total of 50 people were peacefully relocated from the Lombrum based Regional Processing Centre to the two immigration centres on Manus Island.

Of this number, 36 non-refugees and 13 refugees left voluntarily after being briefed and convinced by PNG government officials whilst one, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani, was escorted from the centre by government officials.

“I am glad that this relocation exercise was done peacefully and without use of force,” said Mr Baki. “Kurdish journalist Boochani was not arrested, nor was he charged.

Continue reading "We moved the asylum seekers peacefully to new Manus camps" »

Alluvial gold mining is a big money spinner in PNG

Gold miner
Alluvial gold miner at work in Bougainville’s Tumpusiong Valley


PORT MORESBY - Members of Parliament are paid K12,000 a fortnight but a great many Papua New Guineans are searching for ways to earn K300 – the approximate minimum wage - in an economy where very few paying jobs are available.

Most people scratch out a living as subsistence farmers, which doesn’t offer compensation anywhere near the minimum wage.

With a far-too-high unemployment rate of 70%, Papua New Guineans are desperate for opportunities. 

Alluvial mining is one such opportunity and currently between 40,000 and 80,000 Papua New Guineans put in long hours under the tropical sun sloshing gravel around in gold pans to put bread on the table. 

Some may get two grams a day, some five, some more. It can be good money at the current rate of K70–80 a gram. Even two grams harvested in a day will generate a good income.

Continue reading "Alluvial gold mining is a big money spinner in PNG" »

It’s a mixed result for PNG in new business risk report

Port-Moresby construction
Port Moresby construction scene


PERTH - A comprehensive study has just been completed about where in the world you would find the best – and the worst – jurisdictions in which to invest your hard-earned cash.

Published by our sister publication, the Mining Journal World Risk Report is a comprehensive piece of work which gives a studied and balanced appraisal of what risks may be encountered in nearly every spot on earth.

"This report is not designed as a comprehensive risk-assessment document,” said the report's author, Chris Cann

Continue reading "It’s a mixed result for PNG in new business risk report" »

The embracing work of the churches in PNG society

Tom Ellis  Bishop George Bernarding  Fr Arnold Steffen
Kiap Tom Ellis with Bishop George Bernarding and Fr Arnold Steffen


DUBLIN – Contributor Ross Howard, writing recently in PNG Attitude, has eloquently provided us with an historical background to the debate about science and the church.

Perhaps it’s worthwhile, in commenting on the role of the churches in the development of Papua New Guinea, to look very briefly at the contribution of the churches in the fields of education and health.

Bishop George Bernarding, former Bishop of Mt Hagen, once told me that in the period after World War II the Catholic mission wanted to start an English-speaking school at Kondiu in Simbu but the Australian administration was not in favour saying Pidgin schools would be quite adequate.

The Diocese of Mt Hagen eventually established two high schools, Fatima and Notre Dame, and numerous community schools in what was then Western Highlands District. To the best of my knowledge the District Commissioner, Tom Ellis, was most supportive.

Continue reading "The embracing work of the churches in PNG society" »

The late President Kabui’s family reunites after 9 years

Tomb of the late President Joseph Kabui
The tomb of late Bougainville President Joseph Kabui


ARAWA - It was in June 2008, whilst he was still in office, that Joseph Kabui, the founding president of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, died.

Conflict immediately broke out over the burial place of the deceased between Kabui’s matrilineal family of Enamira Village in the Panguna District of central Bougainville and his widow and her four daughters from Tadolima Village in the Bana District of south Bougainville.

The friction developed because, to the Nasioi people, a deceased chief of a family must be buried in his original homeland amongst his family so the power and respect he had will flow down his family line.

This Nasioi belief however was not in line with what the public wanted during the funeral ceremony of the president. Many of them stood up to the concerned nieces of the president and said the casket was state property and the rightful owners should be his wife and daughters.

Continue reading "The late President Kabui’s family reunites after 9 years" »

Population explosion makes protection of customary land vital

PNG Population ProjectionEDDIE TANAGO

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s population is growing at an explosive rate, which makes retaining control of customary land vitally important.

Customary land is very valuable. It sustains a huge economy and provides employment for three million local farmers.

Customary land is also vital for food security and it makes people strong and self-reliant.

The 2011 national census reported PNG’s population to be 7.2 million but, at a growth rate of over 2% a year, it has already grown to an estimated 8.3 million.[

That is a 1.1 million or 15% increase in just 6 years.

Continue reading "Population explosion makes protection of customary land vital" »

I am shown the terrible PNGDF ‘death bunker’ of Sovele

Thomas Kolouko and the concrete structure
Thomas Kolouko outside the concrete 'death bunker'


ARAWA – “In Nagovis we were the first people to uphold the Bougainville Revolutionary Army’s fight in 1990,” recalled Thomas Kolouko of Biroi village in the Bana District.

“But when the [PNG] army came to Sovele in late 1992,” Thomas continued, “we decided not to flee but remain in our villages with hope for better change for Bougainville.

“[But] under Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) control we suffered the most.”

He directed my eyes to a concrete cell behind the padre’s house.

“This was our death bunker whenever we did wrong - like drinking - or whenever we were suspected of dealing with the BRA. We were urinated at and defecated over and we died in here.”

My visit to Sovele Catholic Mission in south Bougainville’s Bana District had led me to this house, behind which, half-buried in the soil, was the concrete cell measuring about five metres by five metres and four metres in height.

Continue reading "I am shown the terrible PNGDF ‘death bunker’ of Sovele" »

6-year old girl brutally tortured after being accused of sorcery

Innocent woman burned to death
Kepari Leniata being burned alive

LIAM FOX | Pacific Beat, ABC

Read Liam’s full story here

ENGA - A young girl has been brutally tortured in Papua New Guinea after being falsely accused of practising sorcery.

The girl, believed to be about six years old, is now in hospital receiving treatment for extensive wounds and burns after members of her community tortured her with hot knives.

Lutheran missionary Anton Lutz was in the party that rescued the girl from her remote village near Sirunki in Enga province in PNG's highlands late last week.

"It's the first time that I've had to deal with anything with a young child like this and it's always confronting," Mr Lutz said.

The girl is believed to be the daughter of Kepari Leniata, who was burned alive in Mt Hagen in 2013, after also being accused of practicing sorcery, or sanguma, as it is a locally known.

Continue reading "6-year old girl brutally tortured after being accused of sorcery" »

Sanguma: A real evil that destroys peace & communities


MADANG - Some people in Papua New Guinea are questioning whether sanguma is real. I would argue that the sanguma creature in itself may be as real as Santa Klaus or Harry Potter, but that the evil of sanguma is as real as torture and death are real.

I have witnessed or been closely associated with many cases of accusations of sanguma in the PNG Highlands.  Let me give examples of just three of the many and the reader can decide whether they are studies of good or evil and how real they are.

Mendaiwan was accused along with another woman when after a feast a man got ill and died. Men accused and tortured them with heated bush knives and steel rods, demanding to know where the women had put the dead man’s heart.

Continue reading "Sanguma: A real evil that destroys peace & communities" »

Sorcery, science, modernity & decent human behaviour


ADELAIDE - Our very earliest ancestors were a very nervous lot indeed and had good cause to be.

They were small, slow, not very strong and had virtually no inbuilt weapons like large teeth and claws. They were easy prey for a host of predators.

They understood very little about the world in which they lived. The causes of natural phenomena were impenetrable mysteries to them. Events like earthquakes, eclipses, storms, disease and death were even more terrifying for being inexplicable.

To make sense of the natural world, our ancestors used their large brains, imaginations and mastery of language to create and describe vivid supernatural worlds, populated by gods of various kinds, their ancestors’ ghosts and any number of evil beings upon who could be cast blame for the horrible things that happened from time to time.

Continue reading "Sorcery, science, modernity & decent human behaviour" »

Sorcery cannot be solved using Western instruments


RABAUL - Sorcery has been part of our culture for a very long time. It is as real as anything. The thing is it cannot be solved using Western instruments.

The West with its rationalism and empiricism will continue to wave it off as an illusion of the ignorant. But unless they experience what we experience, they will never know how to relate to sorcery.

Sorcery related cases will always be deemed "accusation based" as long as we use Western instruments to address them.

I spent a full year in a sanguma zone (a village in Lufa, Eastern Highlands) and I tell you none of the training I received at university prepared me for the horrors of sorcery.

Continue reading "Sorcery cannot be solved using Western instruments" »

Sorcery and ‘sanguma’ are real – I’ve got some case studies

Men from Goroka
Men from Goroka


PORT MORESBY – Gender-based violence has reared its ugly head again. This time, it’s sorcery-related. The media was quick to label it as ‘fake’ and called on everyone not to believe in sanguma.

Good and evil are subjective thoughts within our own interpretations. It is entirely up to you whether you believe evil spirits exist or not.

I maintain that good and evil forces co-exist because I’ve seen the manifestation.

If you don’t believe me, come to my village on Fergusson Island in Milne Bay. I’ll get a witch doctor to demonstrate supernatural powers for you to see with your own eyes.

My mum was sick for two years. An envious aunt had taken some of her hair and placed it over a fireplace. So for two years, mum kept feeling dizzy and she had frequents fits.

Continue reading "Sorcery and ‘sanguma’ are real – I’ve got some case studies" »

Officials' bad behaviour tarnishes B/ville referendum consultation

A Bougainville referendum team meets with villagers
Bougainville referendum team meets with villagers


ARAWA – Inside the Department of Bougainville Peace Agreement and Implementation there is a dedicated unit entitled the Referendum Directorate.

Since early September the Directorate has been rolling out a public consultation process throughout Bougainville on matters the Bougainville Peace Agreement was silent or unclear on.

But for a few team members, heartache is all they endured. Let me explain

So many commentators on Bougainville affairs say Bougainville has the right climate for corruption. If so, then corruption is practiced beyond sight of and with ignorance amongst the people of Bougainville and the Bougainville government itself.

The consultation began in Buin on 21 September (a Thursday). The public and a number of stakeholders came to Nigeriai Guesthouse at Turiboiru Catholic Mission to offer their views on the coming Bougainville referendum.

Continue reading "Officials' bad behaviour tarnishes B/ville referendum consultation" »

Kumuls need to keep down error count to challenge England

Josh Hodgson and James Segeyaro (Gregg Porteous & David Buller)
Josh Hodgson & James Segeyaro


England v Papua New Guinea, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Sunday 4pm AEDT

MELBOURNE - England face an undefeated Papua New Guinea side who venture outside Port Moresby for the first time in this Rugby League World Cup.

Wayne Bennett's England side has shown patches of what they are capable of, without yet putting in an 80-minute performance, with victories over France (36-6) and Lebanon (29-10).

The Kumuls come to Melbourne after accounting for Wales, Ireland and the USA by a combined 128-12.

The English get Sam Burgess back who returns from a knee injury and will start in the second row, with Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins replacing Stefan Ratchford and Mark Percival in the backline.

Continue reading "Kumuls need to keep down error count to challenge England" »

Kumuls can knock England out of world cup says Paul Aiton

Paul Aiton


LONDON - Paul Aiton is convinced Papua New Guinea can pull off a major shock by knocking England out of the World Cup.

Aiton and his Kumuls team will have eight million fans screaming them on back in PNG.

The Catalans and former Leeds star admits even he’s in awe of the passion in a country where rugby league is the national sport.

He said: “We’ve had a lot of trouble with politics and tribal stuff but when we play for the Kumuls everyone is behind us.

“It is hard for other people to understand. PNG people just love the game - they even clap if the other team does something well which is unreal.”

England are big favourites to win Sunday’s quarter-final in Melbourne but Aiton insists his side also have their eyes on the semi-finals. He said: “Our chances are very good, 50-50 as far as we’re concerned. We are training to win.”

Continue reading "Kumuls can knock England out of world cup says Paul Aiton" »

Has anyone seen this man: Benedict Allen, lost in PNG

HARRY COCKBURN | The Independent

Benedict Allen
Benedict Allen

LONDON - A British explorer has gone missing in Papua New Guinea during an attempt to contact a tribe living in a remote area of jungle.

Benedict Allen, 57, has not been heard from in over three weeks after being dropped off by helicopter.

He was supposed to have begun his journey home on Sunday, but missed a flight to Hong Kong where he was booked to give a talk to the Royal Geographic Society.

He has not been heard from since late October. His last public post was earlier in the month when he tweeted a picture of himself wearing his rucksack on the way to Papua New Guinea.

“Marching off to Heathrow. I may be some time (don’t try and rescue me please - where I’m going in PNG you won’t ever find me you know...)”

His family is now concerned something may have happened to him on his trek.

Mr Allen was trying to reach the Yaifo people, who he first met 30 years ago in Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik province. He was trying to meet them again to film them for a new documentary.

Continue reading "Has anyone seen this man: Benedict Allen, lost in PNG" »

Women’s rugby league's power for change in PNG


Cathy Neap
Cathy Neap - rugby league is helping redefine PNG women

SYDNEY - No one needs to tell Papua New Guinea captain Cathy Neap about the power of the Women's Rugby League World Cup.

And it's not about growing the game, as league is already PNG's national pastime.

The fact is that women are now playing at the highest level has helped the country's female population overcome one of the nation's worst-kept secrets: an alarmingly high rate of domestic violence.

Cathy Neap plays in the back row for the Orchids and is proud to captain PNG at their first World Cup appearance. She says she owes rugby league another debt of gratitude.

"Definitely this game is working for us, for the women. We are gaining respect from the men in my country," she told

Continue reading "Women’s rugby league's power for change in PNG" »

Dead was alive: My faith in an old custom worked


KUNDIAWA - Some old customs can be just as effective today if we strongly believe them and put them into practice.

I had just arrived at the office from one of my regular cocoa development extension field work in the northern Gazelle area of the East New Britain Province.

John Tebin had already cleaned the office and was waiting for me when I arrived. John, from East Sepik, was the office cleaner and teaboy.

I rushed into the office to drop off my brief case full of farmers’ files and head for home.

As soon as I reached my desk, a bombshell that had been waiting for me the whole day blew up tearing my mind to shreds. The briefcase dropped from my grip and I sank into a chair like a drunkard.

Continue reading "Dead was alive: My faith in an old custom worked" »

The old world order is dying, but what will replace it?

New-World-Order (David Icke)CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I was born in the middle of the 20th century and thus grew up in a world that was still recovering from the impact of two incredibly savage and debilitating industrial scale wars, as well as grappling with the new geo-political realities that had emerged from those twin conflagrations.

The post war world had essentially been divided into two opposing camps, one being dominated by the USA and the other by the USSR.

In practice, the latter was a new Russian Empire dressed up in the clothing of communism. Each of these camps was profoundly hostile to the other on political, ideological and philosophical grounds.

Continue reading "The old world order is dying, but what will replace it?" »

I’ve got a talking dog that lives in my head

Imaginary friend (Lara Meintjes)PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I’ve had this voice floating around in my head for several years now. It’s the voice of a small dog of indeterminate breed whose use of the English language is strange but quite endearing.

When he talks to me I reply in the same style, sometimes out loud if there is no one else about. We have some interesting conversations in this manner. These mostly occur when I’m out walking.

He’s not quite an alter ego and certainly has nothing to do with my conscience because he tends to be rash and uninhibited in his pronouncements.

We tend to agree on many matters but also argue about others.

I’m not really sure where he came from or when he actually arrived in my head.

Continue reading "I’ve got a talking dog that lives in my head" »

Paris Gave Birth


Aphrodite and Paris
Aphrodite presents a convincing case at the Judgement of Paris

Summer creeping up
slowly behind spring.
fabrics of snow
handpicked meticulously
by Aphrodite
to weave a dress;
a gift for Paris.

Paris giving birth
to romance,
the illegitimate offspring
of a fling with Morpheus;
now we are all drunk
with the wine of her infidelity.
Morpheus dreaming
on a dreamless night.

Continue reading "Paris Gave Birth" »

It looks like the government is again stalling over ICAC

CorruptionEDDIE TANAGO | Campaign Coordinator, Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - Community advocacy group Act Now! says it fears the government is deliberately delaying plans to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

On Friday, prime minister O’Neill completed 100 days in office since his re-election, but he has failed to bring the ICAC legislation before Parliament.

This is despite promises from Justice Minister Davis Stevens in September that establishing an ICAC was a priority for the government and all efforts were being made to make it a reality.

Last week the PM was questioned by political party executives about the timetable for the ICAC legislation and was very vague in his comments, suggesting it will ‘probably’ be March next year at the earliest.

Continue reading "It looks like the government is again stalling over ICAC" »

The Magic of Books


When we sit and open books to read,
We grow wings and fly to worlds anew,
Created by daring souls,
And beautiful creative minds.

We enter the literary universe,
Where imagination reigns
And golden ideas abound,
And deep wisdom dwells.

Every book holds the power to ignite the mind,
Every chapter the seed of a thousand stories,
Every sentence a trigger for new ideas,
Every phrase a golden gem.

Continue reading "The Magic of Books" »

Is violence against women just part of our brutal human makeup?


TUMBY BAY - In a comment about Francis Nii’s recent article about violence against women, Michael Geketa makes the point that it’s a social issue rather than an economic or legal one.

I agree with him up to a point.

You can, as has been frequently demonstrated in multiple fields, legislate against certain human activities and even throw heaps of money at their prevention. But to no avail.

This is as true in Australia as it is in Papua New Guinea. The difference in Papua New Guinea is that, despite the good intentions of its laws, the necessary resources and enforcement never seem to follow.

Continue reading "Is violence against women just part of our brutal human makeup?" »

Hela wants justice for the death of two police officers


KOROBA - This year’s Papua New Guinean election was the worst in our history. There were so many terrible incidents, especially the killing of police officers performing their duties.

More than 40 deaths were reported in the Highlands since June and the actual death toll is likely to be much more.

Two police officers were killed in Enga Province and another two killed recently in the Southern Highlands, officers from Koroba in Hela Province who were the victims of disputes over ballot boxes for the regional seat.

The election created frustration and confusion and was brought to a standstill by fighting between supporters of rivals Joseph Kobol and William Powi. One police officer was the target for declaring William Powi as Southern Highlands Governor wen the counting was finished.

Continue reading "Hela wants justice for the death of two police officers" »

Privilege, tokenism & acknowledgement: a cautionary tale


BRISBANE - Lola Olufemi, women’s officer of Cambridge University’s student union, was amongst a group of students who recently, co-signed an open letter to the university’s English Department criticising a prescribed reading list dominated by white male authors.

The letter requested the ‘decolonisation’ of the English literature syllabus by giving the same moral and intellectual consideration to include black, minority and ethnic authors.

The London Telegraph gave front-page coverage to the letter, singling out Lola Olufemi’s photograph from amongst the collective petitioners and reframing the story to suit the newspaper’s right wing agenda.

As a result of the press coverage, Ms Olufemi endured a torrent of racist and gendered abuse.

Co-signatory, student Isadora Dooley Hunter, said, “People react negatively because it makes them feel uncomfortable but you need to make people feel uncomfortable for them to address their privilege.”

Privilege - a notion so universal, and discussed and debated at the turn of each second.

Continue reading "Privilege, tokenism & acknowledgement: a cautionary tale" »

Research into the causes of domestic violence is critical

Francis Nii
Francis Nii


KUNDIAWA - Domestic violence is again in the headlines of Papua New Guinea’s media following the death of journalist Rosalyn Evara last month.

At the time of her unexpected death, Rosalyn was business editor of the Post Courier newspaper.

Her death was alleged to be a result of domestic violence, but Port Moresby General Hospital’s chief pathologist Dr Seth Fose, who carried out the autopsy, stated that embalming and decomposition had undermined any reliable findings as to cause.

Earlier, at Rosalyn’s funeral, a family member had made public graphic photos of the harm done to her body.

The matter is now before the coroner for further investigation and final determination on the cause of Rosalyn’s death.

The first case of gender-based violence that came to prominence was the brutal murder of 20-year old Kepari Leniata in Mt Hagen in 2013.

Continue reading "Research into the causes of domestic violence is critical" »

The changing language around us: A great big melting pot

Phil on patrol in the Star Mountains  early 1970s
Phil Fitzpatrick as a young kiap patrolling in the Star Mountains


TUMBY BAY - Back in the stone-age when I was a kiap it was reasonably easy to work out where people came from.

The difference between someone from Buka and, say, the Papuan coast was immediately obvious. Very black skin and wavy hair were dead giveaways.

Even smaller subtleties were easy to pick and it was possible to tell whether someone was a Kiwai from Daru or a Kerema from Gulf.

Among the highlanders, people from the Wahgi Valley stood out because of their height. Stubby Simbus from the steep mountain slopes had a certain stance and set of jaw and mouth.

Nowadays, with all the intermarriage and breaking down of boundaries, these physical markers are going.

In terms of physical appearance Papua New Guineans are becoming homogeneous.

There are exceptions, of course, but these are largely confined to the more isolated areas such as high mountain valleys, the vast lowland swamps and the outer islands.

Continue reading "The changing language around us: A great big melting pot" »

PNG court ruling jeopardises Manus refugees’ lives

Manus-island-refugeesAMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Read the complete article here

SYDNEY - Critical services, including food, water and medical treatment, must be restored to the more than 600 refugees and vulnerable men inside the Lombrum detention centre on Manus Island before a major tragedy occurs, Amnesty International said yesterday as researchers returned from Manus Island.

Refugees and vulnerable men should not be forcibly relocated until such time as their dignity and safety can be guaranteed.

“Today, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court rejected a last ditch attempt by refugees to have these essential services restored and their rights protected. The decision is an abhorrent attack on the right to life,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

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Women’s wartime memories cast new light on a grim time

Memories of war
(L-R) researcher Margaret Embahe, interviewees Angela Arasepa and Alberta Doiko, researcher Mavis Tongia

VICTORIA STEAD | The Conversation

MELBOURNE - November 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Kokoda Track Campaign of World War II.

The campaign involved a series of battles between Allied and Japanese forces along the mountainous 96km track connecting Kokoda Station, in Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province, with the capital Port Moresby.

‘Kokoda’ has become iconic in Australian national narratives of the war. Its commemoration most commonly invokes images of Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, local carriers who assisted Allied forces and whose relationships with Australian soldiers are frequently described in terms of “mateship” and “brotherly bonds”.

But there is good reason to look beyond these narratives. Feminist historians and scholars of conflict have urged us to be attentive to the effects of wars on women, as well as to the roles they have played even in seemingly impossible circumstances.

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More on those wonderfully engineered PNG cane bridges

Read Fr Garry Roche’s original article here

Constructing bridge across the Raihu (Australian War Memorial)The kunda bridge across the Raihu at Aitape


BRISBANE - Very few people know that in the 1950s there was a kunda bridge across the Raihu River at Aitape where there is now a steel and concrete bridge.

During World War II, in 1944-45, the Australians (No 7 Mobile Works Squadron RAAF) built a Bailey Bridge near the mouth of the Raihu River as they needed a connection between Tadji airstrip and Aitape beach where small boats unloaded. This photo shows it under construction.

This bridge only lasted a few months; it was washed away by the huge torrent of the Raihu River in flood. It’s still there somewhere, buried under the gravel.

Then, in the 1950s, a new dynamic young kiap arrived and was disgusted with the rather inconvenient journey he had to make to the airstrip.

Continue reading "More on those wonderfully engineered PNG cane bridges" »

NZ Hansard editors try to reduce a 2 year PNG delay

New Zealand Parliament
New Zealand's parliament - the Beehive


WELLINGTON - Two New Zealand Hansard editors headed to Papua New Guinea last week to help their inter-parliamentary colleagues review the way they produce their parliamentary debates.

Hansard team leader Luke Harris and editor Hayley Locke visited the Papua New Guinea Parliament as part of the Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative run by the United Nations Development Program.

“This was a fact-finding mission to get an overview of the kind of support they needed,” said Mr Harris.

“We spent a lot of time brainstorming the issues the PNG Hansard team face and we helped them identify three key challenges.”

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Ireland coach: ‘Our match against PNG is like a grand final’

Oliver Roberts featured for the Wolfhounds in their win against Italy
Oliver Roberts featured for the Wolfhounds in their match against Italy


PORT MORESBY - Ireland's rugby league world cup pool game today against co-hosts Papua New Guinea will be their ‘grand final’ according to Irish coach Mark Aston.

Ireland beat Italy 36-12 in their first match, while Papua New Guinea were 50-6 winners over Wales.

Aston, who has worked with a number of PNG’s players at Sheffield, has stuck with the same side to face the Group C leaders in Port Moresby.

"We've got a plan and, if we execute it, then who knows?" he said.

"To get a look at them against Wales was great for us. We're not going to be shocked."

Continue reading "Ireland coach: ‘Our match against PNG is like a grand final’" »

Oh, Port Moresby – all you want from me is lots of money

Port Moresby CBD
Port Moresby CBD - the national capital is a horrendously expensive place to live


PORT MORESBY - The price of everything is inflated in Port Moresby. Talk about skyscraper rentals, overvalued properties and a cunning mobile service provider that rips off customers.

Even the PMV buses shorten their routes or charge double fares at peak hour.

Suffice to say, Port Moresby is amongst the most expensive cities in the world in which to live.

The cost of living will be a surprise to a lot of people in Papua New Guinea because Moresby prices are not the same as in the rest of the nation.

Goods and services are slightly cheaper in provincial towns and rural areas. The markets in Kokopo, Goroka, Mt Hagen, Alotau, Vanimo and other towns have prices that are a fraction of what we pay for vegetables here in Port Moresby. I’ve seen it for myself.

Continue reading "Oh, Port Moresby – all you want from me is lots of money" »

750 more teachers are improving their credentials in PNG

Dr Genevieve Nelson with Simbu teacher training team
Dr Genevieve Nelson (KTF CEO) with the Simbu provincial education advisor and elementary teacher training team

TESS GIZORIA | Kokoda Track Foundation

PORT MORESBY - This week the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF), the Papua New Guinea Education Institute and the National Department of Education are expanding the ‘Teach for Tomorrow’ program to a further 746 trainee teachers across Simbu and Central Provinces and the National Capital District.

Generously funded by ExxonMobil, the Australian Government and KTF donors, the training enables partially-trained elementary teachers to complete their Certificates of Elementary Teaching and become fully-fledged elementary teachers.

Over the next six weeks, trainee teachers will participate in lectures, practical sessions, workshops and assessments across two locations: 572 teachers in Simbu Province and 174 in Central Province.

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UN tells Australia to restore food & water to Manus refugees

Manus refugee digging for water
A Manus refugee digs for water


Read the full article here

GENEVA - The United Nations human rights office has called on Australia to restore food, water and health services to about 600 interned refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea, which Canberra cut off four days ago.

The detainees in the Manus Island Centre have defied attempts by the governments of both Australia and PNG to close the camp, saying they fear violent reprisals from the local community if they are moved to other ‘transit centres’.

“We call on the Australian government, who interned the men in the first place, to immediately provide protection, food, water and other basic services,” UN rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing.

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Kumuls take on Ireland - & we predict a 16-point PNG win

The mighty Kumuls
The mighty Kumuls take on the Irish Wolfhounds

DREW DARBYSHIRE | Love Rugby League

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea will welcome Ireland to Port Moresby tomorrow, with the Irish going into the game with nothing to lose.

The Kumuls stole the headlines last weekend on and off the field as  they eased past Wales 50-6 in front of a sell-out crowd of nearly 15,000 in the PNG capital.

Meanwhile, Ireland surprised quite a few people as they put in a dominant display against an Italy side full of experience and were 36-12 victors in Cairns.

All the pressure is now on the Kumuls though, as they are the home nation and play all three of their group games in Port Moresby, which is the hotbed for rugby league in PNG.

Continue reading "Kumuls take on Ireland - & we predict a 16-point PNG win" »