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77 posts from April 2018

PNG earthquake’s political aftershocks require careful handling

Earthquake damagePAUL FLANAGAN | East Asia Forum

CANBERRA - The 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Papua New Guinea on 26 February killed over 100 people and left 270,000 in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. There have been dozens of physical aftershocks.

But the most damaging aftershock may be the earthquake’s undermining of the social licence of the affected areas’ PNG LNG project, which is responsible for 40% of PNG’s exports.

The immediate disaster relief effort is proceeding slowly but surely. The Highlands Highway, a lifeline through PNG’s Highlands Region, has been cleared, although many important side roads remain blocked.

Continue reading "PNG earthquake’s political aftershocks require careful handling" »

PNG is running out of vital HIV drugs and people could die

A nurse helps move a patient dying of HIV-AIDS in Port Moresby (ABC)JASMINE ANDERSSON | Pink News

PORT MORESBY - Advocacy groups have warned HIV-positive Papua New Guineans could die if the country’s dwindling anti-retroviral drugs supply is not replenished soon.

Papua New Guinea is eating into its buffer supply of the HIV medicine after the government slashed the budget for the treatment.

“We’re talking about quite a serious situation … where we are now currently eating into our three- to six-month buffer stock of anti-retroviral treatment,” said David Bridger, the head of UNAIDS in PNG.

PNG, which accounts for 95% of all HIV cases in the Pacific, has seen its budget for the HIV drug plummet in the past year.

Continue reading "PNG is running out of vital HIV drugs and people could die" »

The laurabada blows & I long for a true PNG-Australia partnership

Kokoda memorial tabletKEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinean capital is green and misty as the end of the wet season nears with the laurabada gusting, signalling that the dry is not far away.

Mosbi groans under its new infrastructure – grand hotels, public buildings, sports stadiums and highways (that only required some pot holes filled) being ripped up and replaced. The city is full of irritated commuters and signs welcoming APEC.

In some ways the scale of activity is impressive in a nation that is nearly broke given that there seems to be no vision beyond the APEC forum - November’s gala event starring Trump, Xi, Modhi, Abe et al and including whoever at the time happens to lead the world’s largest island to the south.

Continue reading "The laurabada blows & I long for a true PNG-Australia partnership" »

All round, those Papua New Guinean kiaps had a tough job

Postage stamp
Not the best rendered PNG postage stamp, but it did mark the onset of the first indigenous kiaps


ADELAIDE - I worked with Papua New Guinean kiaps Jack Karukuru and Cedric Tabua, both now deceased I think.

They were intelligent and capable men. Jack went on to become a departmental head but Cedric's ultimate fate is unknown to me.

I always thought that PNG kiaps had a really tough task.

They were being asked to join a colonial force that was designed to impose the rule of a foreign power upon their fellow citizens. There was, amongst some officers within the Department of District Administration, more than a hint of racism with which they had to contend.

Also, it was my impression that it was harder for them to win the confidence of the local people they were working with because they were not automatically covered by the mystical prestige accorded to white kiaps.

Continue reading "All round, those Papua New Guinean kiaps had a tough job" »

Those tough Chimbu kiaps included the remarkable Joe Nombri

Basil Koe  one of the first trainee kiaps at Finschhafen in 1961
Basil Koe one of the first trainee kiaps at Finschhafen in 1961


KUNDIAWA - The training of Papua New Guineans to become patrol officers was begun by the Department of Native Affairs in 1961 at Finschhafen.

A number of Chimbu men who had completed schooling in the late 1950s and 1960s joined the colonial administration as kiaps.

They included Joseph (Joe) Nombri, John Mua Nilkare, Kimin Poka, John Wawe, Jim Nombri, John Gigmai, Joe Kaugla, Joe Towa, Mathew Towa, Jerry Gerry, Philip Gore, Steven Kume, Otto Olmi, Peter Abba, John Ninkama, Alfred Poka, Philip Opri, John Koma and Joseph Mogna.

It was administration policy not to post local patrol officers or policemen to their home districts to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest.

However, as Papua New Guineans, they had particularly good knowledge of culture, geography and language that made them equal to the task and sometimes better than their Australian counterparts in their primary duties of stopping tribal fights, conducting peace ceremonies, supervising compensations and running elections and censuses.

Continue reading "Those tough Chimbu kiaps included the remarkable Joe Nombri" »

Bougainville Copper on course to renew Panguna licence

Mine plans stallSTAFF CORRESPONDENT | Radio New Zealand

Mining company Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) has advised the Australian sharemarket the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) decision not to renew its exploration licence at Panguna has been stayed in the National Court of Papua New Guinea.

The vast Panguna copper and gold mine once generated nearly half of PNG's annual export revenue.

BCL ran Panguna until the outbreak of civil war in 1989 in which grievances caused by the mine were central to the 10 year conflict that cost over 20,000 lives.

It is one of two companies that have been vying to re-open Panguna and has told the market it will continue to pursue the rights of its shareholders.

BCL company secretary Mark Hitchcock said the company was due back in court next month as it was seeking a judicial review over the non-renewal of the licence.

The ABG placed an indefinite moratorium on mining at Panguna which Mr Hitchcock said BCL would respect.

Continue reading "Bougainville Copper on course to renew Panguna licence" »

PNG looks at net-free blockchain to bring banking to masses

BlockchainPETE SABINE | Asia Times

HONG KONG - Blockchain is a word that is now bandied around with alarming regularity, so when Papua New Guinea became the latest country to be associated with it, there were plenty of skeptics.

Contrary to naysayers’ expectations, PNG is exploring how to use blockchain to viably address some of the country’s economic issues.

Loi Bakani, Governor of the Bank of PNG, has been vocal about blockchain trials currently underway in partnership with the Australian government-funded PNG Governance Facility and also Abt Associates, an organization working on poverty relief.

According to Abt Associates, the majority of the population in PNG lack access to banking, while mobile-phone penetration is approximately 50%, making blockchain a possible solution to people with limited access to financial services.

Continue reading "PNG looks at net-free blockchain to bring banking to masses" »

Editor in country - blog unreliably following me around

Ingrid and I are in PNG for 10 days. Mainly to see family and friends.
And to feel the vibe again. As always when I travel, the blog may be a
bit irregular, 
but keep those articles & comments flowing

Australia's neglected relationship with the Pacific can change

Thom Woodroofe
Thom Woodroofe - "Symbolism matters in diplomacy, and protocol matters in the Pacific"


SYDNEY - Australia’s responsibility to the Pacific is unique – besides our historical ties with the UK, it is the only relationship specifically mentioned in the constitution.

And for 10 of the more than dozen island nations in the region, unquestionably their most important bilateral relationship is with our country. Two things we often forget.

But for the last half decade or so there have been three very clear signs of a distinct step back in terms of Australia’s engagement with the Pacific – all of which has materially changed the way we are viewed in the region we call home.

Firstly, and perhaps where most attention is often singularly focused, there has been an overall reduction in Australia’s international aid.

Even though this has been concentrated back in the Pacific under the Coalition Government – and at $1.1bn annually we are still the largest donor – the narrative has been negative.

Continue reading "Australia's neglected relationship with the Pacific can change" »

When war came to Australian Papua: Poppy & lantana side by side

Doug Robbins  Anzac Day  Springbrook. 2018
Ex kiap Doug Robbins' speech to Springbrook's Anzac Day ceremony yesterday


SPRINGBROOK, QUEENSLAND - The past year marked 75 years since, sadly, too many Australian lives were lost during World War II fighting in the South West Pacific Area – and on Australian soil.

Following Pearl Harbour, Darwin at the north of mainland Australia, was bombed in February 1942 with loss of many servicemen and civilians. Then Broome was bombed the next month.

We know that Darwin is part of Australia, but little is acknowledged that Papua, a former British Colony in the south-east quarter of the island of New Guinea and only four kilometres from the Torres Strait Islands of Queensland, was a Territory of Australia for almost 100 years to 1975.

The fierce jungle battles of Kokoda, Milne Bay and the Beachheads were fought on what was then Australian soil.

In August 1942, at the same time as Kokoda, Australian Forces were defending airfields at Milne Bay to protect Port Moresby and Australia to the south. Milne Bay was free of fighting by September.

Continue reading "When war came to Australian Papua: Poppy & lantana side by side" »

New financial system expected to make economy more transparent

Paul Barker
Paul Barker


PORT MORESBY - The introduction of a new financial system should make Papua New Guinea’s economy more effective and transparent, a prominent commentator has told Radio New Zealand.

Paul Barker, head of PNG's Institute of National Affairs, told journalist Jenny Meyer that it had taken “a very long time” for the government to roll out a new system that will make financial management more effective and transparent.

The PNG Finance Minister has previously stated that there could be up to a billion kina missing in the government system.

“I know that there are a lot of concerns,” Mr Barker said. “Certainly the government [are] trying to get their hands on a lot of money that may be sitting around the system in bank accounts and trust accounts and so on.

Continue reading "New financial system expected to make economy more transparent" »

China in the Pacific: where there’s smoke, there’s mirrors

Professor Jon Fraenkel

JON FRAENKEL | East Asia Forum

WELLINGTON, NZ - A Fairfax news report that ‘preliminary discussions’ were held between the Chinese and Vanuatu governments about the establishment of a naval base at a Beijing-funded wharf in Luganville is causing quite a stir in Australia.

The US$87 million wharf was funded by a loan from China’s EXIM bank to allow cruise ships to dock on the island. But some US and Australian intelligence analysts fear that it could provide port facilities for Chinese warships less than 2,000 kilometres from Australia’s east coast.

While the original Sydney Morning Herald story acknowledged that there had as yet been ‘no formal proposals’, that qualification vanished in The Diplomat’s report that China had ‘formally approached’ Vanuatu about a “permanent military base”.

Continue reading "China in the Pacific: where there’s smoke, there’s mirrors" »

Anzac Day 1: Leadership nowhere to be found

Richard Flanagan
Richard Flanagan - drawing attention from how far Australians have strayed from the true ideals that were represented by Anzac

RICHARD FLANAGAN | The Guardian | Extract

Read here Richard Flanagan’s complete address to the National Press Club

CANBERRA - Our society grows increasingly more unequal, more disenfranchised, angrier, more fearful.

Even in my home town of Hobart, as snow settles on the mountain, there is the deeply shameful spectacle of a tent village of the homeless, the number of which increase daily. We sense the rightful discontent of the growing numbers locked out from a future. From hope.

Instead of public debate, scapegoats are offered up – the boatperson, the queue jumper, the Muslim – a xenophobia both parties have been guilty of playing on for electoral benefit for two decades.

Continue reading "Anzac Day 1: Leadership nowhere to be found" »

Anzac Day 2: 'Lest We Forget (Manus)'

Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Yassmin Abdel-Magied


MELBOURNE - Nearly a year after her Anzac Day post led to her receiving death threats, Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied has risked further outrage by endorsing another Anzac Day tweet about asylum seekers.

Last Friday Ms Abdel-Magied shared a tweet from Sally Rugg, a former GetUp! campaign director and incoming national director, that read: “What if thousands of us all tweeted ‘lest we forget (Manus)’ next week on April 25th…”

Ms Abdel-Magied retweeted Ms Rugg’s words and added: “Do it.”

Last year, the Sudanese-Australian engineer and then-ABC commentator apologised after she was accused of disrespecting Australian soldiers for writing, “LEST. WE. FORGET. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine …)” on her Facebook page on Anzac Day.

Continue reading "Anzac Day 2: 'Lest We Forget (Manus)'" »

Anzac Day 3: Death of Yamamoto marked on Bougainville

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

CHRIS CAROLA | The Associated Press

ALBANY, NY — A group from the United States and Japan is trekking to a remote Pacific island jungle to document what is considered one of the most important wreck sites of World War II: where American fighters shot down a Japanese bomber carrying the mastermind of the Pearl Harbour attack.

Three members of a New York-based WWII research organisation and a Japanese aviation expert recently visited the crash site on Bougainville last Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s death.

Yamamoto had spent several years in the US earlier in his military career, studying at Harvard University and admiring America’s industrial might. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbour, he was quite possibly the most hated man in America.

“As long as he lived, the Japanese navy was a threat,” said Donald A Davis, a Colorado-based writer who told the story of Operation Vengeance in a 2005 book. “He was feared in the Pacific.”

Historians generally credit Yamamoto, an innovative proponent of air power, with the idea of attacking the US Pacific fleet and convincing Japanese military leaders that his plan could work.

Continue reading "Anzac Day 3: Death of Yamamoto marked on Bougainville" »

Idiocy in politics poses special dangers to the third world


Phil Fitzpatrick at mic
Phil Fitzpatrick - incompetent politicians are especially lethal in countries like PNG

TUMBY BAY – I don’t know about you but I’m thoroughly enjoying American politics at the moment.

To keep myself informed about the key players and the ever-changing and convoluted narrative I’ve read Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Whitehouse’ and ordered a copy of James Comey’s new book, ‘A Higher Loyalty’.

I became fascinated with politics after doing a major in a subject the School of External Studies at the University of Queensland quaintly referred to as ‘Government’ way back in the tumultuous 1960s.

I find the shenanigans of ego-driven politicians, past and present, comedy of a very high order. As one erudite commentator once said, “You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried”.

Good old Donald Trump certainly hasn’t let the side down, he’s taken the absurdity of it all to a higher level.

Continue reading "Idiocy in politics poses special dangers to the third world" »

PNG’s informal women’s network of human rights defenders

Mary Kini and Rashmii Bell
Mary Kini and Rashmii Bell - undaunted by the barriers, women striking out in the interests of all women


BRISBANE – In her essay ‘Cross-border conversations: the networks women create’, Urvashi Butalia reflects on the landscape of women’s networks.

Published in ‘Griffith Review 59: Commonwealth Now’, the essay centres on women’s volunteerism, solidarity, sharing and organisation through a template formulated in Lahore, India, and since, duplicated a hundredfold globally in various forms.

Urvashi Butalia, the founder of India’s first feminist publishing house, describes how in early 2000 a group of Pakistani women travelled across the border to visit a group of their Indian counterparts.

The journey was undertaken in a spirit of friendship and conflict-resolution and its mission was to discuss how they might resolve key issues in their present-day cross-border conflict – a continuing crisis the women identified as fuelled by a complex history and a legacy of colonialism.

Continue reading "PNG’s informal women’s network of human rights defenders" »

NCD governor under scrutiny for involvement in yoga company

Parkop & Kramer
Governor Powes Parkop and Bryan Kramer MP


KUNDIAWA – A controversy surrounding a contract awarded to Yu Yet PNG Ltd, a company associated with Malaysian national and fitness instructor Fazilah Bazari, has been referred to the Ombudsman Commission and police fraud investigators.

The National Capital District contract, in which  governor Power Parkop is alleged to be involved, is understood to be worth K250,000 a month for the provision of yoga instruction in the national capital.

Madang MP Bryan Kramer, who has conducted his own inquiries into the contract, said he will this week file a formal complaint with anti-corruption watchdogs against Governor Parkop.

Continue reading "NCD governor under scrutiny for involvement in yoga company" »

50 years ago: A month-long army patrol through Oro & Milne Bay

Boarding the Caribou  Wanigela-NorthernDistrict
D Company 1 PIR boards an Army Caribou at Wanigela in the then Northern District


This letter home was written by then Sergeant Edwinsmith on 8 May 1968. It offers a colourful description of an army patrol in Papua New Guinea pre-independence. In the letter, Sgt Edwinsmith describes a civic action Patrol from Wanigela to Gurney in April 1968 by D Company, 1PIR based at Taurama Barracks

PORT MORESBY - I thought that I would write a long letter to everyone who regularly corresponds with me, at home in Brisbane and South Vietnam, and since I have just arrived ‘ in from the bush’, I have quite a bit, I wish to say, I decided to short cut it and have my ‘ works’ published via the spirit duplicators.

Anyway, the aim of the patrol was to collect information for, a) suitability of road building, b) condition of inhabitants, c) numbers in villages and the size of villages, d) let the people see the Army, since an army patrol had never passed through here before. (Correction! Japanese army and Australian diggers in WWII.)

Continue reading "50 years ago: A month-long army patrol through Oro & Milne Bay" »

The authenticity, imagery & flavour of Sean Ova's verse


Headugu: An Anthology of Poetry by Sean Ova, 2018, JDT Publications, Port Moresby, ISBN 978-9980901606, 58 pages, paperback, US$3.60. Available from Amazon Books here

TUMBY BAY - I like poetry. William Blake, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Stephen Crane, Judith Wright, Banjo Paterson, Michael Dom, Wardley Barry and many more inspiring poets provide me with pleasure.

Inspiring but not instructive. I can’t for the life of me write poetry. My best efforts come out clunky and affected and usually end up in the waste paper bin.

I understand the dynamics but it is the rules and regulations that defeat me. I suspect it’s got something to do with my natural aversion to discipline. Meter, rhythm, rhyme and structure leave me cold.

I suspect I’m not alone in this. It is seldom in modern collections of poetry to see any sort of formal discipline. What we tend to get nowadays is something loosely described as free verse.

Continue reading "The authenticity, imagery & flavour of Sean Ova's verse" »

Luluai to Councillor – the evolution of local government in Simbu

Luluai  near Chuave  Chimbu  1964
Luluai from south of Chuave, Chimbu, early 1964


KUNDIAWA - After World War II, Papua New Guinea’s colonial Administration, in its attempt to fast track control and pacification of the highlands’ tribes, appointed tribal and clan leaders as official Luluais and Tultuls.

A main tribe made up of many smaller clans would have one Luluai and several assisting Tultuls.

Luluai, in the Kuanua language of the Tolai people of East New Britain, means ‘chief’ while Tultul means a lesser chief or second in command.

My grandfather Nul Bal was made Luluai of the Keri tribe of Simbu in the early 1950s.

The insignia of office was a badge, which was worn on the forehead, and sometimes a cap. The officials were also issued with laplaps.

These Luluais and Tultuls, as agents of the Administration, played leading roles in the fast progress of control and pacification of the tribes. Their main roles were to assist the Administration curb tribal fights and supervise construction of roads, airstrips, houses and other infrastructure in the area.

During the 1950s, Luluais and Tultuls helped recruit males for the Highlands Labour Scheme, which sent workers to many different parts of Papua and New Guinea.

Continue reading "Luluai to Councillor – the evolution of local government in Simbu" »

MAF makes largest purchase of aircraft to serve bush strips

STAFF REPORTER | Aviation Week 

Cessna Caravan 208 turboprop
The Cessna Caravan 208 turborpop has become the backbone of MAF's bush flying operation in PNG

NEW YORK - Mission Aviation Fellowship International recently placed an order for five Cessna Caravan 208 turboprops for its operations in Papua New Guinea, with the option for an additional two aircraft.

The order represented MAF International's single largest aircraft investment and the five aircraft are scheduled to be delivered this year and create an all-Caravan fleet in the country.

MAF has been serving the most isolated communities in PNG since 1951. It enables thousands of aid workers, development specialists, mission workers, doctors and nurses, teachers and water engineers to deliver food, medical supplies and relief, water and education.

During the last decade MAF has slowly been expanding its three-Caravan operation so the aircraft are now flown into 95% of the more than 230 remote bush airstrips.

Continue reading "MAF makes largest purchase of aircraft to serve bush strips" »

The lure of the ‘kaikaiman’ – and the courage to speak & write truth

Sylvester Gawi
Sylvester Gawi at work

SYLVESTER GAWI | Graun Blong Mi | Edited

LAE - The greatest challenge facing journalism in Papua New Guinea is that there is no freedom of the press.

Journalists need much courage to speak and write the truth and to know how to use the right medium to express their views.

Almost everything that is printed in the press is scrutinised and controlled by the government or an agent in the newsroom - usually the editors.

Every day, Papua New Guinean journalists face a big challenge as they have to write according to what their editors will accept, or they can get sacked for insubordination.

In PNG, the term ‘kaikai man’ is used to refer to someone who writes propaganda in return for favours.

This syndrome is already deeply rooted and one cannot get away from it, even the reporter with full knowledge that someone is corrupt or lying will continue to write good about them. Glorifying parliamentarians and government bureaucrats is common in PNG.

Continue reading "The lure of the ‘kaikaiman’ – and the courage to speak & write truth" »

Animals hunting in packs – in villages as well as in towns

Baka Bina
Baka Bina


PORT MORESBY - Emily Bina would travel from her school at Kila Kila to get to university three times a week using three lots of buses: from Kila Kila to Manu Autoport; from Manu Autoport to Gordons; and from Gordons to the University of PNG.

Commuters jostling to get on the buses are a constant challenge at each bus stop, especially, when schoolchildren are out schools in the afternoons. These times are a bonanza for pickpockets.

Ten years ago Emily wrote about this in a poem, reproduced below, which has just been published in our joint collection of short stories and poetry, 'Musings from Sogopex', available from Amazon.

'Lo, the Pick Pocket' is Emily’s message to both criminals and to the rest of humankind. We ordinary folk must not give these thugs the opportunity to prey on us. If we use public spaces, we must be vigilant.

Continue reading "Animals hunting in packs – in villages as well as in towns" »

You can help George Telek as he faces major cancer surgery

George Telek
George Telek

DAVID BRIDIE | Wantok Music

MELBOURNE - George Telek, one of Papua New Guinea’s best known musicians, has been diagnosed with cancer of the mouth in Australia after last month travelling to Adelaide and the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane to perform the A Bit Na Ta show.

He had a large growth on his bottom lip and inside his mouth. He was taken to doctors and then to hospital in Brisbane for examination. It was diagnosed with a malignant and aggressive tumour.

George is about to undergo major surgery at Greenslope Private Hospital to remove the cancer. The surgery will involve removing the cancerous growth, removing lymph glands in his neck and reconstructing his mouth.

Due to the nature of the cancer it will also require radiation therapy to remove any remaining cancerous areas.

Continue reading "You can help George Telek as he faces major cancer surgery" »

In times of crisis the true worth of a leader is measured

Bryan Kramer - settling the crowd
MP Bryan Kramer walks down the road with colleagues after speaking with a Madang crowd


KUNDIAWA - Madang, a town once dubbed as ‘Beautiful Madang’ and in even earlier days ‘The Pearl of the Pacific’ because of its scenic beauty, has been experiencing serious civil unrest including murder and destruction of businesses and state property in recent times

This crime and disorder has disturbed the tranquil blue waters, large furry flying foxes, arrays of colourful crotons and hibiscus, pleasant hotel facilities and, perhaps most regrettably, the renowned friendliness of the local people.

The latest incident involved the death of three local youths believed to have been murdered by settlers, a tragedy that led to further public panic, civil unrest and disruption to the town’s water supply.

But, unlike major unrest in other years that continued for weeks, last week’s unrest was quelled in reasonable time with services and businesses quickly restored thanks to the presence and leadership of Bryan Kramer, the Member for Madang in the national parliament, along with police and other community leaders.

Continue reading "In times of crisis the true worth of a leader is measured" »

On writing, PNG literature & the voice of the diaspora

Rashmii Bell & Tess Newton Cain
Rashmii Bell and Tess Newton Cain


BRISBANE - I recently caught up with Rashmii Bell over lunch in Brisbane, and asked about her background and experiences as an author. I began by asking Rashmii to tell me about her background, and what she is currently involved in.

Rashmii hails from Sio, Morobe Province, in Papua New Guinea, having being born and lived in Lae, as well as Port Moresby and (presently) Brisbane.

She was educated in Australia, and has lived between there and PNG since 1990. She studied at Griffith University, obtaining a degree in psychology and criminology and she has more than 10 years of experience working in case management within adult and youth corrections services.

And now?

RASHMII - "I’m a little past nine years while I’ve been at home. I’ve just been raising children. But, I’ve always enjoyed reading. I read everything, read every day. And writing, I have been writing for myself, but I only just started having my work published in the past three years…"

Continue reading "On writing, PNG literature & the voice of the diaspora" »

PNG Presence - making life easy when you move to PNG

Watna mori
Watna Mori
Kevin alo
Kevin Alo


PORT MORESBY – Watna Mori and Kevin Alo have come up with a really good idea – a relocation agency that will help expatriates settle into Papua New Guinea, from airport meet and greet to providing cross-cultural training.

Their company, PNG Presence, was established last year to support and provide all the practical assistance people need so they can focus on foreign companies and individuals transitioning into Papua New Guinea. You can link to the PNG Presence website here.

“Kevin and I are both lawyers,” said Watna Mori, co-founder and director of PNG Presence. “Kevin is registered to practice in PNG and I am registered in NSW.

“We are a multi-disciplinary team with an extensive network within the government, private and not for profit industries in PNG, regionally and internationally.

Continue reading "PNG Presence - making life easy when you move to PNG" »

China is spending up big on ‘gifts’ to PNG for APEC summit

Convention centre (Eric Tlozek)
International Convention Centre - one of China's many gifts to PNG for APEC (Eric Tlozek)

DENNIS SHANAHAN | The Australian | Edited extract

CANBERRA - China is rapidly outspending Australia in providing aid and ‘gifts’ to Papua New Guinea to ready Port Moresby to host the APEC forum as Australia implores Britain to give more to the South Pacific.

Financial aid from China to the region for “a new world order” has become a vital topic at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London this week before Britain’s departure from the EU and as Chinese influence grows in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

PNG is Australia’s largest single aid recipient but, since Port Moresby was named as the host for the APEC forum in November, China has been pouring in funds — described as gifts.

They include money to build a new convention centre for the APEC leaders, six-lane highways and other massive roadworks to help PNG host its “biggest event in history”.

Continue reading "China is spending up big on ‘gifts’ to PNG for APEC summit" »

Bougainville divisions put Panguna redevelopment on hold

Derelict equipment at the abandoned Panguna mine on Bougainville - conflict surrounds its reopening


NOOSA – After some months of heated debate on Bougainville, the autonomous province’s president, Dr John Momis, has announced an indefinite moratorium on re-opening mining at Panguna.

The debate was accelerated by the bitter rivalry of two companies, Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) and RTG, both of which want to re-establish the mine and have been supported by different groups on Bougainville.

Dr Momis told Don Wiseman of Radio New Zealand that divisions between landowners have led to a decision on mining being delayed at least until next year’s referendum on Bougainville’s political future.

“We don't want to cause a split amongst the landowners because we have a referendum coming,” Dr Momis said. “We want to make sure we unite our people. There is a definite divide and until the people are united we will not proceed with any mining.

Continue reading "Bougainville divisions put Panguna redevelopment on hold" »

Customary land – pathway to a sustainable future for all of us

Land is LifeACT NOW!

PORT MORESBY – One of Papua New Guinea’s leading activist groups has launched a new multi-media campaign, 'Celebrating and Defending Customary Land'.

Customary land is the most valuable asset available to most Papua New Guineans but its role and importance is often misunderstood or misrepresented, particularly by outsiders.

Too few people realise customary land supports an economy estimated to be worth K40 billion a year, provides jobs and incomes for three million farmers and provides housing and a sense of community for more than seven million people.

Many outsiders and local elites like to describe customary land as 'idle', 'undeveloped' and 'a barrier to development', but the opposite is true.

Continue reading "Customary land – pathway to a sustainable future for all of us" »

Hey men - let’s make our streets & buses safe for women & girls

A ‘Youth Sanap Wantaim’ campaigner creating awareness of street harassment during Anti-Street Harassment Week


PORT MORESBY - It was busy Friday and I was amongst the people walking through the Ori Lavi building when a stranger whispered to me, “Hey, lush you, perfume stap olsem yu iet.’’

Before I could react he had disappeared into the crowd; frustratingly because it was third time in a week this had happened to me and I could have slapped the guy with force and give him a lesson to think about a thousand times before doing it to anyone else.

This is not a new or unusual incident for any Papua New Guinean girls in public places or who use public transport in our urban areas. It’s the kind of daily challenge to our safety that occurs whenever women and girls step out of their homes.

A stupid remark like “Hey stack one, nogat makmak,” being spat out on the street by a stranger is something many women and girls experience.

It may seem like just a bit of harmless fun but street harassment is really about power and control and I know from personal experience that it can easily turn to violence.

It’s upsetting to see women and girls being harassed by name calling, unwanted comments or touching when they pass a group of strangers on the street of Boroko or around Gordon’s market.

Continue reading "Hey men - let’s make our streets & buses safe for women & girls" »

Bougainville minister loses seat as court endorses vote recount

Outside national court (Sally Pokiton)
Sam Akoitai (right) outside National Court after winning back his Central Bougainville seat (Sally Pokiton)

NEWSDESK | Pacific Media Centre (Loop PNG)

AUCKLAND - Bougainville Affairs Minister Father Simon Dumarinu has been ousted by Papua New Guinea’s national court as the first casualty since last year’s general election.

The national court sitting in Waigani declared Sam Akoitai, a former mining minister, re-elected for the seat of Central Bougainville after deliberating on an election petition.

Justice Lawrence Kangwia declared Mr Akoitai elected in the recount by just four votes - 7,257 to Fr Dumarinu’s 7,253.

Mr Akoitai was declared the winner after the court refused a motion by Fr Dumarinu for a further recount.

He is regarded as a cheerleader for Bougainville Copper Limited, having worked for the company for eight years. He also fought against the Bougainville Revolutionary Army during the region’s 10-year civil war.

Continue reading "Bougainville minister loses seat as court endorses vote recount" »

Thank you all for empowering me to carry on writing


Francis Nii & new laptop
Disabled author Francis Nii and new laptop: 'Without a computer and a reliable mobile phone, I am truly handicapped'

KUNDIAWA - A personal computer can be an important tool for any writer but for a disabled writer like me, composing my words and sentences from the confines of a hospital bed, a laptop and a reliable mobile phone are essential tools of trade.

Without them, I am truly handicapped. With them, I am liberated to access information and to write, write, write.

When the screen of my Asus computer, given to me by my good friend Murray Bladwell in 2016, experienced a major breakdown while I was trying to upload the second edition of my novel ‘Tears’, I knew I had hit a desperate moment. Hopelessness overwhelmed me. Tears indeed!

Luckily I had saved the entire manuscript in a Samsung phone given to me by Patrick Haynes so I emailed the valuable document to Philip Fitzpatrick to upload to my CreateSpace publishing page.

I told Phil that I couldn’t upload it myself because my laptop had encountered a serious problem. I had no idea that the piece of information relayed to Phil would prompt a fundraising effort that would result in me getting a brand new HP laptop and a Canon printer.

Continue reading "Thank you all for empowering me to carry on writing" »

A lit fuse – but uncertain whether it'll be fireworks or a damp squib

Rashmii Bell
Rashmii Bell


BRISBANE - Emma Wakpi’s recent commentary, ‘Foreign aid didn’t work. Then we started to look at tradition’, gave cause for PNG Attitude readers to reflect on the effectiveness of aid in Papua New Guinea’s nation building.

The subsequent discussion stoked an audience question I posed to a literary panel last week which I attended as part of a six-month My Walk to Equality writer’s fellowship generously sponsored by Paga Hill Development Company.

The panel, part of an event at the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, was a collaboration between Griffith University’s Asia Institute and Griffith Review journal and was billed as a conversation between Jane Camens, Annie Zaidi and Salil Tripathi.

Jane Camens is co-editor of Griffith Review and founder of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Inc, a regional network of authors and literary translators.

Continue reading "A lit fuse – but uncertain whether it'll be fireworks or a damp squib" »

Problems of addiction are blighting many of our families

Prescription-abusePHILIP KAI MORRE

KUNDIAWA - Alcoholism and drug addiction are progressive and fatal diseases that undermine the family unit. Addiction is a family problem with every member, not just the addict, suffering from its effects.

In our highlands society, families operate as a system and family members interrelate to each other for a common purpose.

As a system, families seek to maintain a balance in life. They preserve functional boundaries and support each other in work, finance, problem solving and in many other ways.

When there is no food, all family units work to find some. When there is no money to pay school fees, the family rallies to get it. When a family member is sick, the others provide care and comfort.

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Works Minister Nali under pressure in roads corruption case

Brian Alois
Brian Alois
Michael Nali
Michael Nali


PORT MORESBY– Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has demanded that Works Minister Michael Nali provide evidence that a senior Works Department officer was lying when he said contracts for road construction has been corruptly inflated.

President of the PNG Institute of Engineers Brian Alois who is Momase regional works manager, was suspended by the Works Department after making a presentation at a national planning summit on the economics of building roads in Papua New Guinea.

Mr Alois had spoken at the invitation of National Planning Minister Richard Maru.

In his presentation, Mr Alois provided details of the spiralling costs of each kilometre of road construction, saying it currently costs up to an average of K3 million a kilometre.

Continue reading "Works Minister Nali under pressure in roads corruption case" »

Bomkop – The time strange objects fell upon Simbu

An unexploded World War II bomb
An unexploded World War II bomb


KUNDIAWA - Apart from a few incidents, World War II had little impact on the highlands of Papua New Guinea. However, there was one tragedy that occurred in Simbu.

This event is remembered well by the people of Elimbari, near Chuave in western Simbu.

Sometime during the war, probably in 1944, an American military aircraft encountering problems while flying over the Central Highland area jettisoned its load of bombs.

The bombs landed near Mount Elimbari in the vicinity of Wangoi village some kilometres east of Monono Lutheran mission station.

One of the bombs exploded on impact but caused no casualties. The other two bombs did not explode and remained in the area.

Continue reading "Bomkop – The time strange objects fell upon Simbu" »

Let’s make Belt & Road a model in the Pacific: foreign ministers

Pato and Wang
PNG foreign minister Rimbink Pato meets Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday (Xinhua)


BEIJING - Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Friday met with visiting Papua New Guinean foreign minister Rimbink Pato.

China is supporting PNG in holding the annual summit of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) this year and is ready to enhance bilateral coordination and cooperation under the APEC framework, Mr Wang said.

He also said Chinese president Xi Jinping will visit PNG for the APEC economic leaders' meeting in November.

Both sides should take this opportunity to promote bilateral cooperation in various fields and deepen cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as making joint efforts to maintain the multilateral trading system and push the bilateral strategic partnership into a new era, Mr Wang said.

Mr Pato said the people of PNG are looking forward to President Xi's visit, adding that PNG is ready to work with China to boost cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative so as to make it a model in the Pacific region.

Factoring the Pacific into Australia’s approach to China

Bal Kama

BAL KAMA | DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - The China-in-the-Pacific dilemma has once again hit the headlines in Australia, this time with a proposed naval base in Vanuatu.

It was promptly rejected by the Vanuatu government, but the likelihood of having Chinese military hardware on a long-term basis in the Pacific has raised significant discussion on the strategic implications for Australia and its allies.

Australia has long maintained a well-established and enduring relationship with the people of the Pacific. But China’s influence is undeniably increasing. Its investment in soft power in particular has been a success, not only in economic terms but also in the lives of ordinary people.

Chinese infrastructure projects, while not always successful, have enabled access to government services, giving people a sense of modernity and development. China’s growing diaspora in the Pacific is also increasingly active in community engagements and maintain a close influence on local politics.

Continue reading "Factoring the Pacific into Australia’s approach to China" »

China-Vanuatu rumours give insights into Oz foreign policy

Chinese aid to the Pacific (Lowy Institute)
Map showing size of Chinese aid expenditure in the Pacific (Lowy Institute)

MICHAEL O’KEEFE | John Menadue’s ‘Pearls & Irritations’

MELBOURNE - Rumour has it that Vanuatu has agreed to a Chinese request to establish a military base. The substance of this rumour is highly speculative at the least and disingenuous at most.

Regardless of the truth, the fact that it raises alarm about the threat of Chinese military expansionism speaks volumes about Australian foreign policy, particularly toward the Pacific. It looks like another beat up in the anti China phobia

On Monday, Fairfax Media reported that “China had approached Vanuatu” about setting up a “permanent military presence” – in other words, a base.

Continue reading "China-Vanuatu rumours give insights into Oz foreign policy" »

In a world beset by bad people, even charity is suspect


TUMBY BAY - I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the evening news a bit hard going lately.

It’s the children mostly. The poor little wretches covered in blood and dust after another bombing raid in Syria and the big eyes, matchstick limbs and swollen bellies of the starving toddlers in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

I might have to start watching the news on the commercial stations where they just dwell on car crashes, house fires, murders and the doings of Prince Harry and other celebrity parasites.

I’m not quite sure why they keep showing us these images of stricken children and their desperate parents night after night.

Continue reading "In a world beset by bad people, even charity is suspect" »

Francis Nii laptop appeal exceeds target in less than 24 hours

Francis H&SThe Francis Nii laptop appeal exceeds its target. Francis will keep on writing

Thanks to readers, Francis Nii – the noted Papua New Guinean author whose home is the isolation ward of Kundiawa Hospital – will now get a new laptop to continue his important contribution to PNG literature and affairs. In less than 24 hours our appeal passed the targeted $1,000 and we’re beside ourselves with gratitude. Contributions exceeding the cost of the computer will be used to purchase books by PNG authors.

 Thanks to Garry Tongs, Ed Brumby, Donna Harvey-Hall, Kerri Worthington, Lindsay Bond, Murray Bladwell, Chris Overland, Phil Fitzpatrick, Keith Jackson, Toowong Rotary Club, Jim Moore, Paul Flanagan, Joe Herman, Bea & Simon Ellis, Stuart, and Bill Woods.

The National Australia Bank was this morning instructed to transmit the funds to Francis, who responded: "Thank you very much. My laptop will be delivered on Monday if I make the payment today which I will do. I will borrow a machine and send a word of thanks over the weekend to PNG Attitude".

The picture's story: A memorable moment in PNG-Oz relations


This article was written before our quickfire appeal (update above) to buy Francis a new laptop computer, which will have a working screen and be with him in Kundiawa sometime next week - KJ

Journey amongst friends
Writers Francis Nii and Daniel Kumbon (front), Martyn Namorong (third left) and Rashmii Bell (second right) in a group with three Australians who contributed to PNG independence and who never left their friends in the lurch - Murray Bladwell, Bob Cleland and Rob Parer

KUNDIAWA – This photo brings back fond memories of meetings, conversations and sharing a few drinks with some of the invincible spirits behind Papua New Guinea’s independence. Being with them in Brisbane 18 or so months ago was a moment of history for me.

On the left is Murray Bladwell, the man who contributed so much to the development of education in PNG including as headmaster at Chuave Primary School (now known as Bauvi) in the 1960s.

In more recent times, through his initiative and hard work, 11,000 library books and many items of equipment were delivered to Simbu schools in 2016 courtesy of the late, great Terry Shelley of Goroka and Toowong Rotary Club in Brisbane.

Continue reading "The picture's story: A memorable moment in PNG-Oz relations" »

Top engineer suspended after blowing whistle on inflated contracts

Brian Alois
Brian Alois – a respected engineer suspended for truth-telling (and perhaps as a warning to other truth-tellers)

SYLVESTER GAWI | Graun Blong Mi (My Land) | Edited

LAE – Two days ago – prompted by news that former deputy prime minister Belden Namah faced dismissal from parliament by the Leadership tribunal - I wrote a post on Facebook saying, "When you stand for the truth, you will stand alone".

Since then, there has been more strange news. The president of the PNG Institute of Engineers, Brian Alois, who is Momase regional works manager, was suspended by the Works Department.

This motivated PNG National Research Institute Director Paul Barker to observe, “What a week for PNG professionals!”

Brian Alois is a Papua New Guinean of integrity, a person of whom the country should be proud.

Speaking as Institute president, he was addressing the recent National Planning Consultative Summit when he highlighted how the PNG government is paying well in excess of what it should for road construction and maintenance projects.

Continue reading "Top engineer suspended after blowing whistle on inflated contracts" »

‘Aliko and Ambai’: In loving memory of Lilly Samuel, 1990-2017

Lilly Samuel
Lilly Samuel - "I recall the first time I met you.... You gave me a bright smile"


CANBERRA - If you haven’t already watched the film, ‘Aliko and Ambai’, I strongly suggest you do.

It was first screened in November last year, produced by the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka as the product of a PACMAS innovation grant.

It is a true Papua New Guinean film and it has everyday PNG in it: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

You’ll appreciate the beautiful footage of our country and realise how easy it is to make friends there.

You’ll see images of contemporary PNG.

The drunkards singing until daybreak (so disturbing, no respect for neighbours).

The husband who assaults (‘quite normal, it’s a family problem’).

The young girls who don’t do well in school (‘what a waste of school fees’).

Continue reading "‘Aliko and Ambai’: In loving memory of Lilly Samuel, 1990-2017" »

Thoughts on effective conflict management


“Man is not disturbed by events, but by the view he takes of them” - Epictetus (ancient philosopher)

KUNDIAWA - We humans are beset by so many pressing social problems: psychological disturbances, alcohol and drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, sex crime, juvenile delinquency, polygamy, prostitution, witchcraft, gambling, and many more.

New challenges keep emerging without any known solutions - individual problems, family problems and inter-clan and group conflicts which we must try to solve.

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‘Having regard to the many difficulties and unknown factors….....’ The Bougainville memorandum that might have been written

Memo-8-march-2012CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The recent article by William Nakin MP about Bougainville’s forthcoming referendum on its political future made me wonder just what sort of advice may have been given to Peter O’Neill about what he should or should not say on such a sensitive issue. With this in mind, I used some of my rusty bureaucratic skills to write an imaginary briefing note on the subject to Mr O’Neill. It is, I think, a useful device for making explicit some of the complications involved that neither Mr O’Neill nor Mr Nakin seemed willing to articulate. Perhaps this may stimulate some of our PNG colleagues to consider the problems that will arise irrespective of the outcome of the referendum in June next year - CO



TO:                 Prime Minister
FROM:           Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister
SUBJECT:      Bougainville


You have sought advice on the options available for dealing with the possible outcomes of the referendum on independence planned for Bougainville on 15 June 2019. There are a number of significant policy considerations for the government, irrespective of the outcome, which are discussed below.

Continue reading "‘Having regard to the many difficulties and unknown factors….....’ The Bougainville memorandum that might have been written" »

And now the sports report – the last bastion of fair play gone


1982 Games
Stamp from 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games - 36 years later, has sport lost its way?

TUMBY BAY - I’ve been especially careful this week to avoid television sets, but it’s been harder than I thought.

Everywhere I go they are there; be it the local supermarket, airport or doctor’s surgery.

And they’re all showing the same program, the Commonwealth Games: an endless, mind-numbing cavalcade of running, jumping, swimming, pedalling and throwing of objects.

I’ve got nothing against sport; if it turns you on that’s well and good.

It’s a great equaliser and a great substitute for more violent tendencies, like warfare.

Indeed, if our great religions made sport a mandatory part of their faith the world might be a much more peaceful place.

Continue reading "And now the sports report – the last bastion of fair play gone" »

Manus – a tourist destination or a crime against humanity?

Mungo MacCallum
Mungo MacCallum

MUNGO MacCALLUM | John Menadue’s ‘Pearls & Irritations’

OCEAN SHORES - My first reaction to the report that the Australian government was planning to boost tourism in Manus Island was one of disbelief and revulsion. This was the place – well, one of the places—that successive coalition ministers gloated was hell on earth.

The cynical myth of the so-called Pacific Solution as a tropical paradise of palm trees and beaches had been well and truly dispelled: Manus was a gulag, a prison camp where asylum seekers, whether genuine refugees or not, could be left to suffer and if necessary die in the national interest.

It was and is a monument to political brutality, opportunism and a jingoism that frequently crosses the border into racism. To turn it into some kind of pleasure resort would be an obscenity.

And yet perhaps there is a kind of sense to the idea. Perhaps the tourists would not come for the surfing and scuba diving, but for those all too recent memories.

Continue reading "Manus – a tourist destination or a crime against humanity?" »