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87 posts from February 2019

The Goroka Show reflects the face of a changing nation

Asaro mud men prepare their masks at the Australian Museum in Sydney (Ian Neubaueri)


PORT MORESBY - Since the beginning of human society, festivals and other events have provided a means for people to relax, enjoy, and escape from the routine of their daily lives by celebrating and enjoying themselves.

Papua New Guinea, steeped in a rich culture and with a fascinating history, plays host to many events throughout the year. Not only do they showcase the unique attributes of PNG, they also bring together communities, tribes and tourists.

The oldest regional show in PNG is the Goroka Cultural Show, launched in 1957 and since 1975 always coinciding with the week the country celebrates its independence. It brings together the customs of more than one hundred tribes that populate the highlands which gather for music, dancing, extraordinary tribal rituals and plain showing-off.

Continue reading "The Goroka Show reflects the face of a changing nation" »

Schools of business are connected in a virtual classroom

Viral classroom (Davidson)
Students participate in the 'virtual classroom' at Sonoma school of business


PORT MORESBY - Last Friday, the dream of virtual learning became reality when two schools of business in Papua New Guinea were connected by video conferencing.

The schools at Sonoma Adventist College and Pacific Adventist University adopted video conferencing after Dr Khin Maung Kyi of PAU received funding from the South Pacific Division of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

A donation of more than K250,000 was provided to purchase equipment and Douglas Rinny, an information technology specialist from PAU, recently came to Sonoma College to install the equipment to enable video conferencing.

The launch linking the two business schools occurred in the presence of students and staff with Dr Khin speaking about the opportunities available through modern technology to make learning more accessible and user-friendly.

Continue reading "Schools of business are connected in a virtual classroom" »

Then along came a guria to break the monotony of the day

Kabwum airstrip (PNGAA)
The airstrip at Kabwum (PNGAA)


GOLD COAST - The Sub District Office at Kabwum was an extensive complex composed of steel girders and locally made concrete brick walls.

Every time a guria [earthquake] began the entire government staff would rapidly vacate the building accompanied with low level mutters of, “Oh, oh, stone house”.

During one guria, the Council adviser’s wife was caught in the shower and vacated the premises clad just in a towel and shower cap.

I will always remember the sensation of feeling the earthquake as it passed underneath me. Every molecule of soil and stone is in motion and the result is akin to floating; it seems there is nothing solid beneath you.

Continue reading "Then along came a guria to break the monotony of the day" »

Is Oz aid slackness to PNG a ploy to maintain the alliance


MELBOURNE - Over a number of years I’ve been reading contributions to PNG Attitude regarding Australian aid to Papua New Guinea and other Pacific/Indian Ocean nations. 

Each of these articles has tended to look at specific issues associated with the provision and management of aid without looking at the total picture and realising there may be a bigger unstated driver.

To understand how Australia’s aid to PNG evolved, we need to take a brief trip back in history.

In the mid-1800s a number of European nations were exploring the Pacific and Indian Oceans with a view to colonising new lands or influencing native populations.

Continue reading "Is Oz aid slackness to PNG a ploy to maintain the alliance" »

Foreigner Wants, and Wants


Foreigner wants my mountain
That’s my hunting ground
Foreigner wants my river
But that’s my water to drink and wash
Foreigner wants my trees
That’s my firewood and timber for house
Foreigner wants, and wants more

Foreigner wants my swamp
That’s my fish and crocodiles
Foreigner wants my bush
But that’s my sago and kunai grass
Foreigner wants my minerals
That’s my sacred birthright
Foreigner wants, and keeps wanting

Continue reading "Foreigner Wants, and Wants" »

The Crocodile Prize & how to organise in PNG

Michael Dom
Michael Dom - "The Crocodile Prize, I want to be part of that team"


LAE - As an unemployed graduate of the “premier university of the South Pacific”, I was asked to lead a youth touch-rugby club along with some of my peers who were also otherwise unoccupied.

We ran the club for six years without sponsorship, at my insistence as the president.

I did not want someone from outside our home fucking us over because they gave us some koble, especially not politicians who wanted in on the publicised kudos on our best effort.

It was intriguing to me why the youth had chosen me as their team leader in the first place, since I was hardly the most out-going person around. I am reclusive and prefer me that way.

I was told simply that they trusted me to get the job done for them and not fuck it up. That was alright by me, so I stepped up to the plate. Thankfully other guys and gals stepped up too.

My one concern was that I had absolutely no idea how to run a youth organisation, let alone start one.

But the others in my band-of-brothers and sisters had a better idea how to do that stuff, so we gathered our executives and supporters, made our plans and headed off into the bright, blue horizon of achievement.

Continue reading "The Crocodile Prize & how to organise in PNG" »

Enembe – Papuan chief who Indonesia believes is dangerous

Governor Lukas Enembe
Governor Lukas Enembe - Indonesia is ignorant of the significant role of Papuan tribal leaders


CANBERRA - In the days leading up to Christmas, 16 Indonesian construction workers were killed in Nduga by the West Papuan National Liberation Army.

Then Lukas Enembe, Governor of Papua, told local media: "I am asking President Jokowi to withdraw all the troops in Nduga.”

In response, Colonel Muhammad Aidi, the military spokesman in Papua, said: “If the governor Lukas Enembe supports the Free Papua Movement struggle and rejects the national strategic program policy, he has violated state law and should be prosecuted.”

December is a sacred month for Papuans. The first day of the month is when Papuans throughout Indonesia commemorate their national day – the day when the banned independence flag was freely flown alongside the Dutch flag. And on 25 December, the majority Christian Papuans celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Unfortunately, December is also full of tragedy.

Continue reading "Enembe – Papuan chief who Indonesia believes is dangerous" »

Summit offers new hope for traditional landowners

National Land Summit (Kinjap)
Section of the audience at last week's National Land Summit workshop (Peter Kinjap)


PORT MORESBY - In gearing up for a national land summit in May, the Lands and Physical Planning Department in association with National Research Institute is hosting two-day workshop in each of Papua New Guinea’s four regions.

The southern region workshop was held late last week at the International convention Centre in Port Moresby.

At the meeting, landowners from Oro, Central, Western and Milne Bay had the opportunity to contribute views and shared their experiences on customary land issues.

Opening the workshop, Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko announced that the government has taken steps to produce secure land titles. He said a consultant from Australia had been engaged to work on this.

The watermarked, ‘bullet proof’ land titles will be accepted by banks as legitimate evidence of title. As part of this project, all documents in the Lands Department are being scanned and will be digitised.

Continue reading "Summit offers new hope for traditional landowners" »

Former PNG national court judge Jeffrey Miles dies at 84

Jeffrey Miles
Former ACT Chief Justice Jeffrey Miles (Rohan Thomson)

RICHARD REFSHAUGE | Canberra Times | Extract

You can link to the full obituary here

CANBERRA - A common stereotype of a judge is of a distant authoritarian who imposes severe prison sentences, often accompanied by a tongue-lashing.

While the Honourable Jeffrey Miles AO, the Australian Capital Territory’s second chief justice, who died on 11 February aged 84, could and did impose long sentences when deserved, his love of nature, his commitment to social justice and his devotion to his family showed that this eminent citizen and jurist was more human - and humane - than the stereotype.

He made a really substantial contribution to his family, his friends and to the Australian community.

Continue reading "Former PNG national court judge Jeffrey Miles dies at 84" »

Papua New Guinea development: did we stuff it up?

Sharing a joke with children  Markham Valley  1974 (Vanessa-and-Denis)
Vanessa and Denis share a joke with children in the Markham Valley, 1974 - Australia left PNG the next year with a large stock of good will, much of which remains


CANBERRA - Port Moresby, sometime in 1977, a ‘going finish’ party at the home of a retiring senior Australian bureaucrat.

The mood was bright, a mixed crowd of men and women, expatriates of various points of origin and Papua New Guineans, mostly young.

A British aid worker I was talking with declared, “This is the last major colonial possession to go independent, and this time we are not going to stuff it up.”

The ‘we’ he referred to presumably included official aid donor countries, multilateral agencies from the UN, and the development banks — the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank — plus a host of NGOs providing technical assistance and volunteers.

Some 40 years later, with reports of incompetence and gross corruption in government, and violence on the streets of Port Moresby and other major PNG cities, it seems reasonable to ask, “did we stuff it up?”

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea development: did we stuff it up?" »

How we nearly blew ourselves up at the Goroka Show

2011 Goroka Show (Natalie Wilson)
Dance banners at the 2011 Goroka Show (Natalie Wilson)


TUMBY BAY - Peter Kinjap’s article about the Mount Hagen Show reminded me of my first foray into the world of district agricultural shows.

In 1968, assistant district officer Don Reid, patrol officer Rob Kelvin and cadet patrol officer Yours Truly were cajoled into putting together the Western Highlands entry for the Goroka Show by the assistant district commissioner in Mt Hagen, Ross Allen.

Don Reid was good at persuading people into doing things they didn’t really want to do, like donating the expensive commodities they produced for the greater glory of our planned exhibit.

Among other things, he seized copious bags of coffee from several planters and a full chest of tea from Ivor Manton and his newly opened tea factory at Warrawou.

Continue reading "How we nearly blew ourselves up at the Goroka Show" »

Hundreds of Mountains

Mount Bosa (Plant Talk)JOSEPH TAMBURE

You say
Mountains so steep, obscures the rising sun
Heavy white fogs covering the villages
Fast flowing rivers in stunning tumbling
Cold that still prickles even at eight
That’s where I belong

You say
Rugged, isolated, hard to reach people
Best food, the rare is most sought
Half wet and dry, the seasons determine
A place to get lost from modern life
That’s where I belong

Continue reading "Hundreds of Mountains" »

Australia's offshore contracts: millions spent; dubious outcomes

Bureaucrats in Senate
Bureaucrats faced tough and uncomfortable questioning about the Manus contracts in the Australian Senate

CHRISTOPHER KNAUS & HELEN DAVIDSON | Guardian Australia | Extract

SYDNEY - Benham Satah knows Manus better than most. A Kurdish refugee, Satah has been there six years, stuck on an island prison despite having committed no crime.

He was there when Paladin, a little-known security outfit, took over a $423 million deal to provide services to asylum seekers. Satah has met with Paladin’s leaders and heard the promises they made. From the outset, the arrangement seemed strange.

“With $1 million you could run Manus,” he tells Guardian Australia, speaking down a scratchy phone line. “You could run Manus security for 19 months [with $1 million]. What Paladin did in 19 months to get this money?”

It’s the question that still hangs about the Paladin affair. One that’s yet to be properly answered. Two sources on the island have now complained that Paladin “does nothing” of substance on the island, aside from check IDs and maintain a general presence.

Continue reading "Australia's offshore contracts: millions spent; dubious outcomes" »

The Father – one of PNG’s most dangerous volcanoes

The Father at dawn
Mt Ulawun (The Father) seen from Graham King's veranda at dawn


BIALLA - On most mornings when it’s not raining I look out from my veranda to check what the weather’s like and to see whether the summit of Mt Ulawun is visible.

I take regular photos of the emissions and send them through to the vulcanologists at the Rabaul Volcano Observatory.

Ulawun is almost symmetrical with the northern slope forming an almost perfect angle of repose.  It is a strato-volcano with the upper 1,000 metres not vegetated.

The lower slopes are mainly vegetated with large tracts of Kamarere (Eucalyptus deglupta) which have thrived on the old lava flows.

Continue reading "The Father – one of PNG’s most dangerous volcanoes" »

Australia must quickly resolve Manus refugee crisis: Pruaitch

Patrick Pruaitch
Patrick Pruaitch -  “Australia’s role in this refugee crisis is deplorable from almost any angle one could take"

MEDIA STATEMENT | Office of the PNG Opposition Leader

PORT MORESBY – Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch has called on the Australian government to quickly resolve the problem of refugees stranded in Papua New Guinea and Nauru for the past six years.

Mr Pruaitch said details of the billion kina security contract awarded to the Paladin Group highlight the callous way offshore refugees are being treated.

The Paladin contract was awarded in 2017, a year after the PNG supreme court declared it was unconstitutional and illegal for refugees to be held in a PNG detention centre and after the virtual prison was shut down.

“These refugees came to Manus after perilous boat trips that have taken many lives and 600 of them have been left to languish on the island for the past six years,” Mr Pruaitch said.

“Following a visit there, the Catholic Bishops of PNG have said the mental health of most refugees has deteriorated severely and many are suicidal.”

Continue reading "Australia must quickly resolve Manus refugee crisis: Pruaitch" »

Deep sea mining threatens PNG's indigenous culture

Duke of York Islands
The people of Duke of York Islands are tied spiritually to events in the deep sea (John Childs)

JOHN CHILDS | The Conversation, UK

LANCASTER - “When they start mining the seabed, they’ll start mining part of me.”

These are the words of a clan chief of the Duke of York Islands – a small archipelago in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea which lies 30km from the world’s first commercial deep sea mine site, known as “Solwara 1”.

The project, which has been delayed due to funding difficulties, is operated by Canadian company Nautilus Minerals and is poised to extract copper from the seabed, 1600m below the surface.

Valuable minerals are created as rapidly cooling gases emerge from volcanic vents on the seafloor. Mining the seabed for these minerals could supply the metals and rare earth elements essential to building electric vehicles, solar panels and other green energy infrastructure.

Continue reading "Deep sea mining threatens PNG's indigenous culture" »

Yangpela Man, Yangpela Meri


Yangpela man
Sanapim strong pos blong haus
Sapim gut long bus
Sanapim strong long giraun
Noken giamanim nating long hol
Noken tromoi nating long sait
Em yu rausim strong blong en
Em yu sotim laip blong en 
Displa pos em piksa blong yu

Stretim gut pos blong haus
Taim yu sanapim gut, 
bai yu pulim ai blong ol meri 
Ol meri save laikim man,
husait i ken sanapim strong pos
Ol bai koros pait long yu
Ol bai sigirapim skin long yu
Bikos yu sanapim gut pos blong haus
Na haus bai sanap strong

Continue reading "Yangpela Man, Yangpela Meri" »

Graham Pople dies in Cairns – one of PNG’s first elected MPs

First suits
New MPs John Pasquarelli, Simogun Pita, Sinake Giregire and Graham Pople show off their new suits - tailored free of charge to wear in parliament - soon after their election to PNG's first House of Assembly in 1964


TOWNSVILLE – My long friendship and onetime political partnership with Graham Pople MBE has ended. My old buddy died in Cairns earlier this month.

He was 83 and had been ill for some time.

Graham and I were amongst Papua New Guinea’s first parliamentarians democratically elected on a common roll.

PNG’s first election, involving the entire adult population of the then Australian territory, was held in February-March 1964, 55 years ago.

Graham Pople, Keith Tetley, Keith Levy, Barry Holloway and I were five white men elected to what were described as parliament’s ‘open seats’ (that is, open to all comers, black, white or brindle).

The House of Assembly was a 100-member chamber which, apart from open seats, had ‘special seats’ reserved for expatriates and ‘official seats’ reserved for white bureaucrats appointed by the Australian Administration.

Continue reading "Graham Pople dies in Cairns – one of PNG’s first elected MPs" »

Government land summit is a new corporate land grab

Land is our lifeEDDIE TANAGO | Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea government is plotting to grab more customary land and hand it to multi-national companies and the commercial banks

The government has been forced to stop issuing illegal SABL leases but now wants to use the national land summit as a cover to find new ways to ‘facilitate access’ to customary land’ for big business and the banks.

It is duplicitous for the Lands Minister to claim that “customary land will never be taken away” as a 99-year lease can mean multiple generations of people lose all rights to use their land.

Continue reading "Government land summit is a new corporate land grab" »

The rhythm of the kundu…. It’s Mt Hagen Show time

Huli dancers (PNG Value Tours)
Nebilyer (Western Highlands) dancers at the Mt Hagen Show (PNG Value Tours)


PORT MORESBY – Most of Papua New Guinea’s cultural events are a relatively unspoiled resource that have great potential for generating revenue from tourism. 

From the year’s beginning to its end, it is festival time somewhere in PNG.

In Mount Hagen, capital of the Western Highlands Province, the famous Mount Hagen Cultural Show is showcased every year during the first of week of August.

With a history that dates back almost 60 years, the show is one of PNG’s finest and most popular events.

It draws tribes from all over the Western Highlands and neighbouring provinces for cultural performances, art and craft displays, singing and dancing, and traditional rituals.

The show was first staged in 1961, long before Papua New Guinea’s independence, in a bid to peacefully share and preserve the people’s traditions.

Continue reading "The rhythm of the kundu…. It’s Mt Hagen Show time" »

Pruaitch says O’Neill’s election as prime minister ‘null & void’

Patrick Pruaitch & Peter O'Neill (PNG Facts)
Happier days - Patrick Pruaitch and  Peter O'Neill were once branded 'The Inseparables' (PNG Facts)


PORT MORESBY – I am alleging that Peter O’Neill’s election as prime minister of Papua New Guinea on 2 August 2017 is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

I am alleging that the illegality arises out of two distinct and separate grounds.

Firstly, the provision of the organic law, section 63, under which the head of state has relied upon to invite the People’s National Congress Party to form government following the 2017 general election is unconstitutional. The ensuing election of Mr Peter O’Neill is, as a consequence, null and void

Secondly, the election of Peter O’Neill as prime minister should have taken place ‘on the next sitting day’ after the notice of his nomination was given on 2 August 2017 to parliament.

Continue reading "Pruaitch says O’Neill’s election as prime minister ‘null & void’" »

Paladin scandal ‘raises questions’ about PNG-Oz relationship

ImagesCHRISTOPHER KNAUS & HELEN DAVIDSON | The Guardian | Extracts

Link here to the full article on reaction in PNG and Australia to the Paladin scandal

SYDNEY - A former Papua New Guinea official has warned the Paladin scandal is undermining Australia’s efforts to stamp out corruption in the Pacific nation.

Paul Flanagan, a former Australian treasury bureaucrat who worked as a senior adviser to the PNG government, said news of the Paladin affair had spread quickly through the nation’s parliament, where it had become a “hot issue”.

The scandal was painting Australia’s efforts to strengthen anti-corruption measures and improve procurement standards as hypocritical, he said.

Continue reading "Paladin scandal ‘raises questions’ about PNG-Oz relationship" »

An Australian mega-scandal: The 10 red flags of Manus

Craig Thrupp
Craig Thrupp


Link here to read PNGi’s complete exposition of the Manus scandal

PORT MORESBY - Last week the Australian Financial Review published a series of hard-hitting investigative reports into the award of $423 million in security contracts for the Manus Island detention centre – a controversial mechanism used by the Australian government to offshore its widely criticised refugee policy.

The contracts went to Paladin Solutions PNG Ltd, whose principals include Ian Duncan Stewart and former Australian soldier come private security contractor, Craig Thrupp.

It is common in the anti-corruption community when studying contracts to look for red flags, which point to heightened risks that a transaction may have been affected by improper or illegal dealings. The more red flags, the higher the risk, and the greater the need for a formal investigation.

Continue reading "An Australian mega-scandal: The 10 red flags of Manus" »

Wisdom from the village: Thoughts from the hausman

The hausman
The hausman (men's house) - traditional seat of learning


SEATTLE - We had an uncle named Etepe. He was a bachelor and commanded respect from nearly everyone, including our neighbouring tribe members.

Among his attributes were his fighting skills and the display of some wisdom.

During tribal fights, his ability for long-distance accuracy in hitting his targets with bow and arrows kept many of the opposing tribes at bay.

When we built a house, certain critical phases - especially placing the beam on the ridge that that ran the length of the roof – were put on hold until his approval.

One of his behaviours I found peculiar was his incredible ability to take action that was entirely opposite to his emotion. For instance, he would carry a very heavy load of firewood, that weighed more than his body weight.

Continue reading "Wisdom from the village: Thoughts from the hausman" »

Cyber warfare & all the news that’s not fit to print

(Stanford University)CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - In 1897, the New York Times adopted as its motto, ‘All the news that’s fit to print’.

These seven words rapidly became adopted as the de facto motto of US journalism as a whole. The inference was that good journalism meant only reporting that which was true, verifiable and in the public interest.

While this motto was and remains much admired, the days when the print media dominated the distribution of news have long since passed into history.

Now, we live in an era where what passes as the news is distributed through a multitude of media and an even larger number of outlets.

Continue reading "Cyber warfare & all the news that’s not fit to print" »

Building a literature: early Oz & PNG writers had much in common

Red Page
The Bulletin's Red Page helped get an Australian literary school on the move (National Library of Australia)


TUMBY BAY - In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Australian writers struggled to establish a truly Australian modality of literature.

In many ways their struggle resembled the current efforts of Papua New Guinean writers to establish a Papua New Guinean school of literature.

Many of those Australian writers had Irish antecedents and were influenced by the burgeoning literary scene in Ireland.

The advice from the Irish writers to their Australian counterparts was to forget European and English literary models and concentrate on writing about Australia using Australian settings and vernacular.

This is the sort of advice now being given to Papua New Guinean writers by Australian writers.

To establish a truly Papua New Guinean school of literature its writers need to write about their own country using local settings and idioms.

Many early Australian writers had trouble finding publishers. Ironically, a lot of well-known and famous Australian novels and poetry collections were self-published and only published commercially after they were successful.

The majority of these writers never made much money from their craft, even those who published commercially.

That hasn’t changed much to this day. There are only a few Australian writers, usually of popular fiction, who can support themselves from their work; most writers need to maintain other sources of income.

All of this should sound familiar to Papua New Guinean writers.

The early Australian writers tended to lean to the left politically. Many were socialists and a few were communists. Others were utopian and against capitalism. These inclinations greatly influenced their subject matter.

Continue reading "Building a literature: early Oz & PNG writers had much in common" »

Jekyll and Hyde – the World Bank PNG economic update

Paul Flanagan
Paul Flanagan - World Bank mixes Mr Nice Guy with Mr Not-so-nice Guy


CANBERRA - The World Bank’s economic update on Papua New Guinea was released in early February and offers a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde picture for the government.

The front end is undoubtedly very kind to the government, resembling the friendly support of Dr Jekyll in the famous Robert Louis Stevenson story.

There is much praise for the government and any criticism is buried in the middle of paragraphs or implicit in graphs and numbers in tables.

It’s hard work to read between the lines to find out what is really going on.

One example of the friendly treatment is the conciliatory discussion of the K3.4 billion breach (called a “policy deviation”) of the medium-term fiscal deficit targets agreed in the 2018 budget and made the first condition of the World Bank’s budget support loan in September last year.

Even allowing for expenditure arrears of nearly a billion kina, K2.5 billion (or 72%) of this massive deficit blow-out from 2018 to 2022 is left unexplained.

Continue reading "Jekyll and Hyde – the World Bank PNG economic update" »

PNG needs a 180 degree turn on preventing death & sickness

Plastic pollution on a PNG shoreline (UNDP)


GOLD COAST – PNG’s prime minister Peter O’Neill was recently quoted as saying that “preventing death and sickness as a result of inadequate sanitation is a personal quest of mine to improve health and hygiene.”

He continued: “I have lost several friends and relatives to preventable sicknesses caused by poor hygiene conditions such as the use of filthy toilets and a lack of health facilities. We must do all we can to improve hygiene.”

During the 18th and 19th centuries the skill of grinding glass lenses led to the construction of microscopes.

Scientists and the medical fraternity then became aware of the existence of bacteria and ultimately of viruses. Today we refer to these life forms under the general heading, ‘germs’.

Continue reading "PNG needs a 180 degree turn on preventing death & sickness" »

Former PM: Australia must come clean on Paladin contract

Mekere Morauta (2)
Sir Mekere Morauta


PORT MORESBY - The Australian government should come clean on the intentions underlying its $423-million contract with the Paladin group on Manus Island.

It looks to me and other Papua New Guineans that it is being used as a way to peddle influence through prominent Papua New Guineans and the ruling PNC party of prime minister Peter O’Neill.

I find that very disturbing at a time when there is likely to be a vote of no confidence in the notorious O’Neill regime, when Australia is engaged in a battle of diplomacy with China, when it wants to rebuild and expand PNG’s Lombrum naval base, and when it wants to keep Manus open for its own purposes.”

The revelations about the Paladin contract fit a pattern of dubious Australian behaviour in PNG in recent years, including the rigged 2017 election in which Mr O’Neill was re-elected.

Continue reading "Former PM: Australia must come clean on Paladin contract" »

The strange case of the Paladin on Kangaroo Island

Paladin headquarters on Kangaroo Island
Paladin headquarters on Kangaroo Island (AFR)


ADELAIDE - When my children were young, my wife and I decided to take them and ourselves on a holiday.

Despite having lived in South Australia for most of my life, I had never visited Kangaroo Island and so we decided that it would be our holiday destination.

Fortuitously, a friend owned a beach shack on the island and kindly allowed us to rent it for a couple of weeks at a very nominal charge.

The latter was important because we were relatively impecunious at the time and the cost of the ferry to access the island was (and remains) perhaps the most costly ferry journey in Australia

Continue reading "The strange case of the Paladin on Kangaroo Island" »

The bank queue


"Yu kam," I felt a firm hand tapping me on the shoulder. I turned and faced a clean-shaven security guard, looking smart in his bank issued uniform.

"Em ya, sanap long hia," he said, pointing with his left hand which also clutched a bundle of bank deposit slips.

I had arrived at the bank at 8:40, 10 minutes after the morning queue was ushered in.

As I joined the end of the queue, the image of Alice being late for tea with the Mad Hatter jumped at me.

Continue reading "The bank queue" »

A Bee in The Sky


There’s a bee in the sky
See, where mountain meets sky
Coming closer, faster through clouds
Listen, it sounds like an aeroplane

Yes, it's a single engine one
Its colours white and blue and red
It’s a new modern one, fast
Need efficiency on mission errands

Braving harsh terrain, shocking weather
Aviation a calling that flies on regardless
With thousands of people of the faith
Environment, weather and time don't hinder

Continue reading "A Bee in The Sky" »

O’Neill relatives involved in alleged parliament house scam

Francis Nii (2)
Francis Nii


KUNDIAWA A stunning report by Papua New Guinea’s no nonsense corruption fighter Bryan Kramer MP yesterday suggested that an K8.5 million bill for damage to parliament was a scam to defraud the state by people related to prime minister Peter O’Neill.

The damage was caused by security personnel who laid siege to parliament when they were not paid allowances following last year’s APEC conference in Port Moresby.

The government decided to pay the assailants K300 ‘sorry money’ in addition to the delayed allowance but last week finance minister James Marape said the government was looking at deducting the K300 allowance as security force members’ contribution to offset the damage to parliament caused in the rampage.

An investigation by Kramer into the K8.5 million damage bill tabled by acting speaker Jeffrey Komal and approved by MPs showed the bill was fraught with irregularities and inflated costs.

Continue reading "O’Neill relatives involved in alleged parliament house scam" »

Our daily bread: How scarcity drives the Mosbi mob mentality:

In Port Moresby dogs roam the streets freely eating garbage and scavenging whatever they can find to survive


PORT MORESBY – It was on a Saturday that the mob stormed into view, alleging that a dog bit a woman on the leg.

There were no witnesses and the incident was not reported to the owner of the dog.

The table mamas who erect stalls and sell betel nut along this stretch of the street did not witness a dog bite.

These table mamas report everything that happens in the neighbourhood to those returning from work because they tend their stalls 24/7 to make ends meet in this unforgiving city.

A heavily bandaged woman was carted in a wheelbarrow escorted by men, women and children to the unregulated hostel in the street where Kol stayed.

A grubby man representing the mob came straight up to Kol, pointing at his face. He knew Kol was not the owner of the dog but acted as if he was.

“Your dog bite off a piece on her calf muscle. We took her to the hospital and the doctor said that her leg will be amputated if not properly treated,” was the line.

Continue reading "Our daily bread: How scarcity drives the Mosbi mob mentality:" »

Australian university introduces first ever course in Tok Pisin


CANBERRA - An online undergraduate course in Tok Pisin has been introduced by the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific this year.

Tok Pisin is an official language of Papua New Guinea and is the most commonly and widely used language in the country with about four million native speakers.

The College says that by learning Tok Pisin, students will gain a deeper understanding of the rich cultures, histories and societies of the people of PNG and surrounding areas of the Pacific.

In this introductory course, students gain a practical command of beginner spoken Tok Pisin and an elementary capacity to read various types of texts in Tok Pisin with the help of a dictionary.

Continue reading "Australian university introduces first ever course in Tok Pisin" »

Two years on: reviewing the anthology, ‘My Walk to Equality’

My-walk-to-equalityTANYA ZERIGA-ALONE | Em Nau PNG’s Blog

PORT MORESBY - The theme for the 2017 International Women’s Day was ‘Be Bold for Change’.

The launching of the anthology, ‘My Walk to Equality’, on that day was a bold step toward putting the spotlight on women’s issues  in Papua New Guinea.

The anthology is a 280-page book containing 84 entries from 40 women writers – both established and emerging. The stories, poems and essays contain accounts by women striving to create a better and stronger PNG for women. Their words are immortalised in this book.

With brutal honesty, the women tell their stories. They give their solutions and ask pertinent questions to probe further thinking that requires honesty and humility.

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Imprudent decision by politicians costs taxpayers K31.5 million

Storming of parliament
PNG police and soldiers storm parliament over unpaid bonuses following November's APEC summit


KUNDIAWA – A hasty and imprudent decision by political leaders to pay members of the APEC joint security task forces an additional unbudgeted allowance of K300 will cost Papua New Guinean taxpayers nearly K31.5 million.

The recent demand by joint members of the armed forces for payment of outstanding APEC security operations allowance is in relation to an additional K300 allowances which they, members of the armed forces, claimed the government has not paid them.

This additional allowance was a commitment made by “political leaders” (names not released) to members of the security forces following their 30 November storming of national parliament.

In a Loop PNG report, APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko distanced himself from the issue saying it was up to the police commissioner Gary Baki to make sure members of the security forces were paid their allowances.

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Was Dutton’s secret Manus deal designed to favour O’Neill?

Peter O'Neill
Peter O'Neill
Peter Dutton
Peter Dutton

MARK DAVIS·| Facebook

CAIRNS - More details are emerging of the involvement of the corrupt Papua New Guinea government in the secret deal between the Paladin Group and Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs Ministry to provide security for the Manus detention centre.

The $423 million (K1 billion) contract looks like a special Australian government favour to the infamous O’Neill regime in PNG, with Paladin now reaping the whirlwind sown by others.

Recent attacks on Paladin, including the arrest of one of its PNG directors and the banning of executives and workers from PNG, bear the hallmarks of corporate machinations by PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill, head of the most corrupt government in the region and one of the most corrupt in the world.

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Fake story claims MP gate crashed an event he was invited to

Police talk to Kramer MP
Police intercede with Madang MP Bryan Kramer as he tries to speak at an airport ground-breaking ceremony to which he was invited

BRYAN KRAMER MP | Kramer Report

MADANG - It appears PNG's number one newspaper, the Post-Courier, that Papua New Guineans grew up with and respected has now become a political propaganda tool for corrupt politicians.

On Thursday, the Post-Courier published a fake and misleading report under the headline ‘Madang MP and supporters interrupt ground breaking event’.

"Madang MP Brian Kramer blatantly ‘gate crashed’ the official ground breaking ceremony of the K77 million Madang airport upgrading this morning,” the story began.

“Unabashed by the presence of the prime minister Peter O’Neill and 15 other cabinet ministers plus officials, Mr Kramer and his supporters moved in on the ceremony and through a loudspeaker system they had installed prior to the event, issued challenges against the prime minister and the government.

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Death of 'the missionary with a compassionate heart'

Fr Adrian Meaney
Fr Adrian Meaney MSC

STEVEN GAGAU with Keith Jackson

SYDNEY - It is with great sadness that I share the news that Rev Fr Adrian Meaney MSC passed away aged 85 around 11:00pm on Thursday night last week.

Adrian was ordained together with his brother Basil in Brisbane on 29 June 1961.

He spent many years in the Northern Territory, especially in Alice Springs, and also many years in Papua New Guinea, especially in Bereina and Port Moresby, including work for the Papal visit in 1995 for the beatification of Peter To Rot.

Known as "the missionary with a compassionate heart,” his principal focus in more recent years was the MSC Mission Office in Sydney, which he founded to help the poor in developing countries with potable water, medicine for TB and HIV patients as well as scholarships for children.

Adrian visited and worked in 60 countries. Among the many other activities, he directed a 10-day retreat and workshop for parish and prayer leaders of the Marshall Islands in 2008.

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Old farts on surfboards & the future of the world

Old man and the sea (Pinterest)PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I live in a small country town on the south eastern coast of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. It has a population of about 2,500, of which about half are elderly or retired.

A lot of those people used to be farmers but they have now left their sons and daughters in charge of the farm and bought houses with an ocean view.

The pristine coastal environment and laid back lifestyle also attracts people from far and wide, including, and perhaps surprisingly, many from Queensland.

They tend to arrive as grey nomads in their covered wagons, fall in love with the place and buy property.

This all makes for a somewhat eclectic mix of inhabitants. We have got, for instance, a Frenchman and his Congolese wife running a very popular French patisserie in the town.

We’ve also got a nice scattering of writers and artists. They tend to offset the crazy fishing addicts.

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PNG, My Mother Country

Send-Hope-Not-Flowers_PNG_ImageLarge02JOSEPH TAMBURE

My mother born September 1975
Today 44, growing older
Eight million children, still counting,
Scattered, many struggling to survive
No concern or sympathy for them
Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, crime

She doesn’t care for the environment
Where children are born and grow
Where attitudes and humanity develop
Where positive influences should reign
She has no interest, doesn't care
Mother doesn’t care, how can that work?
In 44 years, corruption and poverty

She must adopt and protect her children
Develop bright minds to secure development
Assist, encourage, support all in need
Culture and quality of life will improve
She can be a proud mother with respect and status

'Husat i dai pinis' - The case of the coffin in transit

Guari strip
Typical PNG bush airstrip at Guari in Central Province (Matt McLaughlin)


MELBOURNE - For all of us who were kiaps, life brought us a range of experiences, some serious, some tragic, some mundane and others that were extremely humorous.

I was always mindful that if I ever lost my sense of humour it was time to resign.

In this vein I recall an incident when I was a young Cadet Patrol Officer at Kabwum and was despatched on patrol.

I was flown to the remote airstrip at Indagen and, on completion of the patrol, collected by aircraft at a pre-arranged date and time from the same strip.

Came the day, I was back at the airstrip with my collection of patrol equipment, boxes, chair, table, lantern, the works, all neatly stacked on the hard-standing area.

After what seemed like hours, I heard an aircraft in the distance.  It circled and came into land.

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Tales from old Oro – new roads, uncharted seas & wild rivers

Robbins - Popondetta to Kokoda Road
Popondetta to Kokoda Road, Christmas 1969


SPRINGBROOK - My one-third of the 100km road-clearing work was the hilliest - from sea level up to a camp at a superb vantage point 1430 metres above sea level.

On Google Earth around 9º32’30” S / 148°39’46” E parts of "my road" (as District Commissioner David Marsh referred to it) can still be seen.

We spent our first five months in the Northern District (now Oro Province) at Popondetta. Drew Pingo who was on the same course as me had a young family and had already been posted to Kokoda, a reasonably civilised station with a road connection to Popondetta.

I was informed by other officers that the cream of the District’s outstations was Tufi but if I even hinted that I’d like to be posted there I would end up somewhere else like Ioma, supposedly a less desirable place.

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Revisiting the PNG LNG project landowner problem

Colin Filer
Colin Filer

COLIN FILER | DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - On 25 January this year, Papua New Guinea’s Post-Courier newspaper reported that the national court had just overturned a decision made by a provincial land court magistrate in 2006.

The decision in question was meant to resolve a dispute between two members of a Huli clan about the ownership of land in the Moran petroleum development licence area, which is one of eight licence areas that now form part of the PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.

But it seems that the magistrate ‘mistakenly’ granted one of the disputing parties rights to land in an adjoining licence area that belonged to a Fasu clan, and this had led to unlawful encroachment by members of the Huli tribe, onto land that rightfully belonged to members of the Fasu tribe.

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Sean’s daughter walking Kokoda to clobber motor neurone disease



BRISBANE - In April I will be walking the Kokoda Trail to raise funds for a small, not-for-profit called the MND and Me Foundation. 

MND is Motor Neurone Disease, which, sadly, my father, Sean, was diagnosed with a few years ago. 

It is a struggle every day and, but for the exposure given to it by a few high profile sufferers (the late Stephen Hawking being one), it is one of the many diseases that is not very well known unless someone in your circle has been afflicted.

I will be walking the Trail with a group of family and friends, all of whom are fund raising in support of the MND and Me Foundation.

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Bougainville independence: If it happens, are there plans?

Independence referendum posterPHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - If Bougainville does achieve independence from Papua New Guinea, lawyer Sam Koim has suggested the province might be abandoned without first being properly prepared to become a sovereign state, “just as Australia did to PNG”.

Sam is obviously playing devil’s advocate but it’s food for thought. Just what is Papua New Guinea’s contingency plan if Bougainville’s June referendum shows a strong vote for independence and the PNG parliament decides to go along?

It can be argued that Australia was forced by political pressure to grant independence to PNG before it was ready but it did so after a transition phase between self-government and full independence.

It also has continued to fund PNG and continues to do so right up until the present time by more than half a billion dollars a year.

Does PNG have a similar plan should it grant Bougainville independence?

Will there be an orderly transition and will PNG continue to fund the new nation for a while at least?

So far I haven’t been able to determine whether such a plan exists and my cynical side tells me not to be surprised if it doesn’t exist.

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Project will offset PNG tourism impacts by sustaining forests


PORT MORESBY –Travel4Green (T4G) is an autonomous nonprofit private project about offsetting global tourism carbon footprints and sustaining indigenous forests in Papua New Guinea.

The project is based on blockchain and encourages travellers worldwide to calculate their carbon footprints to calculate the volume of carbon emissions they leave behind in each country they visit.

In PNG, the project is independent of government, being designed and operated by Howarig Traders, a registered consultancy firm.

T4G is calling for public review and comment of a white paper being put together to launch this project in PNG. Public feedback on this final draft working document will be taken into account in the development of the project.

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What has PNG become and how to describe it?

Phil Fitzpatrick recent
Phil Fitzpatrick


TUMBY BAY - Finding words to describe how I feel about the current state of Papua New Guinea is proving particularly difficult.

I guess the first word that comes to mind is frustration. How can a country with so much promise and so many natural assets end up the way it has?

Writing as someone involved in launching the new nation to independence, albeit in a tiny way, this turn of events somehow needs a much stronger word.

Perhaps an adjective or two needs to be added. How about ‘extremely frustrated’ or ‘totally frustrated’?

Nope, that doesn’t cut it by a long shot.

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