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Northumbrian kiap get tick from uni

Robert Forster
Robert Forster tucks into some brain food as a young kiap

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA - Divine Word University in Madang has secured exclusive distribution rights within Papua New Guinea for my book ‘The Northumbrian Kiap’ which examines bush administration in the turbulent period immediately before independence.

DWU has a reputation for innovation and I’m very pleased with this collaboration.

I made an effort to name many Papua New Guineans, not just Australian expatriates, in the text.

These include villagers who I met between 1968 and 1975 as well as policemen, politicians and priests.

Those still around may be surprised to see their names in print.

Their children and grandchildren, many holding professional posts throughout PNG and overseas, will have an equal interest.

The book presents me as a typical human not a colonial super-hero, and it emphasises the difficulties faced by young men who entered their careers in a distant culture and found themselves confronted with unimaginable situations.

Winnie Kiap, PNG’s high commissioner in the United Kingdom said of the book:

“It is fascinating and interesting to see from a kiap’s perspective what kiaps did and how they worked.

“Clearly they had to have a pioneer spirit, or adventurous spirit, or a missionary spirit. Or all of that.

“I have yet to read a more kind and sympathetic account of people living in pre-independence PNG.”

And Dr Martin Evans, a pre-independence agriculturalist in PNG, described the book as remarkable” and added: “It has an incredibly real feel. I was transfixed while reading it. In places, the descriptions, especially of the landscape, are almost poetic.”

I had trained as a journalist, before coming to PNG as a footloose 21-year old, but I was also looking for adventure - and found it.

The contact for Divine Word University’s newly installed distribution system is the director of its Community Information Centre, Dr Kevin Pamba.

Contact Kevin at kpamba@dwu.ac.pg. His address is Dr Kevin Pamba, Director of Community Information, Divine Word University, PO Box 483, Madang 511, Papua New Guinea.

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