'Three times a year from 1998 to 2013, I travelled from Mt Hagen to Madang for meetings of the University Council, where I associated with Sir Peter. Quite often several of us would be lodged at his Madang Resort. I only have good memories of those times'
MAYNOOTH, IRELAND - Sir Peter Barter, 82, who passed away in Cairns after a short illness on Wednesday 22 June, was well known and respected as a politician and businessman.
It is widely acknowledged that he achieved much in his time especially for both Madang Town and Madang Province.
Certainly the Peter Barter I knew was a good man.
Sir Peter Leslie Charles Barter GCL OBE was born in Australia but later became a naturalised Papua New Guinean citizen.
He attended Newington College in Sydney before training as a pilot and flying for Qantas Airways.
He established, owned and operated the popular Madang Resort and, as early as 1980, created the Melanesian Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which invested in remote communities that had shown great hospitality to tourists and other visitors.
Sir Peter was elected Governor of Madang Province in 1997, serving a five year term.
In 2001, he was knighted for his services to PNG and the tourism industry.
While in parliament he also served as Minister for Health and Minister for Bougainville Affairs.
In this latter role, he played an active and fruitful part in the process of reconciliation following the Bougainville civil war of the 1990s. He was highly regarded and trusted by both sides.
In addition to his political and business activities, Sir Peter was a long-serving member of the Governing Council of Divine Word University (DWU) in Madang.
It was through my own involvement over many years on the University Council that I got to know him.
About three times each year between 1998 and 2013, I travelled from Mt Hagen to Madang for meetings of the Council, and was pleased to associate with Sir Peter at these meetings.
Quite often, if there was no accommodation available on the university campus, several of us Council members would be lodged at Sir Peter’s Madang Resort.
I only have good memories of those times.
Sir Peter rarely missed a Council meeting and he genuinely seemed to enjoy the opportunity of mixing with people from different backgrounds and discussing matters relating to education and the university itself.
The Council included people from industry and the academic world, and from different faith backgrounds, not only Catholic but also from the Lutheran, Anglican and United churches.
Sir Peter participated in Council meetings in a polite and serious way and his contributions were always worthwhile.
He never tried to browbeat or be officious. I would describe him as being genuinely humble in his contributions to our meetings.
So I only have very good memories of Sir Peter.
My condolence goes to his family members.
You can all be so very proud of the late Sir Peter Barter.