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38 posts from September 2022

The King & Duncan & the mangroves of Boera

It was then the team leader informed us of the royal visit to Papua New Guinea, including a trip to Boera village. The Prince of Wales would officially launch our mangrove conservation project

Prince Charles plants the mangrove seedling at Boera village
Prince Charles plants the mangrove seedling at Boera village during his visit of 2012


WEWAK – On this morning in 2012, I stood inside the greenhouse surrounded by mangrove seedlings and in a state of high anxiety.

Soon I heard distant singing and the beating of kundu drums followed by cheering.

Continue reading "The King & Duncan & the mangroves of Boera" »

Oz blasted over response to K268m fraud

"Australia's apparent inability to assist in this most basic of legal processes does not sit well with its broader anti-corruption and security intentions in the region" – Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary

Samson Jubi was granted Australian permanent residency more than a decade ago (Facebook)
Samson Jubi was granted Australian permanent residency more than a decade ago (Facebook)

| ABC Investigations | Extract

SYDNEY - A Papua New Guinea government minister and top justice officials say they are "extremely frustrated" with Australia for harbouring a Cairns resident wanted for one of the biggest alleged frauds in the country's legal history.

In an early test for the Albanese government's Pacific strategy, PNG immigration minister Bryan Kramer and the country's national police force have spoken out to the ABC about "unacceptable" delays in Australia's handling of an extradition request for PNG citizen Samson Jubi.

Continue reading "Oz blasted over response to K268m fraud" »

Cherished Words


I still cherish those first words
Strings of harmonious chords

I will not forget their worth
Spoken with sincerest thought

I wonder about their measures
Entangled down many years

Gifting me revelations
Ticking off recollections

The thoughtful anecdotes
The inspirational quotes

These I cherish as I rummage
Through these maiden messages

Chiselled on life's pages
To live on down the ages

Drowning nations: ‘This is how an atoll dies’

The cost of eking out a living on islands threatened by sea level rise eventually becomes too much to bear, causing families to leave and the nation to disappear. "This is how a Pacific atoll dies. This is how our islands will cease to exist”

Marshall Islands president David Kabua addresses the United Nations General Assembly last week (AP Photo by Jason DeCrow)
Marshall Islands president David Kabua addresses the United Nations General Assembly last week (AP Photo by Jason DeCrow)

| AP News | Extracts

NEW YORK - While world leaders from wealthy countries acknowledge the ‘existential threat’ of climate change, Tuvalu prime minister Kausea Natano is racing to save his tiny island nation from drowning by raising it four to five meters above sea level through land reclamation.

And while experts issue warnings about the eventual uninhabitability of the Marshall Islands, president David Kabua must reconcile the inequity of a seawall built to protect one house that is now flooding another one next door.

Continue reading "Drowning nations: ‘This is how an atoll dies’" »

Corruption eating the nation, says Rosso

"Corruption boils down to the attitude of individuals, which needs a complete change. The onus is on everyone to end this disease that continues to eat away the fabric of the nation"

John rosso
PNG deputy prime minister John Rosso

| National Broadcasting Corporation

PORT MORESBY - The Marape government has vowed that it will work closely with key government agencies to combat corruption in Papua New Guinea.

Acting prime minister John Rosso said the government cannot tackle corruption alone, and needs a collective effort from government agencies and every individual.

Continue reading "Corruption eating the nation, says Rosso" »

Vice-minister Tonpi wants to attack laziness

“When people are too dependent on the government for handouts, their mindset is positioned in one direction only. Their minds become stagnant and they will not prosper"

Raphael Tonpi

| The National

PORT MORESBY - Poor judgement has resulted in Southern Highlands been riddled with law and order issues and this needs to change, says Mendi-Munihu MP, Raphael Tonpi.

“We need to respect and comfort them and find ways to assist and make Mendi town regain its glory days,” he said.

Continue reading "Vice-minister Tonpi wants to attack laziness" »

Australia violated Torres Islander rights: UN


Houses top
Dwellings damaged by a storm surge on Iama Island (John Rainbird)


MapNOOSA – The United Nations has declared that Australia has violated the human rights of a group of Torres Strait Islanders by failing to adequately protect them from the impacts of climate change.

Torres Strait Islanders are Indigenous Australians who live on small clusters of low-lying islands between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Australia violated Torres Islander rights: UN" »

BRA was the root of a bloody civil conflict

When the Bougainville Revolutionary Army succeeded in routing the PNG police and military from Bougainville in 1988, the BRA turned their violence upon Bougainvilleans they believed to be enemies or just ‘easy pickings’

Leonard Roka
The young Leonard Fong Roka and torture scar picked up in a refugee camp during the Bougainville civil war. When still a schoolboy, Leonard was deployed to serve in the bodyguard of Joseph Kabui, later president of the Autonomous Bougainville Government

| From Our Archive, 23 September 2012

MADANG – In October 1992 I was a kid roaming around parts of the Kieta and the Bana districts in South Bougainville with Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA).

I was a member of the ‘A’ Company bodyguard unit.

Continue reading "BRA was the root of a bloody civil conflict" »

Quake signals danger for Wafi-Golpu project

As deadly earthquakes pose catastrophic risks to communities, all levels of government have been asked to pause the Wafi-Golpu deep sea tailings pipeline proposal until consent has been given by affected communities

A large crack in a highway near Kainantu following the 7.6 magnitude Morobe earthquake that killed at least seven people
A large crack in a highway near Kainantu following the 7.6 magnitude Morobe earthquake that killed at least seven people

NOOSA - Following the deadly Morobe earthquake 10 days ago, a coalition of Papua New Guinean and Australian civil society organisations have called for a pause to the Wafi-Golpu gold mine project.

The quake had a magnitude of 7.6 and the organisations want the geology to be fully understood and for Morobe communities to be consulted, especially on the risks of deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) to their livelihoods and health.

Continue reading "Quake signals danger for Wafi-Golpu project" »

Enough! We need to see the end of Empires

"I have been reading history for 60 years now and one of the things I have realised is that the human urge for conquest and the instinct to dominate others transcends geography, ethnicity, language and culture" - Chris Overland

Assyrian Empire (2025-605 BCE)
Assyrian Empire (2025-605 BCE)


ADELAIDE - The death of Queen Elizabeth II has led to some reflection upon the British Empire and its legacy.

Commentary has ranged from the vile and tasteless to thoughtful consideration upon what is undeniably a very mixed British imperial legacy.

Continue reading "Enough! We need to see the end of Empires" »

Today's tribes are not loyal to their own

The invigilators didn’t care who won the election, as long as the sitting member’s henchmen were not able to push false votes or influence the counting

Showing that ballot boxes are empty before voting
Poll workers demonstrate that ballot boxes are empty before voting commences


PORT MORESBY – ‘Bigmanship’, in Simon Davidson’s, 'Bigmanship: the deliverer of corrupt leaders', is such a strange and new term.

If you look at it in the construct of Simon’s article, it’s like watching the vomit of over-analysis give life to something that is a post-colonial media construct.

Continue reading "Today's tribes are not loyal to their own" »

The Covid data they don't want you to see

BA.4.6, a subvariant of Omicron, quickly gaining traction in the US and the UK, is able to evade immunity acquired from vaccination and prior infection. It is likely to be followed by BA.2.75.2 - an even more evasive subvariant (Illustration by Andrii Vodolazhskyi)

New Covid variant


NOOSA - The full weight of nine governments and the public health bureaucracy continue to succeed in persuading the Australian population that Covid is not something to worry too much about.

One result of this nonsense is that in five of Australia’s eight states and territories, Covid infection is showing positive growth, with Queensland and South Australia looking likely to soon burst out into major expansion.

Continue reading "The Covid data they don't want you to see" »

Goroka ransacked after murder of official

Fego Kiniafa’s tribesmen rampaged through Goroka town armed with bush knives, burning houses and shops and ransacking other buildings

Goroka arson
A building burns in Goroka following the slaying of Fego Kiniafa


NOOSA - Goroka was tense last night following the brutal murder of the chief executive officer of the PNG Ports Corporation, Fego Kiniafa, 43, on Saturday.

Kiniafa was killed near his village of Nagamiufa as his tribesmen clashed with clans from Korofeiga and Lower Bena, with the fighting taking to the streets of Goroka early on Sunday morning.

Continue reading "Goroka ransacked after murder of official" »

Give the raskol a tenner & watch him grow

These are youths who sleep in the drains beside the Courts, at Yakapilin Market and in various dirty shanties around Port Moresby



PORT MORESBY - Whilst others were painting their faces on Independence Day, I spent my day at Jack Pidik Park.

I had been invited to give a little speech at the Human Development Institute graduation ceremony. So, what is significant about that?

Continue reading "Give the raskol a tenner & watch him grow" »

The mountain cave that harboured Sgt Ryan

Ryan hid in a cave in the mountains of Sarewagat, 1,000 metres above sea level in a steep, densely forested valley with a fast flowing river

Peter Ryan - just 18 when called to war
Peter Ryan MM - just 18 when called to war


OLIN – This is my place, Olin; a little village in Nawaeb District, Morobe Province.

Some years ago, I was told by my great-grandfather about a World War II soldier who was assisted by the natives of this area to escape from the Japanese.

Continue reading "The mountain cave that harboured Sgt Ryan" »

Ill Papua governor banned from treatment

Spokesperson Rifai Darus said Governor Enembe's home is being closely guarded by thousands of people, including his close relatives

Governor Enembe undergoing medical treatment. He's believed to be the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in Papua (Pacific Pos)
Governor Enembe undergoing medical treatment. He's believed to be the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in Papua (Pacific Pos)

| Asia Pacific Review | Edited

AUCKLAND - Governor Lukas Enembe of Indonesia’s Papua Province has been banned from travelling abroad, preventing him from undergoing vital medical treatment in the Philippines.

It is believed the popular governor of Melanesian Papua is the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in the region.

Continue reading "Ill Papua governor banned from treatment" »

'Change is up to the people,' says governor

"We must stop getting drunk in public. We must stop playing pokies all night. We must stop cutting deals & compromising the public interest. Our public servants must turn up to work on time"

Governor Allan Bird
Governor Allan Bird


WEWAK -Independence is not free, it comes with Responsibility.

In my address to the Sepik people on the occasion of Papua New Guinea’s 47th independence anniversary, I stressed that it is important we understand independence as meaning that the people have the right to do everything themselves.

Continue reading "'Change is up to the people,' says governor" »

B’ville looks to its international relations

As an emerging Pacific Island state, Bougainville will work towards building mutual government relationships that will enhance trust, trade and investment

Bougainville Vice-President-Patrick-Nisira

"As we reach out to the international frontier, our focus must be on growing the Bougainville economy and attaining fiscal self-reliance" - Bougainville vice-president Patrick Nisira

| Bougainville News

BUKA - The Autonomous Bougainville Government continues to make headway with its strategy to make practical the people’s 97.7% vote for Independence in 2019.

The Bougainville Independence Mission, launched by president Ishmael Toroama in April 2021, marked the beginning of the implementation of a Trident Strategy to prepare Bougainville for independence.

Continue reading "B’ville looks to its international relations" »

The allure of the Crown: PNG & the Palace

"The emergent PNG elite was mightily enamoured with aspects of monarchy, notably the awarding of various medals and honours. Such bilas never lost its allure, whether in PNG or elsewhere in the remnants of the former Empire"

Knighthood-sir-mel-togolo June 2018
In PNG, the imperial awards system is maintained alongside the home-grown Order of Logohu. The Post-Courier records the knighting of business leader Sir Mel Togolo in June 2018


ADELAIDE - I guess it is baffling to most outside observers that a foreign Queen, who was formerly an Empress, should have been the Head of State in Papua New Guinea and generally held in high regard.

In pre-independence times the Queen's status must have mystified Papua New Guineans.

Continue reading "The allure of the Crown: PNG & the Palace" »

The real virtues of constitutional monarchy

Britannia defends Law, Monarchy and Religion against Violation from the Great Political Libertine. Despite its many flaws, inequities and inequalities, a constitutional monarchy remains the least easily manipulated governance system humans have devised

Monarchy top
Death or Liberty! Cartoon by George Cruikshank, London, 1819


ADELAIDE - Raymond Sigimet's perfectly competent and informative article about the death of the Queen triggered a remarkable outpouring of venom about the monarchy from those who want to replace it with a republic.

There is no denying that the monarchy is an archaic and elitist institution. Also, there are plenty of examples of royals behaving badly.

Continue reading "The real virtues of constitutional monarchy" »

The Old Justice is Dead

"The old justice is dead, and lost to time / Where once in the hausman it chanted at night  / Amidst broken betel nut and waft of lime /  Spoken in a chanted glow of embers’ light"



The old justice is dead, and lost to time
Where once in the hausman it chanted at night 
Amidst broken betel nut and waft of lime 
Spoken in a chanted glow of embers’ light

Burnt and buried, the old justice of the past
Where balance and order were societal norm 
Calling upon ancestors and act not in haste 
To pass judgement from man’s earthly worm

Continue reading "The Old Justice is Dead" »

We need a national TVET authority: Here’s why

The potential of TAFE-delivered vocational education and training has been relegated to mark it as a pathway for students who do not have the academic ability to progress in regular schooling. It hurts to write this, but it is the truth

Kuri - TVET


PORT MORESBY - The education sector in Papua New Guinea has gone through various structural reforms in an attempt to ensure that principles and directives enshrined in the Constitution are realised.

Education as a development pillar is also highlighted as a key sector in PNG’s Development Strategic Plan 2010–2030, in the Medium Term Development Plan 2011-2015, in the Medium Term Development Plan III and in Vision 2050.

Continue reading "We need a national TVET authority: Here’s why" »

I have reason to celebrate Independence Day

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The celebration of a nation

| First published in PNG Attitude on 16 September 2019

In 2019, James Marape replaced Peter O’Neill as prime minister and briefly the nation breathed a sigh of relief that better days were to come. Francis Nii reflected upon the change of mood. The great author was to die before the disappointment set in

KUNDIAWA - In the last eight years, when other Papua New Guineans celebrated their country’s independence anniversary on 16 September each year, to me it was just like any other day.

I didn’t feel anything special about the occasion. Independence was meaningless and unimportant to me.

Continue reading "I have reason to celebrate Independence Day" »

How we raced to make independence happen

Indy top 2
The new Kumul flag is raised on Independence Hill

| First published in PNG Attitude on 16 September 2015

In 2009 former long-serving PNG district commissioner, the late David Marsh, who died in 2015, reflected upon what happened on that first Independence Day in 1975

PORT MORESBY -In late June 1975, Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam asked Papua New Guinea chief minister Michael Somare to provide a date for PNG Independence.

Somare set the date of 16 September the same year. Then he gave me the job of organising the event. We had ten weeks. Getting people to join me to get the job done was difficult.

Continue reading "How we raced to make independence happen" »

35 years on - some reasons for pride

The main issue was that too much experience and expertise deserted PNG in those few years immediately after Independence. But that was in the seventies, and nothing can change what happened then

Indy top 1

| First published in PNG Attitude on 16 September 2010

In 2010 I sought to draw back the curtains of gloom and identify some of the important areas in which PNG was doing well. Twelve years later, I leave it up to readers to assess how things are going. Plenty of space for Comments below

NOOSA – I was at that first Independence Day in Papua New Guinea and was amazed and impressed in how such an important and complex national event could be was organised in a heck of a hurry.

With only ten weeks’ notice, chief minister Michael Somare gave District Commissioner David Marsh the task of organising events both on the day and for the six days of celebration from 14-19 September.

Continue reading "35 years on - some reasons for pride" »

Independence Day: 47 years of failure

Before independence, our leaders chose and promoted a people-centred approach and enshrined this in our Constitution. But successive governments have steered another course



PORT MORESBY – It’s Independence Day for Papua New Guinea, marking 47 years since a new country was born.

But while we celebrate 47 years of political independence, we must acknowledge that, as a nation, we have failed to fulfil our aspirations.

Continue reading "Independence Day: 47 years of failure" »

The world is changing: Are we ready for it?

The power elites in Western countries resort to self- delusion, distortion, evasion, lies and hypocrisy to justify and defend policies and actions they believe or pretend are in the national interest



‘The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: A History of Now’ by Michael Burleigh
Pan, July 2018, 432 pages, paperback. Available here from Amazon Books $9.99

ADELAIDE - I have just finished Michael Burleigh’s acclaimed book, The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: A History of Now’ (Macmillan, 2017).

Burleigh is a distinguished academic specialising in the Nazi era, and he has held teaching positions, including professorial roles, at New College, Oxford, the London School of Economics and the universities of Cardiff and Stanford.

Continue reading "The world is changing: Are we ready for it?" »

Serenade of the Sea

The sea took away my kin not long ago, but the sea is not the enemy. I do not blame the sea, the sea will always serve its purpose

Suang pic


PORT MORESBY - As the Bismarck moonlight shines so  bright, I can recall early memories of being on a canoe with my uncles at night, fishing the pristine waters near our island for crayfish and reef fish.

This was where I was born and where I spent my first few months when isolation was at its greatest.

Continue reading "Serenade of the Sea" »

Prince Charles, Kerr & the dismissal of Gough

John Kerr was looking for  friendship and support wherever he could. Prince Charles allowed himself to be drawn into the collaboration to bring down an Australian government

Prince Charles in 1976
King Charles III (then Prince Charles) in 1976

| Pearls Irritations

SYDNEY - In the heat of early spring 1975 in the New Guinea highlands, Australian Governor General Sir John Kerr sidled up to Prince Charles and suggested a quiet chat.

The topic? The possible dismissal of the Australian prime minister.

Continue reading "Prince Charles, Kerr & the dismissal of Gough" »

PNG's monarch, ‘Misis Kwin’, has passed away

"I know how honoured Her Majesty is to be your Queen, a title borne by her with immense pride and renewed by the people of this great country upon independence in 1975" - King Charles III, speaking as the Prince of Wales, in 2012

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited PNG in October 1982


DAGUA - Papua New Guinea, as a member of the Commonwealth, is mourning the passing of its head of state, Queen Elizabeth II.

Elizabeth II, called Misis Kwin in PNG Tok Pisin, died aged 96 one week ago, Thursday 8 September.

Continue reading "PNG's monarch, ‘Misis Kwin’, has passed away" »

Does B'ville need a new anti-corruption law?

In 17 years since the first Autonomous Bougainville Government was formed there has been little practical action to utilise the powers to hold political and bureaucratic leaders to account

Jn top
Joseph Nobatau found himself targeted as he sought to bring senior Bougainville leaders to account. He lost his influential job as chief secretary, but was later completely exonerated by the courts


BUKA - Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama recently announced his government’s intention to enact a new anti-corruption law. 

The president, who campaigned on a platform of eliminating corruption, has since his election advocated for reform and should be commended for his focus on corruption.

Continue reading "Does B'ville need a new anti-corruption law?" »

Private notes for understanding friends

Keith portrait
Keith, September 2020


“The game's afoot: / Follow your spirit, and upon this charge / Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!” (Henry V by Wm Shakespeare, c 1599)

“Old age sure ain’t no place for sissies” - Bette Davis, movie star (1908-1989)

“I'll be glad to leave here. I feel like eating palm trees. I don't like this place. It's for people with arthritis. They come here to play golf and to die” - Ernie Holmes, American football hero (1948-2008)

“We are here to help each other through this thing, whatever it is” – Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)


NOOSA – Well, here we go again: 120 kilometres to Brisbane and the Wesley hospital for more surgery on my spine.

It feels like it may be the denouement of an unfinished 40-year long drama about the steady creep of arthritis.

Continue reading "Private notes for understanding friends" »

The '90s PNG meri blaus at Auckland museum

| Duresi’s Odyssey

AUCKLAND - On Sunday my daughter and I went to the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

As usual, we ended up spending time looking at the Pacific section and its artefacts. I had to photograph this meri blaus.

I remember the style well from growing up in the 1990s. My elder sister had a few. I think I may have owned one. Meri blaus styles change over time and I don’t think this style is still made.

“It’s probably because of the arms,” my daughter observed. “They’re very constricted, unlike the styles of today.”

Perhaps she’s got a point.

Happy Friday to you all!

Marape says PNG's prospects now look strong

“I want to warn the country about ‘lazy man expectations’ that money from oil, gas and mining would be a permanent solution for our economy; far from it” – James Marape

Marape speaks in parliament
James Marape speaking in parliament this week

| James Marape News Page | Edited

WAIGANI – The story of Papua New Guinea is not bad as many people make it out to be.

By 2027, the Budget will be in surplus and by the mid-2030s PNG will have paid its total sovereign debt on the way to becoming a K200 billion economy.

Continue reading "Marape says PNG's prospects now look strong" »

Real change in PNG must start at the base

"I wonder if the consultants ever get beyond the boundary of Port Moresby or any of the provincial capitals? Have these people spent even a month living in a community?"



CAIRNS - As Chris Overland writes, corruption is an insidious cancer, and nothing will change at the top until outcomes are changed at the base.

I think it’s fair to say that elected representatives are a reflection of the expectations of the people who vote for them.

Continue reading "Real change in PNG must start at the base" »

Corruption is suffocating economic growth

Corruption is a huge problem in PNG and has a huge economic cost. PNG is ranked by Transparency International as one of the most corrupt countries in the Asia-Pacific region

Eddie Tanago 2
"Research by Act Now! showed how just a one-point improvement in PNG’s corruption score could boost the economy by K10 billion a year or 14%, equivalent to over K1,200 for every woman, man and child in PNG" - Eddie Tanago

| Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - Effective action against corruption is essential for economic growth and it should be the number one priority for the new Marape government.

Recent findings by the National Research Institute has reaffirmed the importance of good governance and the rule of law in attracting new investment, increasing employment opportunities and boosting government revenues.

Continue reading "Corruption is suffocating economic growth" »