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20 posts from April 2023

Montevideo Maru wreck found after 80 years

Before being made a prison ship in World War II, the Montevideo Maru mostly traded between Japan and South America

| PNG Association of Australia

SYDNEY - The wreck of the Montevideo Maru, on which 1,060 Australian troops and civilians died in the worst maritime disaster in Australia’s history, has been found off the coast of the Philippines

The location of the Japanese ship has been an enduring mystery since she was mistakenly torpedoed by the American submarine USS Sturgeon on 1 July 1942 in the South China Sea on her way from Rabaul to a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Hanoi.

Continue reading "Montevideo Maru wreck found after 80 years" »

There is no such thing as a Christian nation


TUMBY BAY - A couple of days ago there was an interesting comment by Pauline P Kama on Michael Kabuni’s article, ‘At its core, PNG is corrupt. Easter showed that’.

Pauline referred to elections and the way decent men and women are turned away from voting while “violent and lazy voters” are corralled by corrupt politicians to “maintain the chaos” and keep them in power.

Continue reading "There is no such thing as a Christian nation" »

When China versus the USA, where are we?

Kuri    Cleverly
UK foreign minister Cleverly and PNG foreign minister Tkatchenko after signing a security agreement - "a sheer weight of words that mean absolutely nothing"


PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea has been publicly stating – through official and media sources – that the Chinese don’t have to worry about the long list of security arrangements we are developing with the USA and its allies.

Despite this, however, it is quite clear where PNG is aligned in terms of the growing geopolitical uproar in the Indo–Pacific region.

Continue reading "When China versus the USA, where are we?" »

Connecting the dots on West Papua, Part 1

West Papuans holding placards  calling for UN assitance  after Indonesia’s invasion of West Papua in 1962
West Papuans holding placards calling for UN assistance after Indonesia’s invasion of West Papua in 1962 (Free West Papua Campaign)


Uti Possidetis Juris - The doctrine of international law stating that, upon the end of belligerence, territory and other property remains with its possessor

PORT MORESBY – The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) is the umbrella organisation for the pro-independence movements of West Papua.

It is an acronym that has captured the imagination and hearts of indigenous Papuans, and causes the greatest concern for Indonesian diplomats.

Continue reading "Connecting the dots on West Papua, Part 1" »

Writer, if you can, get yourself a good editor

Editor (Bing Image Creator)
The editor -  some really know their stuff and some mistakenly think they know their stuff (Bing Image Creator)


TUMBY BAY - I first tried my hand at freelance journalism in the 1970s. It was a hit and miss process and I never had the knack for the job. Longform non-fiction and creative writing is more my style.

That admitted, during lulls in the creative process, when the book or short story I’m working on hits a roadblock, I fill the void by having a go at a few journalistic pieces.

Continue reading "Writer, if you can, get yourself a good editor" »

Remembering footie, politics & John Kaputin

Sir John Kaputin's plaque in the PNG Sports Hall of Fame. The distinguished politician and diplomat was a champion athlete and footballer


BARDON, BRISBANE, QLD - I hope readers of PNG Attitude will be able to help me get in touch with Sir John Kaputin, who I understand lives on the southside of Brisbane.

Sir John and I have a bit of history. In 1960, when I spent my third year as a Patrol Officer based in Madang, I played rugby league.

Continue reading "Remembering footie, politics & John Kaputin" »

At its core, PNG is corrupt. Easter showed that

Corruption: It's in Your Hands (

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - An Australian PhD student conducting research on corruption in Papua New Guinea met a group of youths in Port Moresby.

After a few exchanges he asked them: “What is the root of corruption?”

One of them pointed to the national parliament building, and said: “There lie the roots, the stem, the branches and the leaves of corruption.”

Continue reading "At its core, PNG is corrupt. Easter showed that" »

Clency & Norman: Making impossible possible

Norman, Clency and baby Aiwa on graduation day. Together they are fulfilling their dreams to have an excellent education and fulfilling careers
Norman, Clency and baby Aiwa Bana on graduation day. Despite Clency's blindness, the couple has a vision that is helping achieve their dreams for an excellent education and fulfilling careers


GOROKA - PNG Attitude resumes our acquaintance with Clency Amos Kaupa, from Gor village in Simbu province and blind since birth, as she graduates from the University of Goroka for a second time.

When we first met in 2015, Clency had just completed the Grade 10 national lower secondary school examination, a credential  necessary to continuing in Papua New Guinea's education system.

Continue reading "Clency & Norman: Making impossible possible" »

Robbing the people to boost the profiteers

Blackbirding in Melanesia State Library of Queensland)
'Blackbirding' in Melanesia in the late 19th century was an approved way of stealing people's liberty to profit business. Later governments became smarfter and sold the people's property instead (State Library of Queensland)


TUMBY BAY, SA – In the world over, for many years now, both conservative and progressive governments have been privatising public services.

The argument runs that services like health, water, electricity, gas, transport and telecommunications can be operated much more efficiently, effectively and cheaply by business than government.

That this is a capitalist fallacy is now readily apparent.

Continue reading "Robbing the people to boost the profiteers" »

Free money? Why you can't run away from BSP

| Academia Nomad

AtmsPORT MORESBY - On Easter weekend, Bank South Pacific unintentionally credited its customers an undisclosed amount of money due to a technological glitch as the bank attempted to update its systems.

After customers received notifications on their phones, about 30,000 people rushed to the BSP ATMs and withdrew an average K1,000 each.

Some people subsequently switched banks.

Continue reading "Free money? Why you can't run away from BSP" »

Rehabilitating the battlefields of Bougainville

Reg yates
Over the past 34 years Captain Reg Yates has explored most of the WW11 battle sites in PNG.  He is fluent in Tok Pisin and is well respected by village elders along the Kokoda Trail


IVANHOE, VIC – I recently made my third visit to Bougainville (my second funded by a research grant from the Australian Army History Unit) to prepare a World War II battlefield study tour guide for the Australian Defence Force.

The guide will cover the fighting against Imperial Japanese forces by Australian, American, New Zealand, Fijian and Papua New Guinean military personnel on Bougainville from 1942-1945.

Continue reading "Rehabilitating the battlefields of Bougainville" »

Remembering Laurabada, the pride of Papua

Kranz   Laurabada officers and crew Sydney trials 1924 ANMM
Laurabada officers and crew in Sydney for sea trials, 1924 (Australian National Maritime Museum)


MORRISET, NSW - This photo from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney shows MV Laurabada on her trial voyage to test the engines in Sydney Harbour in 1924.

Her officers and Papuan crew, in Sydney for the sea trials, pose on her prow and bowsprit.

Laurabada was one of the last Australian government vessels to have a carved wooden figurehead on her prow.

Continue reading "Remembering Laurabada, the pride of Papua" »

Coffee, coconut, oil palm go bigtime in PNG

New Guinea Highlands Coffee
The pick of the crop (New Guinea Highlands Coffee)

| PNG Business News

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s agriculture sector has experienced a major upswing in production, says agriculture minister, Aiye Tambua, with coffee, coconut, and oil palm leading the way.

According to the Coffee Industry Corporation, the country exported 840,000 bags of coffee in 2022, up from the previous year's 750,000.

Continue reading "Coffee, coconut, oil palm go bigtime in PNG" »

Marape v Lelang debate: a lost opportunity?

James Marape and Joseph Lelang at the debate: Soft questioning failed to call the two leaders to account

| Academia Nomad | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Was it a debate? Maybe a panel discussion? Or perhaps a church gathering?

Whatever it was, the debate between Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape and opposition leader Joseph Lelang was promoted with a massive fanfare and ended in a storm of criticism.

Continue reading "Marape v Lelang debate: a lost opportunity?" »

After 80 years, is this ASOPA’s last stand?

ASOPA 2004
One of the ASOPA classrooms as it was in 2004


NOOSA – It looks like the heritage of Australian School of Pacific Administration, ASOPA, will be bulldozed in the NSW government’s enthusiasm to monetise and commercialise the valuable public land at Middle Head in Sydney where it once stood.

More than any other institution in the years after World War II, ASOPA provided the personnel that accelerated Papua New Guinea’s road from a colony to an independent nation.

Continue reading "After 80 years, is this ASOPA’s last stand?" »

How to overcome failure in order to succeed

Marcel Ezra Mapai
Marcel Ezra Mapai - thinker, author and speaker

Ples Singsing - A PNG Writers Blog

PORT MORESBY - My name is Marcel Ezra Mapai. I was born in Inauaia village, Central Province - a member of the Mekeo trib,.  

My middle name is actually Efi, but I decided upon Ezra as I wanted a Biblical name.

I have a degree studies in business management from Divine Word University and a Certificate in Ministerial Studies from the Bible College.

Continue reading "How to overcome failure in order to succeed" »

Top author loses property in clan attack blaze

Kumbon property pre
The properties before they were destroyed. Daniel Kumbon feels the pain of personal loss after writing about tribal warfare for years 


PORT MORESBY – For nearly 40 years, I have been reporting about the consequences of tribal warfare which every year continues to claim hundreds of lives and destruction to property in Enga.

I never thought the threat of tribal warfare would reach me and my Aimbarep tribe. But right now, as I write, this evil scourge is knocking on my door.

I am desperately trying to repel it from here in Port Moresby, where I am seeking medical treatment.

Continue reading "Top author loses property in clan attack blaze" »

Ex-PM Namaliu dies suddenly in Rabaul

Namaliu pim
The September 1990 issue of Pacific Islands Monthly features Rabbie Namaliu on its cover


NOOSA - Sir Rabbie Langanai Namaliu GCL KCMG PC died unexpectedly in Rabaul yesterday afternoon at the age of 75.

He was Papua New Guinea’s fourth prime minister, serving from July 1988 to July 1992 and held other important posts, including foreign minister, in a long career in politics.

I received news of his death from his friend Arthur Smedley, who told me he had last spoken to Rabbie about a month ago when “he was his normal self and bright and cheerful”.

Continue reading "Ex-PM Namaliu dies suddenly in Rabaul" »