Books, film & media Feed

Michael Dom: A young poet comes of age

Michael Dom 2
Michael Dom - "Picks up the ordinary and mundane, and projects it on to a page and makes us see what we are unable see on our own"


26 Sonnets: Contemporary Papua New Guinean Poetry, by Michael Dom, JDT Publications, March 2020, 66pp. ISBN-13: 979-8621-24-062-2

Free download 26 Sonnets eBook by Michael Dom

PORT MORESBY - I have great respect and admiration for the bold and measured language in Michael Dom’s poetry.

Reading this collection assured me that Dom is willing to take up forms of poetry that are structured and articulated through very specific rules of construction.

Continue reading "Michael Dom: A young poet comes of age" »

An enduring book about Australian bastardry

Behrouz Boochani would have made a great Australian


No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison  by Behrouz Boochani, Picador, 2018, ISBN: 9781760555382, 374 pages, AU$15 from Amazon Australia.

TUMBY BAY - I’ve been holding off reading this book for a while. I’m not really sure why.

Perhaps it’s because I couldn’t face the misery and the pathos of that I thought it would depict. Perhaps it’s because of the sense of shame that I thought it would provoke.

Continue reading "An enduring book about Australian bastardry" »

Loss of AAP news service

AAP staff are told their newsagency is closing with the loss of 500 jobs (AAP)
AAP staff are told their news agency is closing with the loss of 500 jobs (AAP)

| Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch | Extract

AUCKLAND - The shock announcement yesterday that the Australian Associated Press newsagency will cease operations after 85 years is a blow to journalism in Australia and the Pacific.

AAP, which is owned by Nine, News Corp Australia, The West Australian and Australian Community Media, provided services to media companies such as newswires, subediting and photography will close with the loss of 500 jobs – 180 of them journalists.

Continue reading "Loss of AAP news service" »

Rebellion, chaos and mysticism

The Sandline debacle was a political scandal and a defining moment in the history of PNG, particularly influencing the Bougainville civil war


Operation Kisim Bek Lombo by Baka Barakove Bina, Independently Published, 2019, ISBN: 97819744332366, 350 pages, my copy cost AU$34.28 from but there’s an eBook that costs US$4.94.

TUMBY BAY - We are probably all familiar with the term ‘alternative facts’. It is part of the bizarre tableau of language that has emanated from Trumpian America and sits alongside other questionable expressions like ‘fake news’.

Similar expressions are commonly found in literary fiction, particularly historical fiction. Historical fiction seeks to fill in the gaps between known or accepted facts to flesh out obscure and fuzzy periods in the past.

Continue reading "Rebellion, chaos and mysticism" »

Life after going finish


Life on a Coral Atoll: Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands by Paul Oates, 2020, ISBN: 9798602004854, 174 pages with heaps of b/w photographs, US$4.90 + postage paperback or US$2.00 eBook, available from

TUMBY BAY - There is now a slim but veritable genre of kiap memoirs available in print. Some of them have been published by mainstream publishers but most are self-published.

The simple fact behind the preponderance of self-published work is that the general public, in Australia at least, is not especially interested in the subject.

Continue reading "Life after going finish" »

The story of George Oakes, kiap

George and  Edna 60th wedding anniversary 2019
George and Edna Oakes at home in Woodford on their 60th wedding anniversary last year


Return to Papua New Guinea, by George D Oakes, self-published in A4 format, 2019, 97 pages with lots of photographs. My copy from the author cost AU$40 with postage

TUMBY BAY - I’m getting on in years so it always surprises me to learn that old kiaps are still around who were in Papua New Guinea before I was born.

George Oakes doesn’t quite meet that criteria because I was six years old when he first started work as a kiap. Nevertheless we can still claim him as one of the ‘golden oldies’ from that magic 1950s period in PNG.

Continue reading "The story of George Oakes, kiap" »

Making a start on a PNG book catalogue

_Croc Prize logoBAKA BINA

PORT MORESBY - Writings about Papua New Guinea and books by Papua New Guinean authors are multiplying but scattered all across the country.

There has never been a central reservoir of information about them. And there should be.

Most of these books are self-published by the authors, sometimes assisted by experienced people like Francis Nii and Jordan Dean, and produced using the Amazon hard copy and Kindle Direct Publishing ebook platforms.

Continue reading "Making a start on a PNG book catalogue" »

The mysteries of the Sandline rebellion

Baka Bina


Operesin Kisim Bek Lombo: The one operation that the Sandline operatives did not make, by Baka Barakove Bina, CreateSpace, December 2019, 364 pp. ISBN-10: 1974332365. Paperback $US14.50. Kindle e-book $US5.00.
Available here from Amazon Books

PORT MORESBY - I was just getting off the bus to go into Murray Barracks when that first bullet whistled across from the army base and into the Foodland shop at Three Mile.

I immediately joined a group of people cowering in a drain, peeking out occasionally and expecting soldiers to come storming out.

Continue reading "The mysteries of the Sandline rebellion" »

The kiaps: After dedication, melancholy

Paul Oates at Pindiu in 1970 with Papua New Guinea Administration colleaguesa


Small Steps along the Way, by Paul Oates. Download it free here

WARWICK QLD - With Small Steps along the Way Paul Oates enters the pantheon of kiaps who have recorded their experiences in Papua New Guinea during the years of its prelude to independence in 1975.

Collectively they fill the void eschewed by mainstream historians, and for good reason.

Continue reading "The kiaps: After dedication, melancholy" »

Pressure on South Pacific journalism

Dan McGarry
Dan McGarry - "The government refused my application to renew my work visa to silence me and warn other journalists in the country not to speak out”

| The Strategist | Australian Strategic Policy Institute

CANBERRA - Journalism has always been a tough trade in the South Pacific. Living and working in island communities exposes editors and reporters to unusual political, personal and professional pressures.

A statement warning about ‘growing threats to media freedom’ from the Melanesia Media Freedom Forum, representing journalists from Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and West Papua, has been underlined by Vanuatu’s expulsion of a long-serving editor.

Continue reading "Pressure on South Pacific journalism" »

Vanuatu doubles down on McGarry

Dan McGarry - "“It’s just plain cruel to make innocent children suffer merely because we printed an uncomfortable truth”


NOOSA - The government of Vanuatu, having previously blocked Vanuatu Daily Post senior journalist Dan McGarry from working in the country, has now doubled down on that decision by preventing him from returning home to Port Vila.

Mr McGarry had, of all things, been attending a media freedom conference in Brisbane when the Vanuatu government denied his right to return to Vanuatu to be with his family.

Continue reading "Vanuatu doubles down on McGarry" »

My long awaited meeting with Sean Dorney

Pauline and Sean Dorney in Brisbane
Pauline and Sean Dorney in Brisbane: "You can’t separate one from the other" (Scott Waide)

| My Land, My Country

LAE - A year ago, I remarked to my small news team how good it would be if the universe gave me one opportunity to sit down and have a chat with the great Sean Dorney, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s longest serving PNG correspondent.

I grew up watching Sean on ABC television. My parents talked about him when he was deported.

Continue reading "My long awaited meeting with Sean Dorney" »

The legendary PIM & me


A Short History of the Pacific Islands Monthly Magazine by Bob Lawrence, Chatswood Press, 2019, 69 pages, ISNI: 0000000067657158, AU$25 plus postage from the author

TUMBY BAY - I published my first article in the Pacific Islands Monthly in June 1970. That’s a clip from it right alongside.

It was a report about the mineral exploration then being carried out by the Kennecott Corporation in the Star Mountains that led to the establishment of Ok Tedi.

Continue reading "The legendary PIM & me" »

Paul Oates: A kiap’s progress

Paul Oates as a young kiap - "Paul’s easy-going relationships with the people he’s working among shines through," Phil writes


Small Steps Along the Way by Paul Oates, independently published, 2019, 241 pages, ISBN: 9781707077939, available from, $AU22.03, including postage or AU$2.91 as an eBook, from Amazon in the USA or download without cost from the strapline at the top of this page. Many thanks to Paul Oates for making it freely available to our readers

TUMBY BAY - We’ve been talking about the potency of literature on PNG Attitude for many years now and how it contributes to the creation story of communities and nations alike.

Further to that has been the notion that literature actually forms a society’s view of itself and reflects upon how it develops in the future.

Continue reading "Paul Oates: A kiap’s progress" »

Want to do Kokoda; read this first

Rick Antonson
Rick Antonson's book on the Kokoda Track is praised for its insights and the historical research that went into its writing


Walking with Ghosts in Papua New Guinea: Crossing the Kokoda Trail in the Last Wild Place on Earth by Rick Antonson, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, 2019, 260 pages, ISBN:9781510705661, hardcover AU$39.89, eBook AU$21.99 from Amazon Australia

TUMBY BAY - Walking along parts of the Kokoda Trail in the early 1970s it didn’t strike me as being any more rugged or arduous than other tracks I had walked as a kiap.

A 200 kilometre long track between Port Moresby and Buna on the north coast had, after all, been in use since the early 1900s.

Continue reading "Want to do Kokoda; read this first" »

Dark day for media freedom

Dan McGarry (left) outside the offices of Vanuatu’s Daily Post in Port Vila
Dan McGarry (left) outside the offices of Vanuatu’s Daily Post in Port Vila

| Guardian Australia

PORT VILA - Vanuatu’s Daily Post has always held the government to account and will continue to do so, with or without me as editor

Last Thursday, the Vanuatu government issued instructions that after 16 years living here and, despite having a Ni Vanuatu spouse and children, I will have to leave the country.

Continue reading "Dark day for media freedom" »

What does Vanuatu want to be known for?

Dan McGarry  Kora Nonu  Sean Dorney
Pacific journalists Dan McGarry, Kora Nonu and Sean Dorney at a media conference in Brisbane this week

| Facebook

BRISBANE - I’m going to start with the disclosures. Dan McGarry is my friend.

We have worked together as colleagues in the past and my contributions to the Vanuatu Daily Post and Buzz FM in recent years have been at his invitation and with his encouragement.

So the recent news that the government is trying to force his departure from Vanuatu for what they feel is negative reporting makes me sad.

Continue reading "What does Vanuatu want to be known for?" »

Vanuatu gets nasty on journalism

Dan McGarry -  After 16 years in Vanuatu, the highly respected Pacific islands journalist was harangued by the prime minister for “negative reporting” then had his work permit revoked


NOOSA – If a government is ever involved in something, anything, and it looks like a stitch-up, then you’re right to assume it is indeed a stitch-up.

And here at PNG Attitude we assume that the Vanuatu government is guilty of trying to remove Daily Post newspaper director Dan McGarry from his job and from the country on a pretext.

Why? Because the government knows his journalism is  telling the truth.

Continue reading "Vanuatu gets nasty on journalism" »

How literature can deliver for PNG

Wabag library with few books
This maroon building at Wabag Primary School housing a school library but very few books, just as in most schools of PNG


PORT MORESBY - It was like slowly scaling the steep ice-covered walls of Mt Everest. Hoping to make it, but not really knowing.

Three writers waiting for more than a month in Port Moresby to present a petition to prime minister James Marape.

A petition signed by more than 300 people seeking that the Papua New Guinea government recognise and support PNG literature.

Continue reading "How literature can deliver for PNG" »

Do politicians actually read books?

Phil Fitzpatrick
Phil Fitzpatrick - "Perhaps politicians see an educated and literate public as a danger"


TUMBY BAY - When Keith Jackson and I were managing the Crocodile Prize in the years after 2011 when it was conceived, we debated whether it might be a good idea to seek the support of government.

On the one hand the funding government could inject into the prize would have been valuable. But on the other hand, the meddling, self-aggrandisement and corruption that might have come attached to that money was strong.

Continue reading "Do politicians actually read books?" »

Real leaders should be good readers

Many American presidents have been hungry readers. But as for President  Donald Trump, we'll just have to take his word that the hunger is not just for Big Macs....


SONOMA - I’ve heard it said that leaders are readers and, traversing back in history, I’ve discovered that certainly many past American presidents were avid readers.

No country’s history seems to have had so many leader-readers as the United States. Despite differing education, upbringing and politics, they all met at the junction of reading. They all had that same insatiable craving.

Continue reading "Real leaders should be good readers" »

Hidden gems in dusty old books

Heinrich Harrer and the Dalai Lama
Heinrich Harrer and the Dalai Lama, who Harrer befriended and taught


TUMBY BAY - Heinrich Harrer (1912-2006) was an Austrian mountain climber and adventurer.

At the beginning of World War II he was in India and interned by the British. But he managed to escape to Tibet where he lived out the war in the company of the young Dalai Lama.

His sojourn in Tibet led to the publication of his most famous book, ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. A passable film of the book, starring Brad Pitt, was made in 1997.

Continue reading "Hidden gems in dusty old books" »

The internet & the death of trust

Curated social media. PNG Attitude is a long-running blog featuring edited content and moderated comments. Social media is not intrinsically bad or objectionable, it's how it's used - KJ


TUMBY BAY - Like many people of my generation I have dipped my toe into Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites but eventually withdrew because of what I judged to be a fairly uninteresting medium.

It is not so much that I am a snob but, like others of my age, I also had trouble understanding and using its multitudinous options. When I hear stories of dedicated 90 year old social media aficionados I stand in awe.

Continue reading "The internet & the death of trust" »

PIM and me: a love story

Bob Lawrence
Author Bob Lawrence was first introduced to Pacific Islands Monthly by fellow ABC journalist Sean Dorney in 1974


A Short History of the Pacific Islands Monthly Magazine, by Bob Lawrence, Chatswood Press, November 2019. 72pp,illus. ISNI:0000000067657158. $A25 plus $A5.50 post and handling charge. Available from Bob Lawrence here

SYDNEY - The Pacific Islands Monthly (PIM), my short history of which is being launched today in Sydney, was conceived during the trauma of World War I.

Some years later it had an unlikely birth in 1930, during the world’s worst depression, and then survived having half its subscribers driven from their home addresses in early 1941 as the Japanese advanced southwards in World War II.

Continue reading "PIM and me: a love story" »

Old PNG recordings to be reborn

An old reel-to-reel tape recorder. The recordings are getting fragile and digitisation gives them a new life

| Pacific Beat | ABC

MELBOURNE - Since the early 20th century, anthropologists have been flocking to the Pacific, and then returning home with rare recordings of songs, stories and histories.

But, decades later, these fragile original recordings are at risk of deteriorating—and the race is on to digitise them.

Continue reading "Old PNG recordings to be reborn" »

Memorialising PIM - the 'Pacific Bible'

PIM banner
PIM volume 1 number 1.  PIM, with its long tradition of public service, continued to publish even during the war in the Pacific


A Short History of the Pacific Islands Monthly Magazine, by Bob Lawrence, self-published, November 2019. $25 plus $5.50 post and handling charge. Available from Bob Lawrence here

NOOSA – Almost as much of an institution as the late and lamented Pacific Islands Monthly magazine is the PIM lunch.

It's a regular event held in Sydney for so many years its precise foundation date (sometime in the 1960s) is lost in a haze of red wine fumes.

Continue reading "Memorialising PIM - the 'Pacific Bible'" »

A book about the challenges of our time

Samantha Kusari
Samantha Kusari - "Uphold our cultural identity and treat children with the respect they deserve"


When the River Destroys by Samantha Kusari, Pukpuk Publications, 2015, 104 pages. ISBN 1517034299. Kindle $US0.92, Paperback $US5.38. Order here from Amazon or contact Samantha by email here

PORT MORESBY - Caroline Evari interviews writer Samantha Kusari about her story of a young boy growing up in a village in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea in the years just before and after independence in 1975. The story is loosely based on the early life of Samantha’s father.

Continue reading "A book about the challenges of our time" »

Prominent newsman’s candid remarks to PM

Waide (standing) Marape (right) - "
Scott Waide (standing) addresses James Marape (far right) - "Issues that we have raised and continue to raise. Blockages that need to be addressed"

| My Land, My Country

On Friday morning, prime minister James Marape called members of the media and public relations practitioners to a breakfast meeting in Port Moresby. It was the first time the media was able to interact with the prime minister directly outside usual operations

PORT MORESBY - Prime minister, thank you for this opportunity to talk to you directly.

I want to raise a few issues that we have raised and continue to raise. I want to also points out blockages that need to be addressed.

Continue reading "Prominent newsman’s candid remarks to PM" »

And a tribute to our web creators & publishers….

The long-running Ex Kiap website is published by Peter Salmon


TUMBY BAY - Many Australians who spent time in Papua New Guinea, and who want to keep in touch with others who were there too or simply want to find out what’s going on, follow three main websites.

These are the Ex-Kiap website, the Papua New Guinea Australia Association (PNGAA) website and, of course, Keith Jackson and Friends PNG Attitude.

Continue reading "And a tribute to our web creators & publishers…." »

Want to blow it all up & get out of here? Harry did


Haven: Harry Flynn's Final Odyssey by Philip Fitzpatrick. Independently published, 457 pages, paperback ISBN-13: 978-1693100352. Available here from Amazon, US$ $15.84

TUMBY BAY - For those poor souls who spend a significant amount of their lives working in one of the caring or service professions there often comes a point when they realise that no matter how noble their intentions what they are doing is ultimately futile in the face of the vested interests arranged against them.

When that moment arrives most people tend to ditch their ethical inclinations and carry on regardless, a wage is, after all, a wage and a prime necessity in modern life. Turning a blind eye becomes an economic imperative.

Continue reading "Want to blow it all up & get out of here? Harry did" »

PNG detective story offers great insights into Australia’s neighbour

Fitz - Metau coverPHIL FITZPATRICK

The Unusual and Unexpected Case of the Rise and Rise of Inspector Hari Metau as told by his good friend Sergeant Kasari Aru, by Philip Fitzpatrick. Independently published, September 2019, 338 pages. ISBN-10: 1690061901. Available from Amazon. Paperback US$12.27. Kindle US$1. Or, especially for PNG Attitude readers, a free download here [note: the first page is blank]

TUMBY BAY - In the ancient Hiri Motu trading language of the Papuan coast the word metau means ‘difficult’.

Inspector Hari Metau isn’t so much difficult as he is stubborn and tenacious.

He is also disconcertingly honest and ethical.

When those sorts of qualities are combined in a policeman who works in a supposedly corrupt Pacific nation is it any wonder that certain people would regard him as difficult?

If you have followed some of his more notable cases, you might also be wondering how he turned out that way.

Continue reading "PNG detective story offers great insights into Australia’s neighbour" »

How Inspector Hari Metau began climbing the career ladder

Inspector Hari Metau
Inspector Hari Metau later in his career


An extract from ‘The Unusual and Unexpected Case of the Rise and Rise of Inspector Hari Metau as told by his good friend Sergeant Kasari Aru’, a novel by Philip Fitzpatrick. Available from Amazon. Paperback US$12.27. Kindle US$1. Or, especially for PNG Attitude readers, a free download here

THE NEXT time I saw Hari was in Daru, the main town and administrative centre of the Western District.

Daru had a police station with a European in charge but it was a hot place on a wet, flat and muddy island not far from the wide mouth of the Fly River and was not a posting many expatriates cherished.

As a consequence the people posted there tended not to be, shall we say, at the top of their game.

This didn’t seem to bother Hari. He was in view of his beloved sea, albeit a dirty brown one, and could indulge one of his passions, that of fishing.

I’d been there a few times before and never stopped wondering how the narrow river on which I had been born had become an island studded monster nearly 100 kilometres wide where it spilled into the Gulf of Papua.

Continue reading "How Inspector Hari Metau began climbing the career ladder" »

Indonesian journalists are 'bought, broken & soul searching'

Andreas Harsono
Andreas Harsono - Many journalists work for military or intelligence agencies and write to a specific agenda

MICHAEL ANDREW | Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - The Indonesian media is contributing to resentment and racism toward Papuans, according to a human rights researcher and former journalist.

Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch Jakarta told Pacific Media Watch many Indonesian journalists either view Papuans as enemy "separatists" or deviants and their reporting tends to convey these stereotypes.

Papuan anger has erupted in widespread riots and rallies across Indonesia over the last week, after a militia attacked West Papuan students in Surabaya, pelting them with stones and calling them “monkeys”.

Harsono, who is in New Zealand promoting his latest book ‘Race, Islam and Power’, says the manner in which the media reported the attacks has created further anti-Papuan resentment which in turn sparked a backlash from the West Papuans themselves.

“The attack was reported by the media, videoed by the media, but it raised anger back home, now almost 30 cities are having rallies protesting against the use of the word ‘monkey’ for this Papuan people."

Continue reading "Indonesian journalists are 'bought, broken & soul searching'" »

Journalists unite against ‘unacceptable’ EMTV sacking

Neville Choi
Neville Choi - regarded as a good leader and a down-to-earth journalist who does his job and has been very loyal to his employers at EMTV

MICHAEL ANDREW | Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - Journalists across Papua New Guinea have spoken out in support of EMTV news director Neville Choi after his “unacceptable” termination from a role he had held for six years.

Choi was reinstated by EMTV on Wednesday in the wake of the protests.

A public statement released on Monday had listed the reasons for his termination, one of which was his refusal to ‘bury’ a February 2019 story about the PNG Defence Force pay strike outside the prime minister’s office.

However, EMTV deputy head of news, Scott Waide, told Pacific Media Watch the news was broadcast because it was balanced and the fallout had already been resolved internally.

“Neville did his job as head of news and a journalist. He took both sides of the story and we ran it on EMTV news,” said Waide.

Continue reading "Journalists unite against ‘unacceptable’ EMTV sacking" »

A policeman’s story: tackling symptoms but not causes in PNG


Man bilong polis: life and times with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary 1982 to 1991 by Douglas Ranmuthugala, unpublished manuscript, 2013. 288 pages, ISBN 9780992389000

TUMBY BAY - Douglas Ranmuthugala came from Sri Lanka, where he had been a senior policeman, to work in Papua New Guinea.

When he left Papua New Guinea he joined the Australian Federal Police and worked there for 15 or more years, primarily as an intelligence analyst, before retiring.

He wrote this book for his family with no intention of publishing it:

“This volume was not written for publication. It is merely for my grandchildren to understand what their grandparents lived through.

“As someone said, the past is another country. It is however, worth the occasional visit. My wife and I hope that this volume will give the next generation a peek at what it was to live in the time before.”

Continue reading "A policeman’s story: tackling symptoms but not causes in PNG" »

A dismal account of life in a remote PNG village

A death in the rain forest coverPHIL FITZPATRICK

A death in the rainforest: how a language and a way of life came to an end in Papua New Guinea by Don Kulick, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2019, ISBN: 9781616209049, hardcover, 275pp, AU$30.03 from Amazon Australia.

TUMBY BAY - What happens when the equally strange worlds of a remote Papua New Guinea village and an anthropological academic are brought together?

The anthropologist is ostensibly recording the reasons for the demise of the isolated language that the villagers once spoke.

Languages, like many things that no longer have a useful purpose, have been disappearing ever since humans occupied the planet. They are matters of regret but hardly earth-shattering. So why is the anthropologist interested?

The usual suspicion that the anthropologist’s motive is to write a book and make a lot of money is not really relevant in this case because the conventional concepts surrounding books, money and profit are not something with which these villagers are overly familiar.

Continue reading "A dismal account of life in a remote PNG village" »

'Don't politicise' planned visit of foreign journalists to W Papua

ROY RATUMAKIN | Tabloid Jubi/Pacific Media Watch | Extract

JAYAPURA - The Indonesian government plans to bring foreign journalists to Papua for 2020 National Press Day, but an independent journalists group has warned against "politicising" the visit.

Lucky Ireeuw, chair of the Jayapura City branch of the Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI), said his group strongly supported the move of the Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto, to bring the foreign journalists to Papua.

"This is what AJI has been fighting for. We have urged the central government to open as much access as possible to foreign journalists to come and cover Papua without any pressure from various parties.

"However, the arrival of foreign journalists should not be politicised," he told Tabloid Jubi this week.

Continue reading "'Don't politicise' planned visit of foreign journalists to W Papua" »

Colonial wars much bloodier in Australia than Papua

Black Huntress CoverPHIL FITZPATRICK

Black Huntress: Seven Spears by Philip Fitzpatrick, independently published, July 2019, 311 pages. ISBN-10: 1079837043. Available from Amazon US for US$7.64 plus postage and on Kindle for US$1.00. It will probably be a few weeks before Amazon Australia makes it available

TUMBY BAY - In the late 1800s in Australia, miners and squatters (people who occupied large tracts of Crown land in order to graze livestock) were agitating for the opening up of Papua for exploitation.

In 1883 Queensland made an abortive attempt to annex Papua arguing there was a threat from the Germans who were occupying New Guinea.

Australian was then still a colony of Britain. The Queensland initiative forced Britain’s hand and they annexed Papua, calling it British New Guinea.

In 1906 a newly independent Australia ( that happened in 1901) took over from the British and changed the name to Papua.

Continue reading "Colonial wars much bloodier in Australia than Papua" »

The escapees from drudgery who helped build PNG

Plantation Papua CoverPHIL FITZPATRICK

Plantation Papua: A true tale of trials and tribulations in Papua between 1962 and 1982 by Denis Longhurst, Vivid Publishing, 2017, paperback 329 pages, ISBN: 978-1-925590-17-3. Cost from the author is $28.95,

TUMBY BAY - It never fails to amuse me how many Australians who went to work in Papua New Guinea prior to independence were escapees from excruciatingly boring bank jobs.

I was one and so was Len Aisbett, who interviewed me when I applied to become a kiap.

Denis Longhurst was another. He did four years in a bank before breaking free and running away.

While I became a kiap, he became a plantation manager.

Like many of us he developed a fondness for Papua and the people who lived there.

Continue reading "The escapees from drudgery who helped build PNG" »

An extraordinary book that goes beyond the headlines

MWTE coverSUSAN FRANCIS | Good Reads

My Walk to Equality: Essays, Stories and Poetry by Papua New Guinean Women, edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell, Pukpuk Publications 2017, paperback, 278 pages. ISBN-10: 1542429242. Available from Amazon, paper US$10.53, Kindle US$0.93

MAYFIELD, NSW - First let me say this is an extraordinary book. I learnt so much.

Sometimes I was confronted, most dreadfully, by choices demanded of the individuals depicted, and at other times my heart swelled with hope.

In a collection of short stories, poetry and essays edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell, women describe and discuss their relationships, complicated gender issues and the idea of legacy in contemporary Papua New Guinea.

Reading the texts, I was profoundly moved by the significance education holds for the individual writers and the importance attached to a sense of place, faith and family.

Continue reading "An extraordinary book that goes beyond the headlines" »

A writer's journey: From secret jottings to first published book

Iso Yawi and books
Iso Yawi


God, My Country and Me by Iso Yawi, paperback, JDT Publications, May 2019. ISBN-10: 1071009486. Amazon Books, US$6.50 plus postage

LAE - I started penning short stories in small notebooks with no audience at all. It was my secret.

I was too shy to put my writing on platforms to be viewed by people, even fellow students and friends. My grammar was too bad.

My English language and literature exercise book was filled with red marks correcting my grammatical errors.

Yes, grammar was too complex for me to understand back in those high school days. However those red marks of correction motivated me.

I would say to myself, “I will write a book one day and turn things the other way around!”

After leaving school, I still wrote and also developed a reading habit. I realised that, to overcome my problem with grammar, I had to read a lot of books.

Continue reading "A writer's journey: From secret jottings to first published book" »

Caroline Evari tells: ‘Nanu Sina’ came from deepest emotions

Nanu SinaLEIAO GEREGA | PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY - Imagine reading through a collection of poems only find out that they were written throughout a decade by a young woman struggling through life.

The 85-page book of poems mostly came as an extraction from a young writer’s Grades 11 and 12 school journal and is titled ‘Nanu Sina’ (‘My Words’).

Looking back on her journey, Caroline Evari of Popondetta, who penned her poems as a way to express her emotions while a student in Port Moresby, does not feel that her journey was unique from any other young Papua New Guineans navigating through life.

Her book captures a decade journey and discusses the four main themes based on conflict, relationships, hope and family and raises questions on fear doubt, love, regret, persistence, motherhood and children.

“I wrote in the evenings during study times, early in the mornings and during quiet times,” says Caroline reflecting on the time it took to write her poems.

Continue reading "Caroline Evari tells: ‘Nanu Sina’ came from deepest emotions" »

‘Up your game’, journalism winner Ben Bohane tells Oz media

Australian photojournalist Ben Bohane  currently based in Port Vila  Vanuatu
Australian photojournalist Ben Bohane currently based in Port Vila,  Vanuatu (Johnny Blades)

NEWS DESK | Pacific Mornings | Radio Australia

Link here to listen here to Ben Bohane speaking with Tahlea Aualiitia on Pacific Mornings

MELBOURNE - Ben Bohane has been announced as the winner of the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism.

The $10,000 grant was available to an Australian journalist wanting to do a project on a story that was under-reported in the Pacific.

Mr Bohane is an Australian photojournalist, author and TV producer who has been covering the Pacific for decades.

When accepting the grant Mr Bohane said that under-reporting in the Pacific with Australian media is a real issue.

"Honestly, our news editors are failing the Australian people by not prioritising more reporting from the Pacific," Mr Bohane said.

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New book guides journalists through climate change jungle

Climate-Change-book-coverDAVID ROBIE | Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch

Science Writing and Climate Change, Edited by Crispin C Maslog, David Robie and Joel Adriano, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, June 2019, ISBN 978-1-927184-57-8. Paperback, 130pp, NZ$20.00. Purchase online here from Auckland University of Technology Bookshop

BANGKOK - A new handbook for the existential problem of our time – climate change – has been published as a boost for journalists working in the Asia-Pacific region.

Launched at the 27th Asian Media Information and Communication (AMIC) conference at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, this week, ‘Science Writing and Climate Change’ is a “book for our times”, says lead author Professor Crispin Maslog.

Dr Maslog, chair of the Manila-based AMIC, said at the launch that a book of this kind had been needed by journalists for a few years.

“Climate change is upon us and we need to educate people about this urgent problem now,” he said.

“What former US Vice-President Al Gore described as an ‘inconvenient truth’ years ago is now an ‘incontrovertible fact’.”

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More than bad manners: the problem with ignoring the PNG media

Scott Waide
Distinguished PNG journalist Scott Waide. Newton Cain asks if Australia is signalling to the PNG leadership that answering questions from the media is something you only do when it suits you

TESS NEWTON CAIN | Twitter | Edited

“Senator Marise Payne, Australia's foreign affairs minister, made a brief visit to Papua New Guinea and Bougainville late this week….

"The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby had told local journalists in no uncertain terms that there would be no opportunity to ask Payne questions about her visit.

"This was not the first time the High Commission has shown such gross discourtesy to the PNG media, who have previously been excluded from interviews, official lunches and even media conferences.”

– Keith Jackson in PNG Attitude yesterday

BRISBANE - As I’ve discussed before [see for example, here and here] this type of behaviour on the part of Australian ministers when visiting PNG and other Pacific countries is more than bad manners.

It is a worrying sign that the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby assumes it is entitled to dictate access to a sovereign nation’s media.

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Foreign minister Payne's PNG relationship - but no media please

Marise Payne - igat poret long toktok wantaim ol nius raita


NOOSA - Senator Marise Payne, Australia's foreign affairs minister, made a brief visit to Papua New Guinea and Bougainville late this week.

In Port Moresby she met with prime minister James Marape, deputy prime minister Davis Steven and a number of other ministers.

After the lightning trip, Payne issued a media release saying her visit "was an opportunity to further strengthen Australia’s relationship with our close friend and neighbour".

Of course, every time PNG is mentioned by an Australian official, there is a brag about the "relationship".

So how then does this work out in practice?

NBC radio station Tribe FM was able to tell us, reporting that the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby had told local journalists in no uncertain terms  that there would be no opportunity to ask Payne questions about her visit.

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Getting PNG literature recognised as a nation building tool

Kumbon - James Marape  Dr Lino Tom  Peter Mision Yaki
James Marape with Dr Lino Jeremiah Tom and Peter Mision Yaki and two of my books. Photo taken at Laguna Camp just a few days before Marape was elected prime minister by an overwhelming majority


WABAG - I was privileged to present two copies of my books to James Marape a few days before he was elected the eighth prime minister of Papua New Guinea.

Enga governor Sir Peter Ipatas, Wabag MP Dr Lino Tom, education secretary Dr Ulke Kombra, two national court judges, school principals, bookshop managers and other prominent people have also received copies of the four books I have published so far.

I belong to a group of emerging PNG authors, essayists, poets and social commentators who have steadily published books in the last few years due mainly to the Crocodile Prize annual literary competition.

But not many people including students ever get to read any of these published works.

The education department has made no effort to ensure schools in our country have PNG authored book are on the shelves of their libraries, which would ensure suitable titles for students to read.

In this way students will comprehend and relate more to PNG authored books than foreign books with unfamiliar cultures, ways of life and scenes.

After I presented my books to James Marape and the other leaders, I am optimistic the new government will at least see the significance of literature and the role it plays in nation building.

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Making donations of books to empower our children

Donating books
Jordan Dean with some of the children to whom he has donated his own and other books


PORT MORESBY - Education is the only way to save the world.

If you want to combat incurable diseases, get a medical degree. If you want to defend people’s rights, go to law school.

If you want to discover new drugs, get a PhD in pharmacology. If you want organisations to work better, get an MBA.

A good quality education helps children reach their full potential; however for thousands of children in Papua New Guinea, access to educational books is a myth.

So meet three amazing ladies who initiated book donation drives to help educate underprivileged children.

Mary Fairio is a researcher with a passion for kids and a desire to make a difference in her West Papuan community living at the Rainbow refugee camp.

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On campaigning, strategy & social media in PNG politics


PORT MORESBY – During the recent Australian election campaign, the Labor Party twirled haplessly around the issue of north Queensland coal mining, convincing nobody about where it actually stood on the issue.

And it went on to lose an election it was meant to win, a win which the tropical constituency might have provided had only Labor adopted a more strategic and coherent position.

It might have had a winning election strategy if it had understood the precept that, if you take something away from people without giving them something back, you’re going to end up in deep doo-doo. As Labor did.

In Australia’s deep north, in people’s minds what being taken away was jobs and the strategic reciprocal really should have been a big, job-creating renewables project. But, like Labor, this ended up nowhere to be seen.

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