BILL BROWN MBE
THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - The Bougainville operations of Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia (CRA) had dominated Australian government and Territory Administration thinking from 1964, but that all changed in September 1968.
The trigger was a report by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that broadcast details of a meeting hosted in Port Moresby by two Bougainville members of the House of Assembly, Paul Lapun and Donatus Mola.
Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation" »
Sam Akoitai - "A peacemaker serving all parties, political persuasions and interests"
KIETA – Sam Akoitai was a man true to his convictions as a national leader representing the interests of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville as a national parliamentarian.
He was a national, regional and community leader of unwavering courage and a peacemaker serving all parties, political persuasions and interests.
Continue reading "Death of Sam Akoitai: MP for all occasions" »
Joseph Watawi - ‘Bruk lus, bruk gut, bruk steret na bruk olgeta’
| Sydney Morning Herald
SYDNEY - The autonomous region of Bougainville has lost a champion of independence and the father of the 2018 independence referendum.
Joseph Watawi, 61, who died in November, away last month, was born in January 1960 in Gohi village in north Bougainville.
Continue reading "Joseph Watawi, Bougainville leader, dies at 61" »
Ishmael Toroama (right) has told James Marape that PNG has not honoured commitments under the 20-year old Bougainville Peace Agreement
NOOSA – Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama has told Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape “in no uncertain terms” that it is the resolve of the Bougainville people for an independent Bougainville.”
In a statement to the Bougainville parliament on Tuesday, Toroama said he had “made it clear that it was time to let our people go to be free as an independent sovereign nation.
Continue reading "'Let our people go,' Toroama tells Marape" »
Reuben Siara - "We remember him for his patriotism and his will to progress the ideals of our revolutionary cause"
| President, Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Source: New Dawn FM News
BUKA - Bougainville has truly lost one of its great sons in the passing of Reuben Siara.
Reuben was a man who believed in Bougainville’s aspirations for independence and contributed immensely to our revolutionary cause.
Continue reading "Death of Bougainville patriot Reuben Siara" »
Theonila Matbob - "Our work will continue until Rio Tinto has fully dealt with the disaster it left behind”
| Human Rights Law Centre
SYDNEY – Bougainville’s education minister Theonila Roka Matbob MP has won an important award for her outstanding work to hold Rio Tinto to account for the devastating effects of its mining in the island’s Panguna region.
Theonila, a traditional landowner and community leader from Makosi, downstream from the mine, received the Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award.
Continue reading "Theonila recognised for holding Rio to account" »
Filmmakers Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet - "Ophir is an evocative re-telling of the Bougainville conflict and its legacy over the past two decades"
| Pacific Journalism Review
Ophir: Decolonize. Revolutionize, directed by Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet. Arsam International/Fourth World Films/Ulster University. 2020. 97 minutes. Link here to read and see more about 'Ophir'
CANBERRA - In Ophir, a feature length documentary film about the Bougainville civil war of 1989-1998, French filmmakers Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet analyse the devastating conflict and under-reported repercussions which continue to reverberate in the region today.
Ophir in the Old Testament (Genesis 10; 1 Kings 10:22) is a land of great mineral wealth exploited by King Solomon.
In eastern Papua New Guinea, the people of Bougainville also claim Ophir to be the original name of their remote islands.
Continue reading "‘Ophir’: B’ville’s epic struggle for freedom" »
Bougainvillean woman in a still from 'Ophir', a controversial documentary about the island's struggle against mining and for independence
AUCKLAND – ‘Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa’, a peer-reviewed journal examining media issues and communication in the South Pacific, Asia-Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, has made a welcome return to publication after an enforced absence.
Founded by academic and journalist Dr David Robie in 1994 at the University of Papua New Guinea, it was later published at the University of the South Pacific and from 2007-2020 by the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology.
Continue reading "Journalism Review roars back to life" »
James Marape and Ishmael Toroama - bold statements from Bougainville on independence seem to have given way to a more nuanced approach
NOOSA – Discussions about Bougainville inside Papua New Guinea’s parliament have had a significant and disgruntled repercussion in the autonomous province itself, NBC Bougainville has reported.
Prime minister James Marape presented a statement on the Bougainville peace process to the national parliament and opened the topic for debate amongst MPs.
Continue reading "Tetchy Bougainville leaders told ‘don’t panic’" »
Site of the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province (Porgera Joint Venture)
KIETA - I visited Enga Province for the first time in early July this year for a meeting between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea National Government.
The meeting was one of a number to consult on the outcome of the Bougainville referendum on independence that showed a huge majority of Bougainvilleans favouring the creation of their own nation.
Continue reading "What it is we truly value" »
James Marape - The question of Bougainville independence is more challenging than Covid-19, the economy or any other issue
| Radio New Zealand
AUCKLAND – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape says the possible independence of Bougainville is the greatest challenge Papua New Guinea faces.
The sanctity of the union of PNG as one country is very important, Mr Marape said, and the Bougainville issue was bigger than Covid-19, the economy or other challenges.
Continue reading "Marape: Bougainville independence ‘biggest issue’" »
Pokpok Island near Kieta. Tourism at community level has great potential for small business and, in the long term, to promote Bougainville as a peaceful and beautiful Pacific destination
KIETA - We can talk about and hold up and dangle tourism as a potential driver and earner of Bougainville’s internal revenue - talking is easy.
We are creatures of habit and instinct and we keep talking and talking if it sounds good without realising things are much more involved and will take a lot more focused human effort than we think.
Continue reading "Let’s put our feet where our mouth is" »
Lady Hannah and Sir Bob Dadae. Sir Bob might be well-advised to stick to the praising, predictabilities and platitudes that are stock-in-trade for vice regal figures around the world
ADELAIDE – Sir Bob Dadae (Dadae fears PNG disintegration may be ‘inevitable’) is pointing to what, elsewhere in PNG Attitude, I have described as a “truly wicked” policy problem.
The wickedness arises because there is not an obvious solution to pro-autonomy tendencies which can appease both determined separatists and those people equally determined to maintain Papua New Guinea’s current constitutional arrangements.
Continue reading "Some friendly advice to Sir Bob Dadae" »
Sir Bob Dadae
NOOSA - Papua New Guinea’s governor-general Sir Bob Dadae says the country’s disintegration is ‘inevitable’ if Bougainville continues to press for secession and other provinces seek autonomy.
Dadae called on the Marape government not to entertain requests from provinces to break away and seek independence.
Continue reading "Dadae fears PNG disintegration may be ‘inevitable’" »
Influential Bougainville politician, Theonila Matbob - Prominent in advocating that Rio Tinto should accept responsibility for cleaning up Panguna's devastating legacy
NOOSA – After several months of discussions Rio Tinto and 156 Bougainville community members, represented by the Human Rights Law Centre, last week reached an agreement to assess legacy impacts of the former Panguna copper and gold mine on Bougainville.
The mine was operated by Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), then majority owned by Rio Tinto, from 1972 until 1989 when operations were suspended following guerrilla against the mine and a subsequent civil war.
Continue reading "Rio ready to deal with unfinished business" »
Tailings waste flowing into Konawiru-Jaba River delta on the Bougainville west coast
| SBS News
BRISBANE - Multinational mining giant Rio Tinto has agreed to fund an independent assessment of the human rights and environmental impacts of its former Panguna copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville.
Rio Tinto abandoned the mine in 1989 during a brutal civil conflict on Bougainville and now no longer holds a stake after controversially divesting its shareholding to the PNG and Bougainville governments in 2016, rejecting corporate responsibility for environmental damage.
Continue reading "Rio agrees to review of Panguna impacts" »
President Toroama addresses people at Buka's Bel Park after the Wabag leaders' meeting
BUKA – Discussions were “tough”, Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has revealed after last week’s top level talks in Wabag with Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape.
Describing the leaders’ meeting in Wabag as “tough”, Toroama told a public meeting in Buka that Bougainville’s independence must be settled so the autonomous province can move forward.
Continue reading "Back our independence mission: Toroama" »
Malcolm Fraser, prime minister of Australia, 1975-83, popularised the maxim, 'Life wasn't meant to be easy'. The issue of Bougainville independence is a vexing one for all PNG politicians
ADELAIDE – Martyn Namarong is quite correct in his commentary, ‘Bougainville highlights need for a new PNG’, both in his analysis of the Bougainville dilemma and his discussion of the implications for Papua New Guinea.
Denying Bougainville independence would be a catastrophe for PNG; while granting it independence will inevitably open up fissures in the wider PNG polity.
Continue reading "Bougainville was not meant to be easy" »
The headline that James Marape condemned as 'misleading'
NOOSA – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape has been forced to state publicly that at no point has his government agreed to Bougainville independence.
Marape has attacked the PNG Post-Courier’s reporting of his Wabag meeting with Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama, stating that “in no part [of our joint statement] is Independence mentioned."
Continue reading "Bougainville puts press in political crossfire" »
Martyn Namorong - "PNG needs a new Constitution that recognises the different tribal nations and empowers them with their full rights to self-determination within a political union"
| PNG Signal
PORT MORESBY - Will Papua New Guinea break up if Bougainville is granted full independence?
For some PNG leaders the threat of balkanization has shaped their attitudes towards Bougainville leaving the union of 850 tribes.
One of them is prime minister James Marape, who recently pleaded with Bougainville's leaders to take into consideration PNG’s fate when deliberating on the matter.
Continue reading "Bougainville highlights need for a new PNG" »
Enga governor Peter Ipatas welcomes prime minister James Marape to Enga Province for the Bougainville summit
NOOSA – The second summit between prime minister James Marape and president Ishmael Toroama this week agreed that Bougainville’s quest for independence should be determined no earlier than 2025 and no later than 2027.
The top level Wabag talks also agreed there will be consultations throughout Papua New Guinea on the outcome of the 2019 Bougainville referendum, in which 98% of voters opted for independence for the autonomous province.
Continue reading "Toroama to Marape: Get real on independence" »
Coastal hamlet on Teop, Bougainville. "Panguna was an environmental protest. We must take heed of the many lessons"
SIMON PENTANU MP
KIETA - I like mangroves. As coastal kids we spent a lot of time playing in the open and grew up around mangroves.
It was fun playing hide and seek and swimming and fishing in the groves, and jumping into the water from he tall trees.
Mangroves are prolific growers and don’t need tending. But they can be uprooted and cleared in a matter of only hours and days.
Continue reading "Let's respect & protect what we have" »
District Commissioner Bill Brown signs the Arawa land lease documents in 1970 accompanied by Tavora of Arawa, Director of Agriculture Bill Conroy, Conzinc Rio Tinto's Colin Bishop, Narug of Arawa (Department of Information and Extension Services)
| DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - Much has been written about the patrol officers, or kiaps, in colonial Papua New Guinea.
That material includes many books by kiaps recording their time in PNG, and by historians and others trying to understand the colonial experience and its impacts on contemporary PNG.
Continue reading "Lessons from a kiap in old Bougainville" »
| The Lowy Interpreter | Edited extracts
CANBERRA - The second constitutionally-mandated post-referendum consultation between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville leaders to discuss independence for Bougainville is planned for later this month.
At the first consultation meeting in May, Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama had stated a goal of independence and full United Nations membership by the end of 2025.
Continue reading "Pressure for Bougainville independence grows" »
Ishmael Toroama - "Outrageous acts of violence threaten to shake the foundations of our shared commitment to peace and unity"
NOOSA - Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has issues a dramatic statement saying a spate of violent acts and the deterioration of law and order in the autonomous province can no longer be ignored.
Toroama condemned recent senseless acts of murder and arson related to sorcery and payback killings throughout Bougainville.
Continue reading "Toroama on warpath against high crime" »
Isaac from Kongara-Kerei; Patrick my island clansman; and Bariona from Darutue who prepared a dozen old fern tree posts (kusinai) with his volleyball team boys
SIMON PENTANU MP
KIETA - After spending most of Sunday at sea, the drive to South Nasioi on Monday was a welcome change, travelling past Marai as far as Darutue on the road to Kongara in the foothills of Mt Takuang, the second highest mountain on Bougainville.
The dirt road was rough, in parts atrociously so but still trafficable. Never mind, however, the scenery at slow pace more than made up for the bumpy ride.
Continue reading "A very pleasant Monday’s drive indeed" »
Ishmael Toroama - “Corruption or perceptions of corruption continue to be a major stumbling block to the government"
NOOSA – Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama this week briefed the autonomous province’s House of Representatives on the “important work of independence readiness” on which his administration has embarked.
He said the program is based on the 97.7% referendum vote for Bougainville independence and comprises three key strategies.
Continue reading "Toroama on strategy, independence & challenge" »
Ishmael Toroama has a quiet word with James Marape at the Kokopo summit. Talks conclude with two firm positions espoused. Are they reconcilable?
NOOSA – Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama’s declaration that the autonomous province will gain political independence from Papua New Guinea in June 2025 has left PNG prime minister James Marape with a delicate issue to negotiate.
The complexity of the challenge Marape faces became clear in two statements he made following the conclusion of the Kokopo consultations, during which Toroama had made his shock announcement that he had a firm date for Bougainville independence.
Continue reading "Marape to Toroama: ‘My job is to preserve the union’" »
Ishmael Toroama - “Our position on the future political status of Bougainville is clear, and that is independence”
NOOSA – In a statement that will send shock waves through Papua New Guinea, Australia and beyond, Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama yesterday declared the autonomous province must achieve independence by June 2025.
Toroama revealed the position of the Autonomous Bougainville Government on its political future at a summit with PNG prime minister James Marape that began in Kokopo yesterday.
Continue reading "Bougainville independence by 2025, declares Toroama" »
Ishmael Toroama and supporters. Fourth times a candidate and fourth time lucky - persistence can sometime seem like destiny
| Australian National University | Edited
CANBERRA – The new President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Ishmael Toroama, first stood for election in 2010 following the unexpected mid-2008 death of the first president, Joseph Kabui, who had been elected in mid-2005.
It was apparent that Toroama was attempting the move from his now-ended ‘military’ role into a political role, where he could support the pursuit of independence through political activities.
Continue reading "The candidate: The Toroama story" »
After the civil war, Panguna mine became a lucrative source of scrap metal. Ishmael Toroama organised a role for himself in the industry that ensued
| Australian National University | Edited
CANBERRA - The foundations of Ishmael Toroama’s success in a range of business activities almost certainly flowed from his lucrative involvement in an ‘industry’ that developed after the Bougainville crisis.
From about 2007–08 there was an intensive extraction of scrap metal from the ruins of the derelict Panguna copper mine that had closed in 1989.
Continue reading "The businessman: The Toroama story" »
Ishmael Toroama. A brave and effective fighter in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army who became recognised as a peacemaker
| Australian National University | Edited
CANBERRA – Ishmael Toroama, who was elected president of Bougainville in September 2020, is little known outside Papua New Guinea’s only autonomous province.
He was born in 1969 in Roreinang village in the rugged and remote Kongara area of central Bougainville, southeast and not far from the Panguna copper and gold mine and part of the Nasioi language and culture area.
Continue reading "The peacemaker: The Toroama story" »
‘Well I dreamed I saw the knights in armour coming sayin’ something about a Queen / Look at mother nature on the run in the 1970s’ - Neil Young, from After the Gold Rush
BRISBANE - Rio Tinto’s recent destruction of the Juukan Gorge indigenous rock shelters in the Pilbara region of Western Australia attracted extensive media attention and resulted in a federal senate inquiry.
It also led to several resignations of senior executives, humiliated but richly rewarded with golden handshakes.
Continue reading "After the gold rush, the funerals" »
Looking to Loloho and Rorovana from the ridge on Kieta Peninsula (Darryl Robbins)
BILL BROWN MBE
THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - Despite continuous protests from the community, mining giant Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia (CRA) remained intent on securing Pakia village and the surrounding land for its town.
The Pakia area had most of the things CRA wanted: gently sloping land, a pleasant aspect, cool nights and, most importantly, a short drive to what would be the mine.
Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 30 - Tightening the screw" »
ANNA DZIEDZIC & CHERYL SAUNDERS
Abridged and edited from a research report, Institution Building in Post-Referendum Bougainville, by Professor Cheryl Saunders and Dr Anna Dziedzic for the National Research Institute. You can link here to the full report
PORT MORESBY - There will be four key questions facing decision-makers in Bougainville’s post-referendum consultations.
While the primary focus of the consultations will be the future relationship between Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, there are other questions necessarily linked to this relationship.
Continue reading "What needs to be done on Bougainville" »
Papua Besena membership card - the Papuan separatist group under the strong leadership of Josephine Abaijah was a destabilising influence leading to independence
TUMBY BAY - In the end, Papua New Guinea’s peaceful transition to independence turned out to be a case of the right people coming together at the right time.
On the Australian side was the Liberal Party’s external territories minister Andrew Peacock, who remained committed to independence even after his party was defeated at a general election in 1972.
Continue reading "The hair-trigger path to independence" »
Michael Kabuni - asks how Bougainville electoral processes, so capable in the referendum of 2019, could be so questionable in last month’s regional election
| Academia Nomad | Edited
WAIGANI - Let’s begin with a quick summary of what this article is about.
Llane Munau last month was the lone female candidate contesting Bougainville’s regional election for a seat in Papua New Guinea’s national parliament.
Continue reading "Bougainville: Was the regional election fair?" »
Llane Munau - Sought to become the first Bougainville woman to sit in PNG's national parliament
| Academia Nomad | Edited
WAIGANI - The Bougainville Regional seat represents the people of Bougainville in the Papua New Guinea parliament.
It was left vacant when the incumbent resigned to contest the Bougainville presidential election in 2019, making a by-election necessary.
Continue reading "Bougainville women ask ‘where is our vote?’" »
Ishmael Toroama - has already begun to show his strength as the leader of Bougainville
NOOSA – Bougainville’s new president, Ishmail Toroama, who has impressed people during his first three months in office, has given the strongest indication yet that he’s unwilling to bow to pressure from foreign mining companies or their go-betweens in the province.
In a sternly worded media statement he has hit out at Perth-based Caballus Mining which earlier this month apparently organised international media distributor, Cision PR Newswire, to issue a press release on behalf of the ‘Panguna Tanku'urang Chiefs’ stating Caballus would be the “perfect mining partner” for Bougainville.
Continue reading "Toroama whacks mining companies & compradors" »
Chris Warrillow on the radio transceiver at Mainoki in Bougainville, 1967
WANTIRNA, VIC - I am grateful to Bill Brown (A Kiap’s Chronicle, Chapter 29) for attempting to set straight the record in relation to field officers’ involvement in the lead-up to the establishment of CRA’s copper mine on Bougainville in the 1960s.
However, it still disappoints me that the records of academics will probably be the ones most relied on by researchers in the future and whose accounts will remain permanently impressed in the minds of most of their readers.
Continue reading "As it really was: Straightening the record" »
The historic first meeting between U-Vistract's Noah Musingku and Bougainville's President Toroama (Anthony Kaybing)
NOOSA – The Bougainville government continues to make headway in unifying his people as it prepares for consultations with the Papua New Government on independence for the autonomous province.
And on Friday it was with unity in mind that Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama met with U-Vistract leader Noah Musingku.
Continue reading "Toroama reaches out to ‘King’ Noah" »
President Toroama speaking at the first Bougainville cabinet meeting held in a rural area
| Office of the ABG President
TONSU – In a first-time initiative yesterday, the Bougainville Executive Council convened for the first time outside the capital, Buka.
The full cabinet met in the Tonsu constituency on Petatz Island as part of president Ishmael Toroama’s policy of bringing governance structures to the people.
Continue reading "Toroama takes government to the people" »
1997 was a dangerous year in PNG, but it ended more positively with Sir Mekere Morauta at the helm
| My Land, My Country
LAE - In the first quarter of 1997, word came out that the government of Sir Julius Chan was in talks with a British security contractor, Tim Spicer, to bring in South African mercenaries to end the Bougainville civil war that had been running for eight years.
The protracted conflict had seen the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) withdraw from Bougainville, depleted, demoralised and badly in need of rebuilding.
Continue reading "1997 – That turbulent and defining year" »
James Marape and Ishmael Toroama exchange the agreement that will guide the joint consultation on Bougainville's political future
NOOSA – The Papua New Guinea and Bougainville leaders have announced the immediate start of joint consultations on the outcome of Bougainville’s 2019 referendum in which 98% of voters opted for the autonomous province to become independent.
PNG prime minister James Marape and Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama reaffirmed that their governments are committed to the process of consultations on the referendum result.
Continue reading "Crucial Bougainville independence talks begin" »
Youths at Roreinang Catholic mission listen to President Toroama discuss the challenges ahead
| Office of the ABG President
BUKA - President Ishmael Toroama has urged Bougainvilleans to stand firm in the region’s aspirations for political independence as Bougainville begins the new year.
Speaking to youths from different Christian denominations throughout Bougainville gathered at Roreinang United Church Mission, the president asked: “Are we one of those patriotic Bougainvilleans willing to go the distance to achieve Bougainville’s aspirations for independence?
Continue reading "Toroama outlines challenges for 2021" »
Ishmael Toroama - "“We must maintain the spirit of independence that we have always known in our lives"
| Office of the President
BUKA - In his first Christmas message, Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has urged Bougainvilleans to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and also to think about being ‘Independence Ready’ by taking responsibility.
“Whether it is at individual, family, clan, church, community, council of elders or other level, we all have a responsibility to be independence ready,” President Toroama said.
Continue reading "President Toroama’s Christmas message" »
MV Craestar alongside the small ships’ wharf at Kieta circa 1965 (Peter Steele)
BILL BROWN MBE
THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - On 24 July 1968, Craestar (1), Conzinc Rio Tinto's (CRA) research vessel, motored into Kieta harbour.
None of the onlookers were excited, even though Craestar had a helicopter sitting on a landing pad over the stern.
The townsfolk had seen it all before. CRA had been using the vessel's helicopter to move drilling gear around Panguna in 1965.
Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 29 - 'CRA, you're unwelcome'" »
Ishmael Toroama - "Put party politics aside and vote for who will best deliver independence for Bougainville”
Office of the Bougainville President
BUKA - Bougainvilleans are being urged to vote responsibly during the by-election for the regional seat currently underway.
“The Bougainville regional seat is equivalent to a governor’s seat in other provinces so this is not a time to vote for beginners,” says President Ishmael Toroama.
Continue reading "Toroama urges vote for independence candidates" »
Bougainville's former - and future - capital Arawa. Before the civil war, a large and well established town
NOOSA – In its first 80 days, the Autonomous Bougainville Government under president Ishmael Toroama has secured a number of benchmarks.
Since September’s swearing-in of Ishmael Toroama as the fourth president of Bougainville, he has been focused on realigning the government’s priorities for developing the region and making it ready for independence.
Continue reading "Toroama’s first 80 days: return to Arawa begins" »
President Ishmael Toroama receives a report on the new economic zone project from Robert Hamal Sawa. Minister for Lands and Physical Planning
| Office of the President
BUKA – Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama has vowed to continue to protect landowner rights as the region embarks on an energetic program of economic development.
President Toroama was announcing the Bana Special Economic Zone at Mamarego Primary School in the Bana District of South Bougainville.
The Bana people have taken the first step to establishing the economic zone along Augusta Bay.
Continue reading "Toroama announces creation of economic zone" »