Events Feed

Citizens react in anger as govt tries to explain Maserati purchase

2018 Maserati Quattroporte
2018 Maserati Quattroporte S GranLusso Sedan

HELEN DAVIDSON | The Guardian | Extracts

SYDNEY - Papua New Guineans have reacted with anger at its government importing a fleet of Maseratis to drive international delegates around the APEC conference next month, amid a health and poverty crisis, struggling economy, and ongoing efforts after a devastating earthquake.

The PNG government has defended its decision, expressing confidence that all 40 luxury cars will be bought by the “private sector” after the two-day event, leaving the government with no financial burden.

The cars, which cost between $200,000 and $350,000 each in Australia, were flown in from Milan on two Boeing 747-8F charter planes this week, with the costs covered by “the private sector”, according to the minister for APEC, Justin Tkatchenko.

“Maserati Quattroporte sedans have been secured and delivered, and are being committed to be paid for by the private sector,” he said.

Continue reading "Citizens react in anger as govt tries to explain Maserati purchase" »

Bougainville Day events gain momentum as referendum nears


ARAWA – This town will come alive late this week as the former capital commemorates Bougainville Day on Friday 15 June.

The initiative is largely a communal effort with backing by local business houses and the Kieta District Administration.

The celebrations are aimed at encouraging economic recovery, reconciliation and celebrating Bougainville’s achievements on its path to next year’s referendum and the ultimate political goal of independence.

Tonny Moera, chairman of the Central Bougainville Events Committee, said in previous years there was not much emphasis on celebrations.

Continue reading "Bougainville Day events gain momentum as referendum nears" »

It's difficult to be enthusiastic about APEC's immense cost

Watna Mori - government still owes much money from past spending on public spectacles

WATNA MORI | The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

PORT MORESBY - It is not clear when the big-man politics in Papua New Guinea’s foreign policy began.

It was likely during the prime ministership of Sir Michael Somare in the early 2000s, when he pushed for PNG to be an aid donor to the region.

At the time, and to this day, PNG continues to be Australia’s largest aid recipient, so Somare’s aim seemed hugely ironic. The ambition kicked off debates in the national newspapers between Somare’s cohorts and critics.

With the exit of Somare and the entry of Peter O’Neill, the benevolence grew. In 2013, O’Neill unveiled the Pacific aid program and proceeded to make donations to various Pacific countries, including a whopping US$18.5 million of funding for the Fiji national elections in 2014.

The O’Neill government also needed to deliver on several infrastructure-heavy commitments made in the heat of promised liquefied natural gas (LNG) returns. These included the Melanesian Arts Festival in July 2014 and the South Pacific Games in July 2015.

Continue reading "It's difficult to be enthusiastic about APEC's immense cost" »

When war came to Australian Papua: Poppy & lantana side by side

Doug Robbins  Anzac Day  Springbrook. 2018
Ex kiap Doug Robbins' speech to Springbrook's Anzac Day ceremony yesterday


SPRINGBROOK, QUEENSLAND - The past year marked 75 years since, sadly, too many Australian lives were lost during World War II fighting in the South West Pacific Area – and on Australian soil.

Following Pearl Harbour, Darwin at the north of mainland Australia, was bombed in February 1942 with loss of many servicemen and civilians. Then Broome was bombed the next month.

We know that Darwin is part of Australia, but little is acknowledged that Papua, a former British Colony in the south-east quarter of the island of New Guinea and only four kilometres from the Torres Strait Islands of Queensland, was a Territory of Australia for almost 100 years to 1975.

The fierce jungle battles of Kokoda, Milne Bay and the Beachheads were fought on what was then Australian soil.

In August 1942, at the same time as Kokoda, Australian Forces were defending airfields at Milne Bay to protect Port Moresby and Australia to the south. Milne Bay was free of fighting by September.

Continue reading "When war came to Australian Papua: Poppy & lantana side by side" »

Last month: A Bit na Ta reminds us of forgotten links to PNG

Kinawai dance ceremony
Tolai men with sacred tubuan objects perform a ritual Kinawai dance ceremony in the early hours of the morning on a Bit Na Ta, Blanche Bay (G Kakabin)

HELEN GARDNER | The Conversation

MELBOURNE - It is rare to find histories of colonialism told by Pacific people utilising Pacific song, dance and culture as well as more standard archival materials.

Historians of the region are largely products of the universities of former imperial powers and the sons and daughters of settler colonialism.

The A Bit na Ta installation in the Bunjilaka gallery in the Melbourne Museum is therefore an important counter to the Australian colonial stories of Papua New Guinea.

The exhibition centres around a film made by Melbourne musician David Bridie, in collaboration with the Tolai people of East New Britain, particularly photographer/historian Gideon Kakabin and singer George Telek.

It is accompanied by commissioned artworks and artefacts from the museum’s collections. The result is a surefooted retelling of the history of the island and its famous town Rabaul from the perspective of the Tolai people.

Continue reading "Last month: A Bit na Ta reminds us of forgotten links to PNG" »

Art & song forge closer bonds between Australia & PNG

 EDITOR | Visual Arts Hub

Ritual Kinuwai dance ceremony (G Kakabin)
Tolai men perform a kinawai dance ceremony with sacred tubuan objects at dawn on a Bit Na Ta, Blanche Bay

a Bit na Ta: The Story of the Gunantuna at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum, until- 4 February 2018; ticketed

MELBOURNE - Although Papua New Guinea is Australia’s nearest neighbour geographically, it has traditionally been held at a cultural distance.

Shared projects are rare and relatively few Australians have experienced the cultures of this vibrant nation.

Museums Victoria is challenging that distance through the multimedia installation and exhibition, a Bit na Ta: The Story of the Gunantuna, a collaborative project re-imagining PNG through language, colour and symbolic imagery.

a Bit na Ta ('the source of the sea') incorporates video footage, photographic works and collection objects, and celebrates the resilience of the Tolai people of East New Britain, who have survived the disruptions of shifting colonial powers, war, volcanic eruptions and independence struggles.

The work is the outcome of a 30-year friendship between internationally renowned Tolai singer George Telek and Aria-winning musician and composer David Bridie.

Continue reading "Art & song forge closer bonds between Australia & PNG" »

Kiaps meet again on Sunshine Coast – a most durable body of men

Peter Salmon and friend
Peter Salmon & colleague - old kiaps never die, they just go ape


NOOSA - “Are you going to stray from your lofty editorial cyber-perch and grace us with your presence at the next reunion?” said the email.

It was impertinence normale from onetime pikinini kiap Peter Salmon. A missive of characteristic disrespect.

As soon as they put on their broad brimmed military-style hats, these young turks of pre-independent Papua New Guinea thought they sat at the feet of god. Which in a sense some did.

Vale nambawan kiap Tom Ellis.

Peter and I were contemporaries in Chimbu in the 1960s – him a kiap, me a tisa - before we both went on to other careers and other lives.

Since 2001, Peter has been publisher of the valued and historically valuable Ex Kiap website (if you haven’t seen it, catch up here). He is a communicator after my own heart – keep the channels open, the debate free and duck for cover as required.

Continue reading "Kiaps meet again on Sunshine Coast – a most durable body of men" »

APEC forum will benefit people throughout PNG: Lepani

Artist’s impression of APEC Haus
Artist’s impression of APEC Haus off Port Moresby's Ela Beach

STAFF REPORTER | Business Advantage PNG | Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea businesses should expect income streams from next month as momentum builds towards the APEC summit in November 2018, director-general of the APEC PNG coordination authority, Sir Charles Lepani, says.

He told a Business Advantage PNG investment summit in Sydney that hotels, small business suppliers and the informal sector throughout PNG will benefit from preparations for next year’s APEC leaders’ summit in Port Moresby.

Sir Charles said his authority needed to manage expectations, noting that the summit will not change PNG overnight. But he said it would establish a foundation for stronger growth, bringing in much-needed foreign exchange and raising PNG’s profile.

Continue reading "APEC forum will benefit people throughout PNG: Lepani" »

Marvellous line-up of performers for Melanesian music festival


BRISBANE - On Sunday 17 September, people from Brisbane's Melanesian communities together with many Australians will celebrate PNG’s anniversary of independence in a music festival at Redlands Performing Arts Centre, about 30 minutes from the centre of Brisbane.

Topping the bill is the brilliant PNG singer and poet George Telek who will perform with Ben Hakalitz (PNG), Charles Maimarosia (Solomons) and Tio (Vanuatu).

On the weekend of the 42nd anniversary of PNG independence, this showcase brings together the most outstanding contemporary and traditional Melanesian music.

George Telek, who has performed in the UK, the US and Germany as well as in our part of the world, headlines the concert, bringing his signature blend of modern and traditional Melanesian rhythms.

Continue reading "Marvellous line-up of performers for Melanesian music festival" »

Nicholay Miklouho-Maclay IV to visit PNG next month

Nikolai-Miklouho-Maclay-by-Russian-artist-Konstantin-MakovskySIR PETER BARTER

THE great-grandson of the famed Russian anthropologist Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay (pictured) will visit Papua New Guiena next month.

Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay IV is a direct descendant of the naturalist, explorer, anthropologist and artist who first arrived in PNG in September 1871, landing at Garagassi Point and settling at Gorendu village on the Rai Coast of Madang.

Here he established an excellent relationship with the people and is anthropological work and diaries became widely acknowledged in Russia and around the world.

In September 1971, a delegation of Russians visited Madang on board a Russian frigate to mark the centenary of Maclay’s arrival, at which time a monument was established on the site of his house.

Continue reading "Nicholay Miklouho-Maclay IV to visit PNG next month" »

‘Walk to Equality’ story continues at Oz literary festivals

My Walk to Equality CoverRASHMII BELL

THE milestone anthology by Papua New Guinean women writers, My Walk to Equality, will be showcased at two international literary festivals in Queensland in the next two months.

The book will be discussed in special panel sessions at the Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival in Coolum on 11 August and at the Brisbane Writers Festival on 8 and 10 September.

The book of evocative essays, short stories and poems was written by 45 Papua New Guinean and published by Pukpuk Publications to coincide with International Women’s Day this year.

It was launched at companion events were held in Port Moresby and Brisbane and has since become a landmark publication.

Continue reading "‘Walk to Equality’ story continues at Oz literary festivals" »

PNG writers to share views & struggles at writers festival

Rashmii BellSTAFF REPORTER | Sunshine Coast Daily

FOR the first time in publishing history, female writers from Papua New Guinea have had their voices heard about their daily struggles in life with the compilation of the women's anthology, My Walk to Equality.

This evocative anthology will have its Sunshine Coast launch at a panel presentation at the second annual Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival on Saturday 12 August in Coolum Civic Centre.

The evocative anthology is a collection of more than 40 essays, short stories and poems which capture the daily challenges faced and positive contribution made by the women of PNG to improve community and nation.

The anthology was edited by PNG writer Rashmii Amoah Bell (pictured) and published by PNG's Pukpuk Publications.

Continue reading "PNG writers to share views & struggles at writers festival" »

Redlands in Queensland to host inaugural Melanesian Showcase


THE Redlands Performing Arts Centre in Cleveland near Brisbane is bringing together a Melanesian Showcase in mid-September.

The first ever event will be hosted by the Quandamooka people of the Redlands region and is designed to be an important cultural exchange between Melanesia and coastal indigenous Australia.

My wife, Elaine Seeto (originally from Kavieng) is one of the organisers of the showcase, which is intended to grow into a regular and even larger festival of music and the arts.

Continue reading "Redlands in Queensland to host inaugural Melanesian Showcase" »

PNG WW2 veterans’ anniversary invitations close this Friday

On the Sanananda ...KEITH JACKSON

AUSTRALIAN Veterans’ Affairs Minister Dan Tehan is encouraging veterans from some of the important Papua New Guinean campaigns of World War II to nominate to attend two important commemorations to be held in Canberra later this year.

Time is running out, though, and nominations to receive support to attend the commemorations of the Battles of Milne Bay, Kokoda, Buna, Gona and Sanananda close this coming Friday.

Mr Tehan said the government will arrange return travel and accommodation for eligible veterans and an accompanying carer from their home location to attend the ceremonies at the Australian War Memorial.

Continue reading "PNG WW2 veterans’ anniversary invitations close this Friday" »

Commemorating the controversial battle of Porton plantation

The Battle of PortonREG YATES

AFTER PNG Attitude published my ‘PNG Adventurous Training Guide' recently, I received an invitation from James Warar, headman of Porton Plantation in Bougainville, to let interested people know about the commemoration of a controversial World War II battle at the plantation.

The 31/51st Battalion of the Australian Military Force attacked Imperial Japanese soldiers defending the plantation from 8-11 June 1945. The commemoration will be held on Saturday 10 June 2017 at Porton.

But the Australian assault made several mistakes and the attack did not go according to plan.

Continue reading "Commemorating the controversial battle of Porton plantation" »

Milestone book launched: Let us walk boldly to equality


The first collection of writing by Papua New Guinean women, My Walk to Equality, was launched last night before 80 people at a high-spirited event at The Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby. The book’s editor, Rashmii Amoah Bell, could not be there and her speech was delivered by Cr Ingrid Jackson. The launch - which included a number of powerful presentations by leading women - was scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day. The book will also be launched at the Mary Ryan bookshop at Milton in Brisbane next Thursday

TO the brilliant 44 Papua New Guinean women writers. To Keith Jackson and Philip Fitzpatrick. Well we did it!

I extend my apologies for my absence from this Port Moresby launch of our milestone publication. If there is anything I am more devoted to than reading, writing and praising God Almighty, it is my young family and fulfilling my daily responsibilities to my three children.

And so I thank Councillor Ingrid Jackson who has kindly agreed to convey these words on my behalf to this wonderful gathering celebrating the publication of My Walk to Equality.

Continue reading "Milestone book launched: Let us walk boldly to equality" »

‘Be Bold For Change’ – PNG’s women writers are already there

Beboldforchange-iwd2017KEITH JACKSON

THE theme for International Women’s Day to be celebrated on Wednesday 8 March is for women to #BeBoldForChange – and, through contributions to the anthology, My Walk to Equality, nearly 50 Papua New Guinean women writers proved they already had taken this idea to heart.

And as the Oil Search Foundation, Allen’s Legal, Paga Hill Development Company, the Sir Brian Bell Foundation and other PNG organisations rally to the cause of this highly praised book, it’s clear that the call is understood and is gaining momentum.

My Walk to Equality will be launched in Port Moresby on International Women’s Day (IWD) and in Brisbane eight days later. The Moresby launch – by invitation only – will feature Dame Carol Kidu and Tanya Zeriga-Alone, two fighters for women’s rights in PNG. Rashmii Amoah Bell will be the star attraction in Brisbane. I will be at both events.

Continue reading "‘Be Bold For Change’ – PNG’s women writers are already there" »

Five reasons why people feel they should protest against APEC

Manila APEC protestACT NOW PNG | Edited extracts

IN NOVEMBER 2015, Manila in the Philippines hosted an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

Civil society mobilised to protest against the meeting. There are cogent reasons why people were so angered by APEC and what it represents.

Here in Papua New Guinea we should be similarly outraged as the same reasoning applies.

Ahead the Manila summit, Philippines’ social movements, unions, indigenous groups, farmers’ organisations and international activists mobilised to protest against the two-day annual meeting.

Continue reading "Five reasons why people feel they should protest against APEC" »

A year of multitude blessings for Simbu Children Foundation

Digicel Foundation representative presenting vehicle to SCFFRANCIS NII

PATIENCE and perseverance are truly the keys to success in whatever we want to achieve.

This proved true for the Simbu Children Foundation this year when it was smothered with an unprecedented level of support in its charity work serving the sick and disadvantaged children of Simbu.

During its ninth annual fundraising ball last Saturday at the Mt Wilhelm Tourist Hotel, SCF was presented with no less than two motor vehicles.

The first is a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser station wagon fully kitted out with mobile medical facilities worth at K190, 000 by Digicel Foundation.

The second is a Land Rover which was donated by Kennedy Wemin, CEO of Melanesian Trustee Services Limited and long-serving SCF patron.

Continue reading "A year of multitude blessings for Simbu Children Foundation" »

100 Simbu schools & health centres benefit from huge gift

Kundiawa crowd thanks Toowong Rotary & Simby writersFRANCIS NII

SIMBU schools and rural health centres have celebrated an early Christmas with boxes of books and linen gifted by the Toowong Rotary Club in Brisbane.

Rotary’s Murray Bladwell and Terry Shelley of Goroka’s Nowek Ltd worked together to deliver the Books for Simbu Schools project, a shipping container of 11,000 books, linen and other health items.

Continue reading "100 Simbu schools & health centres benefit from huge gift" »

'Let's show the world we're as good as anyone,' says Drekore

Merlyn & Jimmy DrekoreGLORIA BAUAI | Loop PNG | Edited

JIMMY Drekore will refer to it as “a nation’s achievement” when, next Thursday, he receives the 2016 World of Children Health Award in New York City.

“Even though it’s Jimmy Drekore receiving the award, I will be proud to represent this beautiful country,” he told the media before leaving Port Moresby for the United States with wife Merlyn (pictured).

In 2005, Mr Drekore founded the Simbu Children Foundation, which strives to provide hope for sick and disadvantaged children.

It is a charity that funds airfares, medical costs and expenses for sick village children from Simbu Province to enable them to travel to the city and overseas hospitals for medical tests, operations and other treatments that are unavailable locally.

Continue reading "'Let's show the world we're as good as anyone,' says Drekore" »

A new collection that declares a bright future for PNG poetry


ONE of the really satisfying things about PNG Attitude and the Crocodile Prize is that every so often a writer of impressive power comes along.

Sometimes they just jump out at you and at other times they creep up behind you and it takes a while to notice them.

Wardley D Barry-Igivisa is one of the former. Upon sighting his first poem, it was obvious that a major talent had emerged.

Like many Papua New Guinean writers, Ward has set out on a long and arduous road with many pitfalls and little reward.

He is now a traveller who needs help along the way if he is to reach the final destination of having his name scrawled up there on the rickety totem pole of Papua New Guinean literature.

Continue reading "A new collection that declares a bright future for PNG poetry" »

Kundiawa Hospital celebrates its achievements

Mathew Kaluvia and colleaguesFRANCIS NII

THE MOSTLY quiet corner of Kundiawa town that is home to the Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital last week came alive with the beating of kundus, singing and dancing as over 3,000 people celebrated its second open day.

The event marked the hospital’s proud track record of community service and development in both its clinical and non-clinical areas under the management of CEO Mathew Kaluvia (in suit).

The activities took place in the outpatient area in which each unit of the hospital had its own stall where staff conducted displays and exhibitions.

The crowd was eager and amazed at some of the displays, especially weird looking surgical tools they had never imagined before. ‘This is just amazing,” said Jane, a guardian from Jiwaka Province.

Continue reading "Kundiawa Hospital celebrates its achievements" »

Melanesian artists invited to submit work to Melbourne exhibition


THE curators of an art exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, are urgently looking for Papua New Guinean artists to submit work for the upcoming Sampari Art Show in December.

The submission date is 17 October 2016.

The show, curated and organised by a team of dedicated volunteers from the West Papua Women's Office, is themed 'West Papua' and will feature the art of artists across Melanesia in solidarity with the West Papuan people.

Sampari coordinators in each of the Melanesian nations are working to attract submissions inspired by West Papuans, their geography, cultures, politics, history and environment.

Continue reading "Melanesian artists invited to submit work to Melbourne exhibition" »

PNG writers spectacular international debut at Brisbane festival

Part of the audience at the PNG writers sessionKEITH JACKSON

AT THE Brisbane Writers Festival yesterday, before an audience of over 50 people including Papua New Guinea’s consul-general Maggie Moi-he, four of PNG’s top writers showed they were not only giants of the keyboard but splendid performers on the international stage.

As representatives of their country and interpreters of Melanesian literary expression, Francis Nii, Martyn Namorong, Rashmii Amoah Bell and Daniel Kumbon - with style, intellect and charisma - put in a superb performance at the first ever PNG presentation at an Australian literary festival.

Continue reading "PNG writers spectacular international debut at Brisbane festival" »

Adventist University's Vision City show brings out top talent


LAST Saturday was a night to remember. A night where the raw beauty of untapped talent was exposed.

A night where cultural pride, national identity, individuality and innovation left everyone in the audience speechless and inspired.

The first ever Vision City talent show held at Pacific Adventist University exploded in colours way beyond expectations.

Talented painters who had never showed their works to a wide audience paraded them with pride.

Continue reading "Adventist University's Vision City show brings out top talent" »

Walking the talk against cancer: Major fundraising planned

Walk Against CancerBOMAI D WITNE

I’VE MADE many announcements since taking on the responsibility for community announcements after Sunday service at our local church in Goroka.

But last Sunday I made an announcement that I thought needed to be shared with the wider community.

Catholic Health Services in Eastern Highlands Province, in collaboration with many other organisations, is pooling ideas and resources to raise money to buy cancer treatment facilities.

The theme of the fundraising is ‘Walk the talk against cancer’ and the initiative was provoked by the lack of early detection, diagnosis, testing and specialist treatment of cancer patients in Papua New Guinea.

The death rate from cancer is increasing each year with women topping the list. Most victims are unaccounted for and suffer silently in rural areas throughout PNG.

The organisers of ‘Walk the talk’ aim to raise K10 million to buy cancer treatment facilities for facilities in Goroka, Port Moresby, Mingende and Kundiawa.

Continue reading "Walking the talk against cancer: Major fundraising planned" »

Man of Honour Drekore in finalists for international award

Jimmy Drekore, Delka & Francis Nii at the Kundiawa auditFRANCIS NII

The 2015 Digicel Man of Honour and founding president of Simbu Children Foundation (SCF), Jimmy Drekore, is one of the finalists for an American award for services to children’s health.

The San Francisco-based World of Children Award is run by a non-profit organisation founded  in 1998 by husband and wife team Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson Leibowitz.

The award is the ‘Nobel Prize for children’s advocacy’ and its mission is “to improve the lives of vulnerable children by funding and elevating the most effective change makers for children”.

Continue reading "Man of Honour Drekore in finalists for international award" »

Pacific regional update conference starts at USP today

2015 Pacific Update conferencePETER SOLO KINJAP in Suva

REGIONAL policymakers, academics and development practitioners gather at at the University of South Pacific in Suva today for the 2016 Pacific Update Conference.

The event has been described as providing an opportunity for Pacific countries "to walk in tandem with the rest of the world".

For the next two days they will present research and discuss the latest economic and social developments in the region.

Continue reading "Pacific regional update conference starts at USP today" »

The uniting of forces: Once upon a time at Murray Barracks


IT WAS almost four years ago, November 2012. The afternoon sun setting behind Brigadier Hill cast its last red yellowish rays through a thick line of rain trees that guarded the soldier’s football field.

Just a short distance away was the PNG Defence Force headquarters at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby.

The strong, sweet-smelling fragrance of crushed coconut oil and yellow ginger mixed with leaves filled the air as groups of elderly men and women swayed to the rattling of sea shells and the rhythmic beat of bamboo and kundu.

Huge pigs grunted from under a long table filled with bananas, taro, vegetables of all kinds and freshly butchered pork.

Continue reading "The uniting of forces: Once upon a time at Murray Barracks" »

Don’t forget Sunday's important open day at the old ASOPA site


THE Open Day at the former Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) on Sunday 22 May – organised by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust – will provide a great opportunity for people with a Papua New Guinea connection to look over the old site and also hear about options for its future.

During the Open Day, which will run from 10am to 2pm, representatives of the PNG Association of Australia will be present (look out for them) to welcome you and discuss the PNGAA’s ideas for the establishment of a Centre for Pacific Nations.

This would be a place to actively engage the community and comprise a library, a living history centre -where PNG and Pacific memorabilia can be displayed - and a venue where talks, writers and artists workshops and other activities could take place.

Continue reading "Don’t forget Sunday's important open day at the old ASOPA site" »

PNGAA needs your support to establish centre for Pacific nations


THE Papua New Guinea Association of Australia is pressing for a splendid project that would transmute the former Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) buildings at Middle Head in Sydney into a Community Centre for Pacific Nations.

To introduce the idea to the community and take it forward, the PNGAA will hold an open day at the site next Sunday 22 May between 10am and 2pm and it’s looking for support.

“The project aims to engage our community of Australians and Papua New Guineans with a suitable living, interactive, tribute in the form of a Papua New Guinea-Australia centre - a focal point for the PNG-Australia relationship,” says Andrea Williams, PNGAA president.

“ASOPA had a foundational linkage of military and civil engagement in securing, planning for and developing Papua New Guinea for nationhood and its direct successors became the dominant institutional presence in the precinct for 51 years until the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training was abolished in 1998.”

Continue reading "PNGAA needs your support to establish centre for Pacific nations" »

PNG conservation leader wins 2016 Whitley Award

The luscious YUS landscape (Ryan Hawk)THE Princess Royal has presented the prestigious international Whitley Award, a nature conservation prize valued at K160,000 in project funding, to Papua New Guinean conservationist Karau Kuna.

The ceremony was held at the Royal Geographical Society, London, and honoured his work in bringing together landowners to ensure protection of the YUS conservation area, home to many diverse and endangered species including tree kangaroos and birds of paradise.

Situated on the Huon Peninsula and named after three main rivers, the Yopno, Uruwa and Som, the 1,500 square kilometre YUS area harbours more native birds and mammals than any like-sized area in mainland New Guinea.

Continue reading "PNG conservation leader wins 2016 Whitley Award" »

Dawn passage through the Dardanelles on MV Nautica

The eternal flameKEITH JACKSON

WE arise before dawn and we see the dark shape of land - the Aegean Sea is funnelling into the Dardanelles, just a narrow strait but with a name that triggers an emotional response in Australians.

In the half-light we see silhouetted on the rocky clifftop that marks the strait’s entrance four soaring columns of a massive monument and an oversized Turkish flag.

At about this time on 25 April 1915, 60,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders traversed these waters to be landed on Gallipoli’s precipitous and lethal shore.

Over the next eight months until the Allies retreated, 33,000 Allied (Diggers, Kiwis, Tommies, French) troops were killed – as were 86,000 Turks.

Continue reading "Dawn passage through the Dardanelles on MV Nautica" »

Artefacts from war days reflect ties between Australia & PNG

Charles Lepani at the launch (Rodney Start)BRUCE HILL | Pacific Beat, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

A COLLECTION of artefacts collected during the Australian military occupation of Papua New Guinea between 1914 and 1921 represents a significant link between the neighbours, says Charles Lepani, PNG's high commissioner to Australia.

A new book, War Trophies or Curios?, describes the untold story behind the collection of more than 600 objects including carved figures, masks, shields, instruments and weapons.

Charles Lepani, who attended the book's recent launch at the Melbourne Museum, told Pacific Beat the collection reflected Australia and PNG's close historical ties.

"This collection puts PNG and Australia relations together and takes it to another step back to the World War I, as well as Kokoda of course, Kokoda Track for the World War II," he said.

Continue reading "Artefacts from war days reflect ties between Australia & PNG" »


Gallipoli Monument (Paul Oates)EDGAR WALLACE

The children unborn shall acclaim
The standard the Anzacs unfurled,
When they made Australasia’s fame
The wonder and pride of the world.

Some of you got a V.C.,
Some “the Gallipoli trot,”
Some had a grave by the sea,
And all of you got it damned hot,

And I see you go limping through town
In the faded old hospital blue,
And driving abroad—lying down,
And Lord I but I wish I were you

Continue reading "Anzacs" »

Bit na ta – commemorating a remarkable 100 years in Rabaul


THERE’S a project with the unusual name of Bit Na Ta in which I’m involved with a number of Tolai people including historian Gideon Kakabin, musician George Telek and curator Lisa Hilli.

With initial funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, Bit Na Ta will look at 100 years of history and culture in the Gazelle Peninsula from 1875-1975 for an installation as part of the Nambawan Neighbours exhibit to be staged in October by the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.

The exhibition will feature film, music, sound, archival displays and the spoken word and there’s material that readers may be able to assist us acquire.

Continue reading "Bit na ta – commemorating a remarkable 100 years in Rabaul" »

Simbu Writers Association on the rock’n’rolling for 2016

Francis and colleaguesFRANCIS NII

AT its first meeting for 2016 held in the Mt Wilhelm Tourist Hotel last Friday, Simbu Writers Association executives developed strategies for the organisation’s 2016 activities.

Re-elected president Jimmy Drekore, vice president Jimmy Awagl, treasurer Francis Nii and newly elected secretary Angela Kaupa spent three hours reviewing the achievements and hiccups of 2015 and planning for 2016.

Among the important matters discussed was the 2016 Simbu for Literary Excellence Program – an annual debate, quiz and literature competition for provincial high and secondary schools – which was started in 2014.

Continue reading "Simbu Writers Association on the rock’n’rolling for 2016" »

The true meaning of Christmas


AS I lay in bed in the early hours of the morning, my mind drifted off to the pictures I took of the Christmas tree in the office and the theme from the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie played over and over in my head, “Christmas Christmas time is near, time for joy and time for cheer”.

I thought of what I should do for my children and their father this Christmas and was taken back to my own childhood years, where there were presents under the tree every Christmas and where we were made to believe Santa Claus truly existed.

We would leave cakes or biscuits and milk for Santa. Someone, probably dad, would eat them but we were convinced it was Santa who, with his helpers, had left the presents.

Sometimes dad would wake us in the middle of the night and tell us to come quickly or we’d miss seeing Santa. We would rush outside and see footprints and be told we’d missed the sleigh just by seconds.

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The cancer diaries: Preparing for Christmas

Peter Kranz & Rose BemuPETER KRANZ

WELL it's an onerous task; joyful though. The boxes and bags of decorations past make a magical appearance from where Rose has hidden them all year. They are dusted off and the ritual begins.

"Does this garland go here on the front door?"

"How about these bells?"

"Can we put the tree in the window?"

"Let's put tinsel around these PNG carvings."

"We need more lights - look at the neighbours!"

At least this year we have Ellis - an enthusiastic helper who is thoroughly into the spirit of Christmas decorating - to help arrange things.

I become a supernumerary; the women have taken over.

So I become the disc jockey and start with tradition - Handel, Bach, Berlioz, Russian blockbusters, the Nine Lessons.  But I meet with some push-back. 

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The lions of Madang are roaring - join our pride

The lions are roaringAMANDA YEOU

MOST people define charity as voluntary alms giving but I see it as giving yourself as an instrument of love and service to the poor and suffering population.

Last weekend, the Lions Club in Madang growled for charity as many members and other participants enthusiastically took part in a walkathon with the theme ‘Walk for Life’.

The walkers were staff and students of Divine Word University and at seven o’clock they gathered in front of the Visitors and Cultural Bureau’s Haus Tumbuna on the Modilon Road.

We began walking from Laiwaden Oval into Town, proceeded through the streets of Kalibobo Drive and finished at Tusbab beach.

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Late PNG police officers focus of Police Remembrance Day

Our boys & girls in bluePETER TURNER

POLICE officers gathered at ceremonies across Australia on Monday to remember colleagues killed on duty.

While thankfully no officers died in the line of duty in Australia over the past 12 months, the focus of this year's Remembrance Day was on five Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary officers who died on duty in Papua New Guinea and also on past fallen colleagues.

Australian Capital Territory chief police officer Rudi Lammers said it was an important day of reflection.

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How PNG independence happened – 16 September 1975

Part of the crowd at Independence Hill on 16 September 1975.In 2009 former long-serving PNG district commissioner, DAVID MARSH, who died recently, reflected upon how that first Independence Day in 1975 took place.

WHEN in 1975 Gough Whitlam asked Michael Somare to provide a date for PNG Independence, Somare set the date and gave me the job of organising the events. We had 2½ months to do it.

Getting people to join me to get the job done was difficult. It had to be a PNG show, yet there was no expertise amongst the indigenous people, or the government for that matter, and government departments were reluctant to release their senior staff.

There were some early concerns over micro-nationalistic movements and cults that had sprung up, also emotional talk from University students.

But when I had a general picture in my mind of the ceremonies that were required, the people to invite, the security, transport, accommodation, and so on, I gathered a few staunch souls together and started on the detail.

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A night at the Lowy Institute - 40 years of PNG Independence

The Lowy Institute in SydneyBARBARA SHORT

A few nights ago I hired a limousine driven by a man named Eric and went into the city of Sydney at about five in the evening.

The traffic was horrendous as there was a breakdown in the Harbour Tunnel but Eric was able to take the bus lane so we arrived at our destination in half an hour.

I was let into a building, a very old one, constructed from sandstone. It had been a men's club long ago and had high ceilings and tall walls covered with paintings. I was shown into a huge room that seated 100 people and provided a lovely cool orange drink.

The evening was organised by some charming young Australian girls and boys who work for the Lowy Institute for International Relations.

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USA congratulates PNG on fortieth Independence Day

John KerryJOHN KERRY | US Secretary of State

ON behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I wish you and the people of Papua New Guinea a happy Independence Day.

In its 40 years of independence Papua New Guinea has made incredible strides towards a more prosperous future.  We extend our heartiest congratulations for the remarkable accomplishments you have achieved.

Our bilateral relationship continues to grow. The United States and Papua New Guinea cooperate on a range of critical issues such as sustainable fisheries and reducing carbon emissions.

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Australian writers’ festival link for Crocodile Prize

Jimmy Drekore & Keith JacksonROB PARER & KEITH JACKSON

JIMMY Drekore returns to Kundiawa today after a flying visit to Brisbane that was highly successful.

After a visa scare, Papua New Guinea’s Digicel Man of Honour, poet and chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organisation made it to the Brisbane Writers Festival where, along with colleagues Bob Cleland and Joycelin Leahy, he had productive discussions with the festival CEO.

The main outcome of the talks was to formalise a link between COG and the BWF, which will manifest itself in practical terms by PNG being special guest nation at the 2017 festival.

At a working lunch on the Brisbane River, the COG chairman also discussed the transition of the main administrative functions of the Crocodile Prize from Australia to PNG.

It is still too early to reveal details, but there were indications of a significant breakthrough in the past week which, when added to the Simbu Writers Association’s own planning, provide optimism that the operations of COG can be effectively migrated to PNG.

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Into the independence month - from adolescence to adulthood

Tavurvur in eruptionRAYMOND SIGIMET

Now give thanks to the Good Lord above / For this land of our fathers so free / Papua New Guinea

WE are already into the independence month. On 16 September, Papua New Guinea will celebrate 40 years as an independent nation.

There is already widespread media hype that this year’s celebrations will be like no other seen before. The government is putting in millions of kina to make this anniversary meaningful and memorable.

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Beautiful Tufi

If you live in or near Brisbane, why don’t you attend the Beautiful Tufi presentation at the Queensland Museum next Thursday 2 July at 3pm. It will be held in the Auditorium and followed by an opportunity for questions and socialising in an adjoining function room, finishing no later than 5pm, the Museum closing time. There is no entry fee and you'll be able to purchase Jan Hasselberg's book. Like Tufi, it is beautiful!

Painter in Paradise – William Dobell in New Guinea

William Dobell sketching an unidentified man, 1949 (National Library of Australia)S H ERVIN GALLERY

IN May 1949, the renowned Australian painter William Dobell (1899–1970), in an endeavour to escape publicity after his 1948 Archibald Prize win, left Australia with his friend, writer Colin Simpson, in the company of philanthropist and trustee of Taronga Park Zoo, Sir Edward Hallstrom.

He was one of 27 guests flown by Hallstrom from Australia to Port Moresby and then on to Hallstrom’s experimental sheep station and bird of paradise sanctuary at Nondugl in the Highlands.

It was the first time Dobell had ever stepped inside an aircraft and, despite initial nerves, he was captivated by everything he saw.

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Envisaging the future of the Australia-PNG relationship

Jenny Hayward Jones, head of the Melanesia ProgramKEITH JACKSON

IN Sydney today, a Lowy Institute roundtable in Sydney is bringing together 26 Papua New Guineans and Australians to brainstorm the future of the PNG-Australia relationship.

The headline of the workshop is Papua New Guinea in 2015 – At a crossroads and beyond and two themes have been established to guide discussion: Challenges for the next generation and Fostering better relations in changing times.

I asked PNG Attitude readers for their thoughts on the broad topic and although at that stage I hadn't received detailed discussion points, readers were savvy enough to pitch comments at the target. (Contributors names are listed at the end of this article.)

I’ve organised this summary piece by distilling the essence of what readers said to incorporate the most thoughtful and insightful comments that seem to loom large in the PNG-Australia relationship over the next decade or so.

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