Heritage & culture Feed

Indigenous treaties worth all the problems

Legislation will need to spell out the terms of Indigenous Treaties to ensure consistency with Australia's constitution and laws relating to land and access rights. This is not impossible but is bound to be complex and contentious

Invasion
CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The history of Australian governments in dealing with Australia’s Indigenous peoples is very dismal indeed.

The now departed and unlamented Liberal-National Party government continued this tradition whereby weasel words were deemed an adequate substitute for meaningful action.

Continue reading "Indigenous treaties worth all the problems" »


The unvirtuous circle of SA's Blackfella affairs

The ‘designed to fail’ policies that glisten with promises come to nought in delivery because the Whitefella wants to be able to control, constrain and interfere with the Blackfella’s interests

Police engaging Aboriginal people,1838
New South Wales Mounted Police attack Aboriginal people, Waterloo Creek, 1838

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – I’m currently writing a history of the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Branch, based in Adelaide, where I was employed between 1974 and 1994.

It’s tentatively called ‘Full Circle’ – the title describing a 20-year trajectory in which the Branch went from virtually nothing to journey through a period of high productivity and public recognition before finally looping back to irrelevance and obscurity, buried in a high rise city building.

Continue reading "The unvirtuous circle of SA's Blackfella affairs" »


Ensuring the literary embers still burn bright

Despite the setbacks and difficulties, sparkling embers still burn in the fireplace of Papua New Guinean literature. Rait ples, rait papagraun, rait pipol. Right place, right heritage, right people. In Tok Pisin rait is also 'write'

Dom mar
Earlier this year, prime minister Marape learned of the existence of a struggling but rich literature in PNG. He was impressed - and said he would offer a helping hand

MICHAEL DOM

LAE – Around the middle of June, Ples Singsing Writers & Associates held its first writers kivung, Kirapim Paia Long Ples Singsing - Create the Passion of Ples Singsing.

Ples Singsing is, of course, the Papua New Guinea writers’ blog, the spirited lovechild of me and a number of colleagues whose turn it was to seize the waning fire of PNG literature.

Continue reading "Ensuring the literary embers still burn bright" »


Solomons melting pot: The Honiara story

The Solomons both lost and found its way politically and economically. Part of its journey were mismanagement and corruption, and the ‘tension years’, when the nation came to the brink of anarchy

Honiara
Honiara is a corruption of the Malaitan word, nahona`ara, meaning facing the place where the southeast winds meet the land (Jenny Scott)

CLIVE MOORE
| DevPolicy Blog

Honiara: Village-City of Solomon Islands by Clive Moore, ANU Press, May 2022. More information here. ISBN 9781760465070 (online). Download or read the book free online here

BRISBANE - Like most cities, Honiara is bound by its geography, history and culture. In my new book, I explore these relationships and how they have created the city we see today.

Military bases in the Solomon Islands are in the news, although most people seem to have forgotten that Honiara began as a World War II battle ground and military base, initially Japanese and then American.

Continue reading "Solomons melting pot: The Honiara story" »


Kokoda Trail fails when bureaucracy prevails

The legislation smacks of colonialism and will result in PNG becoming the only country in the world to manage its most popular tourism destination as an environmental resource

Kokoda trail

HON CHARLIE LYNN OL
Adventure Kokoda | The National

SYDNEY - The proposed Kokoda Track Management Authority Bill is based on a false premise.

It is not a Papua New Guinea bill. It was developed in secret by an Australian aid official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Canberra.

Continue reading "Kokoda Trail fails when bureaucracy prevails" »


Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?

'John Teosin was a complex personality and an enormously deep thinker. He was ahead of his time in many ways. Among the living dead, John Teosin shan’t be forgotten'

Hahalis headline

COMPILED & EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON
| With some useful references from Dr Robin Hide

NOOSA - The John Teosin Highway (aka the Buka ring road) connects villages along the east coast of Buka Island with Bougainville’s commercial and administrative centre, Buka Town.

The ring road plays a vital role in people’s lives as well as moving them from one place to another.

Continue reading "Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?" »


The multitudinous possibilities of being Huli

The identity of the remarkable Huli people of the PNG Highlands is expressed in a bewildering multitude of ways as they adapt to the pressures of change

Huli men
Men of Huli (Trans NiuGini Tours)

MICHAEL MAIN
| Extract from ‘Until Hela Becomes a City: The Western Encounter with Huli Modernity

CANBERRA - Although the practice of wearing the everyday Huli wig has long since passed, and what is recognised as traditional Huli clothing has become a ceremonial uniform, the subtle and individual expressions of Huliness are a widespread feature of contemporary Huli life.

The existence of a self-consciously Huli ceremonial uniform was a feature of pre- contact Huli life, especially as worn by members of the haroli bachelor cult when they returned to social view after an extended period in isolation.

Continue reading "The multitudinous possibilities of being Huli" »


National Geographic’s long affair with PNG

The National Geographic, always a product of its time, remains an amazing pictorial record of Papua New Guinea over nearly 100 years

Kranz Miramar chilldren Gilliard Nat Geo 1955
E Thomas Gilliard's 'Miramar children' (or were they?) of 1955 (National Geographic)

PETER KRANZ

MORISSET – The photograph above was taken during E Thomas Gilliard's bird hunting expedition to the Papua New Guinea Highlands in 1955.

The story of the expedition, together with many spectacular photographs, was published in National Geographic magazine in the same year under the headline, 'To the Land of the Headhunters'.

Continue reading "National Geographic’s long affair with PNG" »


Out of Pandora’s box: the Panguna paradox

When Bougainville people sense a threat, or get the notion they might be dispossessed of land, they will fight and protect it with their lives if they have to

Pentanu pic
"Let us ensure our agreements hold because if we do the same thing over and over and expect a different result, our hopes will collapse like the benches around the mine pit"

SIMON PENTANU MP
| Bougainville News

KIETA - The benches that wound around the Panguna mine were a conspicuous feature of the humungous pit are still visible but either collapsing because of erosion by slow-seeping water or perhaps just tired of lying around with no purpose.

The pit is a massive ‘dingkung’ (hole) on Bougainville’s landscape; it is also a massive statement that people are capable of gutting the Earth’s resources and leaving the land wasted and torn when the riches have been extracted and shipped away.

Continue reading "Out of Pandora’s box: the Panguna paradox" »


‘Why you doing a man’s job?’ I was asked

As women make their mark across Papua New Guinea’s public service, the country is still shamed by its total lack of female national MPs

Emily kelton
Emily Kelton has just retired from one of the most senior electoral positions in Papua New Guinea, but she sees not one woman holding a seat in the 111-member national parliament. Perhaps this will change with the election of a new 117-member parliament in July

MY LAND, MY COUNTRY

LAE – According to many candidates who stand for election in Papua New Guinea, politics and parliament is a “man’s place”.

So where do the half of the PNG population who are women fit in?

It is an uncomfortable question, an irritating rhetorical question - one to which we already know the answer. Too often it’s the wrong answer.

Continue reading "‘Why you doing a man’s job?’ I was asked" »


Stolen designs: The fight to keep tapa Oro’s

Dorah Misirit  from Tufi
Dorah Misirit from Tufi in Oro shows the tapa face tattoos she got as a nine-year old (Godfree Kaptigau)

LEANNE JORARI
| Ples Singsing | The Guardian

“I remember the pain when my mother used the siporo thorn to tattoo my face”

PORT MORESBY - Tapa, a tattooed fabric, has been worn in Papua New Guinea for centuries but there are concerns it has been commercialised.

When Papua New Guinean fashion designer Yaku Ninich wanted to use tapa designs in her work that were inspired by those of her grandmother, she first had to ask her mother for permission.

Continue reading "Stolen designs: The fight to keep tapa Oro’s" »


Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend

A nam bish
Martyn Namorong and Julie Bishop in Canberra, 2015,  before Bishop became Australia's foreign affairs minister

MARTYN NAMORONG

"You were once our coloniser. You created institutions. All on our behalf. And yours too, let's be honest" - Martyn Namorong

In 2015, under the auspices of PNG Attitude (and, of course, our generous readers), the young Martyn Namorong – one of the most perceptive critics Papua New Guinea has produced - made his first visit to Australia.

Continue reading "Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend" »


Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht

Night of Broken Glass Brisbane
Ding Chee's shop was attacked and looted by a racist mob, which rampaged for four hours. There was little hindrance from police

CHEK LING
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - It happened 133 years ago. Yet the Chinese Question remains, having now mutated to the China Question.

Meanwhile the burden upon the Chinese as scapegoats, at the altar of racial purity in the first instance, cultural cohesion a century later and more recently the issue of national sovereignty continues unabated.

Continue reading "Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht " »


Building blocks, library shelves & soul

Books topMAEBH LONG
| Ples Singsing

HASTINGS NZ - In the winning essay of the Tingting Bilong Mi 2020 essay competition, Illeana Dom brings her readers into her old school library.

As she walks us past the library shelves, she points out absence: the lack of new works by Papua New Guinean authors in the non-fiction section; and, in the fiction section, the difficulty in finding any works by PNG authors at all, such is the dominance of international writers.

Continue reading "Building blocks, library shelves & soul" »


No shortcuts: How women can be elected in PNG

A un candidate training
United Nations women candidates workshop, Port Moresby, 2012. If training does not pragmatically address the socio-cultural barriers facing women, it is likely to be a complete waste of time

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

Disclaimer: If your goal is advocacy for women’s rights, please don’t read this article. It will offend you. If you get offended easily, don’t read. But if your goal is ‘winning’ an election as a women in Papua New Guinea read on - MK

PORT MORESBY - There is the idealistic, modern, Western way of doing things. And then there is the Papua New Guinean Way, the Melanesian Way.

In electoral terms, one of these is clearly much more effective than the other.

Continue reading "No shortcuts: How women can be elected in PNG" »


We know we must change, but are you helping?

maslow
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - if you haven't made this journey, can you really help us?

PHILIP KAI MORRE

KUNDIAWA – Papua New Guinea needs to reform its outlook on development by changing our behaviour so as to transform our society.

But so much of the planning for us - planning that uses foreign concepts and ideologies - does not work.

A planning matrix needs to be home grown and an integral part of our holistic development.

Continue reading "We know we must change, but are you helping?" »


Ulli Beier: A personal recollection

Ulli Beier
Something of a metaphor. Ulli Beier with monkey idling in the shadows on his shoulder

ED BRUMBY

MELBOURNE - It is 52 years since I attended Ulli Beier’s classes in African literature at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Now as then, and like many others, my view of him remains conflicted.

Maebh Long has laid bare, eloquently, his hypocrisy and deceit which, back then, was a matter of considerable gossip, on and off campus.

Continue reading "Ulli Beier: A personal recollection" »


Some notes on the hauskrai

Hauskrai dwu
A hauskrai at Divine Word University in Madang

SARAH KUMAN
| Twitter @KumanSarah | Edited

PORT MORESBY - At customary events like a hauskrai [mourning] everyone knows their place.

There are the aunts who married and returned, and who lead the crying and the tokples [vernacular] funeral chanting.

They even chew buai [betel nut] and smoke while the pastor is praying. No one would dare challenge them.

Continue reading "Some notes on the hauskrai" »


The precision killing of Oulaine Papaite

Tumai
Tumai Mumu - a warrior and clan leader of great acumen and, in time and when it suited, assistance to the colonial Administration 

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA - Tumai Mumu, who featured in PNG Attitude a month ago (‘Pax Australiana: Techniques of Pacification’), was a contradictory character and perhaps an extraordinary opportunist.

He was headman of an important group of the Goilala people and lived in a village immediately behind Tapini government station.

This is where I was when, in 1974 he volunteered to me that in his youth, during an ambush, he had killed 24 men and possibly a greater number of women, he could not sure.

Continue reading "The precision killing of Oulaine Papaite" »


Yes friends, there is a Melanesian Way

Farewell
The late Grand Chief Michael Somare, who led PNG to independence, farewells his comrade Bernard Narokobi, who nurtured the flame of Melanesian identity, Wewak, March 2010

LISE DOBRIN

CHARLOTTESVILLE - I got to know Bernard Narokobi while doing research for my dissertation in linguistics in his home village of Wautogik in the late 1990s.

While the old people there taught me about the language, Bernard taught me that I was participating in a knowledge exchange.

Just as his son Vergil had gone to study at Cambridge University, I had come to study at the University of Melanesia.

Continue reading "Yes friends, there is a Melanesian Way" »


Tripping to Tabar & the mystery of Mahur

Mahur Island (Schneider Photography)
Beach scene on Mahur Island (Schneider Photography)

SUSAN R HEMER

Tracing the Melanesian Person: Emotions and Relationships in Lihir by Susan R Helmer, University of Adelaide Press, Adelaide, 2013, 329 pages. ISBN 978-1-922064-45-5. Free download here

KEITH JACKSON WRITES - Dr Susan Hemer lectures in development studies and medical and psychological anthropology at the University of Adelaide and her book, Tracing the Melanesian Person, resulted from a year spent in the Lihir group of islands in Papua New Guinea.

The incident it tells of occurred in May 1998 when Hemer was about halfway through her doctoral fieldwork in Mahur, the northernmost of Lihir.

Continue reading "Tripping to Tabar & the mystery of Mahur" »


Aboriginal English – what isn’t it?

Sharon Davis
Sharon Davis - "With our traditional languages stolen, along with our land, we took the way the gudiya talked and decolonised it"

SHARON DAVIS
| IndigenousX

“If you attack my language you attack me, because what I am and what I know and believe and feel are all mediated through language” – Jack Dwyer

CANBERRA - Self-proclaimed 'citizen journalist', social media 'personality', and convicted abuser of women, Avi Yemini, tweeted a video of Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan sending a vaccination message to Western Australian Aboriginal communities that was also translated into Aboriginal English (AbE) by Aboriginal Interpreting WA.

Continue reading "Aboriginal English – what isn’t it?" »


Tok Pisin: A language on history's march

Pisin - imageCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The article by Baka Bina, ‘The Taxing Art of Translation, has recently stimulated much comment and discussion in PNG Attitude.

Accomplished writers like Michael Dom, Daniel Kumbon, Phil Fitzpatrick and others have offered their own insights and perspectives on the problems inherent in translating Tok Pisin into English.

Continue reading "Tok Pisin: A language on history's march" »


Narokobi: The man who knew what might have been

Bernard Narokobi when Attorney-General  1991 (Pacific Islands Monthly)
Bernard Narokobi when Attorney-General in 1991. A political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature (Pacific Islands Monthly)

JEAN ZORN

NEW YORK - Bernard Narokobi, who died in March 2010 at the age of 72 after a short illness, was a political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature. That makes my memories of his irrepressible irreverence especially sweet.

One such memory: Bernard taking his afternoon nap on the wall to wall carpeting of the Law Reform Commission’s way too elegant offices.

Continue reading "Narokobi: The man who knew what might have been" »


Buy a sarif, there’s a heritage to protect

- heritage stamp
A postage stamp showing the spectacular Wawoi Falls in the Kikori River Basin which is on the tentative heritage list area. Unfortunately logging has now extended right up to the falls

JOHN GREENSHIELDS

ADELAIDE – I have to thank Chris Warrillow for correcting me as to the location of Sir Hubert Murray’s gravesite.

He saved me a frustrating visit to Bomana on my next trip to Papua New Guinea.

I’ll go to Badihagwa instead, bearing a K5 tradestore sarif to cut the grass.

Continue reading "Buy a sarif, there’s a heritage to protect" »


Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide

Yamin Kogoya
Yamin Kogoya - "Papuans have been dislocated from the centre of their cultural worldview and placed on the fringes of the grand colonial narrative"

YAMIN KOGOYA

CANBERRA - The colonial notion of ‘civilising primitive Papuans’ has distorted Papuan perceptions of the world and themselves.

This distortion began with how New Guinea and its people were described in early colonial literature: unintelligent pygmies, cannibals and pagan savages –  people devoid of value.

Not only did this depiction foster a racist outlook but it misrepresented reality as it was experienced and understood by Papuans for thousands of years.

Continue reading "Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide" »


PNG writing: Stop reminiscing. Start again

Michael Dom 2
Michael Dom - "The success of the Crocodile Prize helped to develop our country’s literature"

MICHAEL DOM
| Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize:
| Part 1 of an essay in five parts

English translation by Ed Brumby | Tok Pisin original follows

LAE - In 2010, Keith Jackson AM and Philip Fitzpatrick came up with the idea of establishing a national literary competition in Papua New Guinea – the Crocodile Prize.

Writing on Keith’s website, PNG Attitude, some of us supported their idea. In recognition, I gave them the name, ‘Grand Pukpuk’.

By way of background, these two men lived a long while in PNG in pre-independence times: the time of the patrol officers.

Continue reading "PNG writing: Stop reminiscing. Start again" »


Pax Australiana: A most peaceful colonisation

Contact
First Contact

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Robert Forster’s recent article on the pacification of the Goilala region set me thinking about why the imposition of Pax Australiana in Papua New Guinea was so strikingly different to the colonial processes followed in South America, Africa and South East Asia.

By way of context, readers need to understand that European imperialism was almost invariably imposed by force, often with catastrophic results for the indigenous population involved.

Continue reading "Pax Australiana: A most peaceful colonisation" »


New book from Highlands holds nothing back

Johannes and Rose Kundal  30th wedding anniversary  2009
Johannes and Rose Kundal,  30th wedding anniversary,  2009

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

‘Legend of the Miok Egg: A True Enga Family Tale’ by Daniel Kumbon and Johannes Kulimbao Kundal, paperback, independently published, $26.24. Available here from Amazon Australia

FOREWORD - As an Australian who has enjoyed a long association with Papua New Guinea I tend to assume that I know a lot about the people and their cultures.

It is only when I read books like this one that I realise my knowledge is limited.

Continue reading "New book from Highlands holds nothing back" »


Capitalism’s corruption of Christmas

B santaPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I come from a generation born in austerity. ‘Make-do’ was the order of the day.

In those what seem now like ancient days, Christmas represented something that now seems irretrievably lost.

Unfortunately, it all seems to be the result of modern human beings having a remarkable ability to subvert good things into bad things.

Continue reading "Capitalism’s corruption of Christmas" »


Election ‘22: Voter guide to how bad will oust good

A somare
When PNG became a nation in 1975, it had high hopes of building a better society and Michael Somare seemed to be the right leader to do it

 

KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

PORT MORESBY – I want to talk about the kind of people who aspire to be national leaders and what might make them good leaders or not.

Leaders shape our local level governments, districts, provinces and ultimately our entire nation.

But the poor results on the ground are evidence that many of them, perhaps most of them, have not served our people well.

Continue reading "Election ‘22: Voter guide to how bad will oust good" »


Kastom & Kristen can be a perfect match

Johannes & his wife Rose with grandson Victor at the 30th wedding anniversary in 2009
Johannes Kundal and Rose with grandson Victor at their 30th wedding anniversary in 2009

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – In between finishing my latest novel and starting a new one I’ve been proofreading a fascinating autobiography by Johannes Kundal.

Johannes is a member of Enga Writers Association and his book, The Legend of the Miok Egg, is being edited and readied for publication by author Daniel Kumbon, who founded the group.

A few extracts have been published in PNG Attitude over the last year or so.

Continue reading "Kastom & Kristen can be a perfect match" »


The house Peter & Rose helped build

Kranz - Banz house
The splendid house for Mana Dau and her relatives begins to take shape

PETER KRANZ

MORISSET - Earlier this year Rose and I discovered that Rose’s mum, Mana Dau, was being abused by some distant and nasty relatives at the place where she was living in Lae.

It wasn’t just verbal bullying either, Mana had some of her teeth knocked out and the whole situation was untenable.

Continue reading "The house Peter & Rose helped build" »


My father’s dilemma: when cultures collide

Men of Enga (Joe Herman)
Men of Enga (Joe Herman)

JOE HERMAN

SEATTLE - The word arrived quickly that Pambene, a cousin in neighbouring Pumas village in Enga Province, had been assaulted and severely injured by tribesmen over a land dispute.

As expected, my oldest brother Yandapae and two cousins retaliated and forcibly took a large pig from the culprits as compensation.

Continue reading "My father’s dilemma: when cultures collide" »


How to marry a Chief’s daughter

Chief Lapakio with Rose
Chief Lapakio Kambu with Rose (left)

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG – I was delighted when an extract from my book, I Can See My Country Clearly Now, was used in the recent English comprehension test for the Grade 12 Papua New Guinea national examinations.

At the time, I wondered if any Enga students noticed they were being examined on an extract from my book.

I’m sure most of them didn’t because they don’t know the book exists.

Continue reading "How to marry a Chief’s daughter" »


PNG’s Indigenous language crisis

Bel heviANDREW WARNER
| Language Magazine | via Ples Singsing

MALIBU, USA - Papua New Guinea, frequently heralded as the most linguistically diverse place in the entire world, is in the middle of a language crisis.

According to a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, the youngest generations in the nation are using Indigenous languages far less than ever before, instead opting for English and Tok Pisin, an English-based creole language.

Continue reading "PNG’s Indigenous language crisis" »


Did Hawaiian people originate in Mortlocks

Language - Children on the Takuu group of atolls also known as the Mortlock Islands (ABC)
Girls from Nukutoa village, Takuu, in the Mortlock Islands - one of four Polynesian outlier atolls off the east coast of the Bougainville

KUʻUWEHI HIRAISHI
| Hawaii Public Radio

HILO, HAWAI’I - New linguistics research by  suggests the original settlers of the Hawaiian Islands came from a small chain of low-lying atolls just east of Bougainville.

Language professor William ‘Pila’ Wilson of the University of Hawai’i has uncovered evidence that Hawai'i’s first inhabitants may have migrated from Papua New Guinea's Mortlock Islands .

Continue reading "Did Hawaiian people originate in Mortlocks" »


How Palnge & Simbil built a new community

Paul Minga
City dwellers take shots with skyscrapers in the background or holding a whisky or SP. Others stand in front of 5-door cruiser or in their office. As a bush writer and adventurer, this scene is appropriate for me and where l think l belong

PAUL MINGA
| Ples Singsing

PORT MORESBY - My late mum, Agatha, would tell me stories of what transpired before her eyes in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

It was a time when pioneer Catholic missionaries established mission stations and schools in various parts of the Wahgi Valley and further into the Jimi and other places.

Continue reading "How Palnge & Simbil built a new community" »


Nose bleeding & cane swallowing rituals

Cane Swallowing (NFI-GKA)
Cane swallowing, also known as 'drin kol wara'

SHIRLEY KOMOGI
| PNG Insight

PORT MORESBY - ‘Last Real Man’ is a documentary film that captures the sacred cane swallowing ritual of Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands Province and took six years to produce.

After extensive consultation, negotiation and research, Ruth Ketau convinced the elders from Sakanuga village in the Bena area that she should become the first filmmaker to record the Neheya initiation, a cane swallowing ritual.

Continue reading "Nose bleeding & cane swallowing rituals" »


In praise of a wide brown land

The Outback Pub  by Margie Langtip
The Outback Pub, by Margie Langtip

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - While I think Phil Fitzpatrick is over-egging the pudding in Australia – Not that Great a Country, I believe it is true to say that Australia is not a 'great' country.

Phil referred to many of its faults, which is fair comment I suppose, but there are some virtues.

In relation to climate change, every one of Australia’s eight states and territories has now committed to being carbon neutral by 2050.

Continue reading "In praise of a wide brown land" »


Australia – not that great a country

Inner-city latte-drinking basket-weavers (Sky News)
Inner-city latte-drinking basket-weavers (Sky News)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Let’s be honest.  Australia is an insignificant world power sitting in isolation at the bottom of the planet desperately clinging on to an increasingly tenuous notion of Western hegemony.

On one current reckoning we sit in seventeenth place on the world power scale, just below Switzerland and just above Turkey.

Continue reading "Australia – not that great a country" »


The queen of lime sticks & lime pots

 PNG lime pots and lime sticks  Auckland museum
Papua New Guinean lime pots and lime sticks in the Auckland Museum

BARBARA ANGORO
| Duresi’s Odyssey

AUCKLAND - A few weeks ago, during the school holidays, my daughter and I visited the Auckland Museum, spending a great deal of time in the Pacific section.

A couple of the artefacts brought back childhood memories – including the gourds for putting lime in and the special lime sticks (spatulas) for dipping into the lime to add to the crushed betel nut and mustard.

Continue reading "The queen of lime sticks & lime pots" »


Politik meri: Nahau Rooney’s haus krai

Members-of-PNG-Women-In-Politics
Members of PNG Women in Politics at Nahau Rooney's haus krai (Michelle Nayahamui Rooney)

DOROTHY TEKWIE &
MICHELLE NAYAHAMUI ROONEY
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea’s national elections are coming up in 2022, and the national women’s political empowerment movement is gaining momentum again.

PNG women leaders will drive the direction and pace of these debates.

Continue reading "Politik meri: Nahau Rooney’s haus krai" »


Facebook again shows destructive ignorance

Not available
Facebook's curt message to the 60,000 members of a heritage site that curates historic Papua New Guinean photographs

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – A couple of months ago I ran a piece, ‘Racist’ Facebook doesn’t get the picture, which told how Facebook had blocked a wonderful site, ‘Taim Bipo, Photo History, PNG, Papua & New Guinea’, devoted to safeguarding the photographic heritage of this most photogenic country.

The reason it had blocked the site was because some of the images it showed were of breasts and, for all I know, nipples and penis gourds.

Continue reading "Facebook again shows destructive ignorance" »


Bundaberg issues historic blackbirding apology

Pacific Islanders on a Queensland sugar plantation (State Library of Queensland)
Pacific Islander slave labour on a Queensland sugar plantation (State Library of Queensland)

JOHANNA MARIE & STEPHANIE DOOLE
| ABC Wide Bay

BUNDABERG - The stone walls that stretch along Bundaberg's farms are a stark and lasting reminder of the history of slavery in the region, but the community has taken a step forward to begin the healing process.

In an Australian first, Bundaberg's mayor Jack Dempsey is issuing a formal apology to the region's South Sea Islander community for the practice of blackbirding.

Continue reading "Bundaberg issues historic blackbirding apology" »


The book that went missing for 50 years

Marie Reay
Marie Reay wrote the the first, book on women’s lives in the PNG Highlands. It was not discovered for 50 years (Noel Butlin)

FRANCESCA MERLAN

Wives and Wanderers in a New Guinea Highlands Society by Marie Olive Reay. Francesca Merlan (ed). ANU Press 2014. 268 pages. ISBN 97819250212155 (paperback). Link here for free download

Marie Reay (1922-2004) was an Australian anthropologist, best known for work in the New Guinea Highlands. The manuscript for Wives and Wanderers was discovered in 2011, seven years after her death and 50 years after she had made her last amendments to it. Editor Francesca Merlan did a fine job in bringing it to publication and providing a valuable and stimulating Introduction. Some edited extracts follow - KJ

CANBERRA - Wives and Wanderers presents vivid, ethnographically based narrative of the lives of women of the Wahgi Valley in the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Marie Reay explores the experiences of courting, attraction, love, marriage, and the combination of male dominance and barely restrained female resentment and rebelliousness.

Continue reading "The book that went missing for 50 years" »


N’gego – Melanesia’s house of governance

Haus Tambaram  Palambei  Middle Sepik
Haus Tambaran, Palambei, Middle Sepik. Duncan Gavin argues that PNG’s Parliament House should not be called a Haus Tambaran

DUNCAN GABI
| Aunamelo Independent Blog

MADANG – Papua New Guinea’s parliament house is one of the world’s most fascinating examples of public architecture.

The building incorporates various structural features found in PNG but the design that dominates is the architectural style of Maprik in East Sepik Province.

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System we gave PNG just doesn’t work

Parliament
Westminster system spared Papua New Guinea nothing, not even the Speaker 's wig

PAUL OATES

CLEVELAND – It has taken me a long time to reach an understanding of what the problem was leading up to Papua New Guinea’s independence.

At the time, in the 1970s, the thought process was that the Westminster system works for us in Australia, this we can impose this obviously working system as a unifying force for a people and their many hundreds of cultures.

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