The new 'Kumul' flag of Papua New Guinea is raised in a remote Highlands community in 1974 (Graham Forster)
NORTHUMBRIA, UK - On Independence Day in September 1975 few, if any, Papua New Guineans had not already seen their new flag flown formally or the respect with which it had been presented.
This was the result of a carefully planned operation that began well before the introduction of self-government in December 1973.
It was aimed at building familiarity with the flag itself as well as softening the mental jolt faced by villagers, especially in the Highlands, who were being asked to abandon the form of government with which they were familiar.
At the core of this successful story of hurried preparation for independence was a Port Moresby-led central bureaucracy, the kiap system, through which direct government contact with villagers throughout PNG was regularly maintained no matter how remote the location.