Research Feed

PNG’s Chinese changing of the guard

JAMES CHIN
| An extract from Chapter 4 of The Chinese in Papua New Guinea: Past, Present and Future, edited by Anna Hayes, Rosita Henry & Michael Wood, Australian National University, 2024

Link here to the entirety of Chapter 4: The rise and rise of China: Contemporary Chinese community in PNG (2010–2020) by James Chin

Port Moresby cafe scene (Generated by Copilot AI  18 May 2024)
Port Moresby cafe scene (Generated by Copilot AI 18 May 2024)

 

Introduction

CANBERRA - In a period of one decade (2010–2020), the power balance among the Chinese community in Papua New Guinea has shifted significantly from the PNG born Chinese and the Southeast Asian Chinese to mainland Chinese.

The speed of this transition has been remarkable. However, the trend in PNG is consistent with global trends where the rapid rise of China has totally changed the environment that is familiar to the West.

Continue reading "PNG’s Chinese changing of the guard " »


Renewal of PNG Dictionary of Biography

THERESA MEKI *
| Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs

Revital

CANBERRA - A call for submissions to participate in the PNG Dictionary of Biography Project is now open.

The project is about documenting and celebrating the lives of Papua New Guinea’s nation builders and we are looking to identify a group of writers to collaborate and conduct historical research about significant and representative Papua New Guineans.

Continue reading "Renewal of PNG Dictionary of Biography" »


Photos that speak more than 1,000 words

KEITH JACKSON

Gregory Bateson,1938
 Anthropologist husband-and-wife team Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson working in their home near the Sepik River where they studied the Iatmul people (Gregory Bateson, 1938)

NOOSA - I’m pleased to be a member of the Oceanic Art Society, a small and energetic organisation that provides continuing focus on and support for the visual arts in the Pacific Islands region, including an excellent lecture series.

The first OAS lecture for 2024 is being held in Sydney next month and features emerging scholar Enzo Hamel, a PhD student at the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich (UK).

Continue reading "Photos that speak more than 1,000 words" »


Tok Pisin: World’s most beautiful language

MICHAEL CHOW & DINAH LEWIS BOUCHER
| Nesia Daily

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea is considered the most linguistically diverse place on earth and according to a published study its national language takes the crown as the most beautiful.

Surpassing famed love languages like Italian and Spanish, the research published in the Journal of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences showed Tok Pisin was the highest-rated.

Continue reading "Tok Pisin: World’s most beautiful language" »


Oz & PNG people diverged 47,000 years ago

BIANCA NOGRADY
Nature Briefing | Edited extracts
Link here for the full technical article
Australian Indigenous elder in the area near Alice Springs (Generated with AI  16 December 2023 at 6.38 am)Australian Indigenous elder in the area near Alice Springs
(Generated with AI, 16 December 2023 at 6.38 am)

 

CANBERRA - Indigenous communities from the north and centre of Australia are some of the most genetically distinct people on the planet, according to studies published today in the journal, Nature.

Indigenous Australian communities have the highest rate of genetic variation outside people in Africa.

Continue reading "Oz & PNG people diverged 47,000 years ago" »


These mozzies are ancient, male bloodsuckers

KATE GOLEMBIEWSKI
| New York Times | Science

Mozzies
Impression of oldest known fossilised mosquitoes. Their sharp, elongated mouth is covered in tiny toothlike bristles. Unlike every mosquito that feeds on blood today - these sweet little critters are male (Generated with AI)

NEW YORK - Every single mosquito that’s ever bitten you has been female. For them, a meal of blood is the ultimate girl dinner. This is because the only female mosquitoes have mouth parts capable of piercing skin.

But insects found trapped in amber, described in a study just published in the journal Current Biology, suggest that male mosquitoes may have once been bloodsuckers too.

Continue reading "These mozzies are ancient, male bloodsuckers" »


Piecing together the history of Tol plantation

GREGORY BABLIS

St Paul Tol High School (THS) which is run by the Catholic Education Agency
St Paul's High School at Tol, run by the Catholic Education Agency, is also named after the troops of 2/22 Lark Force Battalion, many of whom were massacred by Japanese at Tol Plantation in 1942  

 

PORT MORESBY – I’ve been scouring through old patrol reports to find more information about the story of Tol Plantation in East New Britain.

Many readers will recall that the plantation is infamous as the site of a massacre of Australian troops attempting to escape from the Japanese invasion of Rabaul on 4 February 1942.

Continue reading "Piecing together the history of Tol plantation" »


Minimising the curse of gun violence in PNG

GENEVIEVE BENN & BIANCA SCHMIDT

Arms

SYDNEY – A program to minimise the impacts of gun violence and spread of illicit weapons in Papua New Guinea has been established by Macquarie University in conjunction with Armed Incident Management (AIM).

We are reaching out in hopes that people will want to work with us on this issue and aid us in tackling the injustice which gun violence and illicit arms causes in PNG.

Continue reading "Minimising the curse of gun violence in PNG" »


Corruption response is ‘wholly inadequate’

GRANT W WALTON AND SINCLAIR DINNEN

Walton corruption

Papua New Guinea: Government, Economy and Society’ by Stephen Howes & Lekshmi N Pillai (eds), ANU Press, 2022. Link here to all content in the book including chapters, contributors, citations and figures and tables. This extract is from Chapter 4 ‘Crime and Corruption’ by Grant W Walton and Sinclair Dinnen

CANBERRA - Many people consider that corruption in Papua New Guinea is a key threat to social and economic development.

Continue reading "Corruption response is ‘wholly inadequate’" »


Law, order, crime & moral panic in PNG

GRANT W WALTON & SINCLAIR DINNEN

Walton Crime PNG-unsafe-for-women

Papua New Guinea: Government, Economy and Society’ by Stephen Howes & Lekshmi N Pillai (eds), ANU Press, 2022. Link here to all content in the book including chapters, contributors, citations and figures and tables. This extract is from Chapter 4 ‘Crime and Corruption by Grant W Walton and Sinclair Dinnen

CANBERRA - For outsiders as well as many citizens, crime and corruption are viewed as significantly curtailing the fulfilment of Papua New Guinea’s development goals.

Continue reading "Law, order, crime & moral panic in PNG" »


The good & bad of ChatGPT: An assessment

KEITH JACKSON

Screen shot from ChatGPT
Screen shot from ChatGPT - frill-free,  fast and functional. But can be error prone and demands attention to detail

NOOSA – A couple of months ago, as a consumer and producer of information, I decided I must try to understand something about artificial intelligence and ChatGPT.

By ‘understand’ I meant to find out ChatGPT’s application to journalism and creative writing (it has many other capabilities) and to determine its grasp of human behaviour.

The latter is imperative because if it can’t distinguish between good and bad, truth and lie or fact and opinion it’s use is problematic in the absence of ethical human intervention.

Continue reading "The good & bad of ChatGPT: An assessment" »


The residues of war that linger to this day

Paga-hill-estate-PNG-WW2-Relics-2
Image: Paga Hill Estate

EDWARD PINFIELD

LONDON, UK – I’ve recently been awarded a grant to conduct research in Papua New Guinea for my PhD project on ‘the enduring legacies of World War II’.

To gain a research visa, I need to produce a detailed plan for my proposed trip, and I hope readers of PNG Attitude might be able to help me with some aspects of my study.

The research I’m conducting will comprise interviews with Papua New Guineans and observations of my own about any matters relating to World War II that have lingered to this day.

Continue reading "The residues of war that linger to this day" »


Do you know about Fr Alfonse Mayerhoffer

CrossKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - PNG Attitude contributor Greg Bablis is back in Scotland completing his PhD, and needs some assistance from readers.

He’s seeking information on Fr Alfonse Mayerhoffer, a German Catholic priest who was stationed on Lamengi Plateau in the Baining area of East New Britain before and during World War II.

If you know anything of Fr Mayerhoffer, you can contact Greg through the Comments link below or email him here.

Continue reading "Do you know about Fr Alfonse Mayerhoffer" »


Researching PNG war legacies: Can you help?

EDWARD PINFIELD

LONDON - Greetings from England. I am a PhD student at King's College, London, and currently researching a project on the legacies of World War II across Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

I came across PNG Attitude a while ago when I wrote my MA thesis (‘Bougainville During the War’).

Keith Jackson's testimony about Sergeant Yauwiga (here and here) provided an invaluable source for me, for which I'm extremely grateful.

Continue reading "Researching PNG war legacies: Can you help?" »


Are Australian views about aid changing?

Wood   Delivering-ventilators-to-Indonesia
Delivering ventilators to Indonesia in July 2021 (Timothy Tobing, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade)

TERENCE WOOD
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Less than 1% of Australian government spending is devoted to aid.

Aid’s effects are felt in other countries, and its impacts are rarely directly noticeable to Australians.

Continue reading "Are Australian views about aid changing?" »


How PNG gave us bananas 7,000 years ago

Researchers have gone bananas over this fruit’s complex ancestry. Most agree that Papua New Guinea is where domesticated bananas as we know them first appeared

Bananas An unusual type of banana showing white flesh with dark seeds
An unusual type of banana - similar to the species first domesticated in Papua New Guinea - showing white flesh with dark seeds

ELIZABETH PENNISI
| Science | Edited extracts

WASHINGTON - People like to know where their food comes from, but even experts are throwing up their hands when it comes to the origins of the modern banana.

An extensive genetic analysis of more than 100 varieties of wild and cultivated bananas has revealed the existence of three previously unknown—and possibly still living—ancestors.

Continue reading "How PNG gave us bananas 7,000 years ago" »


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" »


PNG elections: the dangers from social media

Given Facebook’s domination of social media in Papua New Guinea, it was concerning that researchers found strong indications of organised, politically motivated activity using inauthentic accounts to impersonate incumbent politicians

A fb

CAITLYN MCKENZIE & BEN CONNABLE
| DT Institute  | Lowy Institute 

WASHINGTON DC - How many Facebook accounts and pages claim to belong to Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape?

Between 20 and 35, depending on the point in time and your definition, none verified by the platform.

Continue reading "PNG elections: the dangers from social media" »


Research: 61% of PNG workers reject vaccine

'Government should tell us the facts about the effects and benefits rather than forcing people to get vaccine'

A

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Public health experts agree that widespread vaccination coverage together with mask-wearing, distancing and some other protocols are the best way to end pandemics.

While vaccination is not the only protection, it is a vital component of keeping the disease under control.

Continue reading "Research: 61% of PNG workers reject vaccine" »


Dividing not blending: multi-culturalism in Oz

Capture
Google 'typical Aussies' and this is what you get - a representation of the Anglo-Celtic constituency

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Australia certainly has a multicultural society with a wide range of different cultural and ethnic groups among its population – 278 in all.

However Australia has an unsuccessful multicultural society mainly because of the power imbalance between 277 of those groups and the old Anglo-Celtic establishment.

Continue reading "Dividing not blending: multi-culturalism in Oz" »


Port Moresby Harbour is not Fairfax Harbour

A Port Moresby  19th century - from The Colonial Portfolio (The Werner Company  London)
Port Moresby,  19th century - from The Colonial Portfolio (The Werner Company London)

CHRIS WARRILLOW

MELBOURNE - Names often change with time but, after nearly 50 years of independence and 150 years after the arrival of Captain John Moresby, the name of Papua New Guinea’s remains Port Moresby.

Prior the arrival of the first British sailors in 1873, and still today, the traditional inhabitants lived in a few small villages on the harbour shores with many houses built over its waters.

Continue reading "Port Moresby Harbour is not Fairfax Harbour" »


Redrawing PNG’s unfair electoral boundaries

Benjamin Raue
Benjamin Raue - "PNG may want to take a page out of Australia’s book and reduce the power of parliament over redistribution"

BENJAMIN RAUE
| Asia & The Pacific Policy Society

Open electorates should cover similar numbers of people but this is not the case in practice

SYDNEY – Next month, voters in the Pacific’s largest country, Papua New Guinea, will be going to the polls to have their say on who should run their country.

In addition to voting for the country’s 22 provincial governors, Papua New Guineans will also be voting for 96 members representing ‘open’ electorates, which cover the whole country.

Continue reading "Redrawing PNG’s unfair electoral boundaries" »


Australia's frail PNG-Pacific relationship

A
Cartoon by Hudson

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - This week, Australian citizens observe what seem to be the final paroxysms of the Morrison government as its lamentable record in office and surprisingly poor campaigning leave it in a shambles.

Nothing symbolises this more than the fallout from a series of appalling blunders concerning Solomon Islands, which from my perspective looks suspiciously like a friendly flag operation gone wrong.

Continue reading "Australia's frail PNG-Pacific relationship" »


Seeking answers to growing youth crime

CaptureKEITH JACKSON

The situation of young people in Port Moresby’s Morata informal settlement and what the government could do to keep them from social evils by Julian Melpa BA and Dr Francis Odhuno, Issues Paper No 40, National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea, April 2022. Link here to access the complete paper

NOOSA – The PNG National Research Institute has been investigating the situation of unemployed youth in Port Moresby and identifying what reforms are required to “keep them from social evils” as the research report puts it.

Continue reading "Seeking answers to growing youth crime" »


PNG research: Oz lacks respect; China praised

Ab
When grass roots Papua New Guineans were asked about Australia and China, the results were not too flash for PNG's former colonial master

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - On the back of Australia's disastrous drubbing by China in the Solomon Islands, new research from Papua New Guinea has delivered more bad news for the Morrison government.

In 2021, a coalition of Papua New Guinean researchers embarked on an unprecedented endeavour.

Continue reading "PNG research: Oz lacks respect; China praised" »


Track’s horror story unites the present

Lark japanese rabaul
Japanese troops parade after the fall of Rabaul, late January 1942. On 4 February 160 Australian Lark Force soldiers who escaped the invasion were captured and murdered in the vicinity of Tol and Waitavalo plantations

GREGORY BABLIS
| Ples Singsing

TOL, NEW BRITAIN - The Lark Force Track is a little-known wartime walking trail with a big history.

Located in East New Britain Province, it runs from the Warongoi River in the north to Tol, Wide Bay, along the south coast.

The track is named after the 2/22 Lark Force Battalion, an Australian force sent to guard Rabaul and its important harbour.

Continue reading "Track’s horror story unites the present" »


Of Ulli Beier, Obotunde Ijimere & M. Lovori

Ulli Beier and Léopold Senghor
Ulli Beier and President Léopold Senghor at the exhibition Neue Kunst in Afrika, 1980. Senghor, a poet and cultural theorist was Senegal's leader from 1960–80 (Archive Iwalewahaus)

MAEBH LONG

This article offers edited extracts from ‘Being Obotunde Ijimere and M. Lovori: Mapping Ulli Beier’s intercultural hoaxes from Nigeria to Papua New Guinea’. The complete essay by Dr Long was published in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 11 October 2020

HAMILTON, NZ - Ulli Beier was a hugely influential figure in Nigerian and Papua New Guinean literature from the 1950s to the 1970s.

He founded and edited numerous literary magazines, including Black Orpheus and Kovave, fostered unappreciated talent, and provided publication opportunities when few were available.

Continue reading "Of Ulli Beier, Obotunde Ijimere & M. Lovori" »


Research reveals insights into women candidates

AMICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - Following the 2021 Port Moresby Northwest by-election, we conducted a small survey among 120 UPNG students and working class residents of the electorate.

One of the questions we asked was about the criteria they used to cast their votes in the by-election.

Continue reading "Research reveals insights into women candidates" »


Measuring fragmentation in PNG’s parliament

A
PNG's parliament in session - it is one of the world's most fragmented parliaments

MAHOLOPA LAVEIL
| DevPolicy Blog

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea has many parties in parliament, which makes for both a fragmented parliament and a fragmented government.

PNG has one of the most fragmented parliaments in the world. In a previous article, I calculated parliamentary fragmentation using an index known as the effective number of parties (ENP).

Continue reading "Measuring fragmentation in PNG’s parliament" »


Introducing the awesome MP database

PNG-MP-Database-top
The MP database and its companion Elections database are essential tools for anyone interested in Papua New Guinea. A laudable joint project of the Australian National University and the University of PNG

STEPHEN HOWES & THOMAS WANGI
| Devpolicy Blog | Edited

CANBERRA - It’s not easy keeping track of Papua New Guinea’s members of parliament.

They might change from one party to another, or from government to the opposition. To help make it easier, we’ve created the PNG MP Database, which you can link to here.

A few years ago, we created the PNG Elections Database, which tells you who competed in every seat in almost every election back to independence, and how they fared.

Continue reading "Introducing the awesome MP database" »


Investigating the New Guinea Singing Dog

New Guinea Singing Dog (Smithsonian)
The New Guinea Singing Dog (Smithsonian)

PETER DWYER & MONICA MINNEGAL
| Queensland Museum | Edited extract

What follows is a summary introduction to a new paper on the New Guinea Singing Dog that seeks to pin down whether it is a separate species of wild animal or a close relative of the domestic dog. Peter and Monica are hot on the trail of the answer. Link here to their complete and detailed paper, The provenance of diagnostic specimens of the New Guinea Singing Dog - KJ

BRISBANE - In 1957, the Australian Museum mammologist Ellis Troughton described two live dogs from ‘Papua’ as of a new species that he named Canis hallstromi “in honour of Sir Edward Hallstrom, President of the Taronga Park Trust”.

The dogs were held by Taronga Zoological Park (hereafter Taronga). According to Troughton they were a “pair of the mountain ‘dingo’” that had been obtained in 1956 by Assistant District Officer JP (Jim) Sinclair and Medical Assistant Albert Speer “in the remote Lavani Valley [of the] Southern Highlands District of Papua”.

Continue reading "Investigating the New Guinea Singing Dog" »


Four banks backed destructive logging

Actnow
Westpac, ANZ, Bank South Pacific and Kina Bank have questions to answer about their ties with illegal logging practices in PNG

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Banks operating in Papua New Guinea - including Westpac and ANZ - have provided the country’s five largest exporters of logs with at least K300 million in credit over the last 20 years.

But gaps in company reporting and murky funding processes mean the true amount could be three times as high, reaching close to a billion kina.

Continue reading "Four banks backed destructive logging" »


Jimmy Drekore spearheads medical breakthrough

Drekore ---  Agua
Jimmy Drekore, unidentified colleague and Dr Izzard Agua - spearheading a great medical achievement for Papua New Guinea

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA –One of Chimbu’s favourite sons, Jimmy Drekore - in 2014 selected as Papua New Guinea’s Man of Honour and in 2016 winner of the prestigious international World of Children Award - is still kicking goals for PNG’s children.

Research into childhood osteomyelitis initiated in 2011 by Jimmy and his Simbu brother Dr Izzard Agua soon extended into better understanding methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the aggressive bacteria that eats penicillin for breakfast.

Continue reading "Jimmy Drekore spearheads medical breakthrough" »


Plenty of talk, but corruption is worse than ever

CorruptNEWS DESK
| ACT NOW

PORT MORESBY - Research into prosecutions for corruption in Papua New Guinea reveals that, despite the enormous extent of the misappropriation of public funds, only a tiny number of officials have ever been charged and almost none has been convicted or imprisoned.

This failure is likely one reason PNG shows no signs of overcoming its unenviable reputation as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, and why allegations remain rife of corruption involving political leaders, the powerful and the wealthy.

Continue reading "Plenty of talk, but corruption is worse than ever" »


Survey shows how Covid hurt Pacific

Capturetop
Naomi, a support staff member at World Vision in Papua New Guinea (Nelson Kairi Kurukuru)

DANE MOORES & JONATHON GURRY
| Devpolicy Blog

MELBOURNE - The socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 are devastating communities in the Pacific and Timor-Leste as much as the virus itself, and sometimes to an even greater extent.

In late 2020, World Vision surveyed 752 households (with an average of six people per household) in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu.

Continue reading "Survey shows how Covid hurt Pacific" »


The what & how of drug repurposing

Barbara Angoro
Barbara Angoro is in the home run of a PhD in pharmacology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand

BARBARA ANGORO
| Duressi’s Odyssey

AUCKLAND - In October last year the term ‘drug repurposing’ became known in Papua New Guinea after a company, Niugini Biomed Ltd, stated it was developing its own Covid-19 drug.

As a person with a keen and professional interest in drug development and clinical studies, I’m eager to find out what happened to this proposal by my fellow Papua New Guineans.

Continue reading "The what & how of drug repurposing" »


Journalism Review roars back to life

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


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" »


The making of a great friend of PNG

Ron-May
Ron May - "Sir Norman Chester wrote back agreeing to write a reference but asked why I would give up a promising career in the Reserve Bank for a position in Papua New Guinea"

RONALD J MAY
| DevPolicy Blog

Ron May has spent more than 50 years working in and on Papua New Guinea, including 32 years at the Australian National University, where he was one of the forces behind the establishment of what is now the Department of Pacific Affairs. In this article, Ron discusses the origins of his long engagement with Papua New Guinea.

CANBERRA - In my last year at Sydney High School in 1956, I did quite well in the New South Wales Leaving Certificate exams, topping the state in economics.

Someone in the local Commonwealth Bank branch who saw my results asked what I intended to do.

Continue reading "The making of a great friend of PNG" »


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" »


ANU honours eminent PNG scholar, Ron May

Ron May
Ron May has provided an immense legacy of knowledge and scholarship in 5o years of research and writing about Papua New Guinea

ANTHONY REGAN, NICOLE HALEY
& THIAGO OPPERMANN

CANBERRA - Emeritus Fellow Ron May is being honoured by a conference and Festschrift (collection of writings) to celebrate his 50-year contribution to research, writing and thinking, especially about Papua New Guinea.

The celebration is hosted by the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University.

Continue reading "ANU honours eminent PNG scholar, Ron May" »


How the ethics program fell back to earth

EthicsKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - According to a recent study by the PNG National Research Institute (NRI), public servants trained in ethics and values-based leadership are sceptical that these courses can improve workplace behaviour.

Each year since 2015, with the aim of improving ethics on the job, selected groups of PNG public servants have been attending ethics and leadership courses at the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance.

Continue reading "How the ethics program fell back to earth" »


Democracy suffers when media languish

MediaKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – There are many issues holding back the success and prosperity of the resource rich Papua New Guinea and its adept people.

Chief among them are the entrenched corruption and decision-making acumen that somehow seem to have failed the transition of social and political power from clan to country.

Continue reading "Democracy suffers when media languish" »


Remembering David Frodin: A giant of PNG botany

David Frodin in London  2018 (Tony Barrett)
David Frodin, 2018 (Tony Barrett). David died unexpectedly in London on 12 August 2019, unaware that bladder cancer had taken hold and metastasised

EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON

These are edited extracts of a comprehensive obituary by Dr Rodrigo Cámara-Leret & Dr Barry Conn in Blumea, the Journal of plant taxonomy and plant geography, no 65. 2020. Link here to read the full obituary - KJ

LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS – When Dr David Gamman Frodin died in London in 2019 at the age of 79, the scientific community lost a brilliant individual and a giant of Papua New Guinean botany.

David was born in Chicago, USA, in 1940 and his love for botany began in Vermont where he spent endless summer hours walking in the woods.

Continue reading "Remembering David Frodin: A giant of PNG botany" »


Report calls for laws against witchdoctors

Glasmeri (witch-finder) recanting her accusations (Anton Lutz)
A glasmeri witch-finder repudiates her previous accusations against an alleged 'sorcerer'(Anton Lutz)

KEITH JACKSON

‘Sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea: The role of glasman/glasmeri as catalysts of accusation and violence’ by Miranda Forsyth, William Kipongi, Anton Lutz, Philip Gibbs, Fiona Hukula & Ibolya Losoncz, Issues Paper 36, National Research Institute of PNG. July 2021. Link here to the full research report

PORT MORESBY – A National Research Institute report says many incidents of sorcery-accusation violence in Papua New Guinea are triggered by glasman or, less commonly, female glasmeri.

A glasman or glasmeri (witch doctor) is a person skilled in interpreting and using supernatural forces, including the identification of people who are sorcerers.

Continue reading "Report calls for laws against witchdoctors" »


Increasing trust in Covid communication

Rohan Fox
Rohan Fox - "For many Papua New Guineans, sharing stories told by friends, family or local Christian leaders may be received as most trustworthy"

ROHAN FOX
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited extracts

WAIGANI – In May this year 281 students in the School of Business and Public Policy at the University of Papua New Guinea were surveyed about their attitudes to Covid-19 vaccination.

Of this number, 46% had not decided whether they would like to be vaccinated. Just 6% said they would, while 48% were against vaccination.

Continue reading "Increasing trust in Covid communication" »


Science meets oral history at Orokolo Bay

Orokolo Bay
Orokolo Bay

CHRIS URWIN
| Monash University

MELBOURNE - In late 2015, I arrived for the second time at Orokolo Bay on Papua New Guinea’s south coast.

The bay is a long grey-black beach, densely forested with hibiscus and coconut trees. As we approached by dinghy from the east, clusters of houses could be glimpsed fleetingly among the bush.

Continue reading "Science meets oral history at Orokolo Bay" »


The threat to language & biological knowledge in PNG

Tree fern savanna in the Cromwell Mountains (RBG Kew)
Tree fern savanna in the Cromwell Mountains

ALFRED KIK et al
| US National Academy of Sciences

Edited extracts from ‘Language and ethnobiological skills decline precipitously in Papua New Guinea, the world’s most linguistically diverse nation’. Link here to the complete research article

WASHINGTON DC - When evaluated against a common set of extinction-risk criteria, the world’s 7,000 or so extant languages are even more threatened than its biological diversity.

Orally transmitted cultural knowledge may be threatened by similar forces. The majority of languages have relatively few speakers and nearly half of the world’s languages are considered endangered.

Continue reading "The threat to language & biological knowledge in PNG" »


Australia’s first people had farming savvy

Ancientbananacultivationsite
Archaeologists at an ancient banana farm, cultivated over 2,000 years ago on Mabuyag Island in the southern Torres Strait 

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - There’s been a curious debate going on for several years among academics about whether Aboriginal people in Australia engaged in agriculture and therefore lived sedentary lives.

The debate was given impetus in 2014 when author Bruce Pascoe published a book, Dark Emu.

Continue reading "Australia’s first people had farming savvy" »