Exotic red bananas found only in PNG (Sebastien Carpentier)
| Australian Broadcasting Corporation
DARWIN - Scientists are racing to find and save the living ancestors of modern-day, cultivated bananas that grow in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea.
These wild bananas have genes capable of protecting one of the world's most popular fruits from climate change, pests and diseases.
Continue reading "Scientists try to save bananas from climate change" »
PNGRI deputy research director associate professor Eugene Ezebilo
| PNG National Research Institute | Edited extracts
Link here to read the complete research paper
BOROKO – The paper, ‘Covid-19 pandemic as perceived by residents of informal-built areas segment of Port Moresby’, looks at the Covid-19 pandemic and the response by the Papua New Guinea government as perceived by settlement residents in the national capital.
The research covered settlements at Bush Wara, 8-Mile, Joyce Bay, Kipo, Mautana, Ogoniva, Ranuguri, Talai, Taurama and Vanagi.
Continue reading "80% of settlement dwellers say Covid ‘a hoax’" »
Dr Bomai Kerenga, chairman & CEO of the controversial Niugini Biomed and some of his research team at a news conference on Friday
| PhD student, Auckland
AUCKLAND - Reading the news on Covid-19 drug production in PNG has prompted me to offer my take on it.
Those people who are familiar with drug research and development will agree with that screening for possible drug leads is just the start to developing a drug.
Continue reading "What is the process of drug development?" »
Dr William Pomat - concerned his medical research institute was bypassed
BETHANIE HARRIMAN & BELINDA KORA
| ABC Pacific Beat
MELBOURNE - The director of the PNG Institute of Medical Research, Dr William Pomat, says he was not consulted before the country's cabinet approved a K10-million grant to a private company for Covid-19 research.
Meanwhile, prime minister James Marape says there is nothing "illegal or improper" about the plan to spend millions of dollars on an unknown treatment.
Continue reading "Marape's K10m spend on Covid 'research'" »
DR PAMELA TOLIMAN
| Twitter | Edited
PORT MORESBY - No funds should be awarded to these people (Niugini BioMed), no drugs should be procured, and no patients should be enrolled until their protocols have been scrutinised and vetted.
This should be done by the PNG Medical Research Advisory Committee and the PNG Institute of Medical Research.
Continue reading "Niugini BioMed: What is this madness?" »
A Yaliman man from the Baliem Valley of West Papua
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
| Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
CAMBRIDGE, UK - A new study of human genomic diversity suggests there may have in fact been two successful dispersals out of Africa, and that a “trace” of the earlier of these two expansion events has lingered in the genetics of modern Papuans.
Three major genetic studies are published today in the same issue of Nature.
Continue reading "The Melanesian expansion out of Africa" »
Dr Kerryn Baker
| ANU College of Asia & the Pacific | Edited extracts
CANBERRA - The Pacific Islands region has the lowest level of women’s representation in politics in the world. Three countries - Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Micronesia - have no female politicians.
Dr Kerryn Baker has researched women’s political representation in the Pacific for nearly a decade. During this time, her work has highlighted the importance and value of having more women in Pacific parliaments.
Continue reading "Getting women into the Pacific’s parliaments" »
NOOSA – A study of people’s attitudes towards government and other issues in Papua New Guinea has revealed an outcome that would surprise very few readers of PNG Attitude.
The research showed public mistrust and dissatisfaction with government at the national level as well as a sense that PNG is “heading in the wrong direction”.
Continue reading "PNG ‘heading in wrong direction’ says survey" »
Professor Glenn Summerhayes and colleagues at the 4,500 year-old 'Joes Garden' archaeological site in the Ivane Valley
| Heritage Daily | Edited
LUTON, UK - New research on what ancient Papuan New Guineans ate has ended decades of speculation on the tools use and staple foods in highlands areas several thousand years ago.
Findings from the ‘Joe’s Garden’ site in the Ivane Valley of the Owen Stanley Range end academic conjecture about what an unearthed mortar and other tools were used for.
Continue reading "What we ate thousands of years ago" »
Some of the stone tools and art from the Waim site (UNSW - Ben Shaw)
| Ancient Origins | Edited
With thanks to Fr Garry Roche who brought this important research to our attention
DUBLIN - Scientists have unearthed ancient artifacts in the Papua New Guinea highlands that settle a longstanding archaeological argument regarding the emergence of complex culture in PNG.
About 10,000 years ago, the climate changed to better suit the planting of crops and the Neolithic revolution that brought about agriculture emerged in different parts of the world at different times.
Continue reading "5,000-year-old artifacts rewrite PNG history" »
Ancient Lapita pot
| An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PORT MORESBY - Clay pots in many parts of Papua New Guinea are household items and people say they enjoy food cooked in clay pots.
In the Markham valley, the signature clay pot, or ‘gurr’ as we call it, is on the fire every day of the week.
Continue reading "3,000 years of pottery show who we are" »
The Batek people of the Malaysian hinterland who bear a striking resemblance to the people of Melanesia (Dr Patrick Pikacha)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - Earlier this year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation published an article by Caroline Tiriman in Tok Pisin entitled, ‘Ol Melanesian Pipal blong Asia’ ['The Melanesian People of Asia'].
I was struck by the resemblance of the Batek people of Malaysia pictured in the article to the Melanesian people we know in Papua New Guinea and nearby countries in the Pacific.
Continue reading "Remarkable ‘Melanesians’ found in Malaysia jungle" »
EV Nautilus at Apia Samoa 5 August (Ocean Exploration Trust)
STATEMENT | The Maritime Executive
FORT LAUDERDALE, USA - Famed oceanographer Dr Robert Ballard and the crew of his foundation's research vessel, Nautilus, are in the midst of a search for the long-lost wreck of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra airplane.
Earhart - the first female pilot to cross the Atlantic on a solo flight - disappeared in July 1937, along with her pilot, Fred Noonan.
They went missing during a flight from Papua New Guinea to Howland Island, a tiny outlying American territory in the Phoenix Islands group.
The flight was one of the last legs of an attempt at the longest distance round-the-world journey to date, an equatorial route of about 29,000 miles in length.
Continue reading "Amelia Earhart: Latest of many searches gets underway" »
Litoria pterodactyla or the 'parachuting frog' (Stephen Richards)
NEWS DESK | Xinhua News Agency
BEIJING - A team of Australian researchers has discovered a new species of parachuting frog, hidden away in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
The group of scientists from Griffith University and Queensland state museum also came across two other previously unknown frog species during their expedition around Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
There has an incredible diversity of frogs and a lot of those species have only been described for the last 10-20 years, senior curator at Queensland Museum Paul Oliver told Xinhua.
"The more you go back, the more you get to new areas, the more you find new species."
Continue reading "Aussie researchers discover 'parachuting frog' in PNG" »
Critically endangered - Papua New Guinea's tree kangaroo (Jonathan Byers, TKCP)
TREVOR HOLBROOK, JIM THOMAS & ANDREA EGAN | UNDP Ecosystems & Biodiversity | Edited extracts
WASHINGTON, USA - Sought after for subsistence-based hunting, as part of rural communities’ diets for centuries, the critically endangered tree kangaroos have been hunted almost to extinction, but now local communities and conservation groups are fighting together to save them.
Tree kangaroos are found only in the rainforests of Australia, West Papua, and Papua New Guinea. Looking like a cross between a kangaroo and a lemur, they have adapted to life in the trees, with shorter hind legs and stronger forelimbs for climbing.
Despite weighing up to 16kg, tree kangaroos are remarkably elusive, and often invisible high in the forest canopy.
Continue reading "A home in the clouds: Working to save the tree kangaroo" »
LUCY PAPACHRISTOU | Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
SARAJEVO - A newly-published discussion paper on corruption in Papua New Guinea’s public sector has found that low-level officials are often poorly informed about laws and regulations.
They are also under intense pressure to grant favours to businesses, politicians and clan affiliates, contributing to existing patterns of corrupt behaviour in the developing country.
The paper, ‘Governance and Corruption in PNG’s Public Service: Insights From Four Subnational Administrations’, was published this month by the Development Policy Centre, an aid and development policy think tank based out of the Australian National University in Canberra.
Its author, Dr Grant Walton, drew on interviews with 136 public servants across four provinces in PNG in an effort to fill the empirical data gap on why public officials may support or resist corruption and poor governance.
PNG tends to take a “top-down, one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to corruption,” Walton told OCCRP by phone.
Continue reading "Political meddling & poor training spur corruption in PNG" »
Associate Professor Nick Bainton
MEDIA UNIT | University of Queensland
BRISBANE - University of Queensland researcher Associate Professor Nick Bainton has co-written the first publicly available human rights impact assessment for a proposed gas project in Papua New Guinea.
You can download the full report here
Dr Bainton from the university’s sustainable minerals institute said the report’s publication demonstrates the slow evolution of the international community’s expectations of extractive industries.
“There is currently no legislative requirement for a company to produce a human rights impact assessment in PNG and, if they decide to, they are generally kept confidential once completed.
“The hope is that companies working in PNG’s extractive industries will build upon this example and continue to undertake impact assessments to help reduce human rights impacts,” he said.
Continue reading "First public human rights report into PNG gas industry" »
Denisovans (pictured) and our human ancestors were mixing 50,000 to 15,000 years ago - and some of our genetics can be traced back to these ancient humans.
CLARE WILSON | New Scientist
LONDON - Our species may have been interbreeding with Denisovans as recently as 15,000 years ago, according to a detailed analysis of the DNA of people living in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
We already know that, after Homo sapiens first migrated out of Africa, our species repeatedly interbred with a number of now-extinct hominin species, including the Neanderthals and Denisovans.
The signs are in our DNA today – all people of non-African descent carry some Neanderthal DNA, while some Asian people also have Denisovan DNA.
Not much is known about the mysterious Denisovans. Their only physical remnants discovered so far are a few teeth and fragments of bone unearthed in a cave in Siberia.
Continue reading "PNG in forefront of ancient Denisovan research" »
Motu trading ship 1903-1904 (The British Museum)
CHRIS URWIN, ALOIS KUASO, BRUNO DAVID, HENRY AURI ARIFEAE & ROBERT SKELLY
| The Conversation
MONASH UNIVERSITY, MELBOURNE - It has long been assumed that Indigenous Australia was isolated until Europeans arrived in 1788, except for trade with parts of present day Indonesia beginning at least 300 years ago.
But our recent archaeological research hints of at least an extra 2,100 years of connections across the Coral Sea with Papua New Guinea.
Over the past decade, we have conducted research in the Gulf of Papua with local Indigenous communities.
During the excavations, the most common archaeological evidence found in the old village sites was fragments of pottery, which preserve well in tropical environments compared to artefacts made of wood or bone.
Continue reading "Archaeology unravels stories about ancient PNG-Australia trade" »
The Ramu River winds its way through the rich valley that bears its name
EMILY SCHMIDT | International Food Policy Research Institute
WASHINGTON DC - The dinghy ride up the Ramu River takes nine long hours, but my excitement mounted as we approached the small villages in the lowlands of northern Papua New Guinea.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by children paddling and playing in wooden dugout canoes, and women washing sago palm (an important staple food among lowland populations of PNG) for food preparation.
When the rumble of the boat’s diesel motor finally cut out at the small sandbar that would serve as our boat dock for the next several days, we were surrounded by an incredible silence that whispered of the isolated lifestyle and resilience of the villagers.
We spent three months last year collecting detailed household survey data for a research project investigating how rural communities ensure food security when faced with natural disasters or other unplanned shocks to household food production.
Continue reading "New data offers insights into rural poverty & undernutrition" »
STAFF WRITER | World Bank
PORT MORESBY – A World Bank study has found that when women in Papua New Guinea are empowered to make decisions in the sale of cocoa and coffee, their households ultimately benefit.
The ‘Household Allocation and Efficiency of Time in PNG’ report, part of a K360 million World Bank project, analysed how domestic responsibilities impact the ability of women to allocate their labour to cultivate, harvest and process cocoa and coffee in PNG.
The report, supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, said men and women do not share the same tasks within the household: men’s work being geared towards cocoa or coffee production and women more focused on other agricultural and off-farm activities as well as on domestic work.
Continue reading "Empowered women increase crop yields & improve lifestyle" »
A kiap and government-appointed leaders - in Tok Pisin, luluais and tultuls
TUMBY BAY – Between 1961 and 1975, more than 450 Papua New Guinean kiaps were in government service during the significant period in PNG history leading to independence.
Now a group of expatriate former kiaps is seeking to find details of these men.
Several years ago, Australian kiaps who had served in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea sought to have their service recognised in a meaningful way by the Australian government and, importantly, the Australian public.
After a long campaign this recognition came in the form of the Police Overseas Service Medal.
During the campaign an attempt was made to compile a list of all the Australian kiaps who had served in Papua New Guinea.
This proved a difficult task because of the inadequate records available and it was abandoned in favour of former kiaps identifying themselves.
Continue reading "Do you know the names any Papua New Guinean national kiaps?" »
Tribal warfare between two highlands clans in the 1960s
ADELAIDE - I have no argument with the basic conclusion of Tobias Schworer's thesis, the summary of which was published recently in PNG Attitude.
I think he has correctly described the process by which Papua New Guinea was brought under the control of the Australian colonial administration.
That said, I think that the use of expressions like "repression that punishes groups still engaged in warfare" is, whether intended or not, an emotionally loaded way of describing the pacification process.
The word "repression" is more typically associated with injustice and inequity, not the lawful imposition of an orderly, fair and effective system of justice upon what were essentially anarchic, and sometimes exceptionally brutal, Melanesian social systems.
Continue reading "Those colonial & kiap times: some coercion, but never repression" »
TOBIAS SCHWÖRER | Summary of PhD Thesis
Ending War: Colonial processes of pacification and the elimination of warfare in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea by Tobias Schwörer. Summary of PhD thesis, 2016. University of Lucerne, Lucerne. See further information on the thesis and related papers here
LUCERNE - Pacification denotes a process whereby a state attends to extend its monopoly of violence onto politically autonomous groups outside its sphere of control and thereby curtails any further collective violence between those groups and armed resistance against the imposition of state control.
It is a process that has been occurring throughout history in situations of colonial conquest and state expansion.
Despite the importance and prominence of these processes not only for the state but even more so for the indigenous groups affected, there is remarkably little systematic analysis and theoretical reflection on the causal factors that led members of such groups to agree to lay down their weapons and refrain from pursuing further acts of collective violence.
Continue reading "Pacification in the Eastern Highlands in the 1940s – 1960s" »
Dr Kerryn Baker was told that money politics and the bribing of election officials greatly affected the chances of women candidates succeeding
STAFF WRITER | Pacific Women | Australian Aid
CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea has a history of extremely low rates of women in parliament. Only seven women have ever been elected in over 40 years and no women were elected to the 111 seat parliament in 2017.
To try to find out what is stopping women from winning elections, Kerryn Baker spoke with a group of unsuccessful candidates and examined the impact of the introduction of the limited preferential voting system on them.
Dr Baker is a research fellow in the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University. In September 2017, she spent time with 26 women from all four of Papua New Guinea’s regions who had contested the 2017 national election.
In general, women contesting PNG elections have fewer financial resources than men running for election. The candidates identified this as a challenge, because well-resourced campaigns are often the most successful.
Continue reading "Why are there are no women in PNG’s parliament?" »
Two possible routes used by the first humans to reach Australia identified by Joseph Birdsell in 1977. Research by the Australian National University shows the red northern route was more likely (Shimona Kealy, ANU)
CALLA WAHLQUIST | The Guardian
SYDNEY - The first people to arrive in Australia are likely to have sailed east from Borneo to Sulawesi and island-hopped to New Guinea, according to research.
A study led by Australian National University PhD candidate Shimona Kealy and published in the Journal of Human Evolution has modelled the most likely route from south-east Asia to the Australian mainland based on which pathway would have required the least expenditure of energy and resources.
Kealy said she hoped the research would help answer the question of why archaeological sites in Australia — which show human occupation around 65,000 years ago — are so much older than sites that have been discovered in the countries that were long suspected to be en route.
Her modelling identified the least-cost route as going from Borneo to Sulawesi and through a series of smaller islands to Misool Island off the coast of West Papua. New Guinea was connected by land to Australia until about 10,000 years ago, meaning the first people could walk down through what is now Cape York to the rest of the continent.
Continue reading "First humans to reach Australia island-hopped to PNG then walked" »
A large underground river in the Muruk system of the Nakanai caves is fed by numerous surface sinkholes
THE CAIRNS INSTITUTE | James Cook University | Edited extracts
You can download here the 35 page publication, The Nakanai Mountain Ranges of East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, by Jennifer Gabriel (Editor) et al, from which this extract is taken
CAIRNS - The Nakanai caves are part of a globally unique system of limestone caves. They are located within the Nakanai Range of East New Britain, amongst primary rainforest extending from the mountain summits to the southern coastline.
The Nakanai region comprises a limestone mountain range with an area covering approximately 4,000 square kilometres and cavers rely on aerial images to look for deep caverns to explore.
In the images, large surface sinkholes, characteristic of the rainforest-covered karst landscape, look like enormous black holes of varying sizes. Once identified, professional cavers venture into the depths of giant caves.
Continue reading "45 years of cave exploration in the Nakanai Mountains" »
Phil on patrol in the Star Mountains in the early 1970s - memories that keep us happier and healthier
TUMBY BAY - A lot of old kiaps, sometimes around 150, have a get-together on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland every two years. In between there’s a smaller gathering in Cairns.
I’ve never actually been to one of these events, mainly because I thought they would be about a bunch of old farts trying to relive the past while dribbling into their beer.
It turns out that my conclusion, like a lot of my assessments, was totally wrong.
The old buggers are actually doing themselves a lot of good and helping to improve their health and longevity.
I discovered this interesting fact recently while reading a book called ‘Brain Rules for Ageing Well’ by developmental molecular biologist, Dr John Medina.
According to Dr Medina, nostalgia has positive health benefits for the elderly.
Continue reading "Being an old kiap is good for you – so is reading PNG Attitude" »
When Mt Lamington erupted in January 1951, it killed 3,700 people in Higaturu town, in 29 villages and at missions and schools more than 10 km away
STAFF WRITER | Deakin Research
This piece is based on an article written by Dr Victoria Stead published in a special issue of ‘Anthropological Forum’ co-edited by Dr Stead with Professor Michèle Dominy (Bard College New York) on the theme ‘Moral Horizons of Land and Place’
MELBOURNE - Located on the slopes of volcanic Mount Lamington in Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province, the old Higaturu Station is a place marked by violence and memories.
It is less than an hour’s drive from the Provincial capital, Popondetta, on the way to Kokoda, which, depending on which way you are walking is either the beginning or the end of the Kokoda track.
That 96-kilometre track over the Owen Stanley Ranges is the focal point of a burgeoning but unevenly spread war tourism industry in the Province.
Between July-September 1943, at the height of World War II, 21 local men were executed in Higaturu for charges stemming from the ‘betrayal’ of eight to ten missionaries in August 1942 who were brutally murdered by occupying Japanese forces.
Continue reading "Researching the morality of PNG’s ‘dark tourism’ initiatives" »
MEDIA UNIT | University of Rochester
ROCHESTER, USA - Robert Foster, a professor of anthropology at Rochester, has a longstanding interest in Papua New Guinea that started in 1984 with his doctoral research.
He later researched cultural attitudes toward Coca-Cola and, visiting again in 2010, he found PNG transformed by another product - cell phones.
“The coming of the cell phone in Papua New Guinea just couldn’t be ignored,” he said. “There was a moment when they were nowhere, then a moment when they were everywhere.”
Continue reading "Professor watches cell phones transform life throughout PNG" »
New oil palm planting and mill near Pomio in East New Britain
MEDIA DESK | Act Now
BOROKO - Customary land registration processes can easily be captured by local ‘big men’ and companies with disastrous consequences for local people.
This is the conclusion of a study on recent oil palm expansion in Papua New Guinea by academic Caroline Hambloch from the University of London.
Hambloch’s findings are based on three months field research in East and West New Britain and are presented in a paper titled ‘Land Formalisation Turned Land Rush’ presented at a World Bank conference in Washington earlier this year.
The paper demonstrates how land registration processes, rather than protecting customary land, can easily be used to disenfranchise local communities and alienate them from their land. This is because of an environment of weak governance and huge power and information imbalances.
Continue reading "New study reveals dangers inherent in land registration" »
Oriol Mitjà examines a young patient, Jeremiah, who has an active infection which can be cured with a dose of azithromycin (Brian Cassey)
MARTIN ENSERINK | Science | Edited extracts
Read the complete article by Martin Eyserink here
LIHIR ISLAND—In a small village 15,000 kilometers from home, Oriol Mitjà jumped out of a white van one early May afternoon and started to look at people's legs.
"Any children with ulcers here?" he asked in Tok Pisin. "Can we see them?"
Soon, a young woman pushed a crying boy about five years old toward Mitjà. The boy was barefoot; he had a mop of blond curly hair, like most kids here, and was dressed only in dirty blue shorts.
A group of villagers, mostly women and children, had gathered to watch. "What's his name?" Mitjà asked as he sat down on a low wooden bench, pulled on disposable gloves, and gestured to the sobbing kid to come sit on his right leg. "Jeremiah," his mother said.
Continue reading "On Lihir, a doctor pursues eradication of a disfiguring disease" »
Sissano Lagoon devastated after the 1998 tsunami (Jose Borrero)
PROF DAVE TAPPIN | Geoblogy | British Geological Survey
KEYWORTH, UK - 20 years ago this week, on the evening of the 17 July 1998, 2,200 people died when a 15-metre high tsunami devastated an idyllic lagoon on the north coast of Papua New Guinea.
The event was to prove a benchmark in tsunami science as the tsunami was generated not by an earthquake but by a submarine landslide.
Most tsunamis are generated by earthquakes and, previously, submarine landslides were an under-appreciated mechanism in tsunami generation. This was because there had been no recent historical event to prove just how dangerous they could be.
Back in 1998, there had been few recent destructive earthquakes, they were to strike later. Although earthquake mechanisms were generally well understood in tsunami generation, the mechanisms by which submarine landslides cause tsunamis, were not. In fact it was generally believed that submarine landslides could not generate destructive tsunamis.
PNG changed all this.
Continue reading "How the PNG tsunami 20 years ago was a big wake-up call" »
The Port Moresby waterfront looking east
Being Heard: The 2017 Survey of Businesses in Papua New Guinea by Paul Holden with Paul Barker and Steven Goie, Institute of National Affairs Discussion Paper 105, Port Moresby, April 2018. Download the report here
NOOSA – The overarching message in a fine piece of research of 287 companies by PNG’s Institute of National Affairs is that the business environment in PNG is deteriorating,
“PNG remains a challenging country in which to do business,” the Being Heard report concludes, and the shopping list for improvement it offers is long.
The report says the biggest change since the previous survey in 2012 concern the problems flowing from an overvalued kina and lack of foreign currency availability, which are cited as damaging investment and growth and as a major impediment to business operations.
Continue reading "Companies pass judgement: things are worsening in PNG" »
Dr Kevin Pamba
JEMIMAH SUKBAT | Loop PNG/Pacific Media Watch | Edited
MADANG - A staff member of Divine Word University, Dr Kevin Pamba, who has written for PNG Attitude (read one of his articles here) has become first Papua New Guinean journalist to be awarded a doctorate degree.
Dr Pamba’s thesis was on communicating with indigenous landowners around the LNG project in Hela Province, an area badly affected by the earthquake two weeks ago.
He said that among his research findings was that the government is "not present" in Hela, especially the Department of Petroleum and Energy.
In terms of communication with the landowners, getting the message across was barely working, he said.
Dr Pamba, from Ialibu in the Southern Highlands, completed his bachelors' degree in journalism at the University of Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "First PNG journalism PhD says 'government not present in Hela'" »
Dr Paige West - two decades listening to myths promulgated by visitors to PNG
JOSIE KRITTER | The Catalyst | Edited
COLORADO, USA - Papua New Guinea is often seen as one of the world’s last unexplored frontiers and stereotyped as tribal, underdeveloped, and primitive, says Dr Paige West, Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College in the USA.
Dr West has spent the last two decades working with the people of PNG and her goal is to shed light on a vibrant culture, the effects of decolonisation and their conservation efforts.
She said that Melanesian culture is widely misunderstood and tends to be seen through a Euro-American and Australian lens.
Dr West explained how much of the information filtering through to the world outside comes from “surfers, photographers, economists, and conservationists.” Over the years, she has interviewed and observed each group, along with the indigenous people, to capture a full understanding of where the misconceptions about the country come from.
Continue reading "Misinterpreting PNG: rhetoric, exaggeration & inequality" »
Ancient skeleton at the Teouma site on Efate, Vanuatu (ANU)
NEWSROOM | Science Daily
CANBERRA - Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) have helped put together the most comprehensive study ever conducted into the origins of people in Vanuatu - regarded as a geographic gateway from Asia to the Remote Pacific.
The new research, published across two separate research papers, uses a combination of DNA analyses of ancient skeletons and modern samples, as well as archaeological evidence, to put together a complete timeline of migration to the island nation.
The results confirm that Vanuatu's first people were of the Lapita culture and arrived 3,000 years ago from South East Asia, followed by Papuan arrivals from the island of New Britain, in the Bismarck Archipelago just to the east of New Guinea and part of the nation of Papua New Guinea.
Dr Stuart Bedford of the ANU School of Culture History and Language said this was the first time researchers had been able to look at a full sequence of DNA samples from the Vanuatu islands.
"We've been able to track a complete genetic timeline at regular intervals starting with the first inhabitants right through to modern times," Dr Bedford said.
Continue reading "The origins of the people of the Pacific’s gateway, Vanuatu" »
The imminent death of the popular Cavendish banana
LUCY CRAYMER | Wall Street Journal
You can read the full article here
NEW YORK - In June, a team of European researchers travelled to Papua New Guinea on a mission of global significance. They came to search for the Giant Banana plant.
The scientists travelled through the jungles of the South Pacific nation, by car and on foot, accompanied by two armed guards.
They were tantalised by images circulating online, purportedly taken by locals, that depict a towering banana corm, several stories high, with leaves about five yards long.
The researchers found plenty of unusual banana varieties, but their quest to find the Giant, and to sample its bounty, proved fruitless.
Continue reading "Cavendish: The world's top banana could become extinct" »
Dr Barry Craig in the field in PNG
NOOSA – Dr Barry Craig worked in the Telefomin area of Papua New Guinea and at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby before moving to the South Australian Museum as curator of foreign ethnology, where he’s been for the past 22 years.
Strange as it may seem, the South Australian Museum has on permanent display a significant collection of objects from Papua New Guinea. It’s a real treasure.
But now it turns out that Dr Craig’s position, along with one in archaeology, has been abolished.
This leaves the Pacific collections and the Pacific Cultures Gallery without an experienced and qualified researcher and interpreter.
Continue reading "South Australian Museum turns its back on PNG" »
CALLUM PATON | Newsweek
6000 year old Aitape skull has connection to present day climate change
LONDON - Scientists studying a mysterious skull discovered in Papua New Guinea 88 years ago have said they believe it belonged to an early victim of a violent tsunami in the southwest Pacific 6,000 years ago.
The skull, named for the village of Aitape near where it was discovered, has been an item of longstanding archaeological interest because it is one of only a few rare skeletal remains to have been recovered from the area.
Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld found it in northern PNG, buried beneath the ground in 1929. Initial investigations concluded the skull belonged to Homo erectus—an extinct humanoid species that died out 143,000 years ago.
However, carbon dating since found the skull could be between 5,000 and 6,000 years old, opening new possibilities about what the skeletal fragment could tell us about our own world.
For the first time experts have uncovered what killed the unfortunate individual, using clues left in the earth around where the skull was found. "We have now been able to confirm what we have long suspected," James Goff at the University of New South Wales in Australia explained in a statement.
Continue reading "Ancient skull belongs to victim of Aitape tsunami 6,000 years ago" »
Stone club head from the Nomad area
Read more about this story in GenomeWeb here
NEW YORK – On the eve of Independence Day, a fascinating story about how genome researchers have been able to confirm the uniqueness and long history of the people of Papua New Guinea.
Reinforcing that PNG evolved independently from the rest of the world for much of the last 50,000 years, the research – reported in the journal Science - analysed genome profiles from almost 400 people in many different communities throughout the country.
"Using genetics, we were able to see that people on the island of New Guinea evolved independently from rest of the world for much of the last 50,000 years," said senior author Chris Tyler-Smith, a researcher at the Sanger Institute.
Another significant finding was that the split between highland and lowland populations occurred between 10,000 and20,000 years ago.
Continue reading "42 years of independence marked in a 50,000 year old culture" »
FR GARRY ROCHE & ANU SOURCES
Ten Thousand Years of Cultivation at Kuk Swamp in the Highlands of PNG by Jack Golson et al, Terra Australis Series No 46, ANU Press, July 2017, ISBN: 9781760461157. Free download from ANU Press here
DUBLIN – It costs $75 for a print copy but ANU Press in Australia has generously made this important book on Papua New Guinea’s Kuk world heritage site available for free download.
While the book concentrates on the Kuk swamp area in the Western Highlands, there are frequent reference to pertinent research findings in other parts of PNG.
Kuk is a settlement 1600 metres up in the Western Highlands – specifically near Baisu in the upper Wahgi Valley, near Mount Hagen.
Continue reading "The story of a 10,000 year old PNG civilisation - & it’s free" »
Volume of Australian aid
TERENCE WOOD & CAMILLA BURKOT | Dev Policy Blog | Edited extracts
Read the full article, together with all links, graphs and citations, here
CANBERRA - Have you ever wondered just how strange the Australian aid community is?
Do we development types think about development issues in the same way as the average Australian does, or are we outliers?
In recent years the Development Policy Centre has been studying the Australian public’s views about aid.
As part of this work, in collaboration with the Campaign for Australian Aid, we placed eight questions in the 2016 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, a large, representative survey of Australian adults.
Continue reading "Opinions about aid: public versus aid providers" »
KRISTIAN LASSLETT | The Tokaut Blog | Extract
You can link to Professor Lasslett’s complete article here
THE problem with corruption in PNG, at its most grand levels, is that it is everywhere and nowhere.
Its morbid symptoms are apparent for all to see, but the particular mechanisms through which the disease of corruption infects governments and markets, and disables the body of the nation, proves difficult to observe, owing to its secretive nature.
Yet in order to fight corruption effectively, we need to answer elementary questions relating to its core characteristics.
For example, what type of corrupt transactions are most common and damaging in PNG, who are the participants, what motivates them, how do they make their illicit gains, what do they spend it on, and which institutional structures permit these illegal activities to take place?
Continue reading "Everywhere & nowhere: forensically analysing grand corruption" »
PAPUA New Guinea is largely a consumer of innovation, imported technologies and knowledge products. In the interests of our economic future, we need to move up the value chain to be a producer of innovation.
Science, technology and innovation are key forces driving economic growth and development in today’s global economy. This is a challenge for us.
PNG’s comparative advantage lies in its natural assets: its people, natural resources and rich cultural heritage. We need to translate these into tangible products and services to create opportunities for development.
One such endeavor is the biofuel research and development project at Pacific Adventist University. The project was initially funded to support the installation of a processing and testing facility and later to complete the design and installation of the processing plant.
Continue reading "Some ways in which PNG is investing in a higher tech future" »
PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH
A NEW website, PNGi, seems set to revolutionise governance in Papua New Guinea by cracking open the secrets of the rich and powerful and exposing them to public view.
Using the latest digital technologies, PNGi aims to investigate, analyse and expose the often hidden and opaque systems standing behind the abuse of political and economic power.
Its two flagship resources are PNGi Portal and PNGi Central.
They have been established and are sustained by an informal network of academics, activists and journalists involved in researching and writing about current issues in Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "New governance watchdog exposes O’Neill’s business networks" »
STEPHANIE PAPPAS | Live Science
A MONITOR lizard lost to science in a 19th century shipwreck has been rediscovered on an island in Papua New Guinea.
The medium-size monitor, Varanus douarrha, was first identified by French naturalist René Lesson in 1823.
The scientific name was inspired by the pronunciation of the lizard's name in Siar, the language of the people of the lizard's home in New Ireland.
The specimen of the monitor lizard collected by Lesson went down in a shipwreck off the Cape of Good Hope in 1824, so the lizard was never systematically studied.
Continue reading "They thought this lizard was lost, but it was in New Ireland" »
ERIC TLOZEK | Australian Broadcasting Corporation
A SMALL team of Papua New Guinean historians has visited one of the most crucial battle sites of World War II to record the stories of those who remember it.
The team, from the University of Papua New Guinea, spent three weeks in Milne Bay, the scene of a Japanese offensive in August of 1942.
The story of the brutal battle, in which Australian and United States troops inflicted the first decisive defeat of the Japanese on land of the war, is well documented by Australian historians.
Continue reading "PNG historians record the other side of the WWII story" »
SCIENCE ALERT | New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation
AFTER decades of fearing that the New Guinea highland wild dog had gone extinct in its native habitat, researchers have finally confirmed the existence of a healthy, viable population, hidden in one of the most remote and inhospitable regions on earth.
According to DNA analysis, these are the most ancient and primitive canids in existence, and a recent expedition to New Guinea's remote central mountain spine has resulted in more than 100 photographs of at least 15 wild individuals, including males, females, and pups, thriving in isolation and far from human contact.
"The 2016 Expedition was able to locate, observe, gather documentation and biological samples, and confirm through DNA testing that at least some specimens still exist and thrive in the highlands of New Guinea."
Continue reading "World's rarest & most ancient dog rediscovered in the wild" »
NELSON HAMISH KAIRI
THE Papua New Guinea government must get serious about decreasing the number of deaths caused by lifestyle diseases, according to a researcher.
Scientist Andrew Pus conducted research on obesity in Port Moresby and his findings have been made public on the Scientific Research Publishing website.
Mr Pus is from the Western Highlands and holds a master’s degree in health sciences from the Graduate School of Bio-Medical and Health Sciences at Hiroshima University in Japan. His research spanned more than three years and was conducted as part of his graduate requirement.
Obesity accounts for an estimated 2.8 million deaths worldwide and is the fifth leading risk for death according to recent data from the World Health Organisation.
Continue reading "Obesity & its impact on deaths from lifestyle diseases in PNG" »