I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED finding out the local history of any place where I was temporarily living.
Alas, even here in the UK, history appears to be as poorly treated as in Papua New Guinea, possibly because it wouldn't be fair to the millions of immigrants. Kids think Magna Carta is a new computer game.
I believe one way to get at the missing dormant local history is that, in the long holiday at the end of every academic year, high school children should be set the holiday task of sitting down with their grandparents to ask about their village roots and turn this oral history into a written report to be submitted when they restart school in February.
These could become part of the year's teaching materials and safely filed, digitally where possible.
In 1999 I was pleasantly surprised by our local environmental NGO on Lavongai when members were asked to compile a list of as many cultural sites within their ward, hamlet or village.
One person did an excellent report with details not only of various sites but also of the background and traditional legendary story behind each site. Some amazing snippets of taim bipo. Like the footprint in the stone up the Teimot River, which I once saw.
Incidentally we tried to do this project in order to have a detailed cultural study mapped for the remaining pristine forests of central and eastern Lavongai with which landowners could use as bargaining strength with miners or loggers when they eventually came to 'develop' the island.
As you are aware, Australian aboriginal sacred sites are allegedly well protected against depredations by industrial barons.
Unfortunately I have already seen the total disregard for cultural sites in west Lavongai.
This included the destruction of one of the oldest type of living fir tree up beyond Buteilung and the destruction of so called 'upside down tree' near the beach by RH's Dominance Timber Company (indirectly supported by ex Premier Anis who told the company to ignore the cultural gorgor warning landowners placed on ships hoping to access Noipuos harbour where bulldozers erased the site).
Phil Fitzpatrick and others have previously pointed to the sad demise of Goroka's radio station files, the damp in the National Library archives and now you pinpoint the risk to the Post Courier's records.
I hope something may be done.