A Kiap’s Chronicle: 9 - Settling into Kainantu
Dear Pete

Don’t judge us just yet: Melanesia is in cultural transition


MELANESIA did not start in colonial times. Melanesia precedes colonialism by thousands of years.

The current state of dysfunction needs to be viewed as a cultural transition from one governance system to another.

No one governance structure is better. Each is suited to its environment.

At this time, the united nation of Melanesia has the burden of adapting the colonial governance system and its traditional system to something new.

This takes time. For Papua New Guinea, just 40 years into statehood, it is too early to be passing judgement.

I can assure you, a new breed of leadership is being born.

This group has no memory of colonialism, even the thousand tribes culture is becoming homogenised and this new breed is being born as citizens of the world and will demand to be treated as such. 

In his book The Embarrassed Colonialist, Sean Dorney tells how he was cautioned by a representative from the Australian High Commission in PNG that he (Dorney) was starting to think like a Papua New Guinean. Now, why would anyone say such a thing?

Dorney is a great man doing what he loves doing, what did he say that warranted that comment? What kind of thoughts do Melanesian people think that is different from Australians?

Was Dorney talking corruption? Big men? Wantok system? Anyway, how are the wantok system and big men different from the mafias, nepotism and cronyism that happens all over the world - even in Australia.

To understand Melanesians requires perspective and it seems Australians dread the process and even caution their people to not get into that headspace.

I ask simply, how can you help me if you have not walked in my shoes and think the thoughts I think?

If we are to mutually benefit, to make herself useful to the Melanesians, Australia will have to try hard to understand Melanesia and start treating Melanesia, and especially Papua New Guinea, with honesty and openness without that patronising colonial attitude.


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Michael Dom

"I can assure you, a new breed of leadership is being born."

Melanesian perspectives...yes, perhaps the Australian Government needs to take heed of that, and it's something that can be improved on by diplomatic communication and the recognition of the personal link formed over many years, like on PNG Attitude.

Butlet's not hold up the Melanesian perspective as a mask to hide behind.

Behind that mask is the true evil that haunts our Haus Tambaran and has already desecrated the figure heads representing our forefathers.

Blind Melanesian perspectives!

More importantly, today's PNG political leaders must realize that trying to hide behind their so-called Melanesian perspectives is no longer a viable excuse for their ineptitude, corruption, deception and disrespect for the law and their people.

These fat and disgusting bastards fear the awakening of the new leadership.

Youth who are not intimidated or easily fooled by the masked lies that are espoused.

Youth leaders who hold in contempt the fat payments made to others within their own ranks.

Obviously, the current youth leaders have not been successfully bribed.

That's why Peter O'Neill has tried to blame 'agitators' for funding the students protests.

How much money does it take to meet under a tree and go for a walk to parliament? Get real, dumb fuck!

This Pamuk Papacy-Niu-Genuine Bagarapment of Peter Paire O'Neill fears the new leadership which cannot be bribed.

He and his kind have never faced such an adversary before, not even within their own sometimes political bed-mates, other times bad enemies.

This corrupt leadership fears the awakening of a stronger national conscience.

That is the underlying reason why police were allowed to shoot protesting students and why dissenting voices are always met with threats of violence.

Poor dumb fuck police, they don't even know any better - except Baki, he knows full well.

False Melanesian ideology of Bigman, money-feasts and free-fucks-around-town.

False gods in parliament, standing next to the KJV bible that sanctified their unholy ascent.

I can assure you, the new breed of leadership is no longer concerned about this so-called 'Melanesian perspective'.

They have accepted the fact that they are born into it.

They have found that it corrupted by our elders.

They have decided that they are going to change it.

That is the real battle happening on the streets of Port Moresby.

Don't fool yourselves into thinking that it's only about Peter O'Neill's resignation.

That small man is insignificant compared to the real value of Papua New Guinea.

Elizabeth Morgan

Great commentary Tanya and agree totally.

Paul Oates

As an example of what I'm suggesting: when the New Zealand All Blacks football team is about to play they perform the Maori Hakka.

Perhaps at the every least, when a PNG team plays in Australia, it needs to be introduced to the crowd with Kundus, Garamuts, feathered head dresses and a team of young PNG ladies in Pulpuls rather than the normal cheerleaders with streamers? It might make a difference to the team's spirits and it sure would provide something tangible for the Australian crowd to remember.

Paul Oates

The real issue here is not what Australians think about the Melanesian way of life and culture but rather that Australia mostly knows virtually nothing about Melanesia at all.

Now maybe there's a two sided coin here.

Melanesians might have to start thinking about how they can get in touch and influence Australia as well as vice versa?

The essence of any consideration is how each nation looks on the other. Far more Melanesians it seems, look to Australia than the other way around. Yet Melanesian culture is only evident in the various enclaves around Australia and often has to be sought out to find.

That's a tough problem for many Melanesians when so many other problems are having to be coped with at home. However the two greatest influences today are sport and dramatic performances. Maybe PNG needs to work harder at becoming a member of the NRL competition and when the football team tours or plays at home, their is a cultural performance or performances organized so that people who come to watch the match are also given some inkling into each others culture.

On the subject of government however, I still maintain you can't mix the two concepts. A modern government must be run on modern lines or it clearly doesn't work. Q.E.D. the PNG government at the moment.

Robin Lillicrapp

Well said, Tanya. May your sentiments multiply a thousand fold +.

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