TUMBY BAY - Statistics normally don’t interest me that much, especially when they are averaged out in an attempt to represent some sort of generic view or condition among a particular group of people, industry or country.
A few statistics can be very telling however, especially for what they don’t say.
Skipping through the March 1971 colonial Division of District Administration staff lists and isolating the number of local Papua New Guinean kiaps is a case in point.
By 1971 you would have expected the boss kiaps to be contemplating the eminent arrival of self-government (1972) and then independence (1975). You would have thought that by then they would have beefed up the numbers of local kiaps in anticipation of them continuing with the work of government out in the bush.
The staff list belies this expectation. What the Australian Administration was actually doing was continuing to recruit a vastly disproportionate number of Australians as kiaps.
Not only that but the cadet system, with its large training component, had gone by the board and Assistant Patrol Officers were being recruited with minimal training.
You couldn’t be blamed for thinking the Department was somehow locked in the past and perpetuating some kind of dinosaur policy.
But then you spot the number of trainee local kiaps they had just started placing in training institutes like Vunadidir and Waigani.
Clearly the kiap bosses had been caught on the hop as well as being torn between what they’d done in the past and what they needed to do in the future.
At the time Michael Somare was vigorously agitating for independence and he clearly realised the danger a strong kiap presence with a go slow policy towards independence would be to his plans.
If Somare had decided to damp down any kiap ‘go slow’ you would have thought the boss kiaps would have been intent on bolstering their local staff as quickly as possible.
Not so it seems. When you look at the numbers of local kiaps in the districts the picture is appalling.
Some districts had just one or two local kiaps. Most of them were at relatively junior Patrol Officer rank or even lower. The highest rank was Assistant District Officer and you could count those on the fingers of one hand.
In one last desperate bid at ‘localisation’, the Department catapulted these junior officers into the highest positions. People like Benson Gegeyo, who was a Patrol Officer in 1971, was an understudy District Commissioner in Western by late 1972 for instance.
By the late 1980s most of the Australian kiaps who had stayed after independence had gone and the rapidly promoted local kiaps were struggling, tied up in wantok issues or experimenting with an early form of the corruption that would later sweep across the nation.
An administrative system with great potential, especially in rural areas, had been lost.
LOCAL KIAPS AS AT 1 MARCH 1970
Patrol Officer AVOSA S.
Patrol Officer SORODA J.
Vunadidir Local Government Staff College
Trainee Patrol Officer AIHI, To'oro
Trainee Patrol Officer MEATERE, Lautei
Trainee Patrol Officer BINJARI, Levi
Trainee Patrol Officer OIA, Anania
Trainee Patrol Officer GABI, Frank Nick
Trainee Patrol Officer REMESAN, Benjamin
Trainee Patrol Officer GEOBA, John SARUFA, Haiai Trainee Patrol Officer
Trainee Patrol Officer GOMBO, Kipling
Trainee Patrol Officer SEGA, Tufi
Trainee Patrol Officer HUA, Ovea
Trainee Patrol Officer TABUA, Ivan
Trainee Patrol Officer KAIDAMA, Elliot
Trainee Patrol Officer TOMON, Esekia
Trainee Patrol Officer KAIULO,Joseph
Trainee Patrol Officer VANINARA, Blasius
Trainee Patrol Officer KOAE, Pedro
Trainee Patrol Officer VERI, Morea
Trainee Patrol Officer LAHO, Ekari
Trainee Patrol Officer WAIDE, Peter
Trainee Patrol Officer LAKANI, Tau
Trainee Patrol Officer WAINETTI, Gelam
Trainee Patrol Officer MARAYAKAN, Ignatious
Trainee Patrol Officer YAMAN, Caspar
Public Service Training Institute
Patrol Officer KUA, Kanga Hezron
Assistant District Officer LOKOLOKO, Nelson
Patrol Officer MAHA, Geno
Patrol Officer MARAVILA, Turiai
Patrol Officer MEKEA, Peter
Patrol Officer SIGMATA, Donald
Patrol Officer TAUVASA, Joseph
Patrol Officer ALI, Emmanuel Charlie
Patrol Officer BALAGETUNA, John
Patrol Officer BUANAM, Gabriel Salu
Patrol Officer GABI, Vaporo
Patrol Officer GEGEYO, James Benson
Assistant District Officer GOMARA, Gorua
Patrol Officer HELARAI, Joseph
Assistant District Officer KOPI, Raga
Patrol Officer TOBIA, Robert
Patrol Officer TUBUORA, O' Reilly
Patrol Officer VANUAWARU, Koneuvau
Assistant District Officer MEMAFU, K.
Assistant Field Officer GWAIBO, T.O.
Assistant Field Officer VIRITOGA, G.
Assistant Field Officer GAMU, R.
Assistant District Officer KEKEDO, R.P.
Patrol Officer NOMBRI, J.
Patrol Officer BERA L.
Patrol Officer NOUAIRI, G.J.
Patrol Officer KAIDADAYA, K.J.
District Officer SEBIRE, P. F.
Assistant District Officer GARI, L.
Patrol Officer GEHORA, C.
Patrol Officer KUP OGUT, J.
Patrol Officer HAVAI, M.
Trainee Patrol Officer LESA, T.I.
Milne Bay District
Patrol Officer KORA, N.
Eastern Highlands District
Patrol Officer ABORE, W.
Patrol Officer TODURAWAI, M.
Assistant District Officer KARUKURU, K.
Patrol Officer TARUBE, A.
Patrol Officer BALOILOI, D.L.
Trainee Patrol Officer GUISE, E.
Trainee Patrol Officer TURA, J.
Western Highlands District
Patrol Officer SIAOA, A.
Southern Highlands District
Patrol Officer HERA, V.
Patrol Officer MORA, S.
Petrol Officer GAMOGAB, P.
Assistant District Officer KOE, B.
Trainee Patrol Officer WAFINGIAN, J.
Assistant District Officer KOTAUGA, M.
Patrol Officer AHE, N.G.
Patrol Officer AILA, D.R.
Patrol Officer NAVEAMA, K.
East Sepik District
Trainee Patrol Officer VERATAU, H.
West Sepik District
Patrol Officer KOIBO, J.
Trainee Patrol Officer SANGKOL, M.
Trainee Patrol Officer YOGIYO, L.
East New Britain District
Assistant District Officer MALAU, J.K.
Trainee Patrol Officer MAMBU, P.
Trainee Patrol Officer KONU, E.L.
West New Britain
Assistant District Officer BOROK, B.
Assistant District Officer KILORI, P.
Assistant District Officer BAGITA, J.
New Ireland District
Assistant District Officer BOURAGA, P.
Patrol Officer VELE, V.
Trainee Patrol Officer TAWIA, M.M.
Trainee Patrol Officer TOWA, M.
Patrol Officer POGA, K.
Patrol Officer TABUA, C.
Trainee Patrol Officer UYASSI, Y.