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96 posts from April 2019

The uni that gives disability an equal chance – and succeeds

Frank Wonea (Kuman)
Frank Wonea
Clency Amos (Kuman)
Clency Amos


GOROKA - Despite all odds, two visually impaired students attending the University of Goroka have met Papua New Guinea government requirements and been awarded higher education scholarships.

Clency Amos and Frank Wonea are currently in their second and fourth (final) years respectively as self-sponsored students enrolled for Arts degrees in political science.

Both proved themselves capable among the many sighted students to attain excellent grades and win the scholarships from the Department of Higher Education.

“I’m very thankful that the government has provided this opportunity for me not only to enjoy but also to compete for the best this year and onwards,” said Clency Amos.

Continue reading "The uni that gives disability an equal chance – and succeeds" »

“People are dying”: MPs tell O’Neill to accept court victory

Western Province women
Young Western Province women. "With the court case over PNGSDP is free to support our needs and ambitions"

TABOI AWI YOTO MP Governor Western Province, ROY BIYAMA MP Middle Fly, SEKIE AGISA MP South Fly, JAMES DONALD MP North Fly | Statement

PORT MORESBY – We congratulate the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program Ltd [PNGSDP] on its comprehensive win against the [PNG] government in the High Court of Singapore.

We also congratulate the member for Moresby North-West, former prime minister and former PNGSDP chairman, Sir Mekere Morauta, for leading the fight to preserve the company for the benefit of our province now and into the future.

His foresight in creating PNGSDP and building walls around it to protect its operations and assets, especially the money in the long term fund, has given the people of Western Province the base for a more certain future.

Continue reading "“People are dying”: MPs tell O’Neill to accept court victory" »

Fair carry could create 150 Kokoda jobs over Anzac period

Porter and trekker

CHARLIE LYNN | Kokoda Treks Blog

SYDNEY – As many as 600 trekkers will be on the Kokoda Trail during the Anzac period over the next fortnight.

The Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KTOA), established to protect the interests of their members, has refused to adopt the World War II army standard of 18 kg, imposed in 1942, as the maximum weight allowed to be carried by PNG wartime carriers.

Instead, the KTOA adopted a weight of 22.5 kg, a number worked out by an Australian bureaucrat who had never trekked the Trail.

That 4.5 kg difference, in addition to imposing a greater burden on carriers, will lead to the loss of 150 jobs for local Koiari and Orokaiva villagers during the Anzac period.

Continue reading "Fair carry could create 150 Kokoda jobs over Anzac period" »

A note on Peter Lalor & the mining of Bougainville

BRA at Panguna
Bougainville Revolutionary Army fighters look down on Panguna mine, 1996 - PNG Public Solicitor Peter Lalor did his best to avoid the terrible conflict that mining triggered in Bougainville


SYDNEY - I had intended to leave discussion of former Papua New Guinea public solicitor Peter Lalor’s vital role in the Bougainville story until a later chapter of my Kiap’s Chronicle, but a comment from Peter Salmon suggests I should include Lalor’s view now.

Salmon noted, “It's interesting to ponder that our Aussie enslavement to British law and the concept of crown mineral rights led to this tragic situation in Bougainville”.

Lalor had expressed his views on this unequivocally in a long letter to the editor of the South Pacific Post (now the PNG Post-Courier) in October 1966:

“The common law of England always was and is that the owner of land is entitled to all minerals beneath and within it with the exception of the royal metals, gold and silver, which belong by ancient prerogative to the Sovereign…. Copper is owned by the landowner....

Continue reading "A note on Peter Lalor & the mining of Bougainville" »

The Death of Decency - Part II

Death of decency (Medium)MARIE-ROSE SAU

The music started playing years ago
When the sun stopped shining if you know what I mean
Darkest cloud hover and cover over us
Lies are worn with golden belts to church
The greedy wear pride with honour

The shameless with hearts as black as the night
They run around in deceit on wheels
Whetting mouths, owl eyes that prey like eagles
Plucking the innocent from their nests
To devour shamelessly

But is it a norm that we forget the polaroids on the sidewalks
And face the portraits hanging on walls
All cussing and fussing to fight the bigger fight
Forsaking our mother’s plight?
We truly are a sorry sight

Continue reading "The Death of Decency - Part II" »

Marape: PNG’s political ‘glasman’ try to work out what’s next

James Marape
James Marape - the 'glasman' (forecasters) seek to interpret his motives, and what his next step will be

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE -The last 48 hours has had Papua New Guinean social media forums buzzing with excitement.

Before James Marape, announced his resignation, very few people expected a crack that high up in the People’s National Congress ranks.

Marape said he was leaving because prime minister Peter O’Neill had lost trust him and that the prime minister’s associates contributed to it.

Until Thursday this week, James Marape was one of the top men in the prime minister’s inner circle. As finance minister, he was a major player in the formulation of six national budgets and oversaw various  finance related policies by the O’Neill-Abel government.

Continue reading "Marape: PNG’s political ‘glasman’ try to work out what’s next" »

Is the new Papua LNG project all that it appears?

Elk-Antelope (PNG Resources)
One of the Elk-Antelope exploration sites


PORT MORESBY – A letter passed to me by a former member of the Papua New Guinea parliament, purportedly written by a “senior technical officer working for the Department of Petroleum”, tells a story which, if true, represents a huge scandal even in a country where scandals are commonplace.

The letter, addressed to “Dear PNG”, claims that the just inked Papua LNG deal, which preceded finance minister James Marape’s departure from the ministry on Thursday, is based on a fraud.

This seems an extraordinary allegation to make of a multi-billion dollar project involving a national government and some of the biggest global names in resource development, but that is what the ‘senior technical officer’ claims.

Continue reading "Is the new Papua LNG project all that it appears?" »

No Huawei but plans firm up for Australia-PNG-China cable

Submarine cable
Schematic: Submarine internet cable

STAFF EDITOR | Taipei Times

SYDNEY - US submarine cable company SubCom will lay an internet link from Australia to Hong Kong through Papua New Guinea, deepening its involvement in a region where China’s Huawei Technologies has sought to expand.

The route will be the most direct internet link yet between Australia and China.

It includes a connection to Madang in PNG and possible branches to Port Moresby and Honiara in the Solomon Islands — connections that Huawei had agreed to make before Australia blocked its project last year on security grounds.

The SubCom cable will likely stifle any commercial case for future Huawei cables in the region, said Jonathan Pryke of the Sydney-based think tank, the Lowy Institute.

Continue reading "No Huawei but plans firm up for Australia-PNG-China cable" »

PNG men’s latest stupid problem: Botched penis enlargements

Port Moresby General's 500 cases of penile disfigurement in two years - "These people are causing themselves harm, they do it to themselves"

KATE LYONS | The Guardian

PORT MORESBY - Doctors in Papua New Guinea have warned of a “nationwide problem” of men injecting foreign substances, including coconut oil and silicone, into their penises in an attempt to make them bigger.

A doctor at the Port Moresby General Hospital said that over the last two years his clinic has treated at least 500 men with penile disfigurement and dysfunction as a result of injections.

“I have seen five new cases every week for the past two years and these are the ones that have come forward for treatment. We don’t know how many of them are out there,” said Akule Danlop, a surgeon at the hospital. “I saw seven today.”

The substances injected include coconut oil, baby oil, silicone and cooking oil and the side effects are serious, sometimes irreversible.

Continue reading "PNG men’s latest stupid problem: Botched penis enlargements" »

Shockwaves hit PNG as Marape resigns from ministry

O'Neill and Marape (PNG PM Media Office)
Peter O'Neill and James Marape - a strategic partnership critical to PNG governance has been blown up. Is it policy-driven, power-driven, money-driven or just a political stratagem?


KUNDIAWA – The resignation of finance minister and Peter O’Neill comrade in arms James Marape has sent shockwaves throughout Papua New Guinea and signalled a possible changing of the political guard when parliament resumes in May.

Marape, who is the member for Tari-Pori and a provincial colleague of O’Neill, also held the key post of leader of government business in parliament.

His resignation came three days after the government signed an agreement for the development of PNG’s second liquefied natural gas project to proceed, this one in Papua.

Reports that he has been joined in his resignation by defence minister Solan Mirisim, MP for Telefomin and like Marape a People’s National Congress member, have been denied by Mirisim.

But other Cabinet ministers may follow suit, leading to a possible vote of no confidence when parliament resumes on 7 May.

Marape made his decision public in a news release on social media early yesterday afternoon that immediately went viral.

Continue reading "Shockwaves hit PNG as Marape resigns from ministry" »

Angra Bill Standish & Simbu: We remember our good friend

Bill memorial
A memorial for Bill Standish will be held in Canberra this coming Monday. Instead of flowers, the family wishes that donations be made to Médecins Sans Frontières at


KUNDIAWA - It was no ordinary hauskrai. Under the mango tree at the Riverside Hotel it was special.

Special because there was much laughter, and fun, and also solemn moments. Young and old came from far off places in Simbu – many of them I knew, others I had never met. They were all friends of Bill Standish.

Angra Bill’s brothers and sisters. His namesake and his wife Sue’s namesake from Mindima village came. We all came together to celebrate the life of a great mate, a teacher, a mentor, a brother, a father and a namesake.

Bill Standish’s good friend Steven Gari came with his family from Asaro in the Eastern Highlands Province. They brought with them a big pig for the celebration.

Others came with vegetables, bananas, avocados, bread, frozen meat and more - everybody brought something for the barbecue. There was lots of food.

We displayed a blue trampoline as a sign of a true hauskrai. But unlike the usual crying house in Papua New Guinea that can go on for many days, this hauskrai only lasted just four hours.

Grown men broke down before they uttered a word and others who assembled could not hold back their tears.

We live in a society where emotions are never far from breaking point, especially at gatherings like this where we mourn the departure of loved ones.

Continue reading "Angra Bill Standish & Simbu: We remember our good friend" »

Archaeology unravels stories about ancient PNG-Australia trade

Motu trading ship  1903-1904 (The British Museum)
Motu trading ship 1903-1904 (The British Museum)

| 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" »

Innovative John Roka learning centre opens in Panguna

John Roka
The school is named for John Roka, a community leader who was assassinated during the Bougainville civil war. He is the father of author and entrepreneur Leonard Roka


PANGUNA, BOUGAINVILLE – Today we open the John Roka Memorial School and Child Counselling Centre, a new name and an expansion of the early childhood learning centre established in the Panguna area in 2014.

The institution's activities is not limited to children, counselling is provided to all ages indications so far show a need for family counselling as a main activity.

The staff are committed to accommodating the counselling needs of the community and also to assisting parents to become good home educators to develop our future human resources.

The school kicked off thanks to the taxpayers of Australia and it now has a permanent structure that houses two classrooms, a library, a counselling room and toilets.

We aim to make learning better by installing an e-library that will be accessible by students from the nearby primary school. One classroom will also have a computer and projector for multimedia learning.

The school's new curriculum will be completed in mid-year and fully implemented in 2020. With five years of operation already behind it, the school is on its way to break down the walls of illiteracy amongst the immediate population and beyond.

Continue reading "Innovative John Roka learning centre opens in Panguna" »

Cracks in the ceiling: Trust issues bust O’Neill-Marape partnership

James Marape
James Marape - "Most of my advice finds no traction and is incompatible with the prime minister’s worldview"


PORT MORESBY - It is with regret that I announce my resignation as a minister of state in the O’Neill-Abel government.

Since July 2012, I have been conferred by prime minister Peter O’Neill this high privilege to serve my country Papua New Guinea as Minister for Finance and Leader of Government’s Parliamentary Business, but today I resign from these occupations.

This decision is not easy to make and despite cultural and personal ties, the level of trust between prime minister and myself is at the lowest after his office and associates continue to send negative signals on their lack of trust on me.

Whilst we don’t have any personal differences, we do differ on some work and policy related matters.

Continue reading "Cracks in the ceiling: Trust issues bust O’Neill-Marape partnership" »

PNG is not Pasifika – we are not so much of the ocean

Writer and polemicist Martyn Namorong at Goroka Airport in his prize-winning sulu


PORT MORESBY - Last year in Goroka I attended a party at a hotel. Although hundreds of kilometres from the sea and high in the clouds of the Papua New Guinea highlands, it was a Pasifika themed party.

Luckily I had taken along my sulu on that work trip and so, wearing my sulu and a bula shirt, I was pretty much 100% Pasifika for the night.

(It also turned out I was the only Pasifika-dressed party goer, so by default won the prize that was on offer.)

My Goroka experience provided a glimpse into how PNG wants to be Pasifika but doesn’t behave as such. Not just in fashion, of course, but in terms of common values and more importantly the customs (kastom) that define this region and its people.

My first observation of why I think PNG is not a Pasifika nation is that of how we perceive our physical environment.

One really gets a sense of Pasifika as the ‘liquid continent’ when taking off from Honiara, Nadi or Nuku'alofa and noting how tiny are the islands and how vast the ocean. From Port Moresby, you can look to the horizon and see land stretching to the peaks of the highlands.

Continue reading "PNG is not Pasifika – we are not so much of the ocean" »

Will project reviews mean more benefits for PNG landowners?

Mcc-basamukSCOTT WAIDE | Asia Pacific Report | Edited

LAE - Just into the fourth month of 2019 and resource projects in Papua New Guinea have come under scrutiny.

Early last month, senior government ministers, including petroleum minister Fabian Pok, travelled to Komo in Hela Province for meetings with landowners of the liquefied natural gas project.

After 15 years, there is some progress in negotiations, or at least that’s the positive spin to it.

There appears to be some indication that royalties locked away due to legal battles and entangled in bureaucratic red tape is going to be paid – but only after landowner’ identities can be reliably established.

Continue reading "Will project reviews mean more benefits for PNG landowners?" »

The Kitoro

Rigo danceSHEENA SIMELOLO | An entry in the Crocodile Prize Cleland Heritage Writing Award

Sheena Simelolo is a 29-year old teacher from Rigo in Central Province, but working in Goroka. She writes of herself: "I come from the Rigo inland district of Central Province. Writing short stories is like a hobby for me. I wrote this particular piece while a student at the University of Goroka".

RIGO - There was no doubt Gege Gori was the most beautiful girl in the village and all the girls envied her beauty.

She was tall and slender in build, had long, shiny, wavy hair the colour of midnight. Her soft fair skin always smelled of freshly perfumed coconut oil. Her eyes were magnificent. They were the darkest of browns and when she smiled they came alive with twinkles.

Gege probably never noticed Vele Vala the village musician's son watching her every day. Vele would creep behind tall bushes just so he could listen to Gege's voice when she talked with her friends as they went to fetch water from the nearby river.

Continue reading "The Kitoro" »

Pride of the force - How we grew Lae’s rapid police response unit

Anthony Wagambie Jr
Anthony Wagambie Jr

ANTHONY WAGAMBIE | My Land, My Country

The Lae Police Sector Response Unit (SRU) was launched to deter criminals who took advantage of weak policing in Papua New Guinea’s second largest city. Since it was set up, Lae police command has been monitoring the results. Average response time is now between five and ten minutes.

LAE - I took a gamble in forming the new unit. We selected a bunch of very young probationary constables with just over a year in the field.

We put them in with experienced non-commissioned officers, the majority of whom were former Mobile Squad and Lae Rapid Response members.

I told them, “You guys will make it or break it. If you fail and I fail, I will be dealt with!”

We nurtured them, me being in the field and taking command myself to make sure the SRU operated the way I wanted. Now my boys are very experienced and everything is in place.

Continue reading "Pride of the force - How we grew Lae’s rapid police response unit" »

As China strengthens & the West falters, world grows precarious

Chris Overland
Chris Overland


ADELAIDE – Yesterday’s article by Yu Lei is illuminating for many reasons. As other PNG Attitude readers have also observed, the choice of language alone is revealing.

Like Paul Oates commented, I believe credit has to go to the Chinese government for heaving the entire country into the modern era in a stunningly short period of time. The increase in wealth and opportunities afforded to Chinese people generally has been nothing short of astounding.

That said, it has come at a considerable price in terms of individual liberty, the environment, the conspicuous absence of the rule of law and a good deal of human suffering for those who have not fallen into line with the ruling party's dictates.

Also, it is fair to say that China has been quite willing to steal the knowledge and technology required to achieve its economic miracle. It has done this on a large scale.

Now, with confidence in itself and its manifest destiny to become the paramount power in the world, the Chinese government is revealing itself as the ruthlessly autocratic regime that it has always been.

Continue reading "As China strengthens & the West falters, world grows precarious" »

Court victory in PNGSDP matter is humiliating for Peter O’Neill

Mekere Morauta (2)
Sir Mekere Morauta - "I call on Mr O’Neill to stop coveting the $US1.4 billion held by PNGSDP"


Sir Mekere was formerly chairman of the PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd and led the defence against prime minister Peter O’Neill’s attempt to take state control of it. He comments here as an individual, not on behalf of PNGSDP or its board

PORT MORESBY - I welcome the decision of the Singapore High Court in favour of PNGSDP and against the State of Papua New Guinea.

It is a comprehensive victory for PNGSDP and for the people of Western Province and a humiliating defeat for Mr O’Neill, and an expensive exercise in futility by him.

It is time he stopped lamenting his defeat and turned his attention to save our struggling country.

Instead of wasting time and money on something he cannot win, he should focus on fighting corruption and abuse of public assets and resources.

He should focus on solving the problems he has inflicted on Papua New Guinea.

The Singapore High Court found in favour of PNGSDP on all counts.

Continue reading "Court victory in PNGSDP matter is humiliating for Peter O’Neill" »

Writing & me: Etched words keeping our culture alive


SONOMA – When I started writing poetry in 2015 I had already been writing for PNG Attitude for a year and my inspiration was twofold.

First, I wanted to understand poetry. To read poetry without understanding is like trying to read Hebrew or Greek.

So I taught myself to read poetry and then decided to write it so I could learn its language and beauty.

Secondly, I read an article by Michael Dom on the importance of writing poetry.

He also said poetry helped him with his technical writing. So I decided to write poetry.

And beyond that the poems on PNG Attitude, including witty and elegant prose from Phil Fitzpatrick and others, inspired me to write my own.

I started with free verse, and later sonnets and haiku. My writing of poetry is a work in progress.

I write on varied themes as inspiration strikes me. Most times, I write about religion, politics, creativity, nature and societal events.

Continue reading "Writing & me: Etched words keeping our culture alive" »

The strength of a priest & the sadness of works abandoned

Father Abel Michenaud
Fr Abel Michenaud had seen his share of tragedy


NORTHUMBRIA - The man in the photo is Father Abel Michenaud. It might be obvious he was a Frenchman.

Fr Abel was as enthusiastic about his evening glass of rough vin rouge as he was about his ubiquitous cigarette.

He was born in time to be inducted, when in his teens, by Nazi invaders as a forced labourer in one of many notorious slave camps near Nantes

As a result, Abel came to Papua New Guinea as no stranger to tragedy. The daily trek to his work as a slave, flanked by armed Nazi guards, regularly involved avoiding fresh French corpses, the bodies of people who had been shot overnight.

He became a Roman Catholic priest and in 1973 was in charge of the remote Sacred Heart mission station at Kamulai in the Guari section of Goilala sub-district.

Continue reading "The strength of a priest & the sadness of works abandoned" »

Australia’s bid to mend ties with China may be insincere

China-Australia-flag-puzzleYU LEI | Global Times | Edited

SHANDONG, CHINA - The Australian government's recent attempt to improve its relations with China has been welcomed and supported by some Australian voters, especially those in business, agriculture, animal husbandry and mining.

However, it is believed that Canberra's apparent change in attitude is a tactical campaigning effort likely to serve electoral interests in the run-up to next month’s federal election. Whether this attempt can be sustained and come out as a sincere bid to improve relations remains to be seen.

The change in attitude is obviously intended to win over Chinese and other voters. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia is home to more than 1.2 million people of Chinese ancestry who comprise the largest ethnic group besides the white people.

Continue reading "Australia’s bid to mend ties with China may be insincere" »

PNG growth is a key threat facing Australia says spy boss

Nick Warner - PNG is one of greatest future threats facing Australia


BRISBANE – One of Australia's leading intelligence bosses has told the ABC that Papua New Guinea represents one of the greatest threats facing his country.

Nick Warner, director of the Office of National Intelligence, listed PNG's rapid population growth as one of six principal security risks confronting Australia.

The other five threats Warner identified are territorial disputes over the China Sea between China and the US, right-wing and Islamist terrorism, technological change, North Korea's nuclear weapons and threats to 'rule-based order'.

Warner said PNG’s population is expected to increase to 20 million in 20 years and this rate of growth will threaten its natural resources including electricity and water supplies.

Continue reading "PNG growth is a key threat facing Australia says spy boss" »

Musings of a songwriter – never know what’s round the corner

Simon Jackson - "Song writing's a bit like living in PNG; not sure what's round the corner, if anything"


Simon Jackson is a software guru (day job) and a talented songwriter (night job), whose music has come under serious attention for its inspired melodies and moving lyrics. Simon was born in Port Moresby and did his early schooling there and in Rabaul and Bougainville before settling in Australia and then New Zealand. Here he writes of his most recent and highly praised album, ‘Two Thieves’….

AUCKLAND – I'm working on a new album - well two actually, although I'm also in two minds about the piano-based album I was planning, Livin' The Dream’.

I’m not sure why I'm backing off this but I'll probably get around to finishing it at some point.

That’s song writing. A bit like living in Papua New Guinea. Never sure what’s round the corner. If anything.

My recent 'Two Thieves' album is doing OK - mostly streaming on Spotify. It got a good review on 'Indie Band Guru' (below) which I was happy about.

'Two Thieves' is not going to make me rich but I'm pleased I did it. It feels like I achieved something, and I love the music. I probably should promote it more, but I'm busy writing.

Continue reading "Musings of a songwriter – never know what’s round the corner" »

Exotic Alotau – a must-visit destination for holiday makers


PORT MORESBY - If you’re thinking of an exotic holiday this year, the Alotau Kenu (canoe) & Kundu Festival from 1-3 November is a spectacular event showcasing the fascinating cultures of Milne Bay.

The stunning traditional war canoes are a significant part of the lives of the Milne Bay people. They are crafted from special woods in the same way as those made by the people’s ancestors.

The patterns and colours represent the tribe and the area the canoes come from.

This highlight of the festival occurs when dozens of canoes, some more than 40 warriors adorned in traditional dress, paddle to the beat of kundus leaving a powerful impression. Races are held amid much rivalry and celebrated with enthusiasm.

Continue reading "Exotic Alotau – a must-visit destination for holiday makers" »

Sean Dorney lends his name to Pacific journalism award

Sean Dorney (Vanessa Gordon)
Sean Dorney (Vanessa Gordon)

SYDNEY - Veteran reporter Sean Dorney has given his name to a $10,000 journalism grant, to be awarded annually by Australia’s Walkley Foundation starting this year.

The Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism will support a major work of Australian journalism about an underreported issue or development in the region.

Walkley Foundation chief executive Louisa Graham announced the grant on Friday in the presence of Sean Dorney.

“Having recognised Sean’s outstanding contribution to journalism, we were very aware of his decades of inimitable work in the Pacific,” Ms Graham said.

“We’re delighted to be collaborating with Sean on this grant. It’s a practical and powerful way to empower a journalist and a media outlet to report on the Pacific, and to continue Sean’s impact and legacy in the industry he loves.”

Sean Dorney has had a 40-year career as an ABC journalist in Papua New Guinea and throughout the Pacific islands.

He retired from the ABC four years ago and is facing the challenge of living with motor neurone disease.

“It is essential that Australians know what is going on to our immediate north and east,” Mr Dorney said.

Continue reading "Sean Dorney lends his name to Pacific journalism award" »

Dancing Kundu Drums


Kundu restless, awakes from long idleness
Dusted off, shells rattling, glistening with new fruit oil
Sending messages far and wide, across the hills and valleys
That the dancing kundu drums approach
Kundu is out for a long night's dancing

People submit to the call of kundu
But to give voice to kundu, they must follow rules
Only the purified and strict are able to partake
Kundu demands respect, adoration and loyalty
And diverse people and decorations assembled

Dancers separated in a secluded house
Coarse voices sweetened, songs much rehearsed
Attire and colours known to that all will follow
Now is the time to illuminate and purify
Not a moment for intrusion, weakness and disorder

Continue reading "Dancing Kundu Drums" »

Huge setback: O'Neill fails to land K4.7 billion PNGSDP stake

In 2013 PNGSDP, under chairman Sir Mekere Morauta, launched legal action against the PNG government arguing it had breached Singaporean law

KC VIJAYAN | Senior Law Correspondent, The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The government of Papua New Guinea has lost its protracted battle in the Singapore High Court to wrest control of an entity with assets worth about US$1.4 billion (K4.7 billion) that were spawned from a deal inked with the largest mining company in the world.

Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy has ruled in favour of PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), saying the state of PNG had failed to prove it had a deal with PNGSDP's co-founder BHP Minerals Holdings for joint control to develop PNGSDP assets.

It also failed to prove that there was a charitable trust that allowed the state to intervene.

"I have found that neither the agreement nor the trust exists. The pleaded breaches of the agreement and the trust must correspondingly fail," Justice Vinodh said on Tuesday.

Continue reading "Huge setback: O'Neill fails to land K4.7 billion PNGSDP stake" »

My life’s journey with Dr Bill Standish

Sarah Garap
Sarah Garap - "It seemed as though he actually came to say goodbye"


Sarah Garap is a community development specialist and was one of the first women health inspectors in Papua New Guinea. She is an activist for women and human rights issues and is co-founder of two women's organisations in the Highlands - Kup Women for Peace and Meri I Kirap Sapotim

CANBERRA - A journey describes life in this broken world.

My journey with angra (brother) Bill Standish is a story of more than 20 years, beginning in 1994. I will write a tribute to him when my head is cleared from the shock of his passing.

For now, it’s this journey to the Australian National University on 1 March this year.

I have always stayed with Bill and Sue in all my trips to ANU – 1997, 2003, 2018, and 2019.

In March he picked me up at the airport when I arrived at 10 pm.

He gave me his old Vodaphone so I did not have to buy a new one.

He took me to ANU for my placement; to see admin and meet people.

Continue reading "My life’s journey with Dr Bill Standish" »

A family conversation about Bougainville independence

Londari  Peter Mision Yaki and Besini at Gordons
Blending of culture: Londari and Besini when small children, in the arms of their dad Peter Mision at Gordons Estate in Port Moresby


WABAG – A message about Bougainville posted by me on my timeline and responses from my dear relatives, Gayle Tatsi and Peter Mision.

Daniel’ message

It is my personal wish that, in their referendum, the people of Bougainville do not vote to break away from the rest of Papua New Guinea.

It is better for us to remain united, especially from a family point of view.

This thought came to my mind when Londari Mision Yaki whose mother, Galye Tatsi is from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB), celebrated his 22nd birthday a few days ago.

His dad, Peter Mision Yaki, is my Aimbarep tribesman from Kondo village in Kandep, Enga Province.

All of us uncles, cousins, bubus and wantoks on both sides celebrated the occasion.

But how will this be if the majority of the Bougainville people vote for independence?

It is hard for me to imagine Londari and his sister Besini getting a passport to visit their maternal relatives.

Continue reading "A family conversation about Bougainville independence" »

My culture, my identity

Abigail SetaABIGAIL SETA | An entry in the Crocodile Prize Cleland Heritage Writing Award

KAIRUKU - I couldn’t help but feel overwhelming pride for my culture as the beautiful bright yellow and red colours were painted skilfully on my face. A proud Mekeo woman, I was at that moment.

Although overwhelmed, I did feel sad that my family was not present to witness their daughter, sister, niece and granddaughter dress in Kairuku’s outstanding traditional attire and sway to the famous Kairuku ribiri song.

As I wore my grass skirt which fell all the way down to my feet, I began to remember stories told to me by my grandmother when I was growing up. Times when my brother and I would be too much for her to handle and she’ll tell us about the struggles she went through when she was in the village.

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What is love


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. There is always some madness in love but there is also always some reason in madness” - Unknown

What is love
When he tells me he likes me but he can’t wait
What is love
When he already has another woman in his bait
What is love
When he can’t tell me the truth after the ‘yes’ bit.
What is love
When she is the cause of every stinky bate!

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Crocodile Prize kicks off with heritage literature award

Cleland_bannerBEN JACKSON

The Crocodile Prize – Papua New Guinea’s national literary contest – is open for 2019 with entries now being received for the Cleland Award for Heritage Literature.

The award will be given for the writer or piece of writing adjudged to have best explored traditional customs, beliefs and stories, and promoted PNG’s cultural heritage.

The Cleland family has sponsored the award since 2012 and former kiap Bob Cleland believes that any society benefits from being aware of its social and cultural heritage.

“I hope that today’s Papua New Guinean writers accept that idea and record for posterity some of the beliefs and stories from their ancestors,” he said.

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Further adventures of a young patrol officer

Robbins - Musa Gorge downstream
Downstream from the Musa Gorge


SPRINGBROOK - This first story is fairly statistical but I have to do justice to the magnitude of the proposed Musa Dam hydro-electricity project.

This involved some of the biggest challenges that I ever had to face in Papua New Guinea.

To get an idea of its size, the estimated budget was $130 million, and that was prior to 1971. It would have been $1.4 billion in today’s money.

My first task on this project was to locate a road from Pongani on the north coast using a strip map I had earlier prepared on a long patrol and which subsequently was extensively referred to by Comworks engineers.

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Buyers turn to apartments as Moresby house prices soar

Rainbow Housing Estate  Port Moresby
Rainbow Housing Estate, Port Moresby - apartments are in demand


PORT MORESBY - The third annual real estate survey, designed specifically for a local audience, has shown a distinct shift in people’s preferred housing in Papua New Guinea’s national capital.

“Apartments appear to be the preferred choice in rentals and high set housing are the preference for sales,” said Tom Snelling, general manager of Hausples.

“Affordability is still a key issue for most, and we hope that the data contained in this survey will assist those with a vested interest in the real estate market to focus efforts in these areas.”

The survey delivers information about the property market looking at rentals, sales, financial literacy and consumer feedback.

It canvassed the experiences and views of 1,500 people earlier this year.

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The death of Dr Bill Standish is a great loss to Simbu

Bill Standish
Bill Standish


KUNDIAWA - I have been emailed by my friends at the Australian National University that the academic, Dr Bill Standish, died in bed two days ago.

He was a great friend of Simbu and Papua New Guinea and this is a great loss to me and many good people in Simbu who knew him closely.

He had been involved in Simbu for nearly 50 years and we are putting up a hauskrai at my home or at the Riverside Motel in Kundiawa.

Bill had written so much on the Simbu, particularly on its elections and politics, since 1972.

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From back then: Historic PNG film footage uncovered


NEWCASTLE - I have had all my old New Guinea films, shot in the early 1960s, expertly digitised by the Australian Film and Sound archives.

I am now editing them, adding captions and putting them, about five or six minutes at a time, on my Facebook page.

Here are two shorter clips of several films taken in Papua New Guinea from 1961 to 1963. Part of my job at the Australian School of Pacific Administration in Sydney was to take students to PNG for practice teaching experience.

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The downfall of educational laptops in rural Papua New Guinea

PNG kids & notebooksWAYAN VOTA | ICT Works | Edited

BERKELEY, USA - Back in the day, ‘One Laptop Per Child’ (OLPC) promised a digital revolution in education.

By handing out $100 laptops to children, and for the most part sidelining teachers, the organisers believed children would undertake learning on their own.

OLPC had massive media coverage, and for a while, it looked like it actually would revolutionize education.

I happened to be a major critic of the program, citing the need for teachers and school administrations to be involved with any educational effort that hoped to grow past pilot-itis.

In time, those of us who pointed out its failures were proved right. OLPC was a failure outside of a few special cases.

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Legendary Clelands continue to support heritage & literature

Bob Cleland
Bob Cleland and his family contributed greatly to the development of Papua New Guinea


PORT MORESBY - The fingerprints of the Cleland family’s hard work remain throughout Papua New Guinea – from the administrative machinery in Port Moresby to the misty heights of the Daulo Pass.

The Cleland legacy goes back to the 1950s and the family’s story is one of love for Papua New Guinea and its people, and deep respect for its sovereignty and heritage.

Author and former kiap Bob Cleland says that at that time “a unique thing was happening.

“The traditional inhabitants and the newcomers were developing concurrently, side-by-side, with the same aims and aspirations.

“Government, private enterprise, Christian missions and village people were all pulling together in the same direction.”

Bob’s father, Sir Donald Cleland, was the distinguished Administrator of the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea from 1952-66 and played an important role as it prepared for Independence.

Under his direction, the first elected House of Assembly (the predecessor of the post-Independence parliament) was elected in 1964.

Sir Donald also worked to remove discriminatory barriers – restructuring the public service in order for Papua New Guineans to take a predominant role and ending the divisive liquor ban that applied only to Papua New Guineans.

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I want to challenge people to see what's happening around them

Joseph Tambure
Joseph Tambure - "My family likes the idea of writing that will live on. It's an amazing way to preserve the present through the centuries"


MT HAGEN - I’m from the Gende clan which nestles in the embrace of Mt Wilhelm in Usino, Bundi country. I work for the mission aviation fellowship (MAF) out of Hagen.

Poetry was my hobby during my early primary school days but I lost track of it after that until 2016.

I retrieved my early inspiration when I saw the changes happening around me

I want to challenge readers to see and feel what's happening around them.

I like to explore and express my views on environment and on people because we're all connected.

I have an ancestry of oral storytelling and my family members like the idea of writing that will live on for a long time. It's an amazing way to preserve the present through the centuries.

It's also important because we expose and express our country and people as a treasure to the outside world.

My uppermost feeling is when I know my traditional culture is preserved in writing for the coming generations. My low point is that most people are not interested.

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Indonesia & the Pacific Islands: Definitely not yet ‘one family’

PNG foreign minister Rimbink Pato and Indonesian foreign minister Retno LP Marsudi
PNG foreign minister Rimbink Pato and Indonesian foreign minister Retno LP Marsudi - really one family?


GOLD COAST - On Thursday 21 March, The Jakarta Post published an opinion article by Indonesian foreign Retno LP Marsudi that highlighted a plan for diplomatic engagement with Pacific island countries.

According to the article, Indonesians and the people of the Pacific belong to “one family” and call the Pacific Ocean “our home.”

Marsudi emphasised the importance of developing physical connections and enhancing the connectivity of “hearts and minds” and said cooperation is needed to develop the South Pacific and define the future for the next generation.

‘Family’ and ‘home’ are powerful words that represent a place where human dignity and quality are nurtured and valued: this should be a priority for the future generations of the Pacific families. Strong communities are built upon such intrinsic human values.

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Sir Mek: 'Australia turned blind eye to election fraud & malpractice. PNGns expect Australia to condemn corruption, fraud & violence'

Sir Mekere Morauta - "The 2017 election was designed to be chaotic; it was designed to be rigged; it was designed to produce a particular result”


NOOSA – Former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, has strongly criticised “foreign governments and organisations”, singling out Australia, for their assessments of the 2017 PNG national election.

Sir Mekere accused them of “whitewashing the rigging and corruption associated with it”.

He was reacting to shocking revelations in independent election reports published by the Australian National University and Transparency International.

“The ANU report and the report of TI PNG stand out in stark contrast to the remarks made by some foreign governments and in other observer reports of the 2017 election,” he said.

“While those other observers noted irregularities, mostly with the electoral roll, they failed to expose the widespread abuse, violence, intimidation and rigging that voters experienced.”

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The rigging of the 2017 election: (4) Money politics & corruption

Peter O'Neill votes
Peter O'Neill casts his vote at the 2017 national election that was riven by crime figures, intimidation by strongmen, money politics and outright corruption


In this final article based on the Australian National University’s report on the 2017 Papua New Guinea election, journalist Mark Davis concludes with the observer group’s finding that there has been a fundamental shift in the relationship between the PNG people and their politicians – and it’s not for the better.
You can link to the full ANU report here

CAIRNS - Money politics, the use of criminal elements and the engagement of security forces are a feature of elections in the Papua New Guinea Highlands, and have slowly spread into all other regions, most recently into the PNG Islands and Milne Bay.

The ANU report states:

“Money played a huge part in the 2017 elections, and there is no doubt that ‘money politics’, which continues to be most pervasive in the Highlands, was more significant than ever before.

“Candidates across the country (in all four regions) were observed to have spent significant amounts of money securing support and offering material incentives to voters.

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‘Pipia bilong nambis’: Our beaches deserve better than rubbish

Port Moresby Beach  flooded with plastic waste
A Port Moresby beach inundated with plastic waste


TUMBY BAY - Before my wife and I left Hervey Bay in Queensland to move to the west coast of South Australia, we sold our hulking great Toyota LandCruiser but kept our little red Suzuki Jimny.

The 20-year old Jimny is a true four-wheel drive with a narrow wheelbase, no rear hang over, H-frame chassis and mechanically operated transfer case.

It will go places where big, heavy four-wheel drives come to grief and it is an ideal vehicle for one of the pleasures of life, pottering along remote beaches.

Because we are far away from any city or urban areas the beaches here are pristine.

They are especially nice where they occur in little coves surrounded by rocky cliffs well away from any road and only accessible by boat, on foot or in a little red Jimny.

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