Trekking Kokoda – Read all about it!

GENERAL TREKKING ARTICLES






LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS





CHARLIE LYNN



PERSONAL STORIES



Kokoda Trail: 75th Anniversary Funding Proposals

DVA Funds allocated for commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the end of the War in the Pacific should be restricted to honouring and interpreting the sacrifice of our troops in Papua and New Guinea from 1942-45.

As a key principle they should be directed towards projects that will assist in the generation of income earning opportunities for Papua New Guineans based on our shared wartime heritage.

Commemorative projects must remain separate from DFAT aid-funded activities relating to capacity building, mentoring, social mapping, community development etc along the trail. Programs initiated by Australian environmental officials in these areas, under the guise of a ‘Kokoda Initiative’ over the past decade, have been less than successful.

In the lead-up to the 70th Anniversary of the Kokoda campaign in 2012 Network Kokoda invested $70,000 in the development of a ‘Funding Proposal for a Heritage Interpretation Plan and Implementation Strategy for the Kokoda Trail’. Michael Pender of HPA Projects was engaged to develop the report which can be viewed on this link.

The report concluded: 

  • There is little interpretation of ‘Kokoda Trail’ Heritage; Natural. Cultural or Military on the site itself.
  • Most of the current interpretation is by private donors, is in poor condition and presents an ad hoc, incoherent approach to the stories, events, actions and environment.
  • An overall plan for interpretation on the Trail is warranted as one of the key means of safeguarding and protecting the sites heritage.
  • An interpretive strategy focused on the trail’s history, its heritage and its special nature is the first step to enshrining the Kokoda Trail for future generations of both Australians and Papua New Guineans.
  • Deploying permanent interpretation (consistent with an overall plan) will enhance the visitor experience whilst enshrining the environments core values and heritage.
  • Deploying permanent interpretation (consistent with an overall plan) provides (demonstrably) opportunities of sustainable long-term development for the traditional landowners.

The Pender report remains valid in the lead up to the 75th Anniversary of the War in the Pacific in 2020.

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Adventure Kokoda Funding Proposal for a Kokoda Trail Master Heritage Plan

Michael Pender, an accredited Military Heritage Architect from HPA Projects was commissioned by Network Kokoda to develop a Master Plan for the Kokoda Trail for the 70th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign in 2012. It was not accepted by Australian environmental officials who regarded the development of a World Heritage Listing of the Owen Stanley Ranges as a priority.

Since then a 2015 report from an Australian expert on World Heritage listings, Peter Hitchcock AM and Dr Jennifer Gabriel concluded that the Kokoda Trail does not meet the criteria for a World Heritage listing. A copy of their report: ‘World Heritage, Tentative Listed Sites in Papua New Guinea-Report on a Review of the Sites’ can be viewed on this link’.

The conclusions in the following Funding Proposal by Michael Pender remain relevant and should be considered for properly commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of the War in the Pacific in 2020:

  • The Kokoda Trail is an important heritage site for both Australia and Papua New Guinea.
  • The heritage values of the Kokoda Trail are unique and in evidence.
  • As custodian, Papua New Guinea is not able to protect or manage the heritage.
  • The Kokoda Initiative cites tourism as a key driver for development and the aspiration for World Heritage Listing.
  • There is no current Plan for protection/interpretation of the sites Heritage.
  • A trekking industry has developed that clearly demonstrates the key relationship between the sites heritage, tourism and sustainable long-term development.
  • There is little interpretation of ‘Kokoda Trail’ Heritage; Natural, Cultural or Military on the site itself.
  • The majority of current interpretation is by private donors, is in poor condition and presents an adhoc, incoherent approach to the stories, events, actions and environment.
  • An overall plan for interpretation on the Trail is warranted as one of the key means of safeguarding and protecting the sites heritage.
  • An interpretive strategy focused on the trails history, its heritage and its special nature is the first step to enshrining the Kokoda Trail for future generations of both Australians and Papua New Guineans.
  • Deploying permanent interpretation (consistent with an overall plan) will enhance the visitor experience whilst enshrining the environments core values and heritage.
  • Deploying permanent interpretation (consistent with an overall plan) provides (demonstrably) opportunities of sustainable long-term development for the traditional landowners.
  • Cost for development of a Heritage Interpretation Plan is in the order of $250,000.
  • Cost for implementation of the Plan is in the order of $2 Million.
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Apology to Kokoda Trail Villagers

In recent years the academics have discovered New Guinea. Grave, plump, portentous, they swarm north in their hundreds each winter, generally finishing somewhere near Goroka in the Eastern Highlands where at times they become so numerous that every bush and stone seems to conceal a lurking bureaucrat or anthropologist.  After a few weeks or a few months they return home to prepare brisk solutions for all the problems which beset the land.  Too often they see New Guinea coldly as an exercise in nation-building to be carried out as quickly as possible, with one eye on the taxpayer at home and the other on some ranting demagogue in the United Nations”.
Keith Wiley. Assignment New Guinea. 1965

Olgeta,

We met 28 years ago when you welcomed me into your villages on my first trek with Alex Rama in 1991. At the time you told me that few people trekked across the trail – probably less than 100 each year – and you only made a few kina selling your vegetables at markets.

The following year Paul Keating put Kokoda on the map when he became the first Australian Prime Minister to visit the plateau since the war. He was moved by the experience and his words resonated throughout Australia.

The first 20 trekkers I led across the trail to honour the 50th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign in 1992 were also moved by the significance of the occasion; the traditional welcomes you provided; and the support of your guides and carriers.

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Kokoda 4 Schools

Adventure Kokoda Leadership Plus 4 Schools Program

  • Synopsis
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Essential Due Diligence Checks for School Principals
  • Why Adventure Kokoda
  • Trek Leaders
  • Testimonials

Synopsis

Our ‘Kokoda Leadership Plus 4 Schools Program‘ is based on the historical adversity of the Kokoda campaign. It’s not about victory or defeat – it’s about the ability of the human spirit to conquer adversity. It’s about understanding that their legacy is our liberty. It’s about the development of personal leadership.

‘If you want to discover new horizons you must be prepared to lose sight of land’. The Dalai Lama

Our Leadership Plus 4 Schools program does just that as students embark on a journey to the ‘land of the unexpected‘ – ‘a land with a thousand cultures’ represented by a ‘Parliament of a Thousand Tribes.

Papua New Guinea is also our closest neighbour; our former mandated territory; our wartime ally; and our fellow Commonwealth of Nations member.

Students will be supported by, work with and learn about two of the 850 cultural groups that comprise the island nation – the Koiari and the Orokaiva.

They will be led by experienced army veterans who have a combined total of 160 years professional military experience in combat zones from Vietnam, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan as well as peacekeeping duties around the globe. Their leadership text-book is based on their own personal experiences – and they know how to handle emergencies in remote areas.

OurKokoda leadership Plus Program’ is based on our collective wartime experiences and the evolution of Australian leadership from Gallipoli, where we fought for Britain and lost – to Kokoda where we fought for Australia, and won!

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Why Adventure Kokoda?

TripAdvisor has judged Adventure Kokoda to be the best trekking company on the Kokoda Trail in 2019 – for the 5th consecutive year.

The 560 trekkers we have led across the trail this year has generated the following benefits for PNG:

  • K1 million for Air Niugini
  • K200,000 trek fees for the KTA
  • K290,000 for food purchases at Port Moresby supermarkets
  • K260,000 for accommodation at Sogeri
  • K100,000 for bus/truck transport
  • K450,000 for charter aircraft between Port Moresby and Kokoda
  • K2.56 million in wages for our PNG guides and carriers
  • K400,000 for campsite owners
  • K130,000 for local purchases along the trail
  • K260,000 worth of school and medical supplies donated by our trekkers
  • K60,000 worth of clothing and equipment donated to guides and carriers at the end of their trek

This equates to a total benefit of K5.35 million for PNG from Adventure Kokoda this year![i]. In 1991, when Charlie Lynn first trekked across the Kokoda Trail the combined income of all the subsistence villages was estimated to be around K60,000 – we have come a long way together.

In addition to this Network Kokoda, a Not-For-Profit company established by Adventure Kokoda, has:

  • Built a Koiari Women’s Learning Centre at Sogeri
  • Developed community market gardens at Sogeri and Iaowari High School and Sogeri National High School
  • Built a Community Centre at Abuari
  • Assisted in the building of a TB Isolation Ward at Popondetta Hospital
  • Engaged a full-time agricultural graduate to provide assistance to school and villagers on the Sogeri Plateau
  • Developed a Commercial Fish Farm at Iaowari High School
  • Donated 4000 library books to Port Moresby Grammar School

Major Charlie Lynn’s work in establishing the Kokoda trekking industry was recognised in 2015 when he was honoured with his induction as an Officer of the Logohu by the PNG Government in their New Years’ Honours List ‘for service to the bilateral relations between Papua New Guinea and Australia and especially in the development of the Kokoda Trail and its honoured place in the history of both nations’ over the past 25 years.


Matthew Billy evacuated from Hoi for an emergency operation in Port Moresby
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