‘Papa Grand Chief’ will forever be to Papua New Guinea what Lee Kwan Yew was to...Read More
‘Kokoda Day’ has the potential to rival the commemorative status of Anzac Day in Australia. Most importantly it provides a status of recognition for the Papuan and New Guinea wartime carriers – the unsung heroes of the Pacific War campaigns in Papua and New Guinea from 1942 – 1945.Read More
‘I cannot say enough kind words about them. Throughout the entire trek I felt supported and knew that I could turn to them for help at any time. They were always in the right spot at the right time. They were so...Read More
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.Read More
Kokoda Day: A Tribute to Papua New Guinea’s Unsung Heroes
The bleached bones of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of nameless PNG wartime carriers lie where they fell in unknown locations in swamps, jungles and formidable mountain ranges during the New Guinea campaigns. To this day we don’t know who they were. We don’t know where they came from. We don’t know where they died. There is no record of their existence. No medals were ever struck to acknowledge their service towards the war effort.
It’s time to honour their sacrifice by providing a Spirit Haus for their souls and a day to commemorate their sacrifice.
That’s not exactly what they said but the Australian based Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KTOA) submission to a review of the PNG Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) ridiculed a suggestion that they should have to provide for the welfare of their guides and carriers. This could create an ‘entitlement mentality’ they wailed!
What is really required, according to the KTOA, is a combination of ‘education – hard skills – and thought process’.
They don’t explain how they would ‘educate’ a subsistence villager to carry loads far heavier than the maximum allowed for their ‘fuzzy-wuzzy angel’ forebears in 1942 – or how they would ‘educate’ them to sleep on freezing, wet ground without a sleeping bag or mat in the upper reaches of the Owen Stanley Ranges – or how they would ‘educate’ their bodies to be physically sustained on packets of two-minute noodles.
The KTOA assertion that ‘for successful commerce, all parties must bring something to the table – there cannot be a hand out mentality’ is reminiscent of a colonial blackbirder addressing a native work-party in the late 19th Century.
Whilst their submission acknowledges ‘the legitimate right of landowners to participate in and benefit from the Kokoda Track tourism experience’ they maintain that ‘this right needs to be translated to viable means by which this can happen; education and mentoring is needed to develop the skillsets required and the appreciation that self-sustainable change and development requires a contribution from oneself’.
WTF! This surely takes patronising arrogance to a new level.Read More
Bob Hawke probably understood the nature of the Australian soul better than anybody. In 1987 he threw his full weight behind a ‘Welcome Home Parade’ for Vietnam Veterans and took the salute as 25,000 diggers marched past...Read More
This Discussion Paper was submitted for consideration by the Board of the Kokoda Track Authority in January 2015. We requested that other ideas should be canvassed where appropriate so that proposals could be debated and...Read More
Wouldn’t it be great if, during the current election campaign, our political leaders took time out from faux debates, shopping centre strolls, kindergarten raids and baby-kissing and and let us know what their plans are to address the challenges our Melanesian neighbours face within our ‘arc of instability’.
Wouldn’t it be great, if, they were to announce:
•The establishment of a ‘Minister for Melanesia’ with a Department of Melanesian Affairs to focus on our relationship with the island nations in our region.
•The introduction of ‘Melanesian Studies’ into our education system at Primary, Secondary and Tertiary level to provide a deeper understanding of the range and complexities of Melanesian culture.
•The introduction of ‘Pacific Military History’ to encourage young Australians to visit the battlesites that helped forge our identity during World War 11. Build more bridges!
• A ‘Seasonal Work Plan’ that would marry up PNG ‘wan tok’ communities with Australian ‘Wan Tok’ farming communities e.g. Koiari with the Mallee; Orokaiva with The Hunter; Sepik with the Barossa; etc. etc. Included in the plan would be a compulsory educational component and a system of saving through remittance.
•A ‘Melanesian Exchange Program’ for public servants in all portfolio areas to assist in changing the culture of poor governance in Melanesia.
•Introduction of a ‘Melanesian Kiap Scheme’ to provide an opportunity for Australian graduates to live in villages and work in selected areas in partnership with PNG graduates for periods of up to two years.
•A ‘Melanesian Peacekeeping Force’ which included provision for long term exchange programs with the Australian Defence Force.
•Acceptance of a PNG National Rugby League Team into the Australian Rugby League competition (nothing would do more to unite the various PNG ‘wan-tok’ cultures than this initiative).Read More