A post by Robyn Kruk, Secretary of the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts:
As a trekker who walked the Kokoda Track with you in 2007, and now as the Head of the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts I would like to respond to the concerns you have recently raised publicly in relation to Australia’s efforts to assist PNG to protect the Kokoda Track. I note that some of these points have already been outlined in other correspondence to you from this department. (more…)
The Kokoda Trail will be divided into sections between Owers Corner and Kokoda. Trek operators will be invited to ‘adopt’ a section each and provide a detailed report covering condition of the track, likely erosion problems, drainage solutions, campsite locations, placement of toilets, helipads, airfields, creek crossings, VHF radio blind spots, strength of digicell signals and any track safety issues.
The sections will be allocated according to the route each trek operator uses.
Information will be provided free of charge to the PNG Kokoda Track Authority and will be updated on a regular basis.
Consultants who do not have an intimate knowledge of the various tracks that make up the Kokoda Trail will not be used.
The Kokoda Trail Social Mapping Study will be seek to identify all clans between Owers Corner and Kokoda and the relationships between the varios clans. The study will also seek to identify landowners of each battlesite, significant feature, campsite, creek crossing, swamp area, lookout, waterfall, hunting track and mountain range.
The results of the study will be provided at no cost to the Australian Government. It will be conducted by trek operators with up to 18 years experience on the Kokoda Trail. A number of the trek leaders involved in the study have lived in PNG for long periods, are fluent in Tok Pisin, have a deep appreciation of the military significance of the Kokoda campaign and are familiar with the Kokoda Trail and the Koiari and Orokaiva villagers who live along it.
Paid consultants not familiar with the Kokoda Trail, Melanesian culture and language or military history will not be involved in this study.
A recent proposal to mine part of the Kokoda Trail caused a public outcry that resulted in the Australian government entering into a ‘Joint Understanding’ with the PNG Government to protect the track and its environs from possible mining or logging activity. Among the objectives is an agreement is to assist the PNG Government in undertaking a feasibility study for a possible World Heritage nomination. (more…)
Kokoda is a powerful word. According to the Orokaiva ‘koko’ means place of skulls – ‘da’ is village. The combination of syllables conjures up thoughts of ‘ adventure’ – mystery – danger’ in the minds of sedentary beings.
And no wonder. Orokaiva warriors fearlessly resisted incursions into the Yodda valley when gold was discovered in the late 19th Century. Many early explorers and missionaries ended up in village cooking pots as they were stalked in the remote jungle-clad mountain ranges. (more…)