New Children’s Book Announcement

By Caroline Evari

I would like to announce the publication of my newly published children’s story book When I grow up which is now available in paperback on amazon for 6.20 US dollars

This book is a collaboration with Papua New Guinean female artist Clarisa Alu and poet Bradley Gewa. Inspired by traditional art, every character in this book represents a province of Papua New Guinea. It teaches children to dream big and helps them understand that regardless of their gender or ethnicity, they can grow up and achieve anything they wish for. When I grow up is suitable for early learners up to grades 4 students, and it’s my first independently published children’s story book with the assistance of both a Papua New Guinean artist and publisher.

Hard copies will be made available by mid June so if you would like to pre-order or purchase a copy for your child, you can reach me on email

My collection of children’s story books published under the Library for All’s Together for Education project in Papua New Guinea consists of the following titles:

  1. Let’s go up to the mountain
  2. Raindrops 
  3. Are you ready to help with the mumu today?
  4. Jack and his rugby ball
  5. Old Mulga and the pawpaw tree
  6. Exercise
  7. In my country
  8. Delilah the photographer
  9. Vanua gets ready for Independence Day
  10. Mellam at church
  11. Fred’s trip to the market
  12. Zach and his toy truck  
  13. Max’s accident
  14. Let’s make tapa
  15. The balloon race   
  16. Nippa’s cupboard costume
  17. Jamie’s boombox
  18. Zuki the crocodile
  19. Elma brakes grandma’s cake
  20. Paul and bubu Tau’s Christmas tree
  21. Mona and the turtle
  22. It’s Belinda’s birthday party
  23. My flower garden
  24. Nehemiah’s first Christmas
  25. Mona and the barbeque
  26. Mikai and the firecrackers 
  27. Planting trees

Christianity seems to have failed us badly


Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG Attitude, 06 May 2021

PORT MORESBY – At independence the constitution of Papua New Guinea did not separate church and state.

In fact, the constitution declared Christian values as a decent custom to be adopted, upheld and passed on to the next generation.

Besides, the constitution did not forbid any other religions of the world to be practiced in PNG, including Melanesia’s Animism.

Animism – the belief that all elements of the material world possess a spiritual connection to each other.

Throughout our peoples long, long historical journey, Melanesian Animism kept the many different nations in the islands of New Guinea – big and small – functioning and industrious.

Unfortunately, the early missionaries ignorantly condemned Melanesian culture in its many variations without appropriate understanding, and the kiaps continued in the same way.

The intruders used coercion – whether through sweet talk, guns or bibles – to undermine and destroy a cohesive socio-economic, spiritual and politically astute society.

Missionaries made the indigenous people feel bad about their language, names, dress and knowledge, including knowledge of the spiritual world.

The native people were taught the foreign understanding of spirituality and made to say prayers such as ‘In Nomine Patris, et filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen’.

The Pope came to PNG in 1984 and reinforced this.

The wave of cultural imperialism that swept through Melanesia forced the natives to abandon their world view and forgo a vault of knowledge about the physical and spiritual world.

The now independent state of PNG would have built Heaven here if Christianity had brought in noble customs. But it did not.

Self-proclaimed baptised Christians now manage the state institutions and they are notorious for their corruption and they intimidate the justice system with impunity.

Christianity manipulates the masses with promises of the good life and in return the masses feed the pastors and priests from their scarce and hard-earned cash.

“The Lord will bless you threefold and heaven is yours,” are the words offered to the hard working masses who give others a more luxurious life.

And, just like the missionaries, the politicians and bureaucrats have also easily fooled the God-fearing masses.

The national elections in 1997 were dominated by the issue of Sir Julius Chan’s engagement of Sandline mercenaries earlier the same year in an attempt to turn the Bougainville crisis PNG’s way.

The employment of mercenaries led to mutiny by some army officers, street protests and public disgust with politicians and their perceived corruption.

At the height of this scandal, Operation Brukim Skru (genuflection) gained momentum. This was a pan-denominational prayer campaign for repentance and for the election of a God-fearing government.

In the highly charged atmosphere leading to the elections, many candidates chose to use Christian language and slogans: ‘I am God’s Servant’; ‘I am a Born Again’; ‘God is Number One’.

Some inserted a picture of Jesus beside their own photograph on election posters.

So what happened? Bill Skate was elected prime minister. He was a man who claimed he was Christ-like – sleeping and eating with the poor and the sick; being persecuted by the political opposition.

Then in 1999, Skate declared God as the prime minister of PNG and the ‘healing’ pastor, Benny Hinn, was brought in by the government.

People on crutches and in wheel chairs came to the crusade at Sir John Guise stadium and Pastor Hinn shouted insistently, “I command you in the name of God to stand up and walk”.

The disabled struggled to rise but to no avail and that night they returned home disappointed.

Skate must have accomplished whatever political aspiration he had for flying in Pastor Hinn (and paid him K1 million) but the masses gained nothing.

Did God make a mistake in giving the people prime minister Bill Skate after Operation Brukim Skru that almost ran PNG over an economic cliff-edge in 1999?

After all, in April that year, the Catholic Church warned of an uprising in PNG unless Skate quit the government. The church accused him of presiding over political corruption and economic mismanagement.

Another disordered politician in Theodore Zurenuoc burnt the cultural poles and totem symbols from different parts of PNG that adorned the parliament building in 2013 thinking that he was doing a service to the people.

Two years later Zurenuoc wasted taxpayers’ money to send five politicians to the United States to bring to PNG a 400 year old King James bible.

The crazy politician treated the bible as a rock-star with superstitious pastors and parliamentarians carrying it, singing and dancing around it and then parking it in parliament.

Now, six years later, prime minister James Marape seems to be a loyal disciple of Zurenuoc, perhaps the last one still standing.

During this acute time when Covid-19 is a threat to the people’s lives and livelihoods, Marape is asking Papua New Guineans whether they want PNG to be officially declared “a Christian nation”. Public consultations began last week to gauge support for a change to our constitution.

The inquiry is forecast to consume a K5 million and the masses are wondering what the nation will gain for expending these millions.

Most other countries are not so obsessed about their religion. Their citizens do not openly talk about their religion or hang murals of Jesus in their office.

But they are more Christ-like in their daily endeavours.

Their leaders are transparent and accountable for their actions and if they misuse $100 they tender their resignation.

Before the arrival of Christianity, the natives did not understand the Gregorian calendar and could not tell if the day was Sunday or Monday, or what the year was, but they picked up their digging sticks each dawn and went to the garden.

Each day they worked and sweated hard and their gardens bloomed with organic food. They had domesticated animals and built huge traditional houses and from time to time hosted big feasts.

Whatever God they adored through Animism, that God served them well for their honesty and hard work.

God, Allah or whatever name you give the ultimate being, does not care if you wear a tie, call his name every day, preach in public places or get circumcised.

God just wants individuals to be hard working and contribute to the advancement of humanity.

Jewish folklore said God created Adam and Eve and gave them the powers to procreate and their love resulted in the birth of Cain and Abel.

Likewise, God wants us to get married and procreate and raise children to become productive members of our society.

God also wants us to tend the different varieties of food. We simply have to dig up a banana sucker and carry it to a plot and plant it and when it bears fruit we are extending the creation.

God wants us to do simple things in life to extend his work. He does not want hooligan pastors and politicians running around wining and dining from other people’s hard work and then telling them how holy they are.

That said, I am fed up with prime minister Marape constantly referring to God when addressing the nation.

In the secular world, a prime minister whose country and government is elected by the people to govern them is expected to research, debate and develop agendas to benefit the people rather than shoving problems to God in the hope of Divine intervention.

The government has research institutions at its fingertips and the has universities to seek clarity on how best to address socio-economic and political ills.

Nominal Christians can sharpen their relationship with God in their own private time in the confines of the family unit or the chapel.

The missionaries came in the 1800s and brought their worship and prayers but life began to slide in the direction of Hades and now missionaries, government, scholars and village sages unanimously lament the demise of the good life.

Perhaps it’s about time PNG shelved Christianity and examined the religions of some of the well managed countries and economies of the world. Their religions must have served as a pillar to their good life.

Otherwise reneging on Christianity and returning to Animism may be a better option, because our ancestors were better-off before the arrival of this Western religion.

Implications of Unequal Sexual Power faced by PNG wives


Sex in marriages or sex between a husband and a wife is undeniably a contentious issue of research and formal discussion. From a cultural perspective, in many cases, Papua New Guineans are strong believers that whatever that happens in a marriage is private. On one hand, there are arguments that lack of sex causes spouses to cheat, on the other hand, too much sex may be a catalyst to sexual health issues.

While these arguments remain significant another important question arises, one that concerns inequality and patriarchy.

First, what are the implications of unequal sexual power in marriages?

Second, what happens when one partner dominates sexual activities in a marriage?

This thesis will assess the implications faced by Papua New Guinean wives as a result of having unequal sexual power in their marriages. Specific emphasis will be on the effects of unwanted/unplanned pregnancy, general health implications and also on sexually transmitted infections.

Unequal sexual power means not being able to decide when to become pregnant, have sex or whether to use contraceptives or not when having sex.

In respect to PNG cultural norms, it is common knowledge that men have always dominated the household. What is also common knowledge but less talked about is that this domination extends into the bedroom where men decide where, when and how sex is undertaken with their wives.

All this happens with little to no consideration of women’s needs and the future consequences that the family may face.

Regardless of modernization which brought with it feminist ideologies and legal rights, many of PNG’s cultural practices have come to co-exist with these changes. And unfortunately, one of which is the subordination of women by their husband’s when partaking in sexual activities. As a result of such negative cultural practices, an implication faced by women is unintended/unwanted pregnancy.

Firstly, unintended/unwanted pregnancy is described by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) as pregnancy that occurs when there was no intention/expectation or pregnancy that occurs at an undesirable time. This issue is commonly experienced throughout PNG. Presently, as explained by Sanga et al. (2014), PNG’s unwanted pregnancy rate is high, it is quite impossible to establish exactly by how much, this is because of the isolation of villages and demography issues. Sanga et al. adds that this rate is fuelled by ignorant sexual conduct and lack of contraceptive usage.

Raising a child is a delicate task, among others, it requires time, patience, resources and finance, as a result, unintended pregnancies bring about new problems for a family. And this burden doubles if there are other children. It can be argued that as a result of the inability of parents to support their children due to unwanted pregnancies, many children are forced to make a way for themselves and in doing so, they resort to criminal activities and petty crimes.

Unintended pregnancy is an issue that has a multiplier effect – where one issue creates another and the cycle continues. In order to help ease the rate of unwanted pregnancies, family planning and the use of contraceptives should be widely talked about, especially on (social) media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and television where people’s attention are drawn towards.  Also, it should be a conversation that parents openly have with their adult children.

Adding to unintended pregnancy, women also face health implications as a result of having unequal sexual power in their marriages.

In terms of health implications, this thesis is concerned with problems faced by women when pregnant, during the stages of pregnancy and soon after childbirth. After giving birth, Laing (2016) states that it takes approximately four (4) months for a woman’s body to fully recover. However, if the sleepless nights, anxiety, stress and normal caretaking duties of an infant are taken into consideration, a full year would be highly preferable for a thorough physical and mental recovery. This rarely happens in the case of PNG women, especially in the rural areas which accounts for 85% of PNG’s population.

Take the case of Julie, a rural mother a six in her thirties, who has consecutively become pregnant soon after childbirth, Mola and Costa (2020), upon examining Julie (who is also diagnosed with cervical cancer) stated that she had faced constant vaginal bleeding and discharge. Also, as a result of pregnancy complications and labour, one of her sons had died and another was stillborn (born dead).

Julie’s case represents the struggle of many women around PNG that occurs on a daily basis. Further, it needs no medical advice to know that a woman’s body is fragile when pregnant. Therefore, being healthy is paramount for her and the child’s wellbeing. Women who give birth and become pregnant soon after have a high risk of facing delivery complications and even dying in labour. Child Fund (2018) has reported that in PNG, approximately 215 mothers die in every 100,000 delivers, this is arguable the highest in the Pacific. Additionally, the report highlighted that women who become pregnant again soon after delivery are 37 times more likely to die or have seizures.

Other health issues likely to be faced is the contraction of a variety of deadly diseases and infections due to a weak immune system and health. To minimize these issues, medical professionals should sternly warn men of the deadly complications that women face and further advise couples on contraceptive usage and family planning methods. Hudson et al. (1994a) recommends that basic antenatal and contraceptive information is vital to all, not just parents but also to young adults who will eventually have children. A stand out of the various illnesses that women are prone to face due to having unequal sexual power in their marriages are sexually transmitted diseases.

Thirdly, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are infections contracted as a result of unsafe sex (sex without contraception) or having multiple sex partners. According to Hudson et al. (1994b), the most common STDs in PNG are Gonorrhoea, Nongonoccal Urethritis, Syphilis, Donovanosis and Herpes. Although not entirely fatal, STDs are responsible for a considerable number of deaths in PNG. STDs are said to have social effects such as shame, disassociation with the public/community, lack of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and also, this may even affect one’s ability to secure and be employed for longer periods.

Additionally, STDs such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). Hence, a HIV positive individual can easily contract other fatal infections such as Tuberculosis and various forms of Cancer, among others.

All this makes the need to minimize the contraction of STDs more important. Married men are much more vulnerable to STDs, supporting this, after conducting a study, Andersson et al. (2002) revealed that one in every three men in PNG are likely to cheat, have multiple sexual partners or use the service of sex workers and in doing so increases their chances of contracting STDs, which can easily be passed to their wives (and other sexual partners) especially when there is disparity in sexual power.

Without proper treatment and basic knowledge of STD, assuming that if a woman becomes pregnant after having sex with her husband who had contracted a STD, their child would also be positive – and for a child whose immune system is much more fragile, the chances of death is higher if not found and treated on time.

Most STDs are treatable, however as discussed, between the recover stages, one is vulnerable of contracting other deadly diseases. Basic knowledge on the types of STDs, how they are spread and how one can safeguard oneself such as by using contraceptives should be made known to the public through varying mediums in language that is easily understandable.

In summary, unequal sexual power is being unable to decide when, where and even, how to conduct sex. This may include not being able to choose when to become pregnant and whether to use contraceptives or not.

In a patriarchal society such as that of PNG where men dominate almost all decision-making, this dominance extends into the bedroom where women’s needs and opinion are least considered during sex. As a result of these realities, the implications (apart from the others, this paper discussed only three) faced by PNG wives are unintended/unwanted pregnancy and its associated social effects, various health implications and associated diseases and also, contraction of STDs such as HIV and Syphilis, among others.

This disparity issue and its implications are great barriers to the development of PNG. Therefore, it is important to empower women so that they can become independent from their husband, empowerment may be in the form of education, employment and easy access to help, all these may assist to reduce the implications discussed.


Andersson, M., Sandstrom, C., Mola, G., Amoa, A. B., Andersson, R. (2002). Awareness of         and attitudes towards HIV among pregnant women at the Antenatal Clinic, Port Moresby General Hospital. Papua and New Guinea Medical Journal 46(3-4):152-65.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, September 12). Reproductive Health:   Unintended Pregnancy.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 22). What is HIV?   

Child Fund Australia. (2018, May 29). A national health crisis: Maternal deaths in Papua            New Guinea. closest-neighbor-png-one-of-the-most-dangerous-places-in-the-world-to-be-a-mother/

Hudson, B., Lupiwa, T., Howard. F. P., Meijden. I. W., Tabua, T., Tapsall, W. J., Phillips, E.       A., Lennox, A. V., Backhouse, L. J., Pyakalyia, P. (1994). A survey of sexually             transmitted diseases in five STD clinics in Papua New Guinea.   Papua and New        Guinea Medical Journal 37(3):152-60.   

Laing, K. (2016, December 7). How long does it really take to recover after pregnancy and          birth? [Weblog post].    body_b_8739254.html

Mola, G., Costa D. C. (2020). Cancer of the cervix – The view from Australia’s nearest    neighbour. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology          60(2):173-174.

Sanga, K., Mola, G., Wattimena, J., Black, K., Justesen, A. (2014). Unintended pregnancy           amongst women attending antenatal clinics at the Port Moresby General Hospital.    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 54(4).

Banabas Menie is a second year student at Divine Word University




Write a poem for World Environment Day on June 5th. The poem may be in English or in Tok Pisin and we want you to try your hand at translating the poem from or to either language.

For examples, if you write a poem in Tok Pisin then translate it into English you may win a cash prize plus additional mobile phone credits.

Check out our posters


The poem may be written in any form or freestyle, may be of any length and should contain references to your own local environment, particularly in your homeland or at a place you know very well or have rececntly visited.

Tell us what you think about the place and how the environment may be in good or bad shape.

Here are two examples by Raymond Sigimet and Michael Dom. And another by Jimmy Awagl translated by Michael Dom.

The competition closes on June 2 for judging by childrens author and poet, Ples Singsing’s very own Caroline Evari and another guest poet to be announced.

Prizes are sponsored by poets Gregory Bablis and Michael Dom.

We encourage our readers to download the PDF posters to print and share them with your local schools and communities.

Reading eclectically is good for the mind

By SIMON DAVIDSON – PNG Attitude 05 May 2021

SONOMA – Reading eclectically is to read books from diverse sources of knowledge – reading a bit of something from everything.

An eclectic reader reads some philosophy, some law, some accounting, and takes a dive into politics, economics, religion, poetry, computer science, political theory, rocket propulsion…. Yes, rocket propulsion.

The literary taste of an eclectic reader is varied and wide. In essence, it means reading something about everything, so you know something about everything.

Eclectic reading expands breadth of learning, stretches mental horizons and proffers a broad spectrum of knowledge.

In my view, it enables the reader to be a literate and global citizen.

History has had many eclectic readers: known as polymaths or sages because of their literary interests, their curiosity and wisdom across diverse fields.

They are generalists who search widely for ideas in many fields. Through wide research they discover many ideas and cross-fertilise them to generate new insights and create new knowledge.

In the past, some of the world’s famous thinkers were eclectics: Galilei Galileo, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton and CS Lewis. Smart men who could to see further than others.

I recall that walk along a steep valley and then up the ridge at its end. A long uphill and torturous climb in the Papua New Guinea way. I trudged upwards for what seemed like an eternity, finally making it to what was a mountain peak.

I stood there, sucking in the fresh air and looking across the valley and the lowlands with view splendid and expansive. I could see further than I had ever before.

In like manner, eclectic readers, those who know how to read widely, see further than others.

Reading gives wings to our mind, flight to our imagination and enables us to soar into a literary universe.

This is knowledge broad and expansive. It is a literary journey exciting and satiating.

Martin Luther, the great reformer, was said to fill his mind with the weighty thoughts of the geniuses who went before him. Ideas ingested become nutrients for the brain.

And eclectic readers are able to get the best ideas from the best books of the best minds and fill their minds with the gold of the finest ideas.

They never run out of ideas. They are never bored. Their minds are like geysers emitting a torrent of ideas.

So what?

I believe we should all read eclectically. Read beyond our own field of learning.

If you are a teacher, read outside your area. If you are an accountant or lawyer, read what is unfamiliar and new.

The time spent is an investment in self-development. Buy books, download books and read books undreamed of.

As you make this effort to read in new areas, your mental horizon will expand and the amount of new knowledge you gain will delight you.

So read eclectically, excite your mind with new ideas, become an ideas factory and, who knows, you might end up being the finest thinker and writer in the world.

Can ATS repel the Chinese challenge?

The bulldozers move in on ATS. Marape says he wants them out – but is he being truthful?

By KEITH JACKSON – posted on PNG Attitude 03 May 2021

NOOSA – I thought this was going to be a good news story, but now I’m  not too sure.

Late last week, Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape seemed to move with lightning speed  to stop a developer evicting residents and destroying homes at Port Moresby’s ATS settlement.

However, just as I was putting the story to bed last night, I got some disconcerting news. But first some background.

ATS stands for the Air Transport Squadron of the PNG Defence Force and refers to the residential compound of the PNGDF ATS which is located adjacent to the settlement.

The ATS land at 8 Mile was traditionally owned by three men from the original Koari people who, in 1995, gave their consent to settlers from Oro Province to live on the land. The leaders of the settlement once said they had documents to prove this arrangement.

Map showing location of the ATS settlement on the north-east fringe of Jacksons International Airport.

The ATS settlement traditionally house people from Oro Province, but now there are many other ethnic groups there. According to various sources the population in ATS is about 10,000, many of whom are unemployed and in serious financial hardship.

According to the Department of Lands, in 2008, under suspicious circumstances, title was given to Dunlavin Limited, a Chinese company. In 2013 police attempted to execute an eviction order from Dunlavin and ordered the settlers, who had been given no notice, to leave.

The court battle over the title continued thereafter and was eventually awarded to Dunlavin, which wanted to develop the land.

Dunlavin took out a new court order to evict people living on portion 695 of the land giving notice of 120 days which ended last Thursday.

Immediately, the equipment moved in and, despite the 120 days’ notice, once again the settlers were caught unawares by bulldozers moving in, this time it seems to construct a road.

“We helped to build a house there for my wife’s family 10 years ago,” a correspondent told me. “It was a much better investment than paying bride price and I was assured the family had been given the land title by a former owner, an uncle who was a surveyor.

“Last week we had to help my wife’s family buy tools to dismantle the house before it was flattened.”

But on Friday it seemed like a court order taken out by the prime minister had brought things to a halt, with ATS residents being promised there would be legal action and the land will remain theirs.

But is this so?

A field agent has been gathering  information in ATS and it seems that people in land portion 695 have been given an eviction notice and people living in portions 694 and 696 are also in fear and are packing because they believe the police will move in with indiscriminating force.

Late last week, local MP John Kaupa  assured the people that prime minister Marape had promised to find other land and give it to the Chinese company – and that the people did not have to leave.

But that promise seems unlikely to be kept because the next day police and bulldozers moved in and demanded the people to vacate.

“It is corruption at play,” my agent remarked. “Politicians, Lands Department bureaucrats and pimps are united in this saga.”

So the people of ATS, all 10,000 or so of them, are at present in limbo.

Is prime minister Marape going to be a man of his word and protect their settlement, their land and their homes?

Or are these just sweet words to calm down  the people and make it easier to push them aside – and with nowhere to go?

We’re about to find out. Have these people been given an option to go elsewhere and rebuild? And if so where? And who will pay for it?

Dr Michelle Nayahamui Rooney has written of these acute problems of urban development in Port Moresby, saying that “at the very least, policies or proposed developments must include provisions to identify those who will be affected and options for their resettlement.”

In her study of the ATS settlement, Dr Rooney wrote that settlers have been such a prominent part of the urban landscape for so long that they not only have developed ways to sustain this lifestyle, they have developed knowledge that can inform urban land policy processes.

That, rather than bulldozers, would be a much better starting point.

But does the Marape government count the ATS people as being citizens worth listening to more than an overseas development company that probably thinks it’s been hanging around too long already?

With thanks to those who provided my information. You know who you are.

Sana: The making of a great man

Academia Nomad | Edited posted 4th May 2021 on PNG Attitude

Michael Somare: Sana, An Autobiography

PORT MORESBY – Sana was first published in 1975, the year of Papua New Guinea’s independence. It traces Sir Michael Somare life from childhood to politics and his leading PNG to nationhood.

Sana (peacemaker) is a metaphor for a life lived both in upholding and fulfilling traditional obligations and enabling the transformation to modernity.

It begins with a vivid description of the author’s early childhood, the cultural and traditional practises that are customary in the Murik Lakes area of East Sepik and specifically Karau village where Somare spent his childhood

Somare was born in Rabaul on 9 April 1936. His father was a policeman who, when Somare was six, returned to Wewak to take up his chieftaincy role.

Even though so young, Somare was chosen to be the next Sana and was given to one of his uncles to learn the chief’s role.

By this time World War II had come to New Guinea and the family was fortunate to escape from Rabaul by small boat. They were also fortunate that the Japanese were in the Darapa area where they lived for only nine months.

When Somare’s father became Sana, he taught Somare the real meaning of the word and its philosophy.

Most important was what he called ‘Sana’s peace-making magic’. When an opposing clan or tribe came to fight, the warring party would first be called to come, sit down and eat.

Later, Somare’s tribe would tell them, “If you want to fight, take your spear and go stand there.” Most enemies would have a change of heart and not want to fight. Sana was also represented the strong belief in reconciliation rather than retribution.

Somare went through three initiation processes. He went through the third after he became PNG’s Chief Minister because he thought it was important for him not to separate himself from his people.

From 1946, aged 10, Somare attended Boram Primary School and then, in 1951, travelled to Dregerhafen Education Centre to complete a post-primary course. In 1954, showing signs of things to come, he won a competition run by the South Pacific Commission’s Literature Bureau.

The, after completing school in 1956, he attended the one-year teacher’s training course at Sogeri. His first appointment was teaching general subjects in New Ireland before, in 1959, being transferred to Brandi High School near Wewak. He had a further teaching appointment at Tusbab High School in Madang.

Somare explains that he was fortunate to be sent to a government school and also tells he continued to regard himself as a village man and was more closely drawn to his people when he realised how the missionaries were dismantling the people’s culture.

In 1961 he was part of a group that undertook a six-week political education course in Konedobu and by 1963, when he was teaching at Talidig Primary School in Madang, he switched jobs to join the publications section of the Department of Information and later successfully applied for a radio announcer’s position in Wewak.

He now not only had a sense of responsibility to protect his culture but was becoming more nationalistic. What he saw as the injustices of the colonial Administration stirred his interest in politics.

While at Radio Wewak he became the vice-president of the Public Service Association and secretary of the Worker’s Association. In 1965, Sir Michael applied for a scholarship to the Administrative College, which trained talented Papua New Guineans for higher office in the public service.

Here he like-minded men such as Albert Maori Kiki, Joe Nombri, Sinaka Goava, Gavera Rea, Jack Karakuru, Cromwell Burau, Bill Warren, Lucas Waka and Ebia Olewale.

These men, and some others, later formed the Bully Beef Club as a political forum which marked the beginning of Somare’s involvement in politics, which was to last for the rest of his life.

A key event flowed from the Australian Minister for Territories Charles (Ceb) Barnes announcing the freezing of all local salaries. Somare spoke out on behalf of the people affected by the decision, an action conflicting with the government policy stipulating that public servants should not engage in politics nor make public statements.

There was no support for these activities from his director at the Department of Information who was annoyed at what he saw as anti-colonial behaviour. But Somare was undeterred and out of the Bully Beef Club came the formation of Pangu Pati. Somare gave up his public service career and became more devoted to politics and the struggle for independence.

Somare became leader for Pangu Pati and, after standing successfully for the House of Assembly in 1968, leader of the opposition. This allowed Somare great freedom to be vocal about colonial injustices and racial discrimination. His time in opposition taught Somare much about parliamentary politics.

He was also able to travel to Africa, Japan and the United States. His trip to Africa was an eye opener and he was inspired to see the black people managing their own affairs and was convinced Papua New Guineans would run their own affairs equally well.

When Somare and his Pangu coalition won the 1972election and led the nation into self-government on 1 December1973, there were many challenges – especially the debate around the timing of independence. But his greatest achievement was not to be denied, and Somare led the country to independence on 16 September 1975.

Somare’s life was shaped entirely by cultural and traditional principles. His successful win in the second House of Assembly election was because of strategies that followed the advice passed down by his grandfather and father were lived with and followed.

There is a connection between his upbringing and his political life. The foreign policy that PNG would be ‘friends to all and enemies to none’ that was adopted by Somare in 1975 was partly guided by his traditional upbringing.

In his father’s words, “As a Sana you do not fight people, first you invite them, eat with them, you make friend first then you can challenge them”. Throughout the book Somare acknowledges Sana’s peacemaking magic and his father’s advice.

He acknowledges the wisdom and strength that Sana passed down to him that strengthened him to bring PNG to independence. Right through to the end of the book he acknowledges and gives credit to Sana’s wisdom that he relied on for nation-building.

We would recommend this book for every generation to read it because it provides a good account of the traditional and cultural values that contributed to, shaped and moulded Sir Michael Somare’s life.

Sana provides a guideline of how traditional principles shaped the moral characteristics of a great leader and founder of a nation.

Somare. M. (1975). ‘Sana: an autobiography of Michael Somare’. Sterling Publishers Private Limited, New Delhi. Sold for K50 at the UPNG Book Shop. Out of print elsewhere but may be available through eBay.

Culturally based leadership in contemporary Papua Niugini


“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things” – US President Ronald Reagan

Traditional chietaincy ceremony in Iokea Gulf Province (2016)

Leadership in contemporary PNG culture is entirely different between the Highlands and the Coastal societies. A leader in the Highlands is recognized as a leader by measuring the amount of wealth this person has and the type of business they own. Their success in business is closely linked to pride and prestige. In the coastal areas, leaders are often selected through a hereditary system where a leader is chosen by inheriting the leadership within the family, clan or tribe through birth. 

In my own understanding, I believe our customary ties with our people play an important part in the leadership role at different levels. I think it is true that owning and operating a successful business is closely linked with leadership pride and prestige in the highlands. It is obvious that it is part of the ‘Big Man’ system. The coastal lowlanders obtain leadership through inheritance known as the ‘Chieftainship’ system where leadership is acquired through inheritance.

I believe the difference in the leadership achievement in the highlands is earned. The man who achieves leadership positions accomplish this through the amount of economic wealth he has. A successful business man who runs a large business is regarded by his people as a leader. The number of pigs shows the wealth that person has to contribute to traditional occasions such as bride price and compensation. The entrepreneurial skill and ambition displayed is also approved by his people to be a leader. It is true that a man in the highlands attains the leadership role by earning the respect of people through owning land, pigs and being able to manage obligations within their community.

The leadership in the Coastal lowland areas may vary in terms of customary traditions. Some parts such as the New Guinea islands and Central province obtain their leadership through the ‘Chieftainship’ system where a leader is selected through birth, usually from a higher-class family where the first born of the chief is expected to be the upcoming leader.  In these parts, their traditional leadership may be passed through a matrilineal or patrilineal society. 

In other parts such as the Momase region, it is based on the patrilineal society. The leadership achievement also varies in the Momase region particularly the Sepik where leadership is passed through initiation ceremonies when a young person is expected to follow certain skin cutting rituals to be able to earn leadership.

There is a clear line of cultural difference that separates how leadership is earned in the highlands and inherited in the coastal lowlands.

However, they all share an important similarity which is cultural reciprocity. The people appoint leaders that are expected to return the same loyalty given to them by the people. The people in the lowlands and the highlands initiate and appoint leaders with expectations for these leaders to give back to the people.

Leadership is determined by cultural obligations and this cultural bond is closely tied together with leadership. A leader must give back to his people in order to maintain a stable relationship and support for each other within the community. I believe leaders aren’t born, they are raised, prepared and shaped by the culture of the society in which they live. To be a leader, a person must return the respect given by their people.  It is important that leaders do not take too much pride in leadership but to use that respect to motivate others to become leaders. 

Lingard Ragin is a Third year student in PNG Studies & International Relations at Divine Word University, Madang

The Rise of the NEW PNG WRITERS

Shane Baiva, publisher, author and speaker

By Shane Baiva

Young PNG AUTHORS like Glen Burua, Edward E Isouve, Gerard William Ivalaoa and Nigel V Sine are rising to leave a mark for this Generation & Generations to come! I am excited, blessed & so humbled to see this young people doing what they love doing – WRITING & getting Published.

In the year 2006, I was declared by his Excellency former Governor General of Papua New Guinea Sir Paulias Matane as the FIRST Youngest & the FIRST Religious Motivational Writer from PNG to get my Books get Published here in PNG & in Overseas. To date, I have written 20 Books & 49 Booklets. I have always have known deep down within my heart that PNG has many very talented brilliant minds that were waiting to be unleashed. But during the years that have gone passed, I have only focussed on the Publication of my own Books – Shane BAIVA Books.

Author: Glen Burua, Title: Turning Adversity into Advantage Publisher: SBP Book Publisher, Year: 2021

It was late last year 2020 when Glen approached me to help him Published his first book. After Glen shared with me the similar struggles I have encountered in my early years of growing up as a Writer, I could feel the very pain & struggles he was facing & I decided that night that just young as Glen was (23 years old) I just didn’t want his dream of becoming a Published Author someday either delay for another longest time or silently die away in the years ahead. I wanted to make sure to contribute to his Success in a smaller way. That night, I made a decision to help Glen & other liked minded WRITERS rise to the call of Writing in a Country where the Art of Writing is a very rare thing to find.

Author: Edward Isouve, Title: The Incredable Human Mind, Publisher: SBP Book Publisher, Year: 2021

Since then, I am so honored to help Published some of the finest emerging PNG Authors. The publishing industry is a very costly exercise here in PNG but these Young Authors have not let that stopped them from achieving their dream of becoming a Published PNG Authors. They have sacrificially dipped their fingers right into their pockets and have raised funds to get them publish their Books & now they’ve done it. I have concluded that they all have One goal & One message and that is ‘Nation Building’.

Author: Gerard Ivalaoa, Title: 70 Reminders of Academic Excellence, Publisher: SBP Book Publisher, Year: 2021

These Authors I’ve mentioned here, please kindly get in touch with them & purchase a Copy of their books either for yourself, family or just a friend for a gift. I assure you, principles & messages they have shared in their individual Books will help you live a better tomorrow. Please note that every proceed from a copy you purchase goes directly to support the Author’s School Fees, Charitable Organizations, Church & Ministry and etc. TOGETHER we all can inspire this Generation to make a difference for PNG as a whole & from PNG to the world. It’s Time for PNG to Shine!

Author: Nigel Sine, Title: Raise Above the Average, Publisher: SBP Book Publisher, Year: 2021



Links here to a short story and new book about Kurai Tapus by Daniel Kumbon



The person written about does not need to be famous or of a high status or position in your family or society. We want to read about ordainary Papua Niuginians who were working in the early days to do something positive for their family, their community and all of us as a nation. The person may have started off as an unknown but later gained fame, or may have been forgotten with all their hard work and efforts remaining untold. We want to read these stories. We want future Papua Niuginians to read your family stories. Share them with us.

In some cases you may want to write to sommeone very close to you, like an adopted family or friend whom you have grown up with and know very well. Let us know about your situation and then tell that story.

Your title header should be less than 25 words in Bold and one full space above the main text.

Text should be ALL in Times New Roman Size 12, single spaced paragraphs and Left Justified.

Subtitles may be Italicized but not spaced from the following text.

Please use Spell and Grammar check. Do a Word Count.

If you have a friend whom you trust with editing then please have them do that for you. Our judges may provide minimum editing but may not spend intensive time making adjustments on stories.

Download a PDF copy of the competition poster here to spread the news to your local schools, workplace or commmunity notice boards.