Nenge – small publisher with big prospects

11 December 2020
Mike Jelliffe on the Aramia River near Balimo, 2018


NOOSA – Nenge Books is a small Australian business based in Coramba near Coffs Harbour, NSW, which publishes independent authors and is the brainchild of a man with strong roots in Papua New Guinea.

The company was established by author Mike Jelliffe to publish his own writing and has expanded to include other works and provide advice to authors seeking low-cost publishing.

“I am always willing to consider publishing any Papua New Guinean authors who are looking for a publishing opportunity,” Mike told me. Authors can email Michael here.

Flying pastors with MAF in the highlands, 2015

Mike arrived in PNG from Australia in 1971 and spent most of his working life there, mainly in aviation as a pilot, manager and trainer. You can read more about him at the end of this article.

He and his wife Kathy raised their three children in PNG and lived and worked in many regional areas – Oro, Western, Sandaun, East Sepik, Southern and Western Highlands, Simbu and Morobe – as well as Port Moresby

Handing over books to church representatives in Port Moresby

A number of Nenge publications are PNG-related and include autobiographies, general interest books and literacy primers. Two new PNG books are summarised below.

Mike says he’s “been grinding away at a sequel to The People of the Bird” and is also midway through editing Pombereol, written by a nurse in Mendi who narrates stories told by her grandfather of life around Mendi before first contact with the outside world.

The People of the Bird is available as a free PDF for Papua New Guineans, who can request it by emailing Mike here.


The Treasury of Teapu: Discovering the real gold in Bougainville by Ray Grindley, ISBN 978-0-6488206-1-1, Nenge Books, November 2020, 366 pages, paperback, includes many photos and pictures. Discounted at AU$30 + postage for PNG orders. Available early in the new year from the publisher at

1969 was a turning point in Australian Accountant Ray Grindley’s life. As a Christian volunteer working with the United Church in Bougainville he meticulously recorded details about the life and culture of the people of Teapu in northern Bougainville.

Now 50 years later, he has combined the stories, along with his own experiences, into one work. There’s a lot in this book: traditional stories, conversations, events in travelling, history, kinship systems, initiation ceremonies, archaeology, spiritual beliefs, mission work and more.

The book is supported by many photographs, making it a valuable record of Bougainville village life at that time. What makes it more valuable is that much of information was lost to the people during the 10 year civil war of the 1990s, when an estimated 20,000 people died.

Each chapter takes the reader on a personal journey with Ray, who arrived in a state of despondency following the death of his girlfriend and left a year later transformed having discovered what he calls the real gold of Bougainville – the love and acceptance of a people previously unknown to him. It’s an inspirational read.

Dekeleba – the Lake Bird by Sarah Kende, ISBN 9780648428480, Nenge Books, 2020, 34 pages, paperback with photos. AU$12.00 + postage for PNG orders. Available immediately from the publisher at

This is a short story of the life of Pastor Kitapateke, who was one of the first converts to Christianity in the Erave-Samberigi-Polupa area of the Southern Highlands. It focuses on his early life and parental influences, his participation in Dobu trading patrols as a messenger and translator, his marriage before conversion in 1961 and his training and pastoral ministry in remote areas east of Erave.

Mike Jelliffe


From 1971, Mike had  a continuing involvement in PNG aviation for 42 years as a pilot and flight instructor and later as a manager in Talair, Macair and general manager of the Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF).

In addition to his aviation qualifications, Mike has an MA in Intercultural Studies and spent 1987-1991 as a missionary and trainer in the Evangelical Church of PNG and he continues to conduct training for rural pastors in particularly in Western and Southern Highlands provinces and Port Moresby.

Training pastors at Dewara in Western Province,  2018

“Many of these people have known me since my early days flying there. Training and facilitating others to achieve their potential is at the core of who I am and hence the focus on training.”

Mike understands that Nenge Books has a role that extends beyond book publishing.

“I believe the most effective role in training and empowering others is through the written word.

“I hope I can be of assistance including training for PNG friends wanting to publish.”

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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