Bougainville’s White Ribbon campaign to “Stop Violence Against Women”



Women in Bougainville came together today to commemorate ‘White Ribbon Day’ and also to make their stance against ‘Violence against Women and Girls’.
The day’s programme started this morning at around 8:30am with a white ribbon breakfast at the Kuri Village Resort in Buka Town and a march from the resort through the streets of Buka Town to the Bel Isi Park where the official programme to commemorate the day was held.

The march against violence against women was led by the three women members of the ABG House of Representatives, the ABG health minister Rose Pihei, member representing the women of North Bougainville Elizabeth Burain and member representing the women of Central Bougainville Joan Jerome. Present also for the day’s celebrations were Emily, Charley and Jeffery from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hona Holan from the Bougainville Women’s Federation, Agnes Titus form UN Women, 22 male inmates from Bekut Correctional Institute, Bougainville Police Service personnel’s, staff from the law and justice sector and the general public.
As the first speaker of the day, Agnes Titus explained that the gathering together of both men and women today is purposely to act and campaign against the big common issue of violence against women and children. After recalling all the Bougainville women who have died as a result of violence, Mrs. Titus stressed that violence against girls and women is common in the region because women are not being respected by their male counterparts.
She added that currently in Bougainville, we have only three women members in the ABG House of Representatives but as women, we want more women in parliament because with more women in parliament, they can be able to look more at issues affecting women and also make laws to protect women as there is injustice going on everywhere.
When concluding her speech, Mrs. Titus stressed that Bougainville men should come forward and wear the white ribbon and make their commitment to be advocates against ‘Violence against Women and Girls’ in Bougainville.



By bougnews Posted in Women

Bougainville Development Good News: KIETA/AROPA airport set to open



Update: With first commercial flights due on December 26

The Phase 1 of the Aropa Airport redevelopment project is nearing its completion as final touches are being put on the terminal , the runway and also general clearing of the airport surroundings.

Map 2

The Runway has been sealed all the way from the Southern end of the airport to the Northern end. The Contractor (Dekenai) was still doing some rolling this week near end of the runway. Sweeping of the loose aggregates will be completed by this week.

The Runway markings are yet to be done and this will be done after sealing of both taxiway and tarmac area. The runway edges have been cleaned up so well is giving clearly visibility from both sides of the airport.

The old tarmac has been swept and ready to be sealed. Until the sealing is done, markings will wait until completion of sealing and associated works. Drainage works have been completed with former small island within Tarmac being filled by Contractor and will be sealed along with the whole tarmac. It is anticipated that the sealing of both taxiway and tarmac to be completed by end of this week, weather permitting.

The terminal is 95% complete with minor tidying up to do especially VIP lounge within the Arrival Hall. The Departure Lounge is ready for use by Airlines using 3 check in counters. Two Standby Powers Generators are already installed and in place, ready for official opening.



The Terminal Carpark is bieng tidied up and will be completed by end of November. The Public Toilet for Male/Female has been complete and ready for use at end of Terminal Carpark. The Airport Safety Officers( ASO) residence plus the combination of Tractor Shed/workshop is ready for use. A Tractor (New Holland) with slasher attached is already in place.

Last week a team from NAC and a team from CASA PNG were in Aropa as part of the Certification Process. They were in Bougainville to check and ensure basic and minimum safety requirements are being considered during construction, to check and see how far the Project has progressed and or how long more before official date (Tentative Friday 12th December 2014) and also to check on Operational Requirements immediately after the Construction (Personnel, Security etc.)

The Organising Committee( NAC/ABG) for the opening ceremony , have already put plans in place and will further consult frequently to make the day a historic and memorable day for the whole of Bougainville.

For  Bougainville Tourism information : Government Website

For Bougainville Tour Bookings Bougainville Experience Tours


Bougainville Manifesto News: Where to for Bougainville? Review of Leonard Fong Roka’s new book

Where to for Bougainville? A polemic, a plea & a plan

Bougainville Manifesto cover

As Published in CHRIS OVERLAND in PNG Attitude

Bougainville Manifesto by Leonard Fong Roka, Pukpuk Publishing, 88pp, ISBN-10:1502917459. Available from Amazon: hard copy $US6.00; Kindle $US2.98

LEONARD Fong Roka comes from Panguna on Bougainville. Between 2013 and 2014 he wrote a series of articles about Bougainville that first appeared on the PNG Attitude website.

The essays outline the history of Bougainville, including the civil war in the 1980-90s, and suggest a way forward towards eventual independence from Papua New Guinea.

Bougainville Manifesto is many things: a history, a polemic, a plea and a plan of sorts. In it, Roka writes with considerable passion about his island home.

He asserts that, prior to the colonial era, Bougainville was part of a Solomon Islands nation state that had been in existence for at least 30,000 years. There is, in his judgement, compelling historic, socio-cultural and linguistic evidence to support this claim.


Roka rejects outright any idea that Bougainville is logically part of Papua New Guinea, which he regards as being an abstract creation of European colonialism, that was itself an expression of the larger “scramble for Empire” which characterised European politics during much of late 19th and early 20th century.

Roka’s writing is especially passionate and eloquent when he outlines the destruction of Bougainvillean culture and traditional social structures that was a result of the European takeover of the island.

He believes that colonialism rendered Bougainvilleans virtually powerless in the face of a more technologically advanced culture: second class citizens in their own land.  This opinion is consistent with what is now probably the generally accepted view about the impact of colonialism on the colonised.

Bougainville’s demise as a long standing self governing entity laid the ground work for the future disaster that was to consume it.

It was arbitrarily included in a country created by imperial decision makers who had never seen it and knew nothing of its history or ethnic origins.

Its people saw the systematic destruction of their culture and traditions at the hands of the colonial power and were reduced, in Roka’s mind, to near slavery, functionally if not actually dispossessed of their land.

Bougainville remained a colonial backwater until the discovery of vast copper resources near Panguna. This suddenly elevated it to the most resource rich and economically important province in the proposed new nation of Papua New Guinea.

The Australian colonial administration was determined that a vast copper mine should be developed so as to provide a source of income to PNG once it achieved independence.

The development went ahead without any real regard for the wishes of the legitimate traditional land owners at Panguna, who saw little benefit from the subsequent exploitation and destruction of their land.

For Roka, Bougainville was a parting gift from Australia to the newly created government of Papua New Guinea, a government dominated by “redskins” who had no regard at all for the needs or aspirations of Bougainville’s people.

The subsequent collapse of the Panguna venture brought about by the armed uprising led by Francis Ona is now well known, at least to those with an interest in PNG and the South Pacific generally.

Less well known is the complex web of relationships, described by Roka, that under lay the uprising and which helped propel Bougainville into a period of bloody civil war which, by Roka’s estimate, directly or indirectly caused the deaths of anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 people.

Somehow this very brutal and destructive civil war seemed to pass largely unnoticed by the rest of the world. This is probably a commentary on the lack of importance much of the world attaches to the usually very small and poor countries of the South Pacific and Oceania.

In considering where Bougainville might go in the future, Roka rejects any idea that it should stay as a part of PNG. He is adamant that PNG is a colonial construct to which Bougainville has no historic, cultural or ethnic ties.

His strong desire is that it should become an independent entity, perhaps within a loose federation of the Solomon Islands.

It is his great fear that, in the forthcoming plebiscite about the future of the island, Bougainvilleans’ sense of their own identity and uniqueness has been so compromised by the events of the last century that they may not have the will to grasp perhaps their last chance to seize back control of their destiny.

He is deeply worried about what he describes as the “redskinisation” of his island and the apparent lack of strong leadership from Bougainvilleans in elected office.

Roka’s own vision for the future is of a sort of communalist, grass roots based system of governance that, to some degree at least, reflects the traditional structures of Bougainvillean society.

He advocates a strongly protectionist economic structure, an education system overtly oriented towards teaching about Bougainville’s unique culture and traditions and is attracted to the social democratic governance models found in Scandinavia, with their strong emphasis on equity and fairness. Whether such a model can be successfully transplanted into Bougainville is a moot point.

This is a useful book for anyone wishing to understand how Bougainville came to be in the situation that now prevails. Roka expresses what might reasonably be characterised as the views of a Bougainvillean “nationalist”, presenting a very different idea about what the future should be when compared to that of the PNG government.

If Roka’s views are representative of a significant majority of Bougainvilleans, then the result of the forthcoming referendum on the island’s future will see it moving towards independence. This will present huge challenges to both Bougainvilleans and PNG.

Even if his views represent those of a small but significant minority, then it is entirely conceivable that any referendum will achieve little other than to polarise opinion on Bougainville and, perhaps, incite a resurgence of the violence that bedevilled it in the recent past.

Whatever the future may hold for Bougainville, I fervently hope that it is a peaceful and prosperous one. Its people deserve nothing less.

You can help create a better future for Bougainville Children by donating books to schools


Bougainville Government Update: New Public Service must now be responsive to the direction of Cabinet and the House

President Momis

“I am looking for to having these appointments made quickly and transparently. It is vital that the Administration gets down to work under the new Public Service structure and new leadership. Our government has a very full programme of infrastructure, economic development and social projects that need to be implemented down at the districts.” said President Momis.  “We have wasted too much time in the past and the Public Service must now be responsive to the direction of Cabinet and the House.”

President Momis as Chairman of the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee


President Momis has announced that the process for selecting the top level management for the ABG had commenced. Advertising closed just over two weeks ago.

“I am delighted to say that as a result of extensive advertising the ABG has received a large number of applications, over 160, from a wide range of candidates for the positions of Chief Secretary, 13 departmental heads and the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner. Most positions have over 10 applicants,” said the President.

President Momis went on to say “The Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee has approved a process that will see the shortlisted candidates for Chief Secretary interviewed by an independent panel of three people who will make their recommendations to the Committee. Preliminary interviews are taking place, and referee checks will be made. The Committee is planning to make an appointment before Christmas. The selection process is rigorous. There will be no outside interference in the process.”

“I am hoping and praying that the people we select for these positions imbued with the spirit of service to the people of Bougainville. They have to work together to change the culture of the Public Service. They need to earn the support of the people and change Bougainville to its former position of being the best performing and premier government in Papua New Guinea” said the President

Once the Chief Secretary is appointed the Senior Appointments Committee will meet in January and February next year to make the remaining appointments of departmental heads. This is a realistic timetable given the number of applicants and the background checks that have to be made in the next five weeks.

The Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee is made up of President Momis, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Andrew Miriki, Bishop Tim Arthur representing the churches, Mrs Hona Hollan appointed by the Bougainville Women’s Federation and appointed by the PNG Law Society Mr Hubert Kikira. Under Bougainville law the Committee will receive a report from the independent panel ranking the applicants. The Committee may then decide to reinterview the candidates but it does not have to. The Committee then selects the preferred candidate.

The position of Bougainville Electoral Commissioner will also be filled before Christmas. The Bougainville Constitution says that for constitutional offices the National Government must appoint two members to the Committee. The additional members are the Secretary of the Department of Personnel Management Mr John Kali and the PNG Electoral Commissioner Mr Andrew Trawen.

“I am looking for to having these appointments made quickly and transparently. It is vital that the Administration gets down to work under the new Public Service structure and new leadership. Our government has a very full programme of infrastructure, economic development and social projects that need to be implemented down at the districts.” said President Momis.  “We have wasted too much time in the past and the Public Service must now be responsive to the direction of Cabinet and the House.”




Tuesday 25 November 2014


Bougainville Women’s Federation Survey : Why young women aren’t showing an interest in leadership roles.


A survey is being carried out of young women on Bougainville as part of a young women’s leadership programme.

The project is being undertaken by the Bougainville Women’s Federation and is trying to gauge why young women aren’t showing an interest in getting involved in women’s organisations and leadership roles.

President of the Bougainville Women’s Federation, Hona Holan (pictured above) , told Jamie Tahana the project is mainly to find out young women’s interests, and the barriers that keep them from getting involved.

FROM RADIO NZ listen to interview here

HONA HOLAN: We are coming together tomorrow to look at the results of the survey. By tomorrow we should put together the results. The survey was done by the young women of Bougainville with their siblings at the age of 18 to 35.

JAMIE TAHANA: Tell me a bit about this survey. You’ve surveyed how many young women of Bougainville and what did you ask them?

HH: The questions were on if they know about Bougainville Women’s Federation. If they work with other NGOs or church groups and if they are not involved with groups, what are their problems, what are their issues.

JT: Okay. And so this is to address a lack of women in leadership roles in Bougainville is it?

HH: That’s right. This Bougainville Women’s Federation, it’s looking at building the capacity of young women to be leaders of tomorrow. Like making space for them so that we mentor them and they can take our place when we move out of the leadership.

JT: Why do you think that is? That there aren’t so many women in leadership roles. What are the barriers here?

HH: Maybe the barriers are, young women are not interested in activities that we put out. Some questions that also went out to them is what are their interests or how we can get put their interests over so they can join in.

JT: Why is there no interest?

HH: We asked some of the questions around that and the young women were telling us that we are not giving them space. The older women, the mature women, are not giving them space, so that is what we found out from our survey.

JT: Once you get these results, what are you going to do from there?

HH: We are going to share it with the ABG and partners, like development partners, and then we can develop activities to affect, like building capacity and so on, we need to develop activities. It’s not easy because Bougainville Women’s Federation, we don’t have funding and it’s not easy so we need to share the results with other NGOs and the government of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea so we can all see what the young women are interested in. Some of the results are they need education, they need to further their education.

You can support the education of young girls and women by donating to our education revolution

DONATE HERE 20/50/100 $ or kina

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Bougainville Good News Story: A bridge to an education- mekim na save at its best.

bridge 2


Mekim na Save at its BEST-From Camillus Kabui

This foot bridge was built by youths from my village (Onove)  recently at the Panguna  tailings.

It now crosses the Jaba River that when flooded cut of access to approx. 3,000 people

And our children could not get to school

If the flood came up in the afternoon you would have to wait all night to cross in the morning.

All manpower and no machines. It took them exactly 2months 2 weeks to complete.

No qualified engineer was on sight to assist.

Their engineer and leader is a grade 6 dropout.

For scaffolding they built platform from trees and bamboo.

The bridge was built from scrap from downed power pylons.

The bridge is about 60 metres in length and 15meters high.

Now children can get to our community  Joseph Canisius Kabui Memorial School; Kavaronau all year round

This year I have been supporting the school by arranging for a donation of Kindles electronic ereaders (holding up to 1,400 books)

Next year we hope to have 20 Kindles in the school

If you would like to help the great work of our community this Xmas DONATE here



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Sign of School building


Picture above James Tanis presenting the first 5 Kindles to the school this year


Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG


Bougainville Development News: South Korea envoy visits Bougainville

New Dawn Pic

By Aloysius Laukai

Bougainville was privileged this morning to welcome the South Korean Ambassador to PNG, H.E. KIM SEONG- CHOON (pictured above ) to Buka.

The Ambassador is on a three- days visit to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

On Arrival at the Airport he was welcomed by the Secretary for Commerce and Tourism, ALBERT KINANI and later held a press conference with the Bougainville media.

He then made coutersy calls on the ABG President, Chief DR. JOHN MOMIS and the Chief Secretary, CHRIS SIRIOSI.

The Korean Ambassador also visited the Lonahan Primary School and the Hutjena Secondary schools on Buka island.

photo (7)


He will also meet other ABG Ministers including the Mining Minister, Michael Oni,Commerce and Tourism Minister, WILFRED KOMBA.

Ambassador KIM SEONG-CHOON will also have time to visit the Buka General Hospital before returning to Port Moresby this Wednesday.


Bougainville Education News :Essay competition is an opportunity for students to have their say about the Bougainville’s future

2014-05-26 12.56.40

A new essay competition for secondary and high school students in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will provide youth with an opportunity to have their say about the future of the region.

Revised Closing date Friday 13 March 2015

The topic

“Is having a vote enough? What are citizens’ responsibilities in promoting and upholding democracy?”

aims to engage youth in discussion and what they see for their own future as Bougainvilleans.

Sponsored by the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea, the competition offers a laptop computer as a first prize.

The secondary and high school that the winning student attends will receive a Kindle (Can hold up to 1,400 books) from the Arawa based Bougainville E-reader Education Revolution Project that currently has 55 Kindles being distributed to 11 schools throughout Bougainville. SEE WEBSITE

Entries are open now and close on Friday 13 March 2015

The essay competition is open to all high school and secondary school students in Bougainville. Essays are to be 600 – 1000 words.

Entries can be mailed or submitted in person to the Australian High Commission Buka Office, Tsirin Motors Building, Haku Street, Buka or emailed to

photo (5)

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

Bougainville Education News: Education is a Bougainville Government priotity

2014-05-21 10.59.08

In Bougainville, the Autonomous Bougainville Government regards education as one of its priority sectors.

And in terms of the development of the performance and standards of education as revealed by the ABG Deputy Secretary for Policy Paul Kebori, it is very important that we continue to monitor and evaluate the performance of our teachers so that our children can benefit by being able to learn at the highest level possible.

BY JENNIFER NKUI : Picture above Books and Kindles being donated to Nariana Elementary School: Metonasi Region: Nagovisi, Via Panguna ,Central Bougainville

When giving his welcome speech during the opening of the combined regional rating conference at Hutjena Secondary School yesterday, Mr. Kebori urged the standard officers to give credit to teachers where it is due saying our teachers are hardworking and they work in some of the most challenging environments in Papua New Guinea and especially in Bougainville.

He stressed that it is only good that when they go through the rating conference, the officers must look at this challenges and in doing so we can continue to improve the standards of education in Papua New Guinea.

Mr. Kebori believes that the rating conference will be a success and that it will amount to the development of education and the development of standards within the education sector.

Mary Remi who also addressed the conference participants that day asked that the results of the ratings be used appropriately.

The acting secretary for the ABG department of education explained that appropriately means that the results of the ratings will enable some new graduates to be registered as teachers and it will also enable some to move up the ranks to gain eligibility to the next level while there are some whose reports have been deemed unsuccessful.

Therefore when Ms. Remi said that the results of the ratings be used appropriately, it means giving promotions to teachers where it is due and whereby there are unsuccessful reports, that means it also requires assistance from everyone to further develop professional growth for our teachers.

She then stressed that the appraisal of teachers is one major element that contributes to quality academic performance as well and as a result, this rating conference is not only to assess but has other implications.




In the light of the enactment of the new Bougainville Education Act on April 29 this year, the Bougainville education system is now governed by the new Act and hence the Papua New Guinea Education Act no longer applies to Bougainville.

This was revealed by the ABG education minister John Tabinaman when opening the combined regional rating conference at Hutjena Secondary School yesterday morning.

When highlighting some changes to governance in the new Act, the minister pointed out that compulsory education as stipulated in section 3 of the new Bougainville Education Act says that compulsory education for Bougainville will be from elementary prep up to grade 8 and this will come into effect in 2017.

As explained by the minister, this is to give ample time to his department to carry out awareness to all stakeholders and plan accordingly to address planning and financial implications of that concept.

He went on to say that the Act also stipulates under section 17 that members of the Bougainville Education Board can only be Bougainvilleans which is a step towards ensuring that home grown ideas and concepts are encouraged in setting strategic directions in the education policies and policy guidelines that are developed.

Further to that, the Bougainville Education Board will have two ex-officios and will no longer be chaired by the secretary who is the chairperson of the current board.

Minister Tabinaman then stressed that gender balance is called for in the New Bougainville Education Act.

He explained that this is to ensure that both women’s and men’s voices are heard in the decision making process.

If you would like to support Bougainville education DONATE here

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG


Bougainville News: Bougainville voices raised in anger in new PNG Crocodile Prize Anthology


Overall award for the book of the year, the inaugural winner of which was Leonard Fong Roka for his memoir, Brokenville, which brings a child’s eye view to the civil war on Bougainville. Pictured above in Buka where he is now working for the Bougainville Government.



THE better part of a decade ago, Papua New Guinean writer Regis Tove Stella said what his country needed was writers, far more of them than there were, to claim, or reclaim, the role of ‘‘visionary’’ and witness.

He concluded his 2007 book, Imagining the Other, with an elegant argument that it was only when the writers and intellectuals served as ‘‘watchdogs’’ alert to the ‘‘bleak’’ political realities and spoke out against corruption and greed — ‘‘the rape of a country’’ — that change would begin where it mattered: in the minds and hearts of a people.

In 2007 in PNG, a time of little publishing and all too few writers, let alone readers, it seemed a frail hope.

But PNG’s people have always been great storytellers and debaters, and while there may not have been many novels published and read since independence in 1975, there have consistently been a few noble souls who have taken the role of witness and poet.

Oral storytelling remains a reality for many, the stories that are told folding recent histories into those handed down from past generations. And newspapers do a busy trade in markets across the country. You see them read, and being read to those who cannot read.

So maybe Regis Stella, who died in 2010, would not have been surprised had he lived to see publication of the fourth Crocodile Prize anthology, a celebration of PNG poetry, fiction, essays and heritage writing.

When I reviewed the second anthology, towards the end of 2012, I was celebratory, but also tentative — as were many of the writers.

Two years later, in this anthology with 66 writers represented — among them writers from previous years and a heartening number of new, young voices — much of this tentativeness has gone.

A new generation of Papua New Guineans is claiming the written as part of their storytelling, debating inheritance — theirs as surely as any technology that comes with a post­colonial modernity.

I write and write / Like my forefathers before me / My blood is the ink on my paper …

This, from Diddie Kinamun Jackson’s Crocodile Prize winning poem, As a writer, opens a meditation on Melanesian expression that would have pleased Regis Stella.

But for the most part the mood of this anthology is less meditative. Anger is a dominant emotion — anger and loss — which could hardly be otherwise for a generation living with high levels of urban dysfunction, violence and ­corruption.

There are tough stories to be told, and so we read short stories about children finding neighbouring children shot dead; a girl killing herself because she’s pregnant; a widow struggling to raise her children with no money for school fees; a girl in a green dress raped and dumped in a drain.

The Crocodile Prize-winning story, Agnes Maineke’s, While war raged in Bougainville there was a miracle at Haisi, is about a woman giving birth in a remote hut during the civil war on Bougainville.

Bloodlines and dynasties / Disrespected and destroyed / Love, respect and honour / Erased by the power of rifles

With these lines, another Bougainville writer, Marlene Dee Gray Potoura, begins her story of a little girl woken at dawn during that vicious war.

As men with guns surround the village she escapes the carnage that follows by running into the forest, the gun-toting ‘‘crawlers’’ in pursuit.

‘‘The whole forest was angry,’’ Potoura writes, and in a smooth movement she takes us from the stark realism of the guns to a forest in which trees think, feel and act in unison.

And so a ‘‘grandfather tree’’ uproots itself ‘‘in seconds known only to the secrets of the forest’’ and its ‘‘hard old trunk’’ falls on the crawlers and kills them.

As it falls, its branches lift the girl to safety. The tree as a talisman for the power of an endangered inheritance.

‘‘Your guardian trees,’’ writes Michael Dom, a previous poetry prize winner. ‘‘No more you flame.’’

Gary Juffa’s poem on the ‘‘supposed concern’’ and ‘‘pockets filled’’ that accompany the widespread and often illegal felling of the forests, ends each stanza with the refrain: ‘‘And the trees keep falling.’’

It is in the essays that the corruption and greed underlying the violence and the dispossession are named. Where the essays in the earlier anthologies hinted and gestured, here there’s a confidence, a refusal to collude or be silenced.

Blogger and social media activist Martyn Namorong writes of counter-corruption, of corrupting the corrupters.

Bernard Yegiora questions the voting system, the pork-barrelling, the ‘‘wari-vote’’ that can get a corrupt politician back into power when the voters want the handouts back.

‘‘The race within the race,’’ Bernard Witne calls it, as money outstrips policy, and everyone, in large ways and small, is out to ‘‘thicken their purse’’.

Is a Westminster system developed over centuries on the other side of the world the best model for a country of 800 languages and tribes? What would, or could, a Melanesian democracy look like?

And so the question is reopened, first raised in 1980, of whether there is, or can be, a ‘‘Melanesian Way’’ out of this mess.

What system of government would, or could, give back to its people the resource-rich wealth of opportunity? Is it neo-colonialism that rules, as Namarong suggests? He ends one of his essays with the hope that his colleague Nou Vada, who appeared in the earlier anthologies, will one day be prime minister.

‘‘The day a boy from Hanuabada becomes prime minister will be the end of colonisation,’’ he writes. Another frail hope?

There’s been many a local boy, though not from Hanuabada, who have taken the role. Some of them did it well, but were too often replaced by those who fill their pockets from the coffers of state.

On the other hand, if anyone doubts change is possible, contemplate Gary Juffa, who has 10 pieces in this anthology. His story of going on a picnic as a child with a saved packet of noodles, picking tomatoes and shallots in the gardens as the picnickers walked to the river, is one of the best in the collection.

The clouds come over and the group scrambles up the rocks to the road. They make it home to discover two children shot outside their father’s tradestore.

Juffa is now a member of the PNG parliament and, since 2012, governor of Oro Province that takes in Kokoda and its famous track. One of his first acts as governor of a once deeply corrupt province was to put a moratorium on all land deals, logging and resource extraction pending audit and review.

“‘The days of watching our resources be shipped out for whatever scraps have been throw at us is over,’’ he said.

His essays are tough and fearless, impressive by any standard and from a politician remarkable. From a politician in PNG, they could also be considered foolhardy. His first term in parliament showed him how reluctant his fellow members were to speak on national issues for fear of losing access to government funding needed to keep their electorates happy.

In Tribe Versus Nation: Observations on PNG’s Core Challenge, he writes of being warned ‘‘by a particular minister’’, and it indeed proved the case that when this year’s budget was handed down, he saw that he and his province had been well and truly ‘‘punished’’.

There are those who urge him to keep quiet, to think only of what he can do for Oro with the money silence buys, but he says he will not.

While tribalism ‘‘is necessary for the preservation of culture, language, [our] unique identities’’, the future of PNG — the ‘‘core challenge’’ if there is to be any possibility of a better way, a Melanesian way — depends on a leadership willing to renounce the power of playing tribe against tribe, and speak for the wider collective consciousness.

Even if it costs him the next election, he will continue to speak out, he says, because something has begun, ‘‘the stirrings of change’’ are afoot. ‘‘The concern is now a small seed, but it is growing and growing fast.’’

We can only hope he is right. Change will not come easily, and it will not come fast. At the time of writing Juffa, halfway through his, was facing a vote of no-confidence, orchestrated, according to media reports, by corporate interests.

ANOTHER sign of PNG’s literary stirrings is that this year there were two new categories in the Crocodile Prize. One was for children’s writing, sponsored by Buk bilong Pikinini, the children’s library organisation that is growing apace, bringing books and stories to children from impoverished urban settlements.

The other was an overall award for the book of the year, the inaugural winner of which was Leonard Fong Roka for his memoir, Brokenville, which brings a child’s eye view to the civil war on Bougainville.

Download Kindle from Amazon

The war, for him, began in class 2A at Arawa Community School. There was a commotion along his row of desks: the son of a policeman reported fighting in the mountains.

There had been rumours and strange behaviour among the adults, and this time even the teacher stopped to listen. The division was right there in that classroom, between the dark-skinned children of Bougainville and the ‘‘redskin’’ children of parents from the mainland.

At first it is clear enough for the young Roka. It’s us against them. Our island. Their government. Our land. Their mine.

The reality, of course, proves less clear cut for a boy whose father was a ‘‘redskin’’ from West New Britain and whose mother is from Bougainville. He has relatives on all sides. There are those who depend on the economy generated by the mine; there is his uncle, Joseph Kabui, a senior man in the militant interim government.

Over the next years, before he can return to school, Roka will learn a great deal about war and tribalism, the contradictions of a nation drawn from colonial borders, about moral ambiguity, about betrayal and possibility.

‘‘I owe much to [that] crisis,’’ he writes in his acknowledgments. ‘‘It made me who I am.’’

It is in such writing from Bougainville, perhaps not paradoxically, that the pulse of change ticks most strongly.

Drusilla Modjeska’s most recent novel is The Mountain. She is founder of not-for-profit SEAM Fund, which supports literacy in remote communities in PNG.

The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014, edited by Phil Fitzpatrick, Pukpuk Publishing, 512 pp, $15 from Amazon

Brokenville by Leonard Fong Roka, Pukpuk Publishing, 239pp, $10 from Amazon

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Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG