“THERE CAN ONLY COME POSITIVE LEGACIES FOR DEVELOPMENT FOR BOUGAINVILLE AFTER OPENING OF KIETA (AROPA) AIRPORT.” Simon Pentanu reports
The Bombadier Q400 under the cloudless Bougainville blue sky after its naming, parked and patiently waiting in full bloom like the dancing Raggiana Bird of Paradise displaying its colour and plumage.Foto credit: Bruce Mallar, PBA Inc.
With the effervescent sea breeze from the Solomon Sea soothing sweats and high humidity under the tropical noon day sun this Bird of Paradise was aptly named Kieta after a township that needed a huge spiritual lift after it descended into the abyss of sorts as many famous places often do in the confusion and decadence resulting from human conflicts.
Much of the early history of what is now Kieta District may be offshore somewhere in Germany in a historical, anthropological or natural museum and some bits and pieces may well be in Canberra. The old site of Kieta was the first German settlement where ruins and remnants of the old township still stand by the shores that form the Kieta harbour.
PHOTO: A church tower and spire on pokpokisland. Foto credit: Simon Pentanu, PBA Inc.
The first Marist missionaries also landed here on August 7 1901 on Pokpok Island on a schooner that travelled from Faisi in the Shortland Islands in western Solomons. Kieta was also the headquarters of Bougainville District after the HQ was moved from Sohano Island near Buka. At the time Papua and New Guinea were jointly administered by Australia, the former German New Guinea as mandated territory under the United Nations and Papua annexed by Britain, as a protectorate or colony.
An old German reef marker that had lamp markers, at the outer mouth of entrance into Kieta Harbour. Able bodied men from Pokpok Island were employed to paddle soil and gravelmix in canoe loads from Uruna Bay to the reef and were used to mix the concrete to erect this monolith which still stands innocuously stuck on Pangaradomoto reef. Foto credit: Simon Pentanu PBA Inc.
Kieta has a lot of history than we might care to find out. The efforts made by the National Government, ABG and the Aropa landowners adds to its more recent history with the reopening of Aropa for Air Niugini to commence normal commercial services after 24 years in the abyss. Last Friday 12 December 2014 was history capped with a huge gesture on the part of PNG’s Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) and Air Niugini management to name one of its the Q400 aircraft Kieta.
Kieta today with Pok Pok Island (backleft) Photo Phil Staley
You can now fly back into the annals of history as Air Niugini resumes its service to Aropa (Kieta) this week.
As the Member for Central Bougainville Hon Jimmy Miringtoro MP said at Aropa, the opening is a huge relief for him and his people after many efforts over the last twelve years following the restoration of Peace on the Island.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neil and President John Momis in auspicious pose after unveiling the name of the aircraft Kieta after and as part of the opening of Aropa airport
Foto credit: Bruce Mallar PBA Inc.