Bougainville Tourism News : Uruna Bay Retreat, Pokpok Island is a community effort and is one way  of looking forward like having a vision beyond the horizon.

This is fabulous. Absolutely, heavenly, fabulous. An endless summer of beauty as nature intended.

I used to paddle this bay in canoes, walk the length of its powder white beaches, and swim the turquoise waters wearing goggles to watch out for the sea anemone and the fury of its inhabitants, the clown fish. They are curious and always come to inspect and protect their base.

The walks from the beach uphill into the forest is an exciting contrast to the sea. Away from the water world it is still an interesting expedition up into the hills.

As long as communities are an inclusive part of tourism with benefits accruing shared at the local level, small scale tourism (including eco-tourism) has a future and bodes well in the region”

Simon Pentanu

Uruna Bay, is one of a number of bays and quays around Pokpok.

Its natural beauty and settling here is like a dream come true from childhood years. In fact it is like a number of dreams still coming through. I decided first on a family beachfront home in 1989. When we moved in eight years later as peace was taking hold after the bloody conflict, we had to readjust and regurgitate coming back to devastated family members and the village community as a whole.

All I can say truthfully is that God has been kind to the population after the devastating conflict. But more importantly, we returned to find a resilient population that was determined not to dwell in the past but look ahead.

Tourism if done with foresight, conscience and careful planning is one way  of looking forward like having a vision beyond the horizon.

Uruna Bay Retreat, Pokpok Island is a community effort and hence a pride of the  Island community. So is Batama Beach Bungalows, more recently completed and run by another family with involvement and support from  the community on the Island as well.

The people’s resilience and joy is what is expressed in the cultural chants, dances and songs that welcome travellers here. A lot of heart, soul and joy goes into the performances for the visitors

The travellers, tourists, visitors and friends of many nationalities turning up here is quite daring. It is what has spurred us thinking about retreats and bungalows where people can stop, stay, enjoy or just pass by. You cannot hide or keep a good thing to yourself is true of Bougainville today.

Developing and growing tourism in Bougainville as we find our feet should be more than just about hard cash and bottom lines. The overriding impetus and interest as Bougainville maps, detours and decides its way to the future it should also be about promoting the beauty, the hard-won peace, unity and serenity of the Island, its environment and art, culture and the people.

Reminiscences about good times in the past  is a good thing. So is imagining Bougainville as my generation and I found it growing up here as a children.

With the annual visit by a cruise ship ‘True North’ every December, the Dive Boat ‘Taka’ adding Uruna Bay on its stops between Solomon Islands and Rabaul it is fantastic. And now with ‘Endless Summer’ the first Super Yacht of its kind to visit Kieta it is fabulous.

We must embrace and savour real opportunities and any serendipitous times and moments on Bougainville.

Endless Summer’ has added a rather personal touch and dimension with the tours here being  arranged by someone who spent some of their childhood growing up in Arawa, a part Morobean who feels and obliges like one of us in promoting Bougainville.

As long as communities are an inclusive part of tourism with benefits accruing shared at the local level, small scale tourism (including eco-tourism) has a future and bodes well in the region.

Contacts

Uruna Bay Retreat – Pok Pok Island Bougainville

Our motto:

“Simple pleasures should be affordable, not expensive and out of reach “

CONTACT direct : mailto: urunabayretreat@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bougainville Tourism News : Does tourism have the potential to sustain the economy of #Bougainville and assist the region achieve fiscal self-reliance.

Firstly, the Bougainville government has to come up with a tourism master plan which captures the views of all tourism stakeholders in the region and this can then be used as the roadmap to develop the sector,

Tourism is a sustainable industry and puts money right in the pocket of our people and unlike mining or other industries you the service provider have the option of setting your own price for your services. In mining or other industries the products are sold at market value and people or companies have no choice but to sell at that price

Bougainville Experience Tours managing director, Zhon Bosco Miriona 

Zhon pictured above representing PNG Tourism at an International Tourism Conference in Melbourne 2015

ARTICLE BY PATRICK MAKIS

Tourism has the potential to sustain the economy of Bougainville and assist the region achieve fiscal self-reliance.

But it needs the support of the Autonomous Bougainville Government to develop the sector.

The support from the government is needed to educate people and assist them develop tourism products and sites that can then be marketed through reputable tour operators in Bougainville and overseas.Bougainville tourism advocate and Bougainville Experience Tours managing director, Zhon Bosco Miriona said the industry in Bougainville is still struggling to recover since the end of the crisis but the number of tourists visiting had steadily increased since 2016.

“As a tour operator, I have been receiving about 200 to 300 tourists per year since 2016 and I know the potential of tourism in terms generating income for the people and the government,’’ he said.

“From experience, one tourist can spend about K3000 on a seven day trip in Bougainville. That translates to about K15,000 to K20,000 if five tourists were to spend a week in the region. This is direct income-money given to tourism site owners, guest houses, hired vehicle owners and money go directly to the people.

“Mainly we have adventure seekers, bird watchers, researchers, and the children of former employees of Bougainville Copper Limited who grew up here during the Panguna Mining days visiting Bougainville. We do not have many tourists who come here purely for holidays because we are yet to develop holiday resorts and sites to attract them.”

He said since 2016 the number of tourists has increased due to yearly visits by tourist boats like the True North and the Professor Khromo, the annual Bougainville Chocolate Festival has also attracted quite a number of tourists to the region.

“A five-day visit by True North to Bougainville injects about K92,000 into the economy. This money goes directly to the people through hire car services, sale of artefacts, boat hires, venue hire, site fees and other associated services and this goes to show that tourism is big money and can reap benefits for us if we develop it,” he said.

Mr Miriona said another issue that needs to be addressed is the marketing aspects of Tourism sites and products.

“The government must assist tour operators and people in the tourism industry to market the products especially by attending local and international expos where we can establish connections with international tourism operators and get them to assist the market tourism on Bougainville,” he said.

He said the major obstacle to tourism development was the lack of support from the government towards ensuring that people received adequate training on all aspects of tourism to properly develop sites and market them.

“Firstly, the Bougainville government has to come up with a tourism master plan which captures the views of all tourism stakeholders in the region and this can then be used as the roadmap to develop the sector,” he said.

“Tourism is a sustainable industry and puts money right in the pocket of our people and unlike mining or other industries you the service provider have the option of setting your own price for your services. In mining or other industries the products are sold at market value and people or companies have no choice but to sell at that price.

“Is mining sustainable? Will future generations continue to benefit after a mine is closed down? We should be looking at industries like tourism which are sustainable and will continue to support our future generations if we develop them well.”

Bougainville Experience Tours has a website and interested people can look it up on www.bougtours.com to make bookings or view the products and packages on offer.

“We are on Twitter at @YesBougainville and we also have a Facebook page,” Mr Miriona said.

“We have also opened an office in Canberra, Australia to tap into the Australian market as Australians are our main customers.”

Mr Miriona reiterated that Bougainville was blessed with all the attractions that would lure tourists to come and visit and just needed the political and financial support to develop the industry.

Bougainville News and the Referendum : Respect #Bougainville and care for her says Simon Pentanu : What kind of Bougainville do we want to leave for our future generations ?

 

In Bougainville we should learn to start listening to each other, especially to the voices in the wilderness. The echo to a sound doesn’t always come from where you think it will. Everyone’s voice is important and must be heard. We should heed our backbench voices – not only when they raise their voices, thump the bench and walk out. Autonomy and unity must be about the caring spirit of individuals having a collective cause to promote a better humanity.

We must see the Referendum as not just an inevitable political contest. You are not going to choose between two individual competing candidates. What you will be deciding on is what kind of a society you want – what kind of community we all want.

And what kind of Bougainville do we want to leave for our future generations.” 

Simon Pentanu 

The sea is a huge food bowl – a supermarket for all varieties of seafood. Its waters serve as highways for transportation. It provides therapeutic bathing and gives us salt for seasoning and preserving food. It is the hugest swimming pool!

It provides a facility and venue for all manner of leisurely and competitive sports. The beauty and serenity of its white sand beaches – where millions of tourists and locals flock to walk, laze, tan and burn themselves – give joy to people across the world.

The sea drives the fashion industry, which keeps churning out new designs to gird the loins of bathers, swimmers, surfers, sailors and beachcombers.

The list of things associated with the use of the ocean goes on and on – in fact it goes miles out to sea. This isn’t surprising when we consider about 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface is water covered and the oceans hold about 96 per cent of Earth’s water.

Water sports are among humanity’s most popular pastimes and activities. We seem to be unable to get enough of game fishing, snorkelling, diving, water skiing, kiteboarding, sailing and more.

And then there is surfing. Surfing has developed its own international culture, which connects a huge population of world surfers through a common language of love, fun, serious competition and an obsession for surfing and its variations across continents. Surfers flock to places like Fiji, Tahiti and Bali, to catch the famous waves in these destinations.

Humans’ connection with the sea obviously has a huge impact on many small state economies. Some of the most popular resorts around the world are dotted along the coastlines of small nations – in the Pacific, the Caribbean and south-east Asia.

Eco-tourism has emerged in many places as a conscious option for travellers who want to experience the beauty of the planet without damaging our fragile environment in the process.

Sadly, the advances being made by eco-tourism in Pacific countries are probably being cancelled out by the continuation of practices from last century that are damaging our Earth. I’m talking about multinational logging companies clear felling huge tracts of rainforest (including virgin rainforest) in places like PNG and the Solomon Islands. Rainforests, sometimes called the lungs of the Earth, are also being short-sightedly destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations, which, although they appear green, are actually lifeless monocultures that are sprayed with chemicals and leave the soil depleted.

Right on the edge of the growing township of Buka, Bougainville’s current HQ, the senseless uprooting of tracts of healthy mangrove trees has not been stopped by authorities, even though it goes on in broad daylight.

Mangroves are an amazing gift to humanity. They are nurseries for numerous fish and sea creatures – a place for marine life to breed, feed and raise their young away from the threats of sharks and bigger ocean fish. And we are finding out how effective mangroves can be in protecting human populations from tsunamis and tidal surges. To rip them out is madness and an action we will regret.

We must preserve the things that give our communities life – the oceans, the forests, the rivers, the mangroves and the mountains. Interestingly, these things, which sustain our lives, are also attractive to eco-tourists.

In many respects PNG is fortunate to have avoided the ravages of mass tourism. Whether unwittingly or otherwise, tourism in the country has developed into a niche market of mostly adventure-seeking travellers, more interested in reefs, rainforests and unique cultures than in nightclubs and international hotels. For this we should be eternally grateful.

When it comes to tourism in general and in eco-tourism in particular, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville can, very clearly, learn a lot from the rest of PNG, from our cousins across the border in the Solomon Islands, from the rest of the Pacific and from countries and peoples in the rest of the world.

Before the advent of industrial logging, the Solomons was a country of hundreds of forested islands which provided for the needs of its people.

I can recall conversations that the startling Marovo Lagoon, which surrounds Vangunu Island in the Solomon Islands’ Western Province, was being considered for UNESCO world heritage status. The lagoon had the largest double barrier reef in the world and it was being considered for listed as one of the world’s natural heritage wonders.

Sadly, 15 years of open slather logging – along with the inevitable run-off and reef damage – put an end to that dream. The little money that was earned by the indigenous land owners will be long gone. The trees will be gone. The lagoon, once a place of precious local and national pride, will never be the same.

The country and the many generation of Solomon Islanders to come will be the poorer for the lack of foresight and policies of their successive governments and the wanton greed of their elders who gave this land to the loggers.

Similar examples of this abound in PNG, where huge tracts of forests are being clear felled under the guise of controversial Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABL).

Logging Tonolei in South Bougainville, under a SABL type agreement with landowners, to introduce oil palm that will destroy good fertile land is very short-sighted.

It is the sort of plan grasped by political leaders who want quick fixes and quick returns. We must resist this sort of thinking. In the long term the landowners will be worse off after depleting what is their capital, their resource. This forest has sustained their populations over hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. The damage to the land, the pride and integrity of a self-sustaining people and the loss of their ecosystem is irreversible. Can we please learn from the example of the Marovo Lagoon?

It is not dissimilar to a person losing their soul.

The knee jerk reaction to this has always been that this is development and progress. The truth is we have a growing population of people who have become victims of this so-called development and progress. Yes, we want development and progress, but let’s have it on our own terms and not destroy the things that give our communities life.

Let us back ourselves that we will not go under if we do not knock over the trees, dig up and maul the earth and scavenge the seabed to supposedly ‘catch up’ with the rest of the world.
The truth is those who take from the Earth are never satisfied, while we are quite content to live by what nature provides and will keep providing, so long as we respect her and take care of her.
This may sound overly simplistic, but if we are prepared to learn from each other, we can make the world a safer, more peaceful and contented place without greed, wars and prejudice.
In Bougainville we should learn to start listening to each other, especially to the voices in the wilderness. The echo to a sound doesn’t always come from where you think it will. Everyone’s voice is important and must be heard. We should heed our backbench voices – not only when they raise their voices, thump the bench and walk out. Autonomy and unity must be about the caring spirit of individuals having a collective cause to promote a better humanity.
We must see the Referendum as not just an inevitable political contest. You are not going to choose between two individual competing candidates. What you will be deciding on is what kind of a society you want – what kind of community we all want.
And what kind of Bougainville do we want to leave for our future generations.

Bougainville Environment News Alert : Rusty wrecks and major oil spill threaten Island life ,economy and environment

 

” If those responsible took notice and took heed Kieta Harbour wouldn’t be in this situation and we wouldn’t be talking about the oil spill now.

What has happened is criminal. I think it is more than criminal because even if the people responsible are arraigned and put behind bars it may not rid the Harbour of the oil very well.

ABG must formally request and assign environmental experts in oil spills to carry out an immediate survey and assessment of the spill. They can then either confirm the worst fears of the Pokpok Islanders and other coastal villages regarding the extent of the oil spill or put people at rest that the problem can be arrested and alleviated at least.”

Simon Pentanu

I am writing this with a lot of hurt and annoyance. My people’s and my worst fear is now real. The oil spill is real. It is not in Alaska or the Gulf of Mexico or in the Middle East. It is at home. The waters of the Harbour come right ashore along the village beachfront where children swim and play everyday.

Kieta Harbour is one of the most pristine, picturesque, much photographed and captivating harbours anywhere; anywhere in the Pacific Region, anywhere in the world.

The Harbour is not big in comparison to other beautiful harbours I have seen in my travels around the world. But I have always thought to myself it is a big enough Harbour for the size of Bougainville Island. Every harbour in the world has its captivating features. Kieta Harbour has hers.

I have no doubt captains and sailors of every ship, schooner, yacht, and sloop – even the penische the Germans may have used around here pre WW1 – that have come here for the first time, enter with a breathtaking welcome by the contrasting colours of the pristine blue waters and the rainforest green on all sides of the Harbour.

Because the Harbour is also a shape of a water-filled crater the oil spill is, potentially, going to have a devastating effect. The Harbour is roughly encircled at both entrances with the snout and tail of Pokpok Island almost meeting the mainland at both entrances.

It is almost like a large pond. This means any oil spill in the Harbour will get trapped in the heart of the Harbour, and spread along the coast of Pokpok and the mainland from Tubiana and all along Happy Valley and out.

The principle signatory to the business arrangement and agreement that brought the ill-fated ships into Kieta is the local member for North Nasioi and Minister for Primary Industry Hon Nicholas Daku MHR. This is his second term both as a member of BHOR and as Minister in ABG. So he is someone that has matured into Bougainville politics and fortunate enough to have a bite at the same cherry as far as ministerial portfolios is concerned. Yet, during all this time he has been conspicuous by his overt absence and muted silence.

The other signatory is an officer in the ABG Commerce division Raymond Moworu.

As a matter of fact and record this is an ABG project, a project quickly cooked up and hushed up by the Minister on the eve of 2015 ABG election. Even if the Minister and the officer signed the papers blindfolded it does not exonerate them or make their responsibility – or culpability – any less because they were acting for and on behalf of ABG in promoting the project. When all is said and events come to pass the buck stops with the Minister. It is called ministerial responsibility.

I’m very annoyed because I have personally mentioned the impending disaster to the Hon Minister Daku more than once verbally since 2016-17. I started doing this after I went around by boat to the Kieta government wharf where the ships had been berthed for some time. I first took photographs of the boats in March 2016 because I noticed they were not sailing anymore. It looked very obvious to me then the boats were fatigued and were rusting away into disrepair and wreck. I even posted the photographs with a warning on my FB Timeline observing that there were obvious signs of impending disaster and that the authorities must do something about removing the ships.

If those responsible took notice and took heed Kieta Harbour wouldn’t be in this situation and we wouldn’t be talking about the oil spill now.

 

It is futile and waste of time calling for a commission of enquiry especially when the Minister and ABG should have acted to prevent this after they were warned and could see the impending disaster was obvious out there staring into their face in broad daylight.

The Minister has been AWOL and very hard to contact when all this has been going on. With all due respect he should resign. If he does not he should be decommissioned and relieved of ministerial responsibilities and someone else that is prepared to work and is serious about ministerial responsibility appointed to take charge. Party politics, including party allegiances, should not get in the way of such a decision. IF it doesn’t happen we might as well throw the towel in because otherwise we are complicit in a style of governance that isn’t going to deliver Bougainville where it wants to go.

North Nasioi constituency also has the option to pursue the member through the recall provision in the constitution and evict him from Parliament.

When I saw myself the ships were let off afloat from berth at the Kieta wharf the least I could do is ask someone – anyone – to help after contacting NMSA whose officers to their credit immediately turned up in Buka. Before their arrival I was very heartened that the member for Selau and Chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Referendum agreed and was, also of his own volition, so ready and willing to travel to Kieta with two of my senior parliamentary staff I asked to be at NMSA’s disposal on the visit to Kieta.

The Member for Selau knows Kieta well and leaders from Kieta well. In Parliament he and Hon Minister Daku are sat next to each other. Pokpok has a historical link with Selau through Chief Keroro. Growing up in the mid 50’s I saw Chief Keroro arrive in his penische (dinghy) and would beach it in the village beachfront while he would spend time to visit and talk to our Chief at the time. These were times when Chiefs in North, Central and south Bougainville knew of each other.

The other day I posted a piece on my FB Timeline with an old photo of Pokpok Island and village looking across from Kieta in a moving speed boat in 1989. I wrote about how the Islanders are resilient and generally how the folk in the communities around Bougainville are resilient in times of difficulties, disasters and other adversities. I was deliberate in the timing of that posting as I felt a disquiet anticipation that it was just a matter of time before one of the hapless ships would sink.

This oil spill is something terribly alarming. Our Disaster office does not have the capacity to attend to it. It pains my heart to think how my people will be affected. I’m traveling away abroad on medical leave for the coming two weeks and even more pained not knowing the extent of the oil spill and its resultant effect on the Islanders and their livelihood from the sea they depend on in so many ways.

Mr Ho the ships owner must be found. His second vessel is still afloat but has no anchor to keep it anchored safely anywhere.

It is time for ABG to ask for help from GoPNG and from outside to assess and contain the spill.

 

Bougainville Tourism News : Bougainville remains attractive and spectacular enough as a destination for small adventure travellers and cruises like True North. #northstarcruises

 ” Tourism that brings benefits and opens up opportunities through participation by local resource custodians/owners is a good win-win concept for communities.

The world is waking up to realize that PNG, including Bougainville, is up there with the rest of the world when it comes to eco and adventure tourism with its natural habitat and traditions and cultures still largely intact.”

Simon Pentanu

Bougainville Adventure Travel

Cruise vessel True North will make its second cruise visit to Bougainville on 19 December 2017, exactly a year after its maiden cruise to Bougainville PNG last December. 

True North’s cruises to what it calls  ” spectacular Bougainville ” ,packaged as CAIRNS/ALOTAU – BOUGAINVILLE-BUKA/CAIRNS 10 day Melanesia cruise.

For further details of the visit to Kieta / Buka contact local agent for the tour, Bougainville Experience Tours at bougtours.com

On this visit a variety of local performances represented by Island and mainland cultural groups will be hosted at at Uruna Bay Retreat, Pokpok Island.

In a similar smorgasbord  of cultural performances last year North Star Cruises which owns and operates the cruises selected a local group for sponsorship to a cultural festival in Adelaide in 2018. 

The Island community benefits from  cruises here from fees for anchorage, swimming, snorkeling, diving, surfing, beach bathing, cultural performance, sale of local kulau drinks, artifact sales, etc. through their Metora Ward which is part of north nasioi community government. 

Over and above any local benefits, international cruises are also one of the best advertorials to promote and popularize what Bougainville offers as attractions in this growing industry in cruise tours in Oceania.

Bougainville Adventure Travel will be working closely with ABG Office of Tourism to help and promote resource owner participation in all tourism ventures where travelers visit local historical, traditional, sacred sites and assets and locations of interest in different regions of Bougainville.   Bougainville Experience Tours is already doing this more or less.

 In many areas the resource custodians are already involved and are participating of their own accord with local Bougainville tour companies and operators by arranging and hosting tours in their local areas.

There are only a few places in the world that have not been adversely affected by mass tourism by their isolation and a determination to protect their lands, cultures, traditions and a continuing sense of self preservation. Bougainville – and the rest of the country – remains attractive and spectacular enough as a destination for small adventure travelers and cruises like True North. #northstarcruises

 

 

Bougainville International Tourism News : Drones are flying high to film a 10 Day Bougainville Experience Tour

 November Issue: Bougainville International Tourism News

1.Australian film crew releases first of many Bougainville tourism experience short films to international tourists

2.Flights lights for Aropa Airport to increase tourism Central Bougainville

3.Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Program in 2018-2019

1.Australian student film crew releases first of many Bougainville tourism experience short films to attract international tourists

The Autonomous Region Of Bougainville

There aren’t many places left like this in the world.

This is a project I have put my heart and soul into.

The film documents my personal experience in this beautiful part of the world.

Or VIEW HERE

A film by Zane Wilson

Exploring what this place has to offer, from the untouched tropical islands to the remote mountain villages and all the amazing people that come with it. This is an experience I will never forget.

10 days so far in the autonomous region of Bougainville. Coming into this trip not knowing what to expect, it has been an adventure like no other.

See the full details 10 day Bougainville Experience Tour below

Experiencing village life in the mountains, being the first person in history to fly a drone over certain villages and showing the people their home from above for the first time was truly a special moment.

Then moving to the coastal life, watching kids paddle their way to school on canoes and live sustainably from the ocean and the land. Their way of life eye opening and something people all over the world can learn from.

Bougainville is home to the friendliest people on earth, being treated like family everywhere we go.

It was hard to say goodbye to such an amazing place.

A huge Special thanks to Zhon Bosco, Colin Cowell and the team of Bougainville Experience Tours and all the sponsors (see Listed Below ) for supporting this film project, thanks to them I have been able to capture moments I have only dreamed of.

Stay tuned for more images and a full feature film coming soon. I cannot wait to share this experience with you all.

Zane Wilson 18 year old Student Port Macquarie Australia (Assisted by Sam Magennis) Follow Zane Here

https://www.facebook.com/wilsonvisuals/

Principal Sponsor

1.Bougainville Experience Tours

www.bougtours.com

A massive thank you to the team behind Bougainville Experience Tourism for supporting this project. If you are interested in going on a similar expedition like this, get in contact with them and they will assist you in every way possible.

Enjoy the film

2.ABG Bougainville Office of Tourism the land. Tourism Manager : Lorena R Nanei

http://www.bougainville.travel/

3.Kuri Resort Buka

http://kuriresortbuka.com/

4.Rotokas Eco Tourism

https:/rotokasecotourism.com/

5.Uruna Bay Retreat Pok Pok Island

http://bougtours.com/tourism/accommodation-2/pokpokisland/

6.Topinang Village Guesthouse

http://bougtours.com/tourism/accommodation-2/topinang_village/

7.Rising Sun Lodge Arawa Town, Central Bougainville

Bougainville Background

Bougainville has a population of approximately 200,000, occupying two main islands, Buka Island and the larger Bougainville Island with groups of islands known as “The Atolls”, (Nissan, Carteret, Mortlock) scattered to the north east of the main islands.

The landscape of Bougainville Island is rugged, punctuated by two active volcanoes, Mt Balbi and Mt Bagana. The coastline features beautiful, sandy beaches, often fringed by dominant coconut trees. Many fresh water rivers run from the mountainous central corridor, down to the east and west coasts of the island.

The 10 Day BET Features

  • Over nights stays in 3 “traditional” villages (mountain and island)
  • Experience Melanesian, sustainable, ecofriendly community living
  • Experience and share language, cultural activities and performances
  • Experience all aspects of village life from gardening to cooking
  • An island retreat with fishing, water sports and relaxation
  • Travel across island from Buka to Arawa
  • Environmental bushwalks experiencing unique flora and fauna
  • We will take you on a journey to the “core of culture

Includes

  • All airport tranfers,4WD transportation and boat hire
  • All accommodation in village style comfortable guesthouses
  • All meals both western and traditional style
  • All entry fees paid to traditional owners of regions visited
  • All guiding fees and travel expenses such as bottled water and snacks
  • Visits to your interest areas such as health, education, women’s issues etc.

Day 1:

              Fly to Port Moresby PNG from anywhere in the world

Day 2:

              Fly Port Moresby to Buka

               Accommodation:  Kuri Resort

Day 3:

            Travel to Mt Balbi Rotokas Ecotourism

 Tour: Travel down the east coast of Bougainville to Wakunai stopping at village markets and other points of interest. When then travel off the main road for 2 hours to your home for the next few days at the foot of Mt Balbi. Visit Togarau Fall

 Day 4

             Experiencing mountain village culture – Rotokas Eco Tourism

  • Experience Melanesian, sustainable, ecofriendly community living
  • Experience and share language, cultural activities and performances
  • Experience all aspects of village life from gardening to cooking

 Accommodation: Togarau community guesthouse

Day 5

Tour: Travel by car and then a short boat ride Bakawari Island, also known as Pokpok, is just off the coast of Bougainville, located near the Kieta Wharf in Central Bougainville. It is only a 5 minute boat ride from the mainland to the island and most people use canoes to go back and forth.

The sea is an integral part of the life in Pokpok Island and everyone who lives on this island is a waterman. Many people from mainland Bougainville think that fishing is a job for men, but on Pokpok Island anyone that knows how to swim and dive can find whatever food they need from the sea.

Day 6

Experiencing coastal/island village culture – Pok Pok  

Dinner: Traditional island welcome feast including crayfish in season

Accommodation: Uruna Bay Retreat on Pok Pok

Day 7

Experiencing Mountain Village Topinang

Activities:

  • Experience Melanesian, sustainable, ecofriendly community living
  • Experience and share language, cultural activities and performances
  • Experience all aspects of village life from gardening to cooking 

Dinner: Traditional welcome feast

Accommodation: Topinang Guest House

Day 8

Experiencing Mountain Village Topinang

Tour: Visit Arawa and Panguna Mine

Lunch: Picnic lunch

Accommodation: Rising Sun

Day 9

Travel back Arawa to Buka airport

Tour: Spend afternoon visiting Buka and Sohano Island, Buka Market, New Dawn FM Parliament House

Dinner: Kuri Resort

Accommodation:  Kuri Resort

Day 10: Thursday 16 November

Fly Buka to Port Moresby 

2.Flights lights for Aropa Airport

The installation of flight lights at Aropa Airport would allow visibility and provide guidance information to help pilots acquire the correct approach to the airport.

Member for South Bougainville, timothy Masiu, presented a part payment cheque of K100,000 of the total funding component to Air Niugini and NAC on Friday for the installation of Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) flight lights at Aropa Airport, Kieta, South Bougainville.

Once these lights are installed, Air Niuguni would be able to operate jet aircrafts into Aropa Airport.

This airport is one the oldest airports in PNG and the busiest because of the Bougainville Copper Mine.

It was during the crisis when the airport and its facilities were tampered with, which later had to be rebuilt.

Masiu said the government, though the leadership of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, rehabilitated the airport and runway and Air Niugini began its services with the Q-400.

Masiu said air services into Bougainville are very important.

“It’s part of the development that is taking place in Bougainville along with education, health facilities being redeveloped and brought up to another level now.”

He said after the crisis, most of the services were received in Buka Island only, which meant that the whole of Bougainville had to travel to Buka to get a plane out.

“For the planes to begin landing again we needed these facilities and as partners in development, it would be in the best interest of the people of South Bougainville to assist.”

Masiu has made another commitment for another K100,000 to be put into the refurbishment of Aropa Airport to help facilitate for the PAPI lights.

National Airports Corporation general manager, Jacob Anga said it is very encouraging to see especially during this economic time when provincial members come out to help their people.

“Its good for the people of South and Central Bougainville going forward and as for NAC, as the owners and operators of the airports in PNG, which includes two airports in AROB, we are committed to ensuring the compliance, safety and maintenance of the airport consistently and we can service the people by ensuring that Air Niugini does a safe landing and safe taking off”, Anga said.

Air Niugini general manager for grounds operation, Marco MC Connell, said : “Once this gets underway, the jets resume ops back into Bougainville, Aropa Airport. It ‘ll make it more conducive for business opportunities.”

3.Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Program in 2018-2019.

 Applications Due November 30, 2017

The East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the first cohort of the Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Programin 2018-2019.

Program Description

The East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) received a grant from the Professional Fellows Division in the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the U.S. Department of State’Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to conduct the Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Programin 2018-2019.

This program will bring two cohorts of tourism industry professionals from the Pacific Islands to Honolulu, Hawai‘i for intensive six-week programs that build significant new capacity and facilitate enduring professional bonds between industry leaders in the United States and the Pacific Islands. The Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Program will draw broadly and deeply upon Hawaii’s unique position as an American state with one of the world’s premier tourism industries. It is designed to build capacity across the Pacific region by creating strong and enduring connections between 32 mid-level Professional Fellows from 13 Pacific island countries and no fewer than 13 Hawaii-based Americans in private and public tourism-related organizations.

Dates

Spring Cohort

  • April 23 – May 29, 2018  Activities/Placement in Honolulu, Hawai‘i
  • May 30 – June 1, 2018  Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, DC
  • Fall Cohort
  • October 8 – November 13, 2018  Activities/Placement in Honolulu, Hawai‘i
  • November 14–16, 2018  Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, DCEligibility

Applicants must:

Be citizens/nationals/permanent residents of one of the eligible countries

Be between the ages of 25-40

Be currently employed in their home country and have a demonstrated history of at least 2 years of employment in the tourism industry

Be willing and able to obtain a J-1 visa and spend 6-weeks in the United States

  • Be committed to returning to their home country after the program
  • Have a track record of making an impact in their organziation, company, or community
  • Be capable of creating an action-orientated plan to address a specific business problem or policy challenge being faced in their country
  • Have sufficient spoken and written English language proficiency to effectively function in an American workplace.Eligible Countries

For the Spring 2018 cohort applications will be accepted from the following Pacific Islands countries:

  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Timor Leste
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • VanuatuDeadlineHow To Apply  

For all the details and an online application form go here.

Your application must be received by midnight November 30, 2017 (Hawaii Time).

#Bougainville #Tourism #Environment News : We must protect our paradise islands for future generations

“If there is one memory that still reoccurs and revisits my mind more than any other, it is this. This is a nice place to grow up in. I have never stopped going back and re-living that childhood to this day.”

Simon Pentanu

Pokpok Village. Pokpok Island.
photo credit: Stephen Hurd

Uruna Bay Retreat – Pok Pok Island Bougainville PNG

For information and bookings

Dense forest, with tall trees creating huge canopies as they competed for sunlight, used to come down right to the village backyard. As kids we were cautioned not to wander alone into the hills. There were too many unknowns in the untamed forest.

However, one thing was certain. The trees, vines and shrubs had to give way to gardens. And people always chose the best land areas for garden plots.

The forest was cleared and the produce harvested by mothers and daughters was always plentiful and colourful. Nature never failed to provide sustenance to our community on Pokpok Island.

Slash-and-burn gardening continues today, although there is some reprieve with the coming of consumer goods and processed edibles now readily available in village tucker shops and trade stores. It’s a small island, so human impact on it is quite obvious. The land and surrounding waters bear the burden of an increase in population. Much of the island is rocky and rugged. Arable land is very limited.

Where today there is secondary forest, starting from the beaches and village backyards, there was once primary forest. During storms, especially when it was windy, you could hear the whole forest howling, sounding like a thundering underground train preparing to come to a stop at the platform. After continuous heavy tropical downpours the sound of the flowing creeks in the forest and bushes was more like a jet aircraft pulling up to park at the bay to disembark its passengers – a hissing noise throttling in between.

A little away from the main village, the possums used to come down along the tree tops to the trees by the beach. Birds’ nests were everywhere, some from birds we don’t see anymore. Among the trees and shrubs were wild berries and fruits for the picking, although most were not picked, but left to provide natural decor to the bushes because garden food and fish from the sea was always plentiful. The forest provided more than enough for possums, flying foxes, fruit bats and other nimbling creatures.

The reef you see in this photograph used to be fully laden with colourful coral all the way along its edge. Starfish, schools of different fish, weed and sea grass meadows and varieties of edible sea urchins shared their natural habitat with the children of the village.

What is now largely white sand under water was mostly covered with long sea grass where squid laid their eggs. Parents would tell us to look out for the squid eggs and avoid them. Much of the tall grass is gone and squids don’t spawn around here anymore. In fact, the whole reef area, which makes the whole village seafront beautiful, was larger, richer and prettier than it is today.

Around the reef perimeter was coral of every kind, fully alive and breeding. The sea anemone with its clown fish tenants were plentiful. Other colourful small marine creatures contributed to an underwater aquarium of teeming small colourful fish complementing the living beauty of coral.

As kids we grew up swimming and canoeing around here. Today it is no different. It still is a playground for every child who lives here. It is always hard to get children out of the waters, even after sunset.

The noticeable difference to our generation is the whole reef area has shrunk. The best parts of the live coral all around the village, which naturally extended the reef out under water, are almost gone. Washed away. Bleached. Dead. Disappeared. Even the crown of thorns and a whole array of star fish that were part of the reef aren’t here anymore. Fish are still around, but not in the numbers, colours and varieties we used to see and enjoy.

At its best this area acted much like mum’s garden in the hills. It provided fish, shells, clams, seaweed and varieties of sea urchins. The unique smell of the sea flavoured the village. It was a constant reminder that you lived by the sea.

The ground level photos and the pictures from the air are stunning. There is no doubt about that. They are some of the best sea scenery photos you can get. But much of the real, live natural beauty underwater is gone. We often recognise our own reckless and perilous ways when it is too late to save what we have lost.

The village is still a beautiful and serene habitat. But it was even better, as people of my generation remember.

Some things can be restored and nature is, as we know, capable of replenishing itself. Given space and left alone to regenerate, forests and even reefs can revive. But they will only get the opportunity to do so if we humans acknowledge and change the things we do that are hurting our own Mother – the source of our life – the Earth.

Simon Pentanu

Bougainville Day 2017 Reflections on the past : Are our greatest resources the environment, our cultures and our people ?

 “June 15, is a very symbolic occasion. It marks the anniversary of the day when Bougainville’s political aspirations were recognized with the formal establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, in this sense Bougainville Day captures the hopes, dreams and aspirations of all Bougainvilleans.

The last twelve years have been some of the most challenging, yet fruitful, for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville as we continue to forge ahead to decide our ultimate political future.”

Happy Bougainville Day and God bless you all.

Chief Dr. John L. Momis GCL, MHR
President

” As another Bougainville Day arrived and passed us by we continue to contemplate, celebrate and share the belief, hope and faith that with the right efforts and proper use of resources Bougainville will continue be a resilient society among its Melanesian brothers in the country and in the Pacific Islands.

What are Bougainville’s greatest resources?”

Simon Pentanu asks in Part 2 below

Part 1 The President

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has made significant progress in strengthening its faculties through passing important laws in the Bougainville House of Representatives and revitalizing the Bougainville Public Service into a lean and effective service delivery mechanism.

We have passed many new and important laws such as the Bougainville Mining Act 2015 which is one of the very best in the world as it gives Bougainville resource owners more control over their land and resources. The recent partial lifting of the Mining Moratorium on Bougainville is a clear indication of the ABG’s drive to foster fiscal self-reliance in the region.

Over the years our public service has been plagued by corruption; it is a deeply rooted problem that continues to hamper our development but we have since made efforts to curb this problem.

The setting up of the Auditor’s Office and the recent opening of the Ombudsman Commission’s office in Bougainville has provided us with the necessary means to tackle the corruption problem head on, not just in the public service but throughout Bougainville. The recent developments in the public service shows that the ABG will no longer tolerate corrupt practices.

We have set the indicative date for the referendum to be held on June 15, 2019. The ABG is already preparing for this very important event and the newly created Department of Peace Agreement Implementation will be taking the lead on this.

I would like to remind you all that our people are a people highly favoured. We have been blessed with the right to self-determination and this right we have paid for with the blood, sweat and tears that we shed through the darkest hours of our history, and that was the Bougainville Crisis.

We will not go quietly into the night, we must stand firm and stand united and make our voices heard, for at this juncture, unity is our greatest bargaining power on the eve of the referendum.

Today I ask all Bougainvilleans to reflect and to consider what you can each do to help Bougainville achieve its true destiny and dreams.

All of us have a role to play – our farmers, industrialists, students, teachers, health workers, public servants and our elected leaders.

By working together and moving ahead with a common goal there is much that we can achieve.

My challenge to you is to embrace this change and contribute to the journey. Together we can achieve greatness and as your President that is my ultimate goal – for a proud, united Bougainville.

Happy Bougainville Day and God bless you all.

Chief Dr. John L. Momis GCL, MHR
President

Part 2 Simon Pentanu

Not everyone will agree with me, but I believe they are our environment, our cultures and our people.

When we think about how to transform Bougainville into a developing, progressive region in the modern world, it’s important we do so by harnessing and protecting these resources.

Our environment, cultures and people are the things that have sustained us for countless generations past – and they can continue to do so today and into the future if we are smart.

Keeping our natural environment healthy while transforming Bougainville into a modern, progressive region is something the ABG can achieve only in close consultation with communities – the land owners and culture custodians.

Wherever we look around the world, there are lessons we can learn. Some communities and their environments have become victims of progress, not partners in development.

Think about the Melanesian people of West Papua. In the past 40 years vast quantities of their gold, copper, timber, palm oil and other resources have been mined, chopped down, extracted and exported, but few impartial observers would say this has been to the benefit of West Papua’s environment, cultures and people.

Of course, the vast majority of the resource extraction that has happened in West Papua has been undertaken with little or zero community consultation.

We have the opportunity to do things differently. To this end Bougainville’s mining legislation and policies address this. Let us hope it works in practice so that all parties involved in this industry and any such investment which harnesses resources are equal opportunity benefactors.

When we consider the various options open to us, I believe a CGP (community government partnership) is a more sustainable choice than a PPP (public private partnership).

CGP has the community as its starting point. CGP is a partnership that regards and protects the environment as enduring capital for sustainable humanitarian development.

A PPP is fine if it regards resource owners in communities as equal partners. But too often PPPs see resources merely as disposable commodities and consumables in a profit-oriented business model.

That way of thinking ends up depleting our strongest long-term assets for short-term gains that are here one year and gone the next.

Bougainville’s greatest resources – our environment, our cultures and our people – deserve so much better than that.

We can learn from the lessons from the past – some of which have been the most profound insofar as they have affected our society more than any other society in Melanesia, and the whole of the Pacific for that matter.

 

Bougainville Tourism News : Kangu / Buin in remote South #Bougainville has a rich history and bright future

 ” ALTHOUGH it is one of the less-visited places in our region, Kangu Hill, Kangu Beach and this generally remote bottom end of Bougainville have their share of fame (and infamy). 

Kangu’s fame predates Panguna’s; its immortality came by way of the relics, tunnels, dungeons and remains Asians and Caucasians left behind after WW2 – and by way of Melanesians whose wounds and scars from the Bougainville crisis and conflict are more recent and fresh.”

 Simon Pentanu

 

At one time, Kangu attracted international attention as a sphere of wartime activity. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of Japan’s combined fleet, was shot down over Buin on April 18, 1943. 

Admiral Yamamoto, a few hours before his death, saluting Japanese naval pilots at Rabaul, April 18, 1943

 

About 25km north of Buin along the south of Bougainville lies the wreck of the Japanese Betty bomber which was intercepted and shot down by Allied Forces on 18th April 1943.

On board that plane was WWII’s most famous Japanese commander and mastermind of the Pearl Harbor Attack, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

He was on an inspection tour of forward positions in the Solomon Islands when his aircraft (a Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber) was shot down during an ambush by American P-38 Lightning fighter planes.

His death was a major blow to Japanese military morale during World War II.

The site is covered in thick jungle and there are still some landowner issues, but if you arranged yourself early and got in touch with Bougainville Experience Tours , they can get you there.

 

 

Bougainville WW2 history :

Admiral Yamamoto site at Buin to features on Australian TV Watch Video

After the war this area became the district HQ for south Bougainville during the colonial administration. Kangu had its own police station on the hill, a hospital and power station by the beach, some colonial government housing and its share of Chinese traders and merchants.

Before Kangu got its jetty in 2003, cargo ships used to anchor off shore. Back then a trickling of crocodile hunters used to come through the area, after the reptiles for their skins. Scavengers of WW2 relics turned up from time to time, but they found they couldn’t possibly take much of evidence of the war away with them. This was out of the way for them, original land owners still had customary rights over land and their visits waned over time. And, in any case, who could remove the concrete bunkers from ‘Little Tokyo’ or the huge guns along the beaches that were left pointing to the south Solomons? Or the sunken vessels out here at sea.

Some of the places of most historical interest are relics of the church and the state.

Patupatuai near Kangu was one of the oldest mission sites and came complete with a Catholic cathedral. Bougainville’s oldest technical school was here, next to the Buin primary school at Kangu beach. I still have very fond memories going to the primary school with many boys from other parts of the Island as far away as Haku, Halia, Petats and Solos. 

Further down the beach from Patupatuai Catholic mission, the Methodists ran the lively Kihili Girls Vocational Centre. It enrolled girls from both sides of the Solomons.

 

It’s quite amazing how much the colonial administration and the churches did in the early days with very little money, but with a lot of thought, faith, effort and initiative.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if the four Bougainville national MPs put even a fraction of that thought and effort into planning together how best to spend the DSIP and other funds in their stewardship. Just imagine what could be achieved for the people of Bougainville if that K30 – K40 million or so a year – over some six hundred million kina a term – was carefully and strategically put to good use for the people of Bougainville!

In the mid-60s, as the new Buin town became the district centre and site for merchants and businesses, Kangu was slowly deserted.  The rituals that were part of the Kangu outpost – and were probably common in colonial administration centres throughout most of the territory at the time – started to fade. At a certain time of the day, may be at the raising and lowering of the colonial flag in the morning and in the afternoon, the sound of the bugle playing ‘The Last Post’ would ring out among the trees and the buildings.

All these years later the sound still rings vivid in my ears.

Of course, Kangu Hill and Kangu Beach have a rich history that predates WW2. Now, as Buin township expands, this rich history is tickling the imaginations of the locals, historians, developers, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

Plans for the facelift of Buin town include sealing the road all the way down to Kangu.

The plan holds a lot of potential for locals and tourists alike. When the new Buin market buildings are complete and the bitumen goes all the way to Kangu beach, this will no longer be a road less travelled.

I can imagine Saturdays where people from as far as Wakunai, Arawa and Kieta will converge on the area, mixing with the locals and with the increasing numbers of fishermen from the Shortland Islands, giving the market an international flavour.

 

To sell her produce Regina Puia travels 45 minutes by boat every Saturday from the Solomon Islands to Kangu and then onto Buin Market or further north to Evo, her matrilineal home.

The mother of four, who comes from mixed Evo (Central Bougainville) and Shortland (Solomon Islands) parentage, lives in Nila Catholic Mission on the east coast of Shortland Island where her husband is a fisherman.

“It takes us less than an hour Story Leonard Fong Roka

 

The policeman playing the bugle at the rising and going down of the sun, ringing and reverberating in my head, would now be drowned out by the boom and thump of rock and reggae coming out of the Bluetooth speakers that are quite affordable and plentiful amongst young revellers all around the Island.

Of course, the pain and the wounds that gave Kangu its immortality remain. 

Those bitter memories, along with the warm nostalgia for a past that will never return, are all part of what makes this place what it is today. And they will continue to be part of what it will be tomorrow and into the future, even as many people in this part of Bougainville crave to ‘catch up with the rest of the world’, whatever that may mean.

 

Bougainville International #Tourism News : The cruise ship True North impressed with Bougainville tourism potential

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” The Cruise ship True North has made its first tourism landfall on Bougainville for its passengers and crew. If all goes well and ends well like it did this week on its first cruise to AROB the ship will become a regular visitor to Bougainville and PokPok “

Picture Above the cruise ship True North

More info about Uruna Bay Retreat on Pokpok

With a population of tourists and crew of over thirty, everyone was treated to a cultural extravaganza provided by four cultural groups.

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It was a real cultural smorgasbord treat from entree to desserts. The liqueur was back on the boat at the end of three hours of entertainment.

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 Pokpok cultural dancers with its Shaman

True North and Bougainville Experience Tours chose to visit Pokpok Island on this the first travel to Bougainville. The deal was sealed when Uruna Bay Retreat on Pokpok agreed to provide the venue for the performances in its secluded beachfront property for the day. It was a real success, a win win for everyone that was involved in the visit and the cultural groups and other local service providers.

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Tourists under a natural fig tree “amphitheatre

It is hoped that True North will include Bougainville in its annual calendar of cruises to this region of the Pacific. There is tremendous potential for other smaller cruises. 

It is being quickly realized by travelers  that the Kieta coastal area and Islands is a jewel in Bougainville’s tourism crown for cruise ships offering breathtaking views, scenery, white beaches, diving, snorkeling, a growing surfing interest and one of the most beautiful natural harbours anywhere.