Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bougainville Tourism, Culture and Music Troupe Prepare for Tour

The Buka based organising Committee Members: Bernard Hanga, Marcelline Puso, Joachim Mass, Lucian Taria. Aloysius Laukai and Siwi Aipe. Seating is Mr. Patrick Koles, the Chairman, and Deputy Administrator - Operations,  Autonomous Bougainville Administration. 

Picture and Story by Aloysius Laukai
Source: New Dawn FM
Date Published: 02 August 2011

A Bougainville Tourism and Contemporary troupe is to perform in Brisbane Australia to commemorate Papua New Guinea’s 36th Independence Anniversary.

The troupe will include about forty bamboo band members and members of Bougainville bands who will also take part in the contemporary Bougainville music performance in Brisbane.

The troupe is currently preparing for the trip and have already started practicing and carrying out fundraising activities.

They would be having their first CORPORATE DINNER at the KURI village resort next Saturday.

Chairman of the planning group is the deputy administrator, PATRICK KOLES with members LUCIAN TAREA and SIWI from the tourism office, Benard Hanga from Niu age band, Graeme Kakarouts from Planning, Marchellin Puso and Aloysius Laukai from New Dawn FM will be the publicity officer for the group.

Bougainville was invited by the PNG Consulate in Brisbane for a group to prepare and participate at this year’s independence celebrations.

Funding for this trip would be from sponsor's donations and fundraisings.
The group is appealing to Bougainvilleans within Bougainville and abroad to support as this would be the first Bougainville group to market Bougainville as a tourism destination.

The group will have fundraisings in Port Moresby before departing for Australia. Place and time will be confirmed later for Bougainvilleans in POM CITY.

For more information please go to the Bougainville Tourism website or talk to the Tourism people on Facebook registered as Bougainville Tourism. Also watch for a promotional vedio on Utube sometimes this week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

MV Bougainville Atolls by Aloysius Laukai

Bougainville Atolls departing Samarinta Port last week in Java Island, Indonesia for Port Moresby.

By Picture and Story Aloysius Laukai

The Border Development Authority (BDA) has a latest barge in its fleet to provide shipping services in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
MV Bougainville Atolls now on its way to Port Moresby from Samarinta City in Java Island, Indonesia will be used in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB). The Barge which is expected to arrive early next month will mostly be used to provide shipping services to the isolated and scattered atolls of the Feat, Cataretts, Mortlock and Tasman. It will also be used to service other areas of the ARB.
A delighted Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Education Minister John Tabinaman yesterday thanked the National Government on behalf of the atoll’s people and ABG for establishing the BDA. “We now see that BDA can come and help us in remote coastal border areas like ARB within a short notice. Many times no ship in the past and the Atolls people suffer. Teachers, Health and Government Officers do not arrive in time and mobility was a problem. There was no help to ship cargos. Now people can see the Government’s hands through BDA. The people will be relieved to see the Barge.”
Mr Tabinaman said from Buka in the ARB that before ABG had to charter private ships and it was expensive. “Those ships had to meet up to their tight schedule runs and we had to cut short some of our trips. It was hard to do awareness and get to know the people’s real conditions. Besides the ships allocated were small and do not have facilities like a health room on the ship. But now with MB Bougainville Atolls we will have a medical bay with medical supplies on board.”
Early this month BDA responded after North Bougainville MP Lauta Atoi appealed for assistance saying that about 15,000 people on the Atolls with the islands of Nissan and Pinabel needed immediate relief supplies due to the four month old prolonged drought.
BDA provided its Barge MV Andreas and donated K100, 000 worth of relief supplies such as food (over 500 bags of rice and garden food such as kaukau, taro and bananas), water containers, and medical and education supplies.”
BDA already have MV Muntai, MV Ulayut, MV Gloucester, MV Manus Atolls and MV Milne bay Atolls in its fleet of Barges.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Papua New Guinea's New Tourism Gem: Bougainville by Alex Rheeney

Pristine Beach Pokpok Island, Bougainville.
Picture by Lachlan Joyce

By Alexander Rheeny
Source:  Air Niugini Inflight Paradise Volume 3, 2011. July-September 2011 Edition
Publisher: Islands Business International, Suva Fiji
Permission: Sought and granted from and by Air Niugini, Island Business International and Alexander Rheeney to republish this article.
Sincere appreciation extended to the Air Niugini Paradise Inflight Magazine editorial team especially Eva Arni and Laisa Taga of Islands Business International for the second consecutive coverage of Bougainville in the first 2011 editions. Thank you Alexander Rheeney for coming over and writing about Bougainville tourism potential. Looking forward to your continued support.

About 1000 kilometres to the northeast of Port Moresby lies Papua New Guinea’s next tourism gem.
The autonomous region of Bougainville, comprising the main islands of Bougainville, Buka and 166 smaller islands, is a treasure trove for the adventurous traveller.

From its lush jungle to its fast flowing rivers and white sandy beaches, the region remains an untouched paradise. Throw in attractions such as World War II relics, the Numa Numa trail, cave exploring, diving and snorkelling, fishing and island tours and you have tailor-made packages to suit your taste.

Thirteen years following the signing of the UN-sanctioned peace agreement to end the 15-year Bougainville conflict, the islanders are moving mountains to catch up with the rest of PNG.

The growth of locally-owned businesses in the main centres of Buka, Arawa and Buin, coupled with the increase in cocoa and coconut exports, epitomise the hunger for success.

My own adventures in Bougainville began when I landed at Buka Airport (on Buka Island) on an Air Niugini Fokker 100, paid K2 for a short water taxi ride to Kokopau (on the main island of Bougainville) and embarked on a gruelling three-hour drive in a Toyota Landcruiser to Arawa, the former provincial capital.

It is a scenic journey that takes you through some of the South Pacific’s largest coconut plantations and waist-deep rivers.

Arawa is slowly making a comeback. You cannot miss the ‘White House’, the former headquarters of the pre-conflict Bougainville provincial government, or the Peace Park which was built in 2003 to mark the end of the conflict.

I heard the autonomous Bougainville government has plans to return their capital to the island’s former seat of government.

A stone throwaway from the “White House” is the Arawa market. Here, you can meet sellers from nearby villages of Pokpok Island, Koromira, Kongara, Rorovana, Panguna and even Siwai in south Bougainville.

You also cannot miss Bougainville’s humungous betelnuts at the market with a heap (containing 4-5 betelnuts) going for as low as 20 toea, a price that will make PNG’s betelnut chewers salivate.

A variety of colourful garden produce and skilfully-made traditional crafts sold five-days-a-week, attests to the significant role the market plays in uniting villagers from central and south Bougainville.

After a three-day stopover in Arawa, I set my compass on Koromira - a two-hour drive south of the township. Road conditions in Arawa and  nearby port of Kieta are still in good condition despite a lack of general maintenance during the conflict years.

Getting on a PMV is the best travel option to take as it keeps cost to a minimum and enables you to mix with the local population.

Recognising that you are new to the area, a local will no doubt show you landmarks that fell victim to the conflict during the course of your journey.

We stopped at Mang-kaki market for fresh coconut juice and snacks. The market is mainly used by Pokpok Islanders with their surprisingly mountainous island a short canoe ride away. Two wind cones, bits of an unused runway and charred remains of a brick building are all that remains of what used to be the Aropa Airport, the island’s once upon a time international gateway.

Koromira in central Bougainville is picturesque and its people hospitable. I was upon arrival captivated by the beauty of the area with its white sandy beaches, deep rivers, coral islands and mysterious jungle.

I made it my mission to explore as much as I could of this yet-to-be-discovered tourism jewel before I left the region.

The islands of Baikai, Pangkamui and Kompa - all lie off the coast of Koromira. They became my first assignment. With my family in tow and ably guided by our skipper Joseph Katepo, it took us 40 minutes to travel by motorised dinghy to Baikai from the mainland.

The island is a typical coral atoll with white sandy beach and small woodland. It is home to sea birds and occasionally villagers out on a fishing trip.

On a fine day, you can see Gizo Island in the Solomon Islands. Thanks to local fish diving maestros Domari Deras and Tarumo Robert who accompanied us, we soon had fresh fish on the fire. The day was spent fishing, swimming and exploring - the perfect getaway.

Looking from Baikai to Koromira, you get to see Bougainville’s mountainous terrain. That jagged landscape of tropical rainforest was my next assignment.
Local businessman Justin Boa offered to be my guide. Batamai village, which was my temporary home, was the point of our departure.

The first 30 minutes of our walk took us through hundreds of neatly pruned cocoa trees and a coconut plantation before we entered the jungle.

The distant call of wild pigeons and the strong smell of decaying matter in the rainforest welcomed us as we descended down a hill and got to a river filled with huge black stones. Villagers call the river by different names in the local language, depending on which part of the estuary you are visiting.

There was something eerie about Kenung Dung Ku Pu, the only part of the river with a deep black pool, which not so long ago immersed a 20-metre long tree which villagers chopped down to build a canoe.

The last bit of our expedition was a stopover at the now deserted Banara village.

I knew there was a lot more to discover about Bougainville when I flew out from Buka for Port Moresby.

Further south of Koromira lies Buin and the mysteries of the Siwai people or travel inland in central Bougainville and you end up in Panguna and its silent copper and gold mine.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Arts and Crafts were also presented at the show.
 Pictured is the famous cane products promoter.
 Picture by Aloyius Laukai

By Aloysius Laukai
Source:   New Dawn FM

The ABG Minister for Tourism JOE EGILIO contributed ONE THOUSAND KINA to the REEDS Festival through his Ministerial staff JASON MONSON.

The minister who is receiving medical attention in Port Moresby was able to assist through his staff and also his prepared speech was read by his staff.

He said that he supported the work the late WILLIAM TAKAKU has started and it is now up to the people to continue and upgrade into a full Bougainville festival.

The Minister said that his office is pleased to support such activities that promote cultural activities and the preservation so that our future generations can also benefit from.

Meekamui Chief Commends on Reeds Festival Success by Aloysius Laukai

Festival ends and food are being removed for sharing between participants.
 Pasin Culture stret!
 Picture by Aloysius Laukai

By Aloysius Laukai
Source: New Dawn FM

The two-day Reeds festival that was held at Tubiana near Arawa was described as a success.

Meekamui chief CHRIS UMA said that he was happy that the celebration conclude without incident.

He told New Dawn FM that this was the main aim of the Bougainville struggle to promote the identity of Bougainville and the festival has just achieved that.

MR. UMA thanked all the people that had attended the festival and hopes to see much bigger festival in the future.

New Dawn FM estimates that more than five thousand people including the participants attended the ceremony.
What a better way to end the festival with a feast of pig meat!


Vanuatu anthropologist, artist and politician, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu is being carried by a Wakunai Kaur group.
Picture and Story Aloysius Laukai
Source: New Dawn FM

A Parliamentary member and Minister for Justice in Vanuatu, RALPH REGENVENU says that Melanesia is the last frontier that the world is looking to for natural scenery and resources.

 He was speaking as one of the speakers at the Reeds festival on Monday.

Minister Ralph called on the people of Bougainville to protect their land, culture and resources from foreign explotation.

He said that Melanesia like Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon islands are the last places on earth were the people still have land at their own hands.

The minister said that because of their land they do not need money to buy food as these food and proteins are readily available to them.

He said this is not so in other places who have to buy for everything including water and food.

Further read the Vanutuan Culture and Tourism icon biography here on Wikipedea.

Reeds Festival Ends on a High Note by Aloysius Laukai

Background is the Picture of the Food Stall with 8 Pigs to be shared with all participants.
President of the Christensen Foundation, DIANE CHRSITENSEN speaking at the ceremony yesterday.
The Melanesian Program Officer Catherine Sparks watching.

Pictures and Story by Aloysius Laukai
Source: New Dawn FM

The two-days Reeds festival ended just after lunch with all participants sharing 8 pigs and all the food that was hanging on the food stall since the start of the festival yesterday
According to Chief PETER GARUAI the two-day ceremony attracted seventeen groups from Inus down to Bana district.

He was speaking at the end of the celebrations yesterday afternoon.Chief Garuai said that the first Reeds festival in 2009 attracted 13 groups and this year the numbers have increased.

MR. GARUAI also thanked all the people including overseas friends that have gathered for the festival.

The Christensen fund team returned by road to Buka where they boarded a chartered plane to Port Moresby.

MR. GARUAI urged the people to remain united and return for the next show in 2013.