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Old 21-07-2004, 04:20 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Port Moresby
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“The present 2004 Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Port Moresby, Father Walter Ataembo, will bare his back for you to show you the big wound he suffered as a post-war schoolboy, with friends, when they gathered sticks, made a fire and unknowingly ignited live explosives.

“The first time Papua New Guineans were fired on by the enemy was the action 30 kilometres up the road to Kokoda at Arehe Creek and later near Awala in the central Orokaiva.

The so-called “War Damage Compensation” paid by the colonial government was – to my personal knowledge, scarcely more than a somewhat randomly organised effort.

Archbishop Hand also spoke strongly about the forgotten Wawonga people who were more Koiari of Central Province than Orokaiva of Northern Province.

“The road over the Owen Stanley Mountain to Port Moresby, via Kokoda, Isurava, Kagi, Efogi etc crosses the Orokaiva/Koiari boundary. On the way from Templeton’s Crossing to Kagi, you cross the junctions to the Myola Lakes and to the Wawonga. The Wawonga people of the eastward fall to Emo River occupy 14 villages and are related, tribally and linguistically, not to the Orokaiva but to Koiari.

“What goes for Koiari villages on the so-called “Kokoda Trail” goes, or should go also, for all the Wawonga people. The fact that their nearest “way out” is Orokaiva country, and therefore, Popondetta, is just chance. If they want a school or a church, or a medical aid post or an airstrip or a road or what-have-you, they should be “counted in” with the Oro (Northern) Province and not with the central Province – and so have come to feel “down and out.”

Archbishop Hand said: “My thought and wish is not to downgrade the helpful thoughts and research of others; but to round out the thinking and planning, and make it well-researched, more all-inclusive, and fair to all. Lt us not allow an over-glamorisation of specifically “Kokoda Trail” and its people at the expense of others, whose claims are at least as great.”
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