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Old 20-04-2002, 02:08 PM
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Kokopo Seven Years On

Source: The National Newspaper
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:10 PM
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Copra, cocoa the lifeline for growers

UNTIL seven years ago, Kokopo in name, was just a speck among hundreds of little towns in the Southern Hemisphere.

Yet this was a name synonymous with copra and cocoa commodities. Little did many know (except those agencies or international copra buyers) that Kokopo was a leading producer in the South Pacific, if not, the Southern hemisphere, of premium copra to the international market.

At the turn of last century, Kokopo, then known as Herbetshoe was a significant trading-post in the entire Southwest Pacific, played host to self-acclaimed royalty with regards to Queen Emma and her vast trading dynasty and Germany’s colonial expansion.

In their quest for global economic control to finance their war efforts for greater control in Europe, the Germans sailed the South Seas in search of fertile land.

Kokopo is still growing and infrastructure developments such as roads are being improved to cater for its growth. These pictures show roads improvements that have taken place to include a roundabout.
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:11 PM
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They landed in New Ireland and extended their control to Kokopo, and the surrounding areas.

Remnants of German control are still evident, such as in German architecture, and copra plantations left behind by the European administration, which later transferred the German headquarters to Rabaul, north of Kokopo. Any German influence was now left to the European missionaries across the bay at Vunapope, and a handful of copra traders.

More than a hundred years later, copra and cocoa is still a lifeline of the people of Kokopo.

Seven years after the volcano eruptions which destroyed Rabaul, Kokopo has elevated its status and has been declared as the provincial headquarter of East New Britain. The need to explore Kokopo town to be an alternate provincial and regional center was made possible by the NEC decision in 1995.

Kokopo town and the district played an important role in the early resettlement and rehabilitation of the affected population of Rabaul district and others. The electorate is made up of four LLGs namely; Kokopo/Vunamami, Raluana, Bitapaka and Duke of York. The Kokopo/Vunamami LLG is responsible for both the rural and urban areas within its vicinity while the other three are all rural LLGs.

Preliminary population figures obtained from the 2000 National Census indicates that Kokopo District has 55,000 people. Any increase in population was due to the 1994 volcanic eruptions which led to a mass exodus of Rabaul citizens.

The electorate is shared by LLG boundaries from other electorates except Duke of York which is surrounded by sea. Bitapaka LLG shares its boundaries with Sinivit LLG (Pomio electorate) and Kokopo/Vunamami Urban LLG. Kokopo/Vunamami shares its boundaries with Raluana, Bitapaka, and Toma/Vunadidir LLG (Gazelle electorate).Raluana shares its boundaries with Central Gazelle, Toma/Vunadidir and Kokopo/Vunamami Urban LLG.

Under the existing restoration program executed by the Gazelle Restoration Authority (GRA), Kokopo has played, and will continue to play an important role in the overall development of the province.

The GRA is currently implementing major infrastructure development programs in the district in order to facilitate overall re-development and development and to consolidate the government decision to make Kokopo town as the provincial administrative and regional commercial center.

While the government through GRA will continue to restore vital services in the province, the district and LLGs will consolidate the government effort in making Kokopo as the provincial headquarter and regional center for the islands region.
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:13 PM
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Retailing makes business sense

EVERY day is a hype of commercial activity in Kokopo. While the town-based entrepreneurs are conducting brisk business, the rural dwellers are not just loafing, but trading their agricultural commodities and doing their banking.

The adage "time is money" is certainly serving well here. The healthy commercial activity at Kokopo is being complimented well by a healthy law and order situation, the general mild attitude of the people and their tendency to mind one’s own business.
Retailing is the biggest commercial activity in both rural and urban areas of Kokopo district with trade stores leading in percentage in all LLGs.

Retailing alone takes up to 33.17 per cent. This is followed by retail and wholesale 2.14 per cent, liquor outlets 8.07 per cent, contractors 4.67 per cent, manufacturing industry 0.9 per cent, vehicle distributors 2.53 per cent, transport 25.78 per cent, service station 5.35 per cent, professional service 4.85 per cent, banking 1.07 per cent, rest/hotels 1.57 per cent, bakery 2.14 per cent, betting shop 0.29 per cent and others 6.81 per cent.

The district will soon be leading the other districts in the manufacturing industry, that will specialise in various products.
Already the district is picking up with several companies such as Viking Joinery, Vunapope Joinery, Nivani and Dima No.5 Limited manufacturing many furniture and other household items.
An increase in industrial development activities is expected through the construction of the industrial centres at Ulaveo and Takubar.

The rural LLGs can easily take up any investment opportunities once proposed depending on arrangements. Good planning is needed especially on the types of industries and how they can be encouraged and promoted by the government.

According to Sir Rabbie, downstream processing could further boost commercial activity at Kokopo. "Generally there could be significant growth of economic activities if this area is concentrated on. It could also encouraging spin-off businesses.
"It will involve the local population by creating employment opportunities and certainly to broaden the economic base," he said.

He believes appropriate technology could be of great help if taught at schools especially vocational schools for students to acquire necessary knowledge and skills for employment or even going into small manufacturing industries.
He says there is still high demand for products made by using appropriate technology.
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:17 PM
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Queen Emma legend lives on among Tolais

She was a "misit," rather a "hapkas." But above all she was a "tadar aro Kokopo" (very important woman who ruled at Kokopo).

Among the very elderly Tolais from the area, the name was and is reffered to obliquely, for hers is not just a story of a very influential business woman, but a socialite whose lavish lifestyle, particularly sex and love life knew no boundaires.

And the patuanas (chiefs) from around the area were not to be left out. For European visitors to Rabaul, it is a "must" in the cliches of the tourist brouchers as well as in the eyes of their Tolai hosts to see remnants of Queen Emma's era.

Queen Emma's cemetery near Karavi and Queen Emma steps descending from the Ralum club, near Kokopo's golf course are perhaps the only visible reminders of her. Also known at different times as Emma Eliza Coe, Emma Fosayth and Emma Kolbe, she is famous far beyond the Gazelle and New Guinea.

She was born in 1850 in Samoa, the daughter of a Samoan woman and an American Jonas Coe, who was the official representatvie of the United Stated there. He had 18 acknowledged children, and Emma who was referred to by the womenfolk as "that wicked Coe woman" was a daughter from one of his six wives.

History has it that Emma was in New Britain long before the Germans took over in 1844. She was there in fact when the European community compsied a handful of fever wracked missionaries and traders who kept themselves out of the canibal's cooking pots only by ceaseless vigilance and (in the case of traders) readiness to shoot on sight.

In 1878 she came to New Guinea as a trader and partner-lover of the infamous Thomas Farrel. She settled first in (Mioko) Duke of York Islands and in about 1883 moved to Gunatabu (near today's Kokopo).

She acquired, greatly assisted by her brother-in-law Richard Parkinson, vast areas of Tolai land and had it cleared and planted, mainly with coconut palms, by a workforce imported from New Ireland and North Solomons.

She was renowned for her flamboyant lifestyle. Her house became the social centre of German New Guinea and she was the colony's outstanding socialite.

She was the wealthiest and biggest individual planter in the New Guinea until the 1909 when she sold her plantations to Rudolf Wahlen and his Hamburggische Sudsee Aktiengessellschaft.

Her lavish champagne parties were financed through her profits from unequal exchange in trade with New Guineans, exploitation of labour and use of land acquired for a song. It is said that Queen Emma and her brother-in-law Richard Parkison, husband of Emma's sister Phoebe, together took more Tolai land than anybody else - Ralum plantation, Kuradui Plantation Malapau Plantation, Giregire, to name a few of their acquisations and forced Tolai speakers to live their native reserves.

According to her biographer, Robson (1965, 123), Queen Emma made personal contact with the chiefs around Blanche Bay and induced them to sell large defined areas to her.

The chiefs did not really understand the Europeans' system of buying their land, but they did learn much from frequent visits by the tall, thin, bearded Mr Parkinson who came armed and riding a horse, guarded by eight or ten implacable "black devils" who were always ready to shoot: and they learned something also from the occassional calls by English and German warships "which liked to let off their big guns." (Robson 1965, 127)
Robson's "black devils" refer to Mr Parkison's private guard of North Solomon islanders.

Earlier, Thomas Farrel and Queen Emma operated from Mioko on the Duke of York islands, from where they soon recognised the need for a mainland base.

In 1882, she decided to establish a depot near Blanche Bay and with the advice of Mr Parkinson chose the mainland site called Ralum, some 300 metres east of the present Vunamami United Church.

Concerned that upon her death her wealth would pass to her German husband Captain Paul Kolbe, she sold most of her interests in the Archipelago, including Gunatabu, to the German company Hamburgiche Sudcee AG (HASAG).

At the time of disposal the Forsayth plantation company was the second largest in the protectorate and was reportedly for close to a million US dollars. Queen Emma retired to Mossman, NSW.
Her house was destroyed by Allied bombing during 1943-44, and only remnants of its foundation and the flight of steps leading to Gunatabu remain.

Queen Emma's House:
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:20 PM
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Downstream and alternative crops

THE current deregulation of the copra industry following its imminent collapse in 2000 and 2001 has at least given some hope to producers in the province, but particularly the Kokopo district where most of the copra comes from.
Kokopo MP Sir Rabbie Namaliu is encouraging downstream processing, and simultaneously the introduction of other crops such as vanilla and cardamon to spice up the sector.

Agriculture officers are addressing the small-holder management and maintenance practices in the view of increasing yields.
The crops have been taken over by Cocoa and Coconut Extension Agency (CCEA) who are coordinating through a small holder Agriculture Credit Scheme.

Copra is the next leading established cash crop in the district, especially Bitapaka local level government.

Due to the increase of price in 1998, copra production increased a lot with new plantings. However this dropped in the last two years following the drop in international pricing.

The total hectares occupied by coconut plantings in the district is 3,544,830.50 hectares. Percentage of this is from plantations and percent from small holders.

According to Mr Namaliu, an appropriate form of downstream or secondary processing on small-scale basis should be identified and encouraged in oil mills, stock feed and other coconut product based.

"The maximum use of the whole coconut and other means of utilising the leaves, husks, shell, meat and trunk in processing products is to be initiated and researched its viabilities," he said.
In terms of alternative crops there are crops like vanilla, chilli, fruits and nuts that are widely grown and provide good returns to the growers.

Other cash crops like turmeric, nutmeg, coffee, cashew nuts are being investigated. They require less land, low level of expertise and suitable for remote areas.

The crops can be easily transported, have less preservation problems, marketable, have high returns and are diversifying crops.

Vanilla plantings in the district have increased rapidly to an average of 100 plants per farmer. The increase is due to the availability of marketing facilities.

From the 15.25ha, the production was 26.958kg green pods, recovery rate is 5.1 per cent total cured bean will be 5,391.6kg per year @K40kg 1998 price, K215,664.

Turmeric, of the ginger family requires less land and labor. This is being encouraged by DPI extension, with a total area of blocks of 28,258 and distribution of 14.26 per cent in the district.

Assorted fruits and nuts were planted as ornamental plants around houses or along land boundaries. Farmers have extended their planting as demand for selected fruits and nuts in local markets go up.

Kokopo is well known in mango production. There is high demand for apple mango, banana mango and other varieties.

Other fruits and nuts like durian, galip nuts, avocado, guava are in high demand. An organised market to buy and sell, or a fruit juice factory will greatly benefit the farmers and also generate income for them.

More than 500 farmers are planting various nuts and fruits totaling 7,499 in the district as per 1997 only. This can be done through marketing assistance, processing and extension backup.
Food production is being encouraged to provide income earnings and commercial potential for smallholders and availability of a wider variety of fresh foods at affordable prices.

The skills of the people in post harvest, packing methods, inappropriate pricing irregularity of supply are the main problems.
The extension service is being focused on increasing awareness campaigns of the opportunities, advising on pricing, marketing supply, demand for the existing commodities and others that are not grown at present.

There are a total of 37 vegetable farmers and 59 rice farmers in the district. The rice production in the district looks promising, as people have felt the pinch on the high price and decided to grow their own rice.

Backup support should be given to the program in terms of materials and equipment like rice mill, thrashing and plugging machines and tractors.

A DPI project … officers checking cocoa seedlings in a nursery at Kokopo/Vunamami LLG.
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:22 PM
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Vital links developed, power supply lacking

THE existing road network in the Kokopo district is under the responsibility of the three levels of government -national, provincial and LLG.

The existing provincial roads in the district totals 213.07km, of which there are 173.65km unsealed sections and 39.42km sealed sections. There are a total length of 48.1km unsealed access and feeder roads in all four LLGs in the district.

There are two usable landing strips in the district. Rakanada in the Duke of York Islands that is currently in use but is in need of maintenance. It is owned by the Catholic mission.

There are six wharves and jetties in the district. Duke of York has two wharves, Kokopo has one jetty and one wharf, Raluana has two jetties. The upgrading of Kabakaul wharf will be a bonus for the district and province as a whole.

With the current rate of development in Kokopo, the town will require more power supply within the next five years. Not only Kokopo town but the rural areas in the three local level governments on the mainland especially need power supply.
A lot of rural dwellers now have permanent dwellings that need electricity. Only those areas with main power lines running through have access to electricity.

A total of 30km of distance through villages have been proposed for rural electrification. Some areas Elcom has started running lines through the total cost for the 30km when complete would be around K492,000.

The major form of communication is radio through the ENB Radio Station.

Telephone has been limited to the urban centers but rural telephone program by Telikom has been extended to few households in the rural areas.

Mobile/two-way radios have been the helpful communications medium by our provincial administration and companies as well. But as more development takes place in Kokopo district, more and more people will acquire telephones for efficient living.
Almost all rural dwellers in Kokopo district rely on rain water as their source of water. People buy tanks and drums to store water. The LLG recently started to supply water tanks to villages to be used a community water tanks.

A total 39 tanks have been distributed by the four LLG. Shallow wells are also sources of water for people especially villages along the coast.

A total of 17 water wells fitted with pumps have been built in the district. European Union and Health have been sponsoring some of these water pumps.

Generally, transport is a catalyst to overall economic development, with good road network and good sea transport to outer islands.

The district has advanced a lot in many areas of development. Transport as an economic sector also demands closer analysis for improvement in development.

It has given an opportunity to the local people to participate as a business activity through operations as public transport service. Transport sector in the district accounts for 25.78 per cent.

The travelling public are well served by PMV buses and PHVs . The most popular and perhaps the most convenient type of public transport is the 15-seater PMV seater business.

These PMV have served the public through the routine system introduced by the Provincial Land Transport and Small Craft Board, before the volcanic eruptions. PMV and boat fares are also controlled by the Board.

Small crafts continue to provide a reliable mode of transportation for the Duke of York islanders. Their travel between Kokopo town and the islands depends entirely on the availability of motorised dinghies which are owned by ordinary villagers.
Like the PMV operations the travelling public pay for the service provided.
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:24 PM
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Bitapaka Local Level Government

BITAPAKA LLG is a major economic player in the district with much of its area dominated by plantation estates, as well as family blocks.

It is also where the Kokopo district office is situated. The district has 21 wards and a population of 14,814 people. All projects have been completed under the 1997 RAP funds except for a staff houses at Malakuna Aid Post that has exhausted its allocated funds of K20,000. It is incomplete pending additional funds.

Maintenance was carried out on all existing feeder roads and bridges at Bitapaka at a total funding of K25,000 from 1997-2000 under RAP funds. From 1998-1999, maintenance work was carried out on Women and Youth's hall at the LLG premises at a total of K35,000 under RAP funds.

All projects funded under RAP from 1997-2000 amounted to a total of K11,000. K43,328 was allocated under the SRDP for the year 1999. Three classrooms have been fully completed under SRDP at a total cost of K95,900. Bitapaka's biggest education project had been the funding and implementation of the double classroom for Top-Up at Malakuna Primary School at a total of K60,900 and was funded under the SRDP in 1999. Extra money had been diverted to the construction of a new library building and a staff house consisting of three bedrooms.

Funding available to ward development projects in all the wards was K88,000 under SRDP in 1999. From 1998-1999, Bitapaka LLG under-went a distribution project and other agricultural development activities in its wards with available funding of K30, 000 under RAP. There was no funding under SRDP for this sector for 1999.

Malakuna Community School.
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:26 PM
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LLG that is both rural and urban

The Kokopo/Vunamami LLG is where Kokopo town is situated.
From Blanche Bay there are glorious views of the Duke of York islands, New Ireland beyond and the St George Channel. It is no wonder Queen Emma and German administration Governor Albert Hahl chose Kokopo ahead of other south-sea ports to be their headquarters in the early 1800s.

The LLG consist of 19 wards and though it is an urban LLG, it is also serving the rural areas within its LLG. Its rural and urban populations are about 12,870 and 4,641 respectively. The LLG had most of its projects completed and are in good condition.
Twenty thousands kina was allocated for ward projects and was distributed between the 19 wards.

The fund was used to maintain and renovate existing infrastructures.

There are however, certain projects like community halls in Palnakaur ward, and Vunamami ward that was delayed due to land dispute, but are now in progress.

Meanwhile, the developments of the Kokopo Market improvement is on hold at the moment due to technical documents regarding the plan of the project was not presented and approved by the physical and Planning Board.

Six community school classrooms and eight classrooms for top-up schools and a library were completed in 1998 and are now in use.

The Palnakaur Community Hall.
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Old 20-04-2002, 02:27 PM
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A total o K10,000 funded under DSG was distributed among the wards for maintenance and renovation of existing social infrastructures.

Eight per cent of existing projects within schools have been maintained along with new school projects while 20 percent need more funding due to shortage of materials and lack of technical services.

The new fire station in Kokopo town built at a cost of K2.6 million to replace the one destroyed by the volcanic eruptions in Rabaul.
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