Posts Categorized: Jobs & employment

Joining the Tonu Defence Academy

By Shallum Tabea

Shallum D. Tabea is from Bana district in South Bougainville has written this article about his experiences in Tonu Defence Academy in Siwai District.


After withdrawing from Divine Word University in 2012 I decided to join the recruits of the Royal Bougainville Military Defence Forces. I was then enlisted into the basic recruit training programme in March 2014 after going through the medical examination test conducted at Tonu.

The recruits come from different parts of Bougainville and PNG. It is a military training programme conducted yearly and eligible youths from across the region who meet the criteria of the recruitment process undergo three to six months of training and then pass out at the Tonu Defence Academy.

791-tonu-defence-academyThough being the centre of many critiques, very little is known and accurately written about the Tonu Defence Academy.  No media wish to enter the Zone in Tonu regardless of much news worthy events and progress that take place there and so very little is known throughout Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.

In the first week of the training we went through a mind healing seminar that is broadly facilitated by pastors. After the mind healing teaching we went straight through the training process that includes physical training and theory lectures.  The training is very tough and one has to be physically fit in order to get on the boots.  Some of the recruits have to withdraw in the second and third weeks due to the brutal training regime.

As recruits, we were told we have to follow orders from officers of higher rank without question.

Each day we woke up as early as 0400hrs and marched to the chapel for morning devotions for spiritual development and again at 1800hrs for evening devotions. The devotion also provides the arena for the trainees to give testimonies of some are very heart touching testifying how the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) brutally beat them but God was there to save them from the barrel of the gun during the Bougainville crisis.

At the morning and evening devotion recruits recite the Military Prayer, which is;

“Almighty and everlasting God. By whose grace thy servants enable to fight the good fight of faith and ever proved victorious. Help us to think wisely, to speak rightly, resolve bravely, act kindly and to live purely. Bless us in body and in soul, strengthen us in life, comfort us in thy hour of death. For the sake of thy son Jesus Christ our Lord of lords and the King of kings. Amen.”

791-parade-tonuIt is a training intended to instil discipline into the force and to promote good order in the communities throughout Bougainville.

The training is broad and is not confined only on domestic internal areas but it excels beyond the boundaries in meeting internationally recognized standard of training. Apart from physical training the program covers specific areas in international law and leadership skills training,

After passing out as privates, some of our personnel are dispatched to other centres on the Island. Currently several of our boys are providing security at the recently opened Aropa Airport in Central Bougainville.

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The story of Arawa’s top welder

By Gideon Davika


Kison Hini from Siwai District of South Bougainville is one of the top welders, who are in high demand around the region.

Before the crisis he started his working career as a welder, employed at Islands Steel in Arawa. Due to the escalating conflict he went back to Siwai and spent ten years without formal employment.

When the crisis ended Hini went to Panguna, collected scraps which were and started welding again.

At the same time as doing his private welding work at the giant abandoned Panguna mine he was also washing gold during his spare time when he had nothing to weld.

Now he has moved down to Arawa once again and started his own workshop with new equipment, which he bought while working at the Panguna site.

Hini has become a person who is very well-known in the area and he is often hired to do welding, especially at new construction sites. He is hired him because of his experience and the skills which he gained, which have given him the reputation as the top welder.

On many occasions he has been hired by local road contractors to change the treads for bulldozers and excavators. He is the expert when it comes to grinding the pins which hold the treads together.

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Security & safety tightened at Kieta Wharf

By Gideon Davika


Niganaa Stevedoring has been forced to tighten up security and safety at Kieta Wharf as the amount of shipments increases each year.

A statistical report from last year showed that each month more than one hundred shipping containers are delivered to the wharf.

At the beginning of last year a security house was built at the gate as a checkpoint for guards to check all vehicles and people entering the wharf.

Niganaa Stevedoring manager, Charnel Tane, said that since the establishment of strict regulations, many problems that occurred at the wharf have stopped and things are running in a more orderly manner.

The security team at the gate to the wharf checks every vehicle’s registration and only vehicles with an official sticker are allowed to enter the wharf.

Vehicle drivers and other people entering must wear reflective vests, safety boots and a safety helmet on their head at the wharf. The security is very strict and they will not allow any person to enter the wharf without the proper safety equipment.

The removable of shipping containers and loose cargo on pallets is also checked thoroughly at the gate by the guards. They check the records of shipments and make sure that correct containers and cargo is being taken.

Before the establishment of these rules and regulations there were a number of injuries and deaths that occurred at the wharf which could have been avoided if people were wearing the correct equipment.

As well as the tragic loss of life this was becoming expensive as Niganaa had to spend a lot of money in compensation payments.

Cargo was being lost or stolen from the wharf as a result of vehicles being allowed to enter without authorisation.

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Locals contracted to transport Digicel tower materials

By Gideon Davika

Digicel is the biggest cellular phone network in Bougainville and now reaches the rural areas of the island, even providing coverage to those areas where there is no road.

The transportation of towers across the whole of Papua New Guinea is the responsibility of Mirikini Construction but in Bougainville the transportation of towers being carried out by sub-contractors under the care of Emil Roy and Manasseh Davika.

They use various modes of transportation to deliver the towers to different locations across the three regions of Bougainville.

To areas where there is no road, especially to the mountain tops, helicopters are used to transport the construction materials.

Trucks, such as crane trucks, flattops and ten cubic metre dump trucks, are used in places where there is suitable road connection.

At times the weather conditions makes transportation very difficult, especially during the rainy season when flooding rivers block trucks from crossing.

The poor condition of the roads is another factor which causes problems when transporting towers by trucks. Sometimes trucks get stuck in the mud and the workers spend hours struggling to pull them out.

Foggy conditions in the mountains can make it very tricky for helicopters to land to deliver their load.

The contractors work tirelessly day and night to make sure that they transport their cargo according to the schedule.

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Bougainville makes tangible progress

By Stephanie Elizah and Veronica Hannette


In the last few months the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have witnessed many accomplishments that are positively influencing the future of the region.

Amongst these has been the creation of the Bougainville public service, the transitional mining bill, arrival and launch of the MV Chebu, the successful conclusion of the Torokina Render Safe Operation and the re-opening of the Aropa Airport.

Also on the list of developments in progress are the Bougainville Peace Building Initiative, Buka Ring road sealing, Buka town upgrade and sealing and the MV Rapoise Chief that is due to arrive in Bougainville in February next year.

According to Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Patrick Nisira, many more impact projects are in the planning stages and the future for Bougainville looks bright and promising.

Mr Nisira stated that these are significant achievements that the ABG and the people of Bougainville must celebrate and be proud. They demonstrate beyond a doubt that Bougainville is moving forward.

“Fundamental to the success enjoyed so far is the working partnership between the ABG, the National Government and donor partners, particularly Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Nations, United States, Churches and non-government organisations,” Mr Nisira said.

“We recognize and acknowledge all of you with gratitude and sincere appreciation.

“It is really up to us Bougainvilleans to make our distinctive contribution to realize our hopes for a better, safer and secure future for the present and next generation.”

He acknowledged that there are still many problems and real challenges that the people of Bougainville must deal with, but he urged that creating a nation requires the will of the people.

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Buin gold operation benefits ex-combatants

By Gideon Davika


Chimney Mining is a local business in the Buin District of south Bougainville owned by former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander and current Meekamui leader, Mr Goige.

As a former BRA commander Mr Goige values his former soldiers and started the mine to help them and the people of Bougainville as a whole.

The mine is operated by the power of manual labour and there are no machines used at the site. The men use sticks and spades to dig and a conveyer to wash the gold.

The operation drew interest from foreigners who wanted to mechanise the process, but were refused because of a commitment to keep the operation locally owned.

The gold which is washed is for those who work at the mine site who are either ex-combatants themselves or people who lost fathers, brothers and uncles during the decade long Bougainville Crisis.

Each day all the workers at the mine wash gold for only one person who is among the group and the next day they work for another person.

Chimney Mining is well organised by Goige and he has few strict rules which they follow when they hunt for gold.

There is zero tolerance of alcohol at the mine site and they must not use money which they get from gold to buy beer to get drunk. Money from the gold must be used wisely and to make good things.

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Bougainvillean journalism students in short supply

By Veronica Hannette

The communications programme at Divine Word University aims to give students the skills to become media professionals.
The communications programme at Divine Word University aims to give students the skills to become media professionals.

The number of Bougainvilleans taking up the journalism course offered by the Communication Arts faculty at Divine Word University has decreased, as students flock into business and health courses.

Demand for media personnel is currently high in the autonomous region, particularly with the recent expansion of the Division of Communications within the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Currently there are only seven Bougainvilleans studying as part of the the journalism course, three males and four females.

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New graduates from Osi Tanata aid development

313-osi-tanataBy Gideon Davika

Osi Tanata was formed in 1998 during the Bougainville crisis as an Oxfam New Zealand project to help improve lifestyle of the rural communities by providing vocational skills training.

The organisation, now independent of Oxfam, is headquartered in Arawa, central Bougainville. The name Osi Tanata comes from the Nasioi language, translating to ‘custodian of the land’.

Osi Tanata has developed over the years into a dynamic NGO that as grown from an organization that focused on income generation projects to one that focuses on community development and training.

At the moment it is providing opportunities for young Bougainvillians to acquire skills in leadership, community projects and governance.

In 2014 Osi Tanata ran business studies courses for young people and recently 70 students graduated with certificates in basic accounting and clerical skills.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has commended Osi Tanata on the vital role they are playing in the ongoing development of Bougainville by structuring projects to suit the needs of the communities. The organisation now reaches 49 communities throughout the island of Bougainville.

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Children of farmers work hard for their education

414-cocoa-processingBy Junior Karatapi

As 2014 came to an end all the students from different institutions go back to their respective homes for their Christmas holidays. The students spend 2 to 4 months with their parents or guardians and work to help their families.

For the children of cocoa farmers it is a time to raise their money in the agricultural sector where they sustain their lives. It is a common situation that many Bougainvilleans come from.

This period work of helping the parents on the cocoa blocks is for the students’ school fees and pocket money.

Families that own mobile dryers for cocoa carry out all processes through fermentation stage to the final stage where cocoa is dried, packed and ready for sale.

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Youths construct scrap metal footbridge over Kavarong

436-kavarong-bridgeBy Leonard Fong Roka

Two stunning, locally produced footbridges have been constructed in the Upper Tailings area of the Panguna District, providing passage over waterways that are dangerous during the wet season.

The bridges were constructed by the Onove Youth, a local community group, using waste metals from the Panguna mining industrial structures left behind by scrap metal collectors.

This has all happened under the leadership of Wency Iangkari, a 1988 Grade 6 leaver from Deumori Community School and former BRA fighter from the Onove village.

“Flooding rivers tormented us over the years,” Mr. Iangkari said.

“So I suggested to the Council of Elders leadership to support us, the uneducated youths, to construct our own footbridges over our river systems to protect lives and serve our communities.”

“But they never listened, so we went ahead doing it to see if we could realize the dream without help.”

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