Posts Categorized: Obituaries

Dedication to education delays a final goodbye

By Pauline Karalus


The sad passing of the Late Buin Chief Linus Konukung has left a hole in the hearts of his family, but for the younger members attending university away from home the final goodbye must wait until the Christmas break and our return.

Being the last born in a family of 5, Andrew was always the favored son of Philomena Noou and late Linus Konukung and was always given the best.

As my Mother’s cousin brother Andrew came to live with us and attended the primary school that my mum taught at, though I was some classes ahead of him.

Weekends were the most enjoyable moments of our childhood days. Taking bush tracks, singing on the way and chasing one another up and mountains were laughter-filled and worth reminiscing.

After finishing grade 5, Uncle Andrew was sent to Lae to be with his big brother at Igam Barracks and attend school there.   He came back to Bougainville to finish year 12 at Buin Secondary and was made the Head Boy of the school. Andrew was home, but it seemed there was little time left to spend with his loving dad as he was growing older.

Andrew loved his Father more than anything in his life. Older and wiser he was, ever-ready to give motivation whenever we needed it.

Andrew spent the year at home having a closer connection to his father and the next year he was selected to attend Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI). Again the father-to-son bond interfered with by distance. Talking over the phone required money and Andrew had to concentrate on studies to do well and achieve his dreams and goals. He craved for Christmas breaks to come as soon as possible because he could not wait any longer to see the face of the man behind all his successes and achievements in life.

At the beginning of this 2016, I hugged grand-dad goodbye telling him to be strong for the sake of all his descendants who had to leave for school and that every one of us would be back during the Christmas break to listen to his legends again. He replied and said he would still be there. Overjoyed by the response I got from him I could not hold back the tears that rolled down my cheeks as I got on the vehicle to depart Buka once again and come to Madang.

Receiving the phone call in the afternoon straight after class about his unexpected sudden departure shattered me into pieces. I found it hard to accept the fact that it was true. I cried and cried and hated being in school this far. I thought he would still be around to be able to benefit from his grandchildren.

Andrew was into his examinations, so we all missed out on grand dad’s burial.

He would have never wanted any of us to be away from school upon his death and burial. As the months go by Christmas break is just around the corner. According to Buin custom Granddad’s graveyard awaits visit from those of us who were away. Surely the hole he left in our hearts is eternal.

Until we meet again Grandpa.



Read more

Arawa Secondary suspends classes to mourn the loss of teacher

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio


One of the best teachers ever seen at Arawa Secondary School, Mr Chanel Tavai, sadly passed away on Friday 6 May, after preparations for a family birthday.

Mr Tavai, from Sovele-Nagovis, South Bougainville, was well regarded as a hard-working man and he also owned vehicles which people hired, especially during elections to transport such things as ballot boxes.

Before his passing Mr Tavai was taking social science for lower secondary and other social science subjects for upper secondary.

A sudden sharp chest pain 3am alerted him to the onset of a heart attack. He was rushed to the Arawa Health Centre but tragically passed away before he could receive any treatment.

On Tuesday 10 May all the staff members including student representatives loaded four vehicles and went to Nagovis for Mr Tavai’s funeral.

Mr Talasi said that the school suspended classes as a mark respect of their departed colleague. The teachers and the students will miss him so much and it is a very sad incident.

“We were so sad to lose him,” said Mr Talasi, “he is one of the best teachers in our school.

Currently Mr Lasua, the principal, is looking for two teachers because the wife of late Tavai went home with the body and she might rest for a year before joining the team. His students will still remember him in their life time. The hand mark left behind will enable everyone to treasure him in their hearts.


Read more

Sister of Late President Kabui passes away

By Leonard Fong Roka

Photo by Leonard Fong Roka Photo by Leonard Fong Roka

Margaret Mirirua, sister of the late President Joseph Kabui, has passed away peacefully at her Unang Hamlet in the Tumpusiong Valley of the Panguna District on Friday 9 April 2016.

Her illness started 2007 as her hands began to vibrate and would not cease and over the years her condition worsened with internal pain and her body began thinning.

For almost 10 years Margaret had been bravely and patiently endured her illness, which left her largely confined to bed, having exhausted every available medical means to recuperate. On her sick bed bush-doctors attempted to use all the healing herbs at their disposal, but to no avail.

She pursued medical attention but her body did not respond positively. She even went on to seek witch doctors and their services, but nothing would better her health.

By 2010 she was grounded on her sick bed and was unable to stand without support. She relied on the sympathetic support of relatives to cater for her as her condition continued to deteriorate.

The late Mrs Mirirua was born in the late 1940s and served as a nurse in the 1960s, 70s and the 80s around the Bana District of South Bougainville and the present Panguna District and Kieta Districts, especially in the Catholic Missions.

She was the second born in a family of five children, that included the late President Joseph Kabui (the fourth born) and his elder brother and fellow Bougainville leader Martin Miriori (the third born). My grandmother, Anna Akonavo, was the first born in the family and the youngest was Theresia Pipino.

In the late 1990s she lost her husband Peter Perakai and her last born daughter Pamela Perakai. She is now survived by sons Steven Perakai, David Perakai, Robert Perakai and Joyce Perakai Batana along with 20 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Before she died she told her family to bury her on the spot she was born, next to her present homestead of Unang Hamlet, and this request was fulfilled on Sunday 10 April 2016.

She had her whole extended family members close by as she passed away on her sleep.

Relatives of the family from Bana District and Kieta District and the Panguna District are still pouring in to share their grief with the family.

Read more

A leader of peace – Pastor Movo passes away

By Ishmael Palipal

Pastor Steven speaking at the funeral in Kaabaku.

Pastor Steven speaking at the funeral in Kaabaku.

On Sunday 29th November, the late Pastor Uzzaiah Movo, a significant Bougainvillean leader was laid to rest in Arawa, Central Bougainville.

As a church leader before and after the Bougainville war, he was a role model and important figure in the development of Bougainville. He was part of the Bougainville peace building and government process in the region.

According to Pastor Francis Munau, it was Pastor Movo who dedicated the constitution as a Christian region into God’s hands during the dedication of the Bougainville Constitution.

Late Pastor Movo was also a council member in the Arawa Urban Council committee. He had many good influences in many people’s live in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea as a church leader and a community leader.

As stated by Pastor Steven Manganai, during his funeral service Sunday in Arawa, death is natural as birth and God has already pre-destined us in his eternal plan.

Pastor Mangani continued to say that the body is created by God to carry the spirit of life and when his purpose is done on earth, God takes back his spirit out of the body.

After the service, the body of this Bougainville prominent leader was laid to rest at a cemetery in Kaabaku area, some distance up from Arawa town in Central Bougainville.

I wish to extend my personal condolences to the departing leader’s immediate family in Arawa.

May his wonderful soul rest in eternal peace.

Read more

Walking and living an empty life after burying my Dollorose

By Leonard Fong Roka


I buried my daughter on the 18 September 2015 at her mother’s Nakorei Village in Buin after she passed away on the 17 September 2015 at Buin District Hospital; and with sorrow and tears of emptiness I am travelling and struggling to refill my heart.

My daughter Dollorose Fong Roka was born on the 18 June 2014 while I was on semester break on Karkar Island while attending Divine Word University in Madang.

I met her mother, my partner Delphine Piruke, while she was at Madang Teachers College and she was pregnant in late 2013. For me this moment was a new life to move on with. Deep in my heart I was excited; I was dreaming about a fine baby to cuddle and laugh with.

Like all expectant and excited parents, we often argued over the phone over the sex of our child. ‘I want a boy,’ I would say. But Delphine, who was teaching her first year of teaching at Nakorei Primary School, would confidently conclude, ‘She is a girl.’

But then I was not so concerned with the sex and name debate for all I was engrossed in was that I was a father; a father from Panguna to a child with a mother from Buin. Then she was born at Piano Health Centre in Buin and my heart was all joy for I now had something to be proud and work for—a child.

I was now a father but since late 2013 I was engaged by Delphine’s relatives in conflict for I was not their choice for her marriage.

In October 2014 after the closure of the academic year at Divine Word University I left with joy for Bougainville to see and hold my daughter. But could not march onto Buin for I was not that welcomed in their midst.

More on, upon arriving in Buka I was immediately contracted by the ABG in the Office of the Chief Secretary of ABG thus I was now locked in Buka.

So my daughter—by then 5 months old—made her maiden travel to Buka to see me in December 2014 after her mother’s school made their closing of the academic year.


At Kokopau Town in Buka I searched the crowded car park for a few minutes before my eyes settled on her. She was so humble and shy as I laid my hands on her and took her from her mother. She did not hesitate for we were connected by love in spirit.

Her facial features was me; the colour of her skin was me; if not me, she was my reincarnation. She was with me all through the 2014-2015 festive season in Buka Town where I began my bed time culture of watching her sleep to soothe myself to sleep in the middle of the night.

It was this break that she showed me she had a medical problem of vomiting without any noticeable illness as far as the Bougainville health standards could tell. All they told us at Buka District Hospital, was that she had no problem and we walked home happily regularly.

When the Christmas break was over I proudly watch her leave for Kanauro Primary School in Buin at Kokopau Town where her mother was posted to teach in 2015. It was a nightmare to me. Thus, after two weeks of chatting with her prattles over the phone, I was in Buin.

Since then for one weekend every fortnight, the sun saw me in Buin’s Kanauro Primary School with my daughter every morning. We grew so close to each other that she only went to her mother for breast feeding and sleep.

My leaving for Buka on Mondays for work also began a heartbreak for my daughter. She would cry repeatedly uttering ‘papa, papa’ to her mother’s discomfort pointing her little fingers at the direction I may have left. They would call me on the phone and she then becomes overjoyed and blathers endlessly though slowly building her vocabulary.

This made me suffer thus I also began to abuse my official commitment to ABG by spending much time in Buin with my baby. Thus when my contract with the ABG ended on the 30 June 2015 I was eager to go home but the newest referendum office then under Chris Siriosi held me back.

But in mid-July 2015 ABG’s in-house politicking made me to depart once and for all to be with my daughter and my partner and taste for myself what parenting is all about.

There I watched as her vomiting became regular. We brought her to Piano Health Centre or Buin District Hospital and all we got was a single dose of anti-vomiting drugs because, according to the health workers, she had no serious illness that should be the primary cause of the vomiting and that could be life threatening.

Then on the 12 September 2015 I left her at Kanauro Primary School and I set off for Panguna, while she was crying bitterly in the midst of her mother’s angry ranting and refusal to join us in Panguna. I was picked up by my family for a family reconciliation before the retrieval of my father’s remains from Siae Village in the North Nasioi area where he was killed and buried by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army in 1993.

She spent the weekend happily, but began her vomiting again on the 15 September 2015. They rushed her to the Buin District Hospital and back after medication. Then in the middle of the night of 16 September she went worst with vomiting; they took her back and overnighted in hospital into the 17 September.

Finally she had her last breathe at 2 PM on the 17 September while lying down peacefully on her sick bed in the Buin District Hospital as if she was going to sleep with a dose of drip attached to a hand after having her favourite ice cream at a nearby store.

Read more

Eulogy for Paul Derek Coleman OBE

paulThis has been adapted with the kind permission of Captain Stuart Cooper from the eulogy he delivered at the funeral service for Paul, held at the Cathedral of St Stephen Brisbane on 11 September 2015

Paul was born in Cyprus on 4 July 1957. His dad was serving in the British Army at the time and the family was away from the UK on an overseas posting.

Later events saw Paul spend some of his life and schooling in Benghazi in Africa, in England and in Germany, so he was quite a seasoned little traveller by the time his mum and dad graced us with his presence when they chose to immigrate here in 1972, eventually settling in Port Lincoln in South Australia.

I understand that his grandfather on his mum’s side was the last British commandant of the now famous UNESCO heritage site called the Red Fort in Delhi in India. Perhaps this esteemed military lineage in his family was the reason that he also chose to spend a short time himself in the Australian army. His natural talents were immediately recognized to the extent that he was offered a commission to become an officer. In typically modest style, Paul decided that he wanted to stick with his new found mates and serve out his time as a regular digger.

I do recall him telling me once about a particularly arduous route march where they were given a ludicrously short time to complete the course. The army dangled the usual carrot at them by saying that should they achieve this then they could have the coming weekend off but, if anyone was to fall by the wayside, then the entire group would be confined to barracks for the weekend while repeating the exercise until they all got it right. Paul was evidently teamed up with a much larger and heavier compatriot than he was, but who was clearly suffering quite badly from the effects of this physical exertion and looked like wilting before the finish line. Unperturbed, Paul lifted him over his shoulders fireman style and, complete with the additional pack and weapon, managed to struggle across the line in time carrying his mate. Such was the physical and mental strength, coupled with a dogged determination, which this giant of a man could produce when called upon.

In August 1981­, after his discharge from the army and finally completing his university studies to become a geologist, Paul joined­ CRA, as Rio Tinto was formerly known back in those days.

Paul’s early years with the company saw him in more of an administrative role, starting off in Townsville before then moving to Mt Isa. His excellent work performances soon gave him a reputation of being a ‘Mr. Fix-it’ and the go to man when times were tough. Thus, in typical Aussie fashion, he was given a nickname and dubbed ‘Radar’, after that well known character in the popular television series M*A*S*H. I believe that he didn’t really appreciate this moniker, but I think it was quite clever and very apt.

Paul then moved to the Sydney office in 1986, where his work ethic continued to impress to the extent that a senior geologist within the Company suggested that he go to PNG, as he could clearly see that Paul possessed the necessary attributes to get on with the difficult jobs while having the ability at the same time to get along with just about everybody.

I can most definitely attest to this latter thought, for when he arrived in PNG in 1989 I met him for the first time when he came to join our running club, Boroko Hash House Harriers. Back in those days, we preferred to be known as a drinking club with a running problem, so Paul fit in just fine!

There isn’t a person in that group back in those days who didn’t consider Paul to be one of the nicest, most unselfish, and most generous men that God ever put air into. Unfortunately, the workplace wasn’t always that kind to Paul. He was involved with a mining project in a remote location called Mt Kare where, for various reasons, the landowners were becoming increasingly disenchanted and took matters into their own hands. The subsequent burning of a helicopter, the presence of guns and shots being fired, rapid evacuations of personnel and the looting and destruction of the camp, which finally resulted in the abandonment of the whole project, had all the hallmarks of a Hollywood blockbuster, in which Paul would most certainly have had one of the starring roles.

With no Mt. Kare, Paul returned to the head office in Melbourne around 1994/95 to be the Property Manager. Paul’s lust for travel and adventure, and no doubt also missing his mates in PNG, saw him return to the head office in Port Moresby in 1996 to be the manager of Systems and Administration, which also included an involvement in Bougainville Copper Ltd, the company that oversaw the huge, world-class copper mine at Panguna on Bougainville Island. It was during this second tour of PNG that he met and married his lovely wife Kym who has been an absolute rock throughout and the light of his life.

Paul was faced with some incredible challenges that emerged in those days, including the “Sandline Affair” (a mercenary group engaged by the PNG Government to retake the Bougainville mine that lead to the Government’s dismissal) and litigation in the U.S. Federal Court that found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court some 13 years later. There was also a major issue with tax as well as exchange controls that threatened the finances of Bougainville Copper Limited. In no small way Paul, contributed to a satisfactory outcome for both Rio Tinto and BCL in all those matters.

The quality of his work and his incredible devotion to the needs of others saw the Government of PNG recommend him for the award of the Order of the British Empire for services to commerce, the mining sector and to charities. This prestigious award was bestowed upon him in person by Prince William in Buckingham Palace last year.

For reasons that we are all aware, Paul finally retired from Rio in August 2015 ­ just last month ­ as the Rio Tinto Country Manager PNG and Company Secretary of Bougainville Copper Limited. A truly remarkable, loyal, dedicated and professional service provided to the one organization for some 34 years.

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea has conveyed his condolences, stating, in part, that PNG has lost a good friend. There has been a very understandable outpouring of condolence messages received, ­unfortunately far more than time would permit for me to read them all but the essence of those messages has been encapsulated in a letter from the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

Paul let it be known that after the funeral service he wanted to buy the gathering a drink or two at one of his favourite watering holes “The Alliance Hotel” situated on the corner of Boundary and Leichardt Streets in Spring Hill.

Read more

Big loss for AROB and PNG as Joe Maineke passes away

Joe Maineke and B24 editor Ben Jackson in 2014.
Joe Maineke and B24 editor Ben Jackson in 2014.

Bougainville and Papua New Guinea have been dealt a major blow with the sad news of the sudden passing of Joseph Maineke this week.

Joe was a tremendously positive influence as a leader in Bougainville, particularly in the southern region, where he worked within the Buin district office often with a focus on youths and sport.

Maineke was also a leader in the Pacific football community and was highly regarded in his roles of President of the Bougainville Football Association, member of the Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) executive committee and Vice-president of the New Guinea Islands region within the PNGFA.

He was integral in the initiative to bring a football academy to Manetai in Bougainville. Maineke described the Emiovi Bougainville Football Academy as a high impact project for the future development of football amongst children in the region.

Maineke set the inclusion of an Autonomous Region of Bougainville team in the National Soccer League by 2016 as his goal as of President of the Bougainville Football Association.

President of the Oceania Football Confederation and PNGFA, David Chung, stated that the PNGFA work to fulfil Joseph Maineke’s legacy of development in Bougainville.

Maineke is survived by his wife, Agnes, and six children.

Read more

Son of Panguna chief dies at artisanal mine site

By Leonard Fong Roka


The second born son of the Upper Tailings Landowners Association chairman, Mr. Michael Pariu, has lost his life during a rockslide in the Crown Prince Range.

The accident occurred at a small scale gold mining operation between Panguna and the Kupe Mountains in central Bougainville in the last week of September.

Chief Michael Pariu, who is a well-known figure with activities related to the Panguna mine since before the 1989 crisis up till now, told mourners that this incident is not such a new case. All around Bougainville artisanal gold miners are constantly putting themselves at harm’s way since their work is unregulated.

The site, known locally as Kaurakaura, was discovered by people from Daru, an isolated village between the Panguna District and the Kongara area of Kieta in late 2009.

Slowly artisanal mining developed over time and attracted an increasing number of miners.

Kaurakaura is hosted in rugged terrain and massive virgin jungle slowly saw the appearance of shelters mostly made of canvass to accommodate the miners who come to make a living labouring there.

The workers started digging from the bed of a single stream and over time created a massive cliff face of rock and earth that was all held together tree roots.

Read more

Blaise Nangoi, former Post-Courier editor, dies at 51

Blaise NangoiBy Keith Jackson

The eminent Papua New Guinean journalist, Blaise Nangoi, has died suddenly in Bougainville at the age of 51.

Mr Nangoi, who retired only in June this year after 32 years with the PNG Post-Courier, spent his entire working life with the newspaper.

He was editor for seven years before being promoted to general manager, a position he retained until his retirement.

He joined the paper as a journalist from the University of Papua New Guinea and quickly showed his talent for the incisive and fearless reporting of politics and national issues that became his trademark.

Read more

DWU Bougainville students mourn their beloved sister

By Ishmael Palipal


It is another challenging time for the Bougainville students at the Divine Word University (DWU) after the passing of Ms Christel Harricknen, a first year physiotherapy student, on Wednesday 14 May.

Ms Harricknen, of mixed Bougainville-Sepik parentage, is believed to have died from heart failure after being brought to Modilon General Hospital with problems the previous Thursday.

The young woman was initially misdiagnosed with food poisoning by nurses upon her hospitalisation and it was not until Sunday that doctors examined her to discover the heart condition.

Read more