Posts Categorized: Transport & aviation

New research investigates service delivery to the atolls

By Timothy Poroda

The need for services delivery to the Atolls communities of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is one area where many tertiary students, such as those at Divine University, see as their potential site for research.

There are many factors that are contributing to the impediment of services to the area, including its remoteness.

As an undergraduate researcher I was triggered by the service delivery issue in the Atolls as the basis to conduct my final year research paper because of the lack of transport or effective transport system into the area.

The research site of my study is to be conducted on one of the islands but due to some limitations the research data collection will be conducted in Buka urban area where most of the Tasman Islanders now live.

The research will have two-way response, which means there are two samples or study populations, and will be getting information from Tasman Islanders and government departments or offices.

I hope to get better feedback from the two samples as trial interview was conducted early this year which many of the participants both from each sampling frames responded positively to the questions asked.

Furthermore, I will mainly look at the education and health sector which is my prime purpose to conduct the research there on how the dissemination of the services are provided to these respective sectors by the authority responsible.

The research a requirement to complete my undergraduate studies and will be presented at the end of second semester this year to contribute to the existing literature of knowledge.

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Tabago trade adversely affected by road condition

By Benjamin Heribeths

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The people of Tabago are feeling the effects of poor road conditions, which is effecting their ability to trade goods.

The main road in Buin is in a bad condition with potholes developing, which have been compared to lagoons.

For the Tabago people there are no vehicles to transport their goods to the market. Currently there is only one open back land cruiser that is willing to transport the people to Buin town to do their shopping and other things.

The Sunday market in Tabago was also discontinued earlier in the year ensure observance of the Sabbath.

Justin Kenkua is the person who is owning only the vehicle in Tabago area especially Ligo. He spends most of his time transporting passengers with his vehicle.

Justin works in the Buin district office and so his only free time is on Saturdays.

There have been many accidents recently so he decided to be strict with traffic rules and safety.

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The power of nature on display as Loluai River blocks travellers

By Benjamin Heribeths

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The Loluai River, the biggest river in Buin, blocked the road for travellers all the way from Buin and Siwai, due to a heavy downpour.

The heavy rain also swept a small home with couple of houses in Wakunai. The road, which is so treacherous in Wakunai and Buin, delays the arrival of traveller at their destinations.

Passengers from nearby villages in the Kieta frontier were worried about what had happened and the current of the river was so strong that it swept away all the gravel until nothing was left but big stones that no vehicles can pass through.

Highway drivers spent time clearing a new route to avoid the blockade, but not before some passengers travelling to the airport missed their flight due to the natural blockade.

After one day the road was cleared and now vehicles returned to travel the route between Buin and Siwai.

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One regular driver stated that the nearby villages must take extra precautions due to the fact that accidents can happened while they are asleep late at night.

“If the rain doesn’t stop we will have more trouble,” he said.

Drivers and the passengers were also worried that this treacherous road can lead to heavy car breakdowns, which are expensive to repair.

Changes to weather patterns and the climate is causing the inconveniences throughout Bougainville.

“We may raise concerns but it is beyond our limit to control the nature that comes in its own ways,” said one passenger.

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Port-Mine road endangered by artisanal miners

By Leonard Fong Roka

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Panguna District police head Peter Tauna has warned gold miners that their activities are putting the road and people in danger (pictured in uniform) during an unplanned visit to the alluvial mining slope along the western side of the Panguna mine’s port-mine-access road on Monday, 2 August 2016.

“This is a public road that serves us in the Panguna District and most of south Bougainville,” Mr Tauna told a group digging for gold some 10 metres from the road.

“It provides us the access to Arawa and Buka where we receive much needed services.

“You must be aware that this road came into existence with BCL,” Tauna continued,” our government has no financial capacity to create such a road for us.”

“We are people with common sense so we have to be responsible.

“Mine the locations of the slopes that you see will not contribute in harming this public road.”

The gathered artisanal miners, most of whom came from the Bana District of South Bougainville, said that they were aware of the dangers thus they have already marked a spot where the activities will be restricted to.

Since the alluvial gold was discovered on the slopes between the former Panguna Mine’s Camp 10 site and the Shoofly Corner section of the Port-Mine Access Road in 2010, artisanal miners from all over Panguna and Kieta Districts had rushed here to make a living.

There are also miners working here who come from Bana and even some from across other Bougainville’s sister islands on the Solomon archipelago.

According to the miners a number of people have also accidentally died here. The first was a man from Wakunai District and the most recent incident saw the demise of a person from the Malaita Province of the Solomon Islands.

They also said landowners from the Moroni Village who oversee their activities also are concerned about the safety of the road that serves the public and so had enforced the boundary where all artisanal miners should not pass with their activities.

Police Officer Peter Tauna and his officers carefully walked around the rocky slopes talking to the busy miners.

Tracking up the ore veins, it is evident people have dug through the bed rock creating ditches some of which comes right near the Port-Mine Access Road bitumen.

Since the discovery of the gold, the activities of the artisanal miners have taken over a massive area of natural jungle. The area covered is roughly more than the combined space of 5 soccer fields.

Deep holes were bored into the slope with crowbars and miners were seen working inside without any safety measures in place.

People could be seen from the road downhill moving like ants. Beneath another mass of workers work on the Karona Creek. They work with sedimentation that is washed down from the slopes.

Peter Tauna, head of the Panguna Police contingent emphasized that the boundary must be respected for the good of the travelling public that use the Port-Mine Access Road.

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Kangu roadworks the latest development in Buin

By Pauline Karalus

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A massive development was launched in South Bougainville in late June as construction commenced on the Kangu road. The trunk road was scheduled to start operations during July.

Equipment was transported to the development site on the Kangu road, which leads out from Buin’s main shopping center in a south-easterly direction towards the sea down to the famous Kangu Beach. Here a small wharf caters to ferries that bring cargo for store owners and other Buin businesses.

The road is more commonly used by the people of Laguai and Malabita and it will also make it easier for neighboring Solomon Islanders who bring goods to trade at the market.

Amidst ongoing reconciliations between local tribes and clans who have had unstable relations in past years, the developments within the region remain the autonomous government’s priority.

Existing schools have been undergoing renovations alongside the establishment of new government and non-government schools in remote areas.

Education seems to be the government’s first priority and the poor road conditions affect the ability of students, teachers and other people to travel to schools.

Remote districts are widely recognized as the least developed parts of the island. Frequent visits from non-government officials and tourists have dramatically changed the mindset of the locals towards appreciating and allowing development to progress and contribute towards sustainable livelihoods of Buin locals.

Despite the everyday law and order problems that still occur, Buin people have showed interest in allowing development to take hold in their region.

Buin, often referred to as a cowboy town, hosts the main shopping center for the people of the three districts of the southern tip of Bougainville.

In recent years it has seen great private and government developments. by both business and the government wise over the last how many years after the cease fire. An increase in the number of locally owned trade stores and buildings belonging to various sectors of the government has noticeably raised the standard of the town vicinity.

Within the town area, just a few meters away from the shopping center, is the Buin Police Station, which contains a few cells where inmates are kept according to the level of crime they have committed.

Regardless of several attempts and threats from locals, Buin Police Officers continue to work together as a team and reduce the number of crimes committed everyday by applying the law.

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New transport service emerges in Buka

By Ishmael Palipal

811-buka-transport-service Alex sitting on his wheel barrow named Lala Trans (meaning Walkabout Trans) while waiting for his customers. Picture: Ishmael Palipal

Alex, a young man from Haku in the North Bougainville, and his colleague have been servicing the people of Buka town with their wheel barrow transport service to moving goods from one location to another.

This recently evolving transport system, in which a wheelbarrow is used to taxi goods around the town from place to place, is mostly helpful to the mothers who are trying to bring their market products from the boat stop to the market and back.

“Many of the mothers have been commenting that this type of service has been so helpful in terms of transporting heavy goods a short distance,” said Alex, the young driver of Lala Trans.

According Alex, the trend was first introduced by a man from Madang to his friends and has gradually gained popularity in Buka, since many mothers have to carry very heavy loads of market products such as bags of sweet potatoes, yams, taros, coconuts, vegetables or even betel nut to the market in town.

Since the service is cheap to run, because it needs only man power to move the wheelbarrow from place to place, the profit is good.

“Mi save wokim araun K70 – K100 lo wanpla dei (I do about K70 – K100 per day),” told Alex, “but it all depends of the number of cargo we transport in a day.”

“We charge according to the weight of the cargo.

“For instance, goods like bale rice or bag sweet potatoes most of us charge for K2 and other lighter goods such as noodles or light vegetables we charge K1.”

Alex stated that when he saves up properly, within 10 days he makes about more K500 and that is good money for him.

The challenge that many of his colleagues face when providing this service is the management of their incomes. He commented that since this service is provided by young people, many of them do not save up well because the money is used for activities such as drinking on weekends.

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PNG Air spreads it wings to Aropa-Kieta

By Timothy Poroda

Monday 25 April marked the inaugural commercial flight of PNG Air in to Bougainville, the second to create a route to the re-established Aropa Aerodrome in Central Bougainville.

Since the re-opening of the airport the only airline that had previously maintained flights into and out of Aropa was the national carrier, Air Niugini.


PNG Air will configure the cabin as a 2+2, seating an estimated 72 passengers.

The inaugural flight marked another significant moment of the people of Bougainville especially those in Central and South Bougainville. The extension of PNG Air into the area brings competition in to the market and will have customers make their choice to travel on which airline which will then base on the variables that they regard as important. It will help the entire public, especially those with business activities.

The PNG Air aircraft which will be flown to Aropa-Kieta is a new ATR 72-7600 (P2-ATB), which arrived in Port Moresby from Toulouse in France on Sunday 17 April.

PNG Air has two of the ATR 72-7600, the leader of the current generation of prop aircraft which can boast a maximum cruising speed of 509 km/h and seats 72 passengers in the 2+2 seating configuration that will be used to Aropa.

Flights are scheduled to depart Buka at 16:20 destined for Kieta at 17:00 each Monday, Thursday and Saturday, with the return flight leaving Kieta at 17:30 and arriving at 18:10.

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Siripai flooding overturns ‘Pundaun Kirap’

By Pauline Karalus

A vehicle with passengers inside makes an unsuccessful attempt to cross the flooding Siripai. A vehicle with passengers inside makes an unsuccessful attempt to cross the flooding Siripai.

The southern part of Bougainville is known for its fast flowing rivers which, without bridges block off travellers, overturn vehicles and even destroy villages and gardens during the peak rainy periods.

Most of these rivers have had bridges built over them at some point, but which don’t seem to last long. The rivers themselves sweep away the nicely built bridges during heavy floods, affecting the locals’ access to services.

Local people know the times that they can cross these fast flowing rivers either by vehicles or on foot.

For people in Siwai and Nagovis, Siripai in Buin is one of the rivers that must be crossed to get to Buin Town, the main shopping centre for the southern region.

This river does not really have a good geographic location to have a bridge built over since it is in the lowlands and it is common to hear people repeat this fact to each other when they are stranded on either side of the river.

When Siripai floods it cuts off access to government services for the people of Kanauro, Piano, Siwai and Nagovis .

Siripai holds a bad record of overturning and sweeping away crossing vehicles with passengers in them, trying their best to escape, and in most cases the passengers struggle and swim to the river banks whilst the vehicle is flooded, damaged and swept away.

The search for the smashed vehicle begins when the flooding stops and if found nearby, it gets brought to nearby workshops to have it fixed and within a few days the vehicle is back on the road.

Most times drivers cross the river fast enough before being swept away by the current, but this is never a certainty.

The most common times for Siripai to flood is in the afternoons so people going to or coming back from town have to cross the river before around 1pm or 2pm. When it floods passengers on both sides, desperate to arrive at their destinations, wait patiently waiting for the floods to finish so they can cross.

Villages on both sides of the river provide hospitality to those passing by in vehicles that need somewhere to stay and wait for the flooding to stop.

Recently, Siripai flooded and overturned a crossing vehicle which made the other drivers to turn back with their vehicles.

A ten seater known as Pundaun Kirap, owned by a local businessman, was overturned whilst trying to cross the flooded river.

The driver must have underestimated the river currents and tried to cross the river but by then it was too late. It is very likely Pundaun Kirap is at some workshop waiting to get repaired to be on the road again.

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Siwai mechanic gives new life to old vehicles

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Most people are focused on purchasing new vehicles and private business houses in Buin, Arawa and Buka are running a race of purchasing brand new land cruisers, but one Siwai man has shown that older models can be more valuable with the right care.

Steven Kauma, from Siwai in South Bougainville, has a gift for fixing cars and has recently set up his own business in Kokopau.

Mr Kauma started fixing cars at home when he was a young boy. After completing his schooling he applied to Moramora Technical School in Rabaul in 2001. He successfully completed his studies and graduated as a motor mechanic

In 2002 he came back to Bougainville and started working with his cousin Samuel, the owner of the car workshop called Sawai Motors at Kokopau, and Kauma was able to apply and improve the skills learnt in Moramora Technical School.

In 2015, after many years working in the Sawai Motors workshop, he started his own workshop at Kokopau.

He erected a building at the far end of Kokopau town, collected all his tools in a storeroom and started working independently on cars and trucks.

As soon as the public knew about his workshop and his prices they came rushing through the door.

Mr Kauma then found another problem with the shortage of labour and his own high workload. So he chose 3 mechanics from different areas to help him out, one each from Tinputz, Wakunai and Siwai.

Starting from October 2015 the number of customers started to increase and Mr Kauma and his colleagues started to get busy fixing cars every day including the weekends.

“We fix six to eight cars each day,” said Mr Kauma.

“I have regular customers from Tinputz, Wakunai, Buin, Siwai and Nagovis.”

Yesterday Mr Kauma was at Tearoki working on a gearbox and as he worked another truck was brought to his workshop.

“The engine and the gearbox are the main parts of a car,” Mr Kauma continued while fitting a gearbox,” I always work on them slowly with care.”

Mr Kauma said that his workshop is cheaper than other workshops in Buka and that’s why most of the cars are brought to his workshop.

“Fitting in parts and inspection of the car is very expensive in Buka,” he said, “it costs more than K8,000.”

“The number of cars in Bougainville is increasing but the number of car workshops is limited.”

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Rain blocked roads a cause for concern

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Continuous rain has caused serious road blocks on the Buka-Buin Highway.

PMV vehicles were at high risk and caused floods on the road a cement bridge was swept away near Kekesu, which will require heavy maintenance is needed.

Moving vehicles from Buin, Siwai and Arawa were stranded, faced with the major destruction caused by the continuous rain all over the region.

In Kieta there were landslides causing road blocks for passengers, many of whom were students returning to school.

University students from Buin faced a similar problems and, starting from Leuro Range, it took them almost two days to arrive in Buka to get their tickets for flying.

“There are pot holes everywhere along the road,” said one student, “I nearly missed my flight.”

The pot holes along the roads are causing car breakdowns which is another problems to the highway drivers.

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Yesterday two land cruisers broke down at Mongai Primary School and the passengers had no choice but they have to walk to their villages with their cargo in their hands.

“We should do something to our road,” one concerned passenger said.

“If we just sit down and relax than nothing will happen.”

Most of the people in Buin are complaining that they are not getting enough from town because of the tragedy.

Mr Aloysius Masiu, Konnou Council of Elders chairman, is negotiating with Electoral Manager John Itanu regarding road maintenance projects this year.

Mr Masiu said that road maintenance should be starting this month, but the outstanding amount must be offset before implementing the actual plan for this year.

“Offsetting the outstanding amount will keep peoples mouth shut,” said Jacob Makan, an elementary chairman.

He said that every constituency should work together to make things happen.

“We must stop depending on our members every day,” Mr Makan continued, “there are some other things that we need to make it happen” he said.

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