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 Post subject: "The Northumbrian Kiap"
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:59 am
Posts: 14
DOSS: 29 Jun 1971
A new book on Kiap government in PNG, and daily life within the pre-Independent country itself, has been published. It has 300 pages, 24 illustrations and seven maps. It is called “The Northumbrian Kiap” and among many things offers fresh insights into bush administration, and bush living, during the administrative lull between February 1972’s seismic general election and full Independence in September 1975.
This short interim has not attracted an abundance of coverage from PNG’s former administrative elite – not least because many senior Kiaps were stunned by the election result, bewildered by the abrupt transition from decades of instruction channeled through a Canberra appointed Administrator to new policies directed from the Office of PNG’s Chief Minister himself, and preferred to focus on their more adventurous, much earlier, less doctrinally constrained, activity instead.
I was not so lucky so have concentrated on delivering this first hand account of a still dramatic, but more political, period during which previously all-powerful senior Kiaps had, almost overnight, to surrender much of their authority to newly ascendant, democratically elected, MHAs.
To say there was confusion is an understatement.
But I begin with an 18 month period as a volunteer worker who hardly a week after leaving the United Kingdom took over the management of a bush sawmill and worked alone with a labour line of 15 men and their families.
This was a unique, pre-Kiap, training school in which I relied heavily on the good nature of Bundi’s people and emerged with practical understanding of local custom and bush life.
When I was a Kiap I worked from Minj, Bereina, Tapini and Guari. Some of the events I describe first hand are illuminating, others dramatic and a handful might strain credulity but are nevertheless correct.
The formation of Michael Somare’s coalition in 1972 did, without doubt, trigger a critical decline in administrative will at district level which in some areas was acute to the point of embarrassment and I was an eyewitness to this.
But another significant factor, with longer lasting impact, was the routine, widespread, and unjustified vilification of the Kiap system by a chorus of well placed academics in Port Moresby who had the Chief Minister’s ear.
Hindsight suggests this was the reason almost all of the established, and invaluable, district administration templates and networks were abandoned soon after September 1975 with the inevitable result that regular government contact with village people fell into avoidable decline.
Papua New Guineans and Australians who would like to know more about The Northumbrian Kiap should Google the title. Alternatively they could click on to this Amazon link https://rforster.com/shop/northumbrian-kiap/
Prospective readers in the UK should use https://rforster.com


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:52 pm 
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Location: Valla NSW
DOSS: 24 Aug 1970
Good luck with the book, Robert. I've just ordered a copy from The Book Depository -- A$26 including delivery to Australia. This one certainly needed to be written. Cheers, Tony


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:18 am 
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Location: Riga, Latvia
DOSS: 22 Mar 1965
Thank you Robert for an interesting book. I bought it via Kindle (9 USD) and have just finished it.
Bit depressing to read how everything was going to pot from 1972 (the year I went finish), but I suppose it was inevitable. Much of what you write about is familiar to us all regardless of our length of service.
I recommend the book to all ex-kiaps as we will be the only ones to truly appreciate it.

Cheers, Ves

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Bogia, Josephstaal, Madang, Karkar, Usino, Ileg, Taskul


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:29 pm
Posts: 185
DOSS: 01 Jun 1971
Great Bob.Have not got it yet.
I stayed on till 1981,1980 election.There was no sudden collapse of Administration.Rather the rise of Provincial Government established a rival for funds.Initially advice to preserve recurrent expenditure such as APO and Teacher salaries was observed.Then ignored.The BMS were ignored as Provincial Government established its own accounting.
Then it got to the stage of wandering cheque books.Finally Provincial members waiting at banks to intercept deposits.Then deposits to private accounts of businesses,to avoid Bank garnishee.
Julius Chan has a memoir,Playing the Game,On Bougainville “the Army was not up to it.”
On violence”It was always there”,on government spending,he states that some people get funds now who had never before! etc.
Look forward to the book as you would be uniquely placed to comment on the main mission,did you ever run into our mate father.Pat.he has left issue.,cheers


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:59 am
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DOSS: 29 Jun 1971
Hello Martin, Can you remember the informal group photo that was taken of our ASOPA intake at Four Mile Camp? It re-surfaced perhaps six months ago to illustrate a PNG Attitude article titled “Misfits who built a Nation”.
We really were a scruffy lot - and you were one of them. I have since wondered what the institutionally trained, corporate HR specialists who police most of today's company recruitment would have made of those trainee Kiaps.
There would hardly have been a straightforward CV amongst us. I estimate our age range at 19 to 41, I think eleven out of the intake of 39 were married, seven born in the UK, one in Canada and two were Vietnam veterans. Perhaps half had secured a tertiary qualification?
Within the article Kiaps in general, not us in particular, were described as “an odd mixture” whose primary capacity was expected to be an ability to “experiment, improvise and innovate” within a testing working environment.
However despite being tagged “strange, effective and rare” it is now thought many of the younger Kiaps who had to launch a second career found it difficult to find immediate mainstream employment when they began to return from PNG after 1975.
It is said that Personnel Officers regularly rejected them without interview on the grounds they really were misfits and it was difficult, even impossible, to categorise them. Other objections centered on them being unlikely to “fit in” and more likely than other applicants to have “restless feet”.
I was among those who faced these problems and in my case it took the best part of four years before they were overcome.
So I would not be surprised if a high proportion of younger ex-Kiaps began their post-PNG careers either as self-employed businessmen or were forced to tough it out on the margins of career based corporate employment for a number of years. Perhaps we will soon find out?
I also wonder, now that most of us have retired and take pensions, how many were able to pursue strong careers or become successful businessmen in their own right?
And then for my own amusement I try to imagine the reaction of a selection of the modern HR specialist or recruiters who finds themselves faced with applications from people who in their recent working past had been as hairy, scruffy, and individualistic as the motley crew in our own photo.
I suspect they would not have been impressed - to which I think most of us would have responded by saying "your loss mate" before moving on.
(I used that photo in "The Northumbrian Kiap" to underline our social skills as well as emphasise some of these points.)
Best wishes.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:47 pm
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Location: McLaren Vale
DOSS: 18 Jul 1969
I would like to take up the point made by Robert Forster about how kiaps were seen as “an odd mixture” and described as “strange, effective and rare”. These comments, together with those about how difficult it was for some of us to find suitable employment after leaving PNG, resonate very strongly with me.

I have previously written (on PNG Attitude) about the organizational culture that prevailed within the Department of Native Affairs and, later, the Department of District Affairs. In brief, I suggested that it was a culture that valued intelligence, a sense of adventure, physical and psychological resilience, stoicism and courage (or, at least no tendency to panic) in the face of adversity, and a strong orientation towards doing whatever it took to get a job done.

Many of the “hero” kiaps of the past such as Jack Hides, Ivan Karius, Jim Taylor, J K McCarthy and many others embodied these characteristics to one degree or another. I argued that, as a consequence, there was a very real pressure upon new recruits to uphold the standards of the past and demonstrate that they were what Bob Bell succinctly described as “the right type”.

As a very young man entering the service in 1969, I do not think that I properly understood just how odd a bunch we actually were. I would hesitate to say that the men whom I met during orientation training at Kwikila were misfits but, with the benefit of hindsight, we were a pretty eclectic bunch. There was, so far as I can recall, no recognizable common trait except possibly a vaguely expressed sense of adventure and, perhaps, a slightly absurdist sense of humour.

There also did not seem to be any rhyme or reason in who would ultimately prove able to adapt to the demands of a kiap’s life.

My first posting was to the Gulf District which, by common agreement, was regarded amongst my intake as the worst possible place to be posted except, possibly, for the Western District. All those swamps, crocodiles, mosquitoes and mud, glorious mud, were regarded with undisguised horror. The highlands were the place to be as far as my intake was concerned and that is where they almost all wanted to go. The Trobriand Islands in Milne Bay ran a hot second, for reasons that were as obvious as they were erroneous.

I was accompanied to Kerema by another young man who, by chance, happened to be from my home state of South Australia. He was, like me, only 18 years old, and straight off the farm. He was posted to Malalaua whilst I initially remained in Kerema. By the time I returned from my first short patrol some six weeks later he had already fled South, a victim of “culture shock”. This was, I discovered, not unusual: it really took a certain type of personality to cope with the demands of the job and, I think, the sheer strangeness of life on an out station.

Anyway, fast forward 5 years and I am in a plane flying out of Popondetta, going finish. I had no idea what I was going to do with myself when I got back home. I was leaving because I knew there was no future for kiaps in PNG, not because there was something better I wanted to do. I would surmise that many other ex-kiaps were in the same boat.

In fact, in a very real sense, I never got home. The place where I had grown up held no attraction or interest for me and my family had moved elsewhere in the interim anyway. I felt oddly disoriented and detached back in Australia and really struggled to find any connection with the place. My school friends had all moved on with their lives and were busy pursuing study or careers. They could not relate in any way to my experiences in PNG and were, frankly, indifferent to them after some initial curiosity. I understood this but it tended to isolate me: it was as if 5 years of my life was rendered somehow meaningless.

Getting a job proved to be a problem because I did not fit any known set of employment criteria. Sure I could read, write and add up, but my work experience simply had no parallels in an Australian workforce. In desperation, I applied for a short term commission in the RAAF, where my paramilitary type background would make some sense. I also sought entry to university as a mature age student (at 25!) as well as a job in the SA public service as the Bursar of a high school at Whyalla, 350 kilometers north of Adelaide.

To my amazement and disbelief, and after being unemployed for 6 months, I was offered a commission, entry to the university and a public service job on the same day! I ended up knocking back the commission, deferring entry to the university and taking the public service job. I only got the latter because I was willing to live and work in Whyalla which, in SA public service terms, was the equivalent of the Gulf District (only worse).

I will not dwell upon the details but suffice to say that I was very good at the job I was asked to do and soon was allocated many more responsibilities than had originally been envisaged. While my relations with the people I worked with were usually excellent, I soon ran into trouble with the bureaucrats in the department’s central office.

The essence of the problems was that I was strongly oriented towards getting the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible using whatever means necessary, while they were strongly oriented towards following “due process”. Unlike in PNG, where a radio conversation with the DC or ADC was enough to initiate a patrol or some other action, there was an exceedingly lengthy, slow and paper driven process for decision making. Opportunities for taking independent action were negligible: what mattered was following due process and that meant writing a succession of memos and minutes that followed a majestic route up and down the “chain of command”.

Patience is not my middle name, so I rapidly developed enhanced kiap type skills at variously short circuiting, subverting or simply ignoring what I regarded as cumbersome and unnecessary processes and rules. I did whatever it took to get the job done. My immediate colleagues and bosses absolutely loved this but various shiny bums in the central office regarded me with undisguised loathing. For this reason the “powers that be” decided not to confirm my permanency after 6 months service owing to what they deemed to be my “poor interpersonal skills”.

My immediate reaction was to say “fuck you” and resign so that I could take up my place at the university. My then boss, who went on to become the Director General for Further Education, persuaded me to keep my head down for 3 months while he sorted things out. So I sat fuming for 3 months, behaving “nicely”, while he did as he said he would and convinced the Director General to ignore other advice and make me permanent.

As soon as my permanency was confirmed, his first instruction was to resume my previous activities!

So, despite initially being a very poor fit within the SA public sector bureaucracy and, very frequently, the odd man out, I was able to go on and have a very successful career, retiring as Chief Executive of a major metropolitan hospital. I learned to play the game better than most and achieved Zen mastery of the dark arts of bureaucracy. Yet, despite this, I never felt as though I truly belonged: I always felt slightly out of place and out of time. This feeling has, if anything, grown more pronounced as I have got older.

I suppose that such feelings are not unique to me or to ex-kiaps generally. War veterans are one obvious group who sometimes really struggle with reconciling their war time experience as soldiers, sailors or airmen with those of their post military lives. This may also be the case for others like doctors, nurses, commercial pilots and so forth, whose work life experiences are quite unlike those of most people.

However, my suspicion is that the collective description of kiaps as “strange, effective and rare” is probably pretty accurate. Of course, I could be deluding myself, seeking to find specialness in myself that is, in fact, not really there. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that ex-kiaps are mostly ordinary people who had the good fortune to be able to see and do extraordinary things.

Whatever, my time in PNG left its indelible mark upon me and, I believe, upon anyone else who did the job for any length of time. I am very grateful for having had the chance to work as a kiap in PNG and count myself amazingly fortunate to have done so during the dying light of European colonialism. We collectively made history and that is no small thing.

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Chris Overland
(Kerema, Kikori, Baimuru, Koroba, Kagua, Popondetta & Kokoda)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:07 pm 
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Hi Chris. Most interested to read of your ex-kiap experiences "on your own account". It was a good read. I am sure there were many more who had similar "back to civilization" and "general adjustment" issues, especially the six year or less contract officers. I am wondering have you considered applying for the Gold Card with benefits, etc? You may not be aware the Department of Veterans' Affairs recently extended eligibility to Police Officers with Peacekeeping service. With the award of the Police Overseas Service Medal to "ex-kiaps" and recognition of our stated role as Peacekeepers by the Minister it is certainly "food for thought". Once again, thank you for your comments and observations - it was a great effort.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:47 pm
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Location: McLaren Vale
DOSS: 18 Jul 1969
Thanks for your kind remarks Jack. Notwithstanding my POSM, I would feel intensely uncomfortable about approaching DVA. I have met many veterans who have suffered greatly as a consequence of their service and I think that it would be presumptuous for me to seek support from a body specifically designed to meet their particular needs. Also, I think that DVA would not welcome any approach from an ex-kiap, especially given how hard they make things for some veterans.

Regards,


Chris

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(Kerema, Kikori, Baimuru, Koroba, Kagua, Popondetta & Kokoda)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:38 pm 
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Sorry Chris, I think you misunderstood what I was suggesting regarding Gold Card benefits. I was not referring to any financial benefit or pension but possible treatment for other medical ailments such as malaria, hepatitis. tinea and others including PTSD following traumatic events which most of us had suffered and witnessed during our service. Regards Jack.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:47 am 
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Location: Tumby Bay South Australia
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I posted this review on PNG Attitude - it may be of interest here too.

The Northumbrian Kiap: bush administration in self-governing PNG by Robert Forster, UK Book Publishing, Whitley Bay, 2018, ISBN: 978-1-9-12183-36-4, 294pp, my copy from the Book Depository UK, AU$25.80 with free postage.

By 1960 the training of local indigenous officers for the public service in Papua New Guinea had been accelerated dramatically.

These officers were paid the same rates as expatriate officers. As a result the administration’s wages bill rose rapidly.

In 1962 the Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck, decided to restructure the service. His aim was to cut costs by turning it into “an essentially territorial service based on local conditions and rates of pay, staffed as fully as possible by indigenous officers and assisted by an auxiliary service staffed by expatriate officers”.

This was the beginning of what later became known as “localisation” and signalled the end of career paths for expatriates in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

This caught a lot of people by surprise, including a lot of local staff whose salaries were suddenly reduced.

A group of surprised Australian Cadet Patrol Officers about to commence their induction at the Australian School of Pacific Administration in August 1963 were told suddenly that no more permanent positions would be available and they were offered six year contracts instead.

There were further changes to the recruitment of expatriates as independence loomed on the horizon.

When I joined up in 1967 it was still a requirement that Cadet Patrol Officers be unmarried and under the age of thirty.

These conditions then began to be modified. Cadet Patrol Officers soon gave way to Assistant Patrol Officers with “accelerated” training.

Then, by the early 1970s, older, married recruits with “life experience” were being employed. They were colloquially referred to as “instant” kiaps.

Robert Forster became a kiap in June 1971. His life experience included a stint as a forestry worker at Bundi after being recruited in England by Voluntary Service Overseas, “a government-sponsored organisation which recruited restless young people who wanted to exhaust their surplus energy while working in underdeveloped countries”.

His cohorts comprised an unusually large and disparate group. “There would not have been a straightforward CV among them. The age range was 19 to 41, eleven out of the intake of 39 were married, seven were born in the UK, one in Canada and two were Vietnam veterans. Perhaps half had secured a tertiary qualification”.

Robert at least had experience living in the bush and knew Tok Pisin but many of the others had no experience at all. Compared with previous intakes they all looked pretty scruffy.

Quite a few of them didn’t last the distance. We had one from Robert’s intake arrive at Balimo. He was a likeable Englishman with a likeable English wife and two lovely kids but they were gone within 12 months.

Balimo was a muddy, soggy, mosquito infested backwater and I can’t blame them for fleeing back to England. Shortly after they had gone I too engineered a move out of the place.

However, those tail-enders that stayed on were important because they saw through an important stage in Papua New Guinea’s history.

I’m not sure I entirely agree with Robert’s assessment that the 1972 general election “triggered a political earthquake” or that the Administrator “hurriedly evacuated his office” and made certain files disappeared into the night before handing over his seat to Michael Somare but it was, nevertheless, an interesting time.

Rather than an earthquake, I think what happened after 1972 was entirely expected and understood, especially by the more senior and longer serving kiaps.

It was no secret that Michael Somare and many of his ministers had an intense dislike of kiaps and the power they wielded. Out in the districts they often competed with local political aspirants for the minds of the people. Something had to give.

When the politicians and senior Papua New Guinean public servants began to seriously interfere in the work of the Australian kiaps by undermining the decisions they made the writing was on the wall. Many kiaps realised this and accepted their fate.

As I recall, a very apt quote, attributed to Lawrence of Arabia, was doing the rounds among the kiaps; “It is better to let them do it themselves imperfectly, than do it yourself perfectly. It is their country, their way and our time is short.”

In Port Moresby, the boss of the kiaps, Tom Ellis, pretended to grovel and crawl across the floor of the House of Assembly and asked Somare and his cohorts, “Is this what you want?” And, of course, the answer was yes.

Out in the sticks at Minj, where Robert was posted, the Assistant District Commissioner, Nigel Van Ruth, a pugnacious Dutchman, launched a long, last stand, shock and awe, patrol under the guise of political education to demonstrate his power. He was promptly arrested and moved on at the behest of Kaibelt Diria, the local member and Minister for Posts and Telegraphs.

Many of the permanent and more senior kiaps watched all this unfold and decided their best course of action was to keep their heads down and concentrate on increasing their seniority to bolster the amount of their final golden handshake.

The timidity and paranoia induced among many senior kiaps following the Van Ruth affair and other similar incidents is nicely illustrated by an event at Bereina in 1973 on the day that self-government was declared.

Robert had been transferred there from Minj and wasn’t enjoying it at all. Like me, he had found himself stuck in a hot, muddy mosquito-infested backwater with an indifferent population and nothing much to do.

In this case Papua Besena’s founder and Member of Parliament, Josephine Abaijah, momentarily helped enliven the ennui by deciding to visit Bereina to declare Papua independent of New Guinea.

The Assistant District Commissioner panicked and ordered a clandestine action to defend the station from the insurrection that was bound to erupt with Josephine’s presence. On the day he gathered all the expatriates in one house, made sure they were all armed and awaited the long knives.

A more down-to earth, trade store owner, Dulcie Hides, the widow of Bruce and sister-in-law to the famous Jack arrived in her “best frock carrying a bottle of gin and a handmade .22 rifle … she wasn’t going to miss out on a rare chance of company and conversation”.

Nothing happened of course. Josephine “declared independence for Papua in front of not more than one hundred mildly enthusiastic people, and almost as many newsmen and cameras, then returned to her vehicle and left”. The end of Australian colonial power in Papua New Guinea was quickly descending into low comedy.

Meanwhile, out at the coal face, it was left to the tail-ender kiaps, like Robert, to bear the brunt of the changed times and try to ease the transition towards independence for the ordinary villagers.

Robert finally and reluctantly left in 1975 after his family life began to suffer. Quite a few of his cohorts stayed on however, some into the early 1980s.

I’ve always been surprised at the number of these men who stayed on as kiaps well after independence given that their authority was reduced and constantly undermined and that the worsening law and order situation was making life onerous for their families.

This rather eloquent book is an important contribution to the history of Papua New Guinea and the kiaps in particular because it covers the end days of Australian colonialism, a subject that hasn’t had much attention before.

Robert went back to Northumbria and became a successful journalist but the bones of the book were essentially compiled in 1977. In polishing it for publication he remarks that because of its earlier manifestation the “temptation to indulge in hindsight has therefore been resisted.”

This is an important book, even if you don’t entirely agree with his assessments and sentiments.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:14 pm 
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A chapter list of the contents of The Northumbrian Kiap.

Chapter One: A chance beginning.
The twists behind an unexpected transfer from village life in Northumberland to bush camps in PNG.

Chapter Two: No gat pusim – suibim tasol.
Overwhelming immersion in work helps to overcome the traumas of a sudden introduction to bush living.

Chapter Three: Eight hundred languages explained.
First hand experience of cattle droving, timber cutting and road making underlines how linguistic barriers were reinforced by PNG’s unique topography.

Chapter Four:
I’d like to be a Kiap.
An ambition is sprung after watching Frank Cotton at work on Simbai Patrol Post.

Chapter Five: Behind East Kambia’s mountain wall.
1972 general election: 21 nights camped out collecting 417 votes from people who could not wait to abandon their isolated valley.

Chapter Six: A bonfire of spears and arrows.
An overenthusiastic APO “cooks” a hut but is still able to help warring clansmen burn their weapons in Minj market place.

Chapter Seven: Life of a European planter is threatened.
A political watershed is crossed when the life of an ambitious white planter is threatened by villagers who want to buy land themselves.

Chapter Eight: An ill-advised display of Sub-District Office strength.
Mid-Wahgi’s HQ loses its second ADC in just four months after an increasingly confident MHA finds yet another fault in its management style.

Chapter Nine: “You cannot fly the thief”
The new PNG flag is hoisted for first time but meets a hostile village reception.

Chapter Ten: A bad husband.
Near constant patrolling does not go down well at home.

Chapter Eleven: Self-Governing Mekeos.
The legend surrounding Erico Aufe persuades Nicholas Ain’au Okua to pick up a bush knife after escaping from jail.

Chapter Twelve: A calamitous seepage of will.
The ADC’s failure to remove just three coconut trees forces DCA to close Bereina airstrip to regular, and essential, DC3s.

Chapter Thirteen: Only the grass-man should be convicted.
Port Moresby’s District Office wants only one Goilala man to be arrested after a murder even though village information points to him having three accomplices.

Chapter Fourteen: Running a Goilala gauntlet.
The effectiveness of Tapini’s Kiap controlled police detachment is convincingly demonstrated.

Chapter Fifteen: A family reckoning.
A posting to isolated, radio-less, one-flight-a week, one-man, Guari persuades Mrs Forster its time to take her children home.

Chapter Sixteen: Critical signs of fundamental decline.
More evidence that Kiap government is falling slowly apart.

Chapter Seventeen:. The airstrip at Aulaipa.
A group of rebellious Kunimeipas build a private airstrip hoping they can snare passing planes.

Chapter Eighteen: A return to reality.
A dancing troupe from Mount Hagen has an adventure in Northumbrian “bush”.

Chapter Nineteen: Looking back.

No one, including troubled Papua New Guineans, can say “Stop the world – I want to get off” even if they would like, for just one brief moment, to enjoy a calmer, less turbulent, more predictable life.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:23 pm 
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Looks like there is too much demand for this book, this price is now AU$30.17 x Book Depository.

Peter.

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He who has the gold does make the rules and that darwinian selfish gene (ISBN 0-19-929115-2) will ensure that the meek will not inherit the earth.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:45 am 
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DOSS: 29 Jun 1971
Just caught up with Robert Forster "The Northumbrian Kiap" yesterday.
It's been 47 years since we joined up.

Great catchup.

Cheers John


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:18 am 
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A number of former kiaps have praised the credibility of “The Northumbrian Kiap” and said they enjoyed reading it.
Many were contemporaries of similar age and seniority to myself. Others were much older officers and therefore more senior too.
The latter said its descriptive detail was appealing and they relished the memories it provoked.
A common response was that all ex-kiaps, regardless of their seniority, held in their memories huge, as yet unrecorded chunks, of PNG’s early national memory and more effort should be made to get this into print while the people able to deliver these first hand accounts were still able too.
Another was that the nearest thing to heaven was being in charge of your own Patrol Post – especially if the ADC kept his distance and allowed autonomy to flower.
There was an occasional sharper observation. One colleague highlighted this verse in the Kiap Song and said there were too many occasions when some seniors made life unnecessarily hard for some juniors.
“If I was an Acting ADO
If I was an Acting ADO
If I was the Acting ADO
I’d kick the arse of the CPO”
Even so an overwhelming conclusion from everyone who sent a message was that they are proud to have been a kiap.
There are Papua New Guineans who agree with this too. I have been told through a number of mediums, including LinkedIn, by men and women who have taken their place within the country’s thriving professional elite that they continue to be pleased with the effort kiaps put into establishing its infrastructure and the opportunities this introduced.
Another, Daniel Kumbon from Kandep in Enga, wrote in a review posted by PNG Attitude that there was a time when the kiap was king but “when he left the bush grew back”.
I see this as a tribute to all airstrip and road builders, everyone who encouraged education, and all those who beat back the bush to add to internal infrastructure in remote locations that their efforts are still appreciated and have not been forgotten.
If anyone wishes to know more about “The Northumbrian Kiap” and its contents they should Google the title. They may be surprised at the result.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:12 am 
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Posts: 14
DOSS: 29 Jun 1971
I have been asked to name the kiaps who feature in my book. The list is wide ranging and does not pretend to be comprehensive. In order of appearance, not seniority, they are:
Kauga Kua
Frank Cotton
Ian Douglas
Neil Mockett
Jim Taylor
Brian Corrigan
Tom Ellis
Nigel Van Ruth
Peter Barton-Eckett
Jeff van Oosterwijck
Jack Hides
Roy Edwards
Bill Graham
Colin Travertz
Noel Tererembo
More detail can be found by going to http://www.rforster.com or searching Amazon for "The Northumbrian Kiap".


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