Monday, December 14, 2015

The latest on the Island

Earlier this year when I paid a visit to the Island and noticed.The Church Building is falling apart we need to repair it fast...

Friday, January 23, 2015

The opening of the renovated wharf on Kwato Island

The Wharf was reopened on December 13 2014 after major renovations, funding by the DSIP of Hon. Gordon Wesley, member for Samarai Murua, of K250,000.
Picture complementary of Patrick Panta

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Black Birding - By Biga Lebasi


PAPUA  NEW GUINEA’S  oldest newspaper journalist  Biga Lebasi will soon ask the Queen to apologise to him and other  descendants  of  South Pacific  islanders blackbirded in the 1880s to help establish Australia’s sugar industry in colonial Queensland.
He also asks for apology from the Prime Minister of Australia and the Premier of Queensland.
Mr Lebasi,  who turns 70 next  April 9, is researching  the  “terrible history of Australia’s past’ in relation to  what he terms as “slavery in the Pacific  which experienced the  transportation  and transaction of  hundreds of native  males  in crowded  slavers unfit for human habitation, into Australia”.
Among them were two of  his Tawala ancestors  - Gotopi   or Gwaiana [redhead in the  Tawala language of the Milne Bay Province of Papua New  Guinea ] and probably  Kagoati . Both were related to his maternal grandfather  Diki Esau Ulegeni  - all members of the “magisubu” (eagle) clan of  the main tribe Houlana, of Lelehowa village in the Ahioma region located near the easternmost tip of mainland PNG. They were stolen from their  village Lelehoa with the help of two mem bers  of Papuan pioneer missionaries who were  under  the auspices of the London Missionary Society based on  Samarai  Island near China Strait and on  Killerton Island in Milne Bay.
They were Diene, a native teacher , from Killerton Island and  Tom Kago (from ‘supercargo’) from Divinai village on mainland Milne Bay opposite Killerton, the London Missionary Society station.  Diene and Kago  were dishonest and corrupt interpreters for the slaver Hopeful,  and also interpreters at the Royal Commission of Inquiry  into Blackbirding in Queensland in 1885.  Kago was later converted  into Christianity and he became  a follower of the so-called founder of  Kwato Mission, Londoner Charles William Abel ; but in my tattered  copy of a 1920 Kwato Tidings,  Abel  described Kago  as his convert who had backslided in his attempts  to come to terms with his atrocities  to his fellow Papuans in the slavery trade in Papua and Queensland. The Tidings did not contain any reference to whatever stand Abel took or had taken  on  the Blackbirding issue and which I am at a loss to understand why Queen Victoria’s  missionaries both black and whites had failed dismally to lift a finger in Australia and the UK  to help stem the violence against humanity in the South Pacific.  If they did, I  do apologise.”
 Gotopi and Kagoati were among more than, according to shipping manifestos in my possession , 445 Papuans kidnapped  by force, coerce, trickery, corruption, deceit and violence by unscrupulous white slavers from  Queensland, the subjects  and servants of  Queen Victoria, an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen of Australia and Papua New Guinea  and her heir to her  throne  Prince Charles, who is visiting PNG as part of her Jubilee celebration s in the Commonwealth  this year. Prince Charles, whom Mr Lebasi  met at Port Moresbys’ Jacksons airport  in May 1966 during the prince’s visit from his posh  Geelong Grammar school in Victoria, to the Papuan Church of England  historical Dogura in Milne Bay and the Martyrrs’  Memorial High School near Popondetta, Northern Province.
Mr Lebasi said in a statement issued by his fledgling  EaWasa Newsagency in Port Moressby today: “Blackbirding is the ugly story of  Papua’s ‘stolen generation ‘  –  to borrow a phrase  from  Australia – wedged, beheaded and rifled at the back in atrocities that most  present day  Papua New Guineans are ignorant of because  history taught at school  by white colonial  Australian masters  in colonial Papua  and colonial New Guinea because, may be ,they did not  give a damn or maybe – the Australian administration  then believed that by keeping quiet about it, that horrific  piece of patent  violence against humanity in the 1800s in Papua and other islands in melanesia and polynesia would kind of slowly vanish into mystery. Now I am digging into this mine of  cruelty to find, the truth and nothing but the truth help me come to terms  with that past, ask for  an apology from the Queen , the Premier of Queensland and the Prime Miinister of Australia. It will be after this apology that I would be mentall y satisfied to go foreward  into the last phase of my life on planet  Earth.
Mr Lebasi is quite aware of the historical fact that blackbirding in Papua and the rest of the South Pacific  occurred between 1837 and 1901 which spell out the 63-year reign – the longest in the annals of British monarchy –  of Queen Victoria – and as proudly pointed out by London’s Macmillan Press in The British Monarchy, which said in part : ”Coming to the throne when only 18 Victoria was devoted to her husband Albert, whom she created Prince Consort.
“Many of the Royal Families of Europe are their descendants , including both the Queen and the  Duke of Edinburgh. The Victorian age was a remarkable one and Queen Victoria contributed much to it.”
“Did she ever!” quipped Mr Lebasi .
About 20 return voyages were made by wooden slavers from Queensland ports to Papua. Some of the  vessels  involved  were the  Ceara, Lizzie, Hopeful, Sybill, Forest King, and Heath.
Most of the atrocities and violence were caused by one particular vessel  - would  the reader believe – the Hopeful! Here’s a porthole into some of the corruption and destruction caused by the Hopeful crew: “When the boats were lowered the canoes were turned shorewards, upon which chase was given , Neil McNeil (coxswain], directing his attention to one containing eight natives, and  Williams to another with six or seven in it.
“McNeil was unable to overtake that which he was pursuing, and he stood up in his boat and fired  at the canoe. The native who was steering was struck at the back of the neck; the bullet came out of his throat, and, striking the man next to him on the right shoulder, the latter fell overboard and sank. The steersman fell in the canoe, dead.”
 This includes other instances of cruelty,death and bloody acts of merciless violence contained in  evidence gathered from  a  report with minutes of evidence taken before The Royal Commission appointed by the Queensland Government in 1885 to inquire into the circumstances under which native laborers have been introduced into Queensland from Polynesia and New Guinea and other South Pacific islands. This was a year after  a Queensland government agent  declared the annexation of Papua ,  on behalf of Queen Victoria,  as British New Guinea, at the London Missionary  Society headstation  of Metoreia, part  of the Motuan village of Hanuabada,  now part of greater  Port Moresby, the first  declared city and capital of the independent  state of Papua New Guinea. The agent at that ceremony told Motu leader  Boe Vagi Queen Victoria would provide protection for Papuans during the rest of her reign.
The evidence also includes: “The history of this cruise of the Hopeful , of which the foregoing is an outline drawn from the evidence submitted to us (the commission), is one of long record of deceit, cruel, treachery, deliberate kidnapping, and cold-blooded murder.’’
“The number of human beings whose lives were sacrificed during the ‘recruiting’ can never be accurately known. In addition to the two men killed at Sanaroa, for which the recruiting agent Neil McNeil and Williams (boatswain), were tried  before, and condemned by, the Supreme Court in Brisbane.’’
  Mr Lebasi said: ‘’I have yet to sight the names of my relatives in the slavers’ logs and manifests that  I have in my possession . Three or four pages of these manifests  are missing from my file on blackbirding, in a break-enter incident at my home a couple years ago,  and most probably those would finally, when found, would provide me the missing link to my stolen relatives.
‘My 90- year-old uncle Mark Dickson believes that Gotopi had decided to settle in Australia because of his marriage to either  white lady or a Polynesian; and that two of his sons from that relationship fought with the Australian Army in the New Guinea Campaign  in World War 2. One of the  pair was named after Lelehoa  or Lelehower, Gotopi ‘s original village near the current provincial capital Alotau.
 ‘’They were based at Gamadoudou on the southern side of Milne Bay  and, before they had the chance to cross northwards to Lelehoa near present day Alotau,  they were transferred tp  Lae.  That was the last time we heard about their movements, and  their attempts to find their  native roots and their Papuan heritage.  IN 1988 my mother and I appealed on ABCTV in Cairns and Brisbane ,Australia,  for assistance to help us find the descendants of our long lost stolen relatives, but as yet ,nothing has been forthcoming from the Aboriginal, Torres Island and Pacific Island communities in Queensland or the rest of Australia.
 “I am forever grateful to a personal Australian friend of mine – one Mark Davis from Warrandyte, Victoria - who was the Chief Subeditor of the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier , PNG’s first national daily tabloid, when I was Chief of Reporting Staff in Port Moresby, in the mid 1970s. Mark was kind enough to collect copies of the above inquiry for me in  the Federal Government Archive s in Canberra, Australia.  This was almost 30 years ago.When I  first read through the inquiry reports I  was shocked, hurt  and could not handle my inquiry with an open mind and also with all that emotional upheaval  in my mind I dropped the copies of the inquiry evidence like a ton of bricks! 
‘’And now, I am more matured and, like a good wine more mellowed ,to  comfortably rekickstart my personal inquiry. My timing, I reckon, is just simply perfecto and politically correct, so to speak, when one considers  that we are on the eve of the Royal Visit to Papua New Guinea by the Queen’s heir apparent  Prince Charles.  Or is he coming at all?
‘’The former Prime Minister of Australia, Keven Rudd, had the guts, the courtesy, love, humility and respect to own up to white Australia’s mistreatment of the so-called “lost generation” of the Aboriginal race and he duly aoologised to them; and I can’t se, for the life of me, anything wrong to ask the Queen,  or her son Prince Charles, to apologise to me and other descendants  of the blackbirded South Pacific islanders in Papua New Guinea and overseas. Afterall this is the age of global transparency and foregiv eness.”
Signed by Biga Igewalu Lebasi,  EaWasa Newsagency, Port Moresby.  For further  information and photographs:  or Biga Lebasi 73264037. Eawedo!  (You’re Welcome!}.
 INVITATION; Representatives of PNG and Foreign Media, Foreign Embassy Information Units ,  olde Sogeri Secondary School boys and their descendants,  South Sea Island Missionaries to Papua  descendants, Air Niugini staff (1975-1980) and all exPNG Foreign Media in the world at large and my relatives  and descendants of the Blackbirding victims in PNG and the rest of the South Pacific are invited to help me celebrate  my 7oth birthday at my humble at 17-Mile home, Sogeri  Road.  I am broke, my lifestory, so it’s a BYOGF BBQ affair on Saturday  7th of April from 10am to 4pm.  Speech 11.30am Lunch and lawn show (seen the Nebu’olo Dancers?)  12 noon onwards and dunking in the Laloki  River with hungry pukpuks. My final fling – before I get transported back home to Alotau MBP to set up EaWana Newsagency there.  RSVP asap : Bluddee Beege,  UB, BB or Bigs  Fone: 73264037. Late arrivals from the Foreign Media and Foreign Information Units will be forced to walk the plank or to sing the first verse of their respective National Anthems or Songs. You are warned! EAWEDO! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Update 2012

Dear readers,

I have establish a site to sell photographs as part of my fund raising efforts....

Proceeds from the sale of my photographs will go to the restoration of the island. The first lot of funds will go to the sea walling of the water front to save the great Okari Nut Tree..

The last activity on Kwato Island was in December 2011 where the Lawrence sisters, descendent''s of Iosia Lebasi organised a "Hailobaii Day".. Hailobaii in Suau language of the south west Milne Bay means "get together". Unfortunately I could not attend due to work commitments, but was told it was a a success and was told next one this year December the activity would be bigger, I hope to attend this one...

Thank you
Kwato Island Restoration Fund Raising

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Church Building

Interior of Church 
Names of Builders from Sariba Island

Old Church Bell