A leader and servant of his people

Normal, Weekender

The National, Friday, May 13, 2011

ZACHERY PER salutes the late Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Joe Mek Teine who served his people with vision and charisma


“SUCCESS is failure after failure without losing your enthusiasm.” This was the firm faith of the late Kundiawa-Gembogl MP, Joe Mek Teine.
It was such faith that saw Joe Mek Teine contest seven consecutive elections without success until 2007. He was a member of parliament until his passing on April 25.
Mek Teine was laid to rest at his Kombuk village outside Kundiawa town on Wednesday this week.
His mother Magdalene Dan gave birth to him on July 10, 1956, in a small health centre at Mingende Catholic Mission in Kerowagi district in Chimbu. She named him Joseph Nombri Mek Teine
At birth he had no abdomen skin leaving his internal organs exposed. His father Joseph Teine, a catechist with the Catholic Church, prayed to God all the time. Skin gradually grew over his abdomen and Mek Teine grew up as a normal child.
He attended the Mingende, Anigl and Gon primary schools and Kondiu Rosary High School from 1971 to 1974.
After Grade 10, he entered the University of PNG to do preliminary year studies from where he entered the School of Law. He graduated with a Law degree, moved onto the Legal Training Institute (LTI) in 1979 and was admitted to the bar thereafter.
He began his career as a lawyer with the Chimbu provincial government as provincial legal officer in 1980-1981.
While working in Kundiawa he met Dalla Dick whom he married on April 21, 1980.
Mek Teine first contested the election in 1982 but was unsuccessful. From 1983 to 1986 he served as a state prosecutor in Mt Hagen.
In 1987, he contested the elections but again lost and returned to Mt Hagen and started his own law firm Joe Mek Teine Lawyers.
In 2000, he returned to his home town Kundiawa and went into private business. He contested every election but did not succeed until the last election in 2007, he won the Kundiawa-Gembogl seat.
Mek Teine is the forefront to promote business investments and sports in the province.
In his eulogy his daughter Dan Quinna Teine said her father had a big dream to become a member of parliament and contested many elections.
“The Lord has granted him his wish at last he proved to be a good leader for the people serving them with integrity and honesty.
“My father was a man who showed light where there is darkness, hope when there is distress and joy when there is pain, he looked beyond and was a truly a good leader,” Quinna said.
Joe Mek Teine struggled hard to build up PNG National Party and was gearing up to endorse candidates for the 2012 national election. He had began fundraising drives to raise money for the election.
National Party president David Yak said they will continue the work left behind by Mek Teine.
His last work as the chairman of the Constitutional Review and Law Reform Commission was to address issues associated with sorcery where he led a team from his office around the country.
Mek Teine has become the fourth MP from Chimbu to die while in office.
In the early 1970s Kondom Augando, a Member of the House of Assembly died in a car accident at Daulo Pass, Sir Iambakey Okuk died in 1986 as a leader of PNG National Party and MP, Governor Fr Louis Ambane died in 2003 while in office.
Joe Mek Teine’s casket was flown home to Kundiawa town on May 3. All business houses closed their doors in respect of the late MP.
Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal declared at his funeral that he will ensure to complete late Mek Teine’s project to do up Kundiawa-Gembogl road that will connect Madang.
“Once the road is completed it will be called ‘Joe Mek Teine’ highway,” Abal said.
He described him as the unique highlands leader with vision and charisma to see people prosper.
Joe Mek Teine’s motto for his electorate is ‘We serve, you prosper’, he lived this motto through to his final day.
The late Joe Mek Teine is survived by his wife Dalla and four children Emmanuel Dick, Jullian, Johnny, Quinna and several grand children.