By SERAH LAGDOM
HUMANITARIAN Peter Routley does not seek the limelight but was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his service to the international community.
On June 11, 2018, Peter Routley, 84, of Leabrook was named a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday honours list after his former students in Papua New Guinea and Nigeria provided references for him.
Peter Routley contributed a lot to the development of Papua New Guinea, serving in the noble profession of teaching, first at the Administrative College in Port Moresby (now the Pacific School of Governance), Kimbe High School and Kerevat Senior High School.
Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, calibre, and future of an individual. This is especially true when Routley was a mentor and teacher to a 14-year old boy, 45 years ago at the Kimbe High School where he was the pioneer headmaster from 1971-1974 and then as the pioneer principal of Keravat Senior High School from 1975-1977.
Routley was a great teacher and mentor to this young boy from Galilo Village, Hoskins. He has been a big part of his education journey that has made him who he is today.
Today, he is the Department of Transport Secretary Roy Mumu.
“My relationship with Peter Routley started in 1974, when as part of the school’s daily work parades, I was among the boys group assigned to make copra for the school in the San Remo coconut plantation.
The school had a copra drier and the income was used to support the school’s budget.
“Routley was doing his routine inspection of the work parade one afternoon when he visited us making copra, he came and said “Roy, you are not supposed to make copra, as from tomorrow you are going to clean my office”.
“I asked him during his visit to Kimbe High School in 2011 to celebrate the school’s 40th anniversary why he chose me among the other boys and he responded with a smile saying that as teacher’s they could see the potentials in students,” Mumu said.
“At the end of 1974 while I was cleaning and tidying up his office, he told me that he would be the new principal of the Kerevat Senior High School.
“Since I was only 15 years old and not old enough to be employed I applied to attend Kerevat Senior High School (for the second time). Little did I know that he was monitoring the three West New Britain Grade 12 students’ academic results (Blaise Koroi Watete, Timothy Bara Nuli and myself!).
“I recall the evening in 1976, when he summoned me to his office after night studies just to let out his disapproval that I did not indicate Civil Engineering as my first choice in the school leaver’s form.
This was after his conversation with our Maths teacher, who confirmed that I did receive prizes for scoring high distinction (A+) in Maths.
“Routley directed and completed my school leaver’s form to undertake Civil Engineering at PNG University of Technology in Lae.
After I was accepted at university and before we left Kerevat at the end of 1976, he bought a calculator and other accessories to assist me in my studies at Unitech.
“Blaise Koroi Watete, Timothy Bara and I had the “last coffee” with him at the principal’s house and we left for university (me and Blaise to University of Technology and Timothy to the University of Papua New Guinea),” Mumu said.
“I became a civil engineer because of Routley,” Mumu says.
“I graduated from the PNG University of Technology on Nov 28, 1980 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering and joined the Department of Works on Dec 17,1980, in Bialla on the upgrading of part of the New Britain Highway from Ivule Bridge to Balima Bridge.”
Later Mumu attained a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Southern Cross University, Australia in 2007.
“Looking back to the 38 years – 26 years in the Department of Works with 14 of those as Deputy Secretary Technical Services), six years as the CEO of the National Roads Authority (NRA) and now into my sixth year as Secretary for Transport, I have no regrets.
“I was privileged to be one of the few PNG national civil engineers that were trained in roads and bridges construction project management, contract management and contract administration by international civil engineering consultants (from New Zealand, Australia, Britain and France).
“Routley was very strict, well-disciplined and always encouraged his students to aim high. My achievements and the achievements of others a result of the mentoring by Peter Routley,” Mumu says.
“Some of Routley’s former students from Kimbe High School (from 1971-1974) include Ludwig Gambi (current Human Resource manager at the West New Britain Provincial Administration), Vincent Tangari (WNB Technical Services), Mariget Tauge (Hoskins local leader) and Margaret Tenakanai. They were also former Kerevat Senior High School students.
“Ex-Keravat students included former Secretary for National Planning Valentine Kambori, former Air Niugini pilot Capt Joseph Kumasi, former Secretary for Personnel Management, Soiat Williams, former PNG Pukpuks player and coach late Jack Takavis, former Autonomous Region of Bougainville Chief Secretary, Chris Siriosi, current Public Curator Jacob Popuna, and current consultant to the Department of Works Barnabas Neausemale.
“I salute Peter Routley for being a man of the people,” Mumu says.
By SERAH LAGDOM