THE people of Bitapabeke ward in the Kokopo-Vunamami urban local level government of Kokopo in East New Britain want the family of Grand Chief Michael Somare to know that they regarded him as one of their own.
Sir Michael spent his childhood at Bitapapeke when his parents moved from Rabaul to Kokopo during World War II.
Sir Michael is one of us.
He was raised and looked after by the Vunakuva clan, therefore, he is like a brother, father, uncle and grandfather to us.
Sir Michael was born in Rabaul and, during the war, his parents went to Kokopo and settled at Bitapabeke where they became part of the Vunakuva clan.
It was at Bitapalangat in Bitapabeke where he was given his Tolai name ToPalangat.
On behalf of my people from Bitapabeke, we are sorry because Sir Michael is also part of us.