MOST people in PNG mistakenly think that any dark skin person from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) is a Buka or can be called a Buka.
As a Bougainvillean, it feels awkward, strange and annoying when someone addresses me as a Buka.
The misrepresentation of these respective island names has created confusion.
Buka Island is separated by sea from Bougainville Island.
Bougainville is the main (big) island and Buka is the small island to the north of the region.
The names Buka and Bougainville do not represent the whole region in a provincial or geographical perspective.
Going back to history, we have to know that both islands were formally in the province of North Solomons – the provincial name they got before independence.
In 2005, the province elected its first autonomous government – and changed the name to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB).
The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) should have the name AROB changed to Autonomous Region of North Solomons (ARONS).
That is if the region still remains autonomous after the referendum.
Or, it should retain its former provincial name – North Solomon – as a country should it become an independent state after the referendum.
The change in name is necessary to reflect the region’s true authenticity.
Buka is not Bougainville, and vice versa.