Sir Michael: Still a lot to discover after 35 years

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THIRTY-five years on and we are still finding out about ourselves, which is truly the richness of this country that we must not take lightly, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said in his address to the nation at yesterday morning’s flag raising ceremony on Independence Hill in Port Moresby.
“While moving PNG towards independence, I can say there were many parts of the country that are still not mapped and visited by outsiders.”
The 35th commemorative flag raising ceremony was attended by members of parliament, representatives of the diplomatic corps, departmental heads and the disciplined forces, school children and
public who braved the early morning cold to kick-start independence celebrations in Port Moresby.
“Even today, there are people in Margarima in Southern Highlands who do not know the people of Kaibola in the Trobriand Islands.
“Similarly, the people of Rambucho Island in Manus may not know that there is a group of Papua New Guineans in the highlands of Madang known as the Hagahai,” Sir Michael said.
“If we are to take these factors for granted, we will lose our way, be disillusioned and feel a sense of hopelessness.
“If we are to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves, then, we cannot simplify our makeup and be in denial about our complexities.
“The task that we all face in continuing to build this vibrant nation is to accept that we are all different, get over it and unite to work together.
“Our vision and aspirations, at the end of the day, are essentially the same,” the prime minister said.
“From complete isolation, we are now thrust into the age of technology and globalisation.”
He also acknowledged Sir Pita Lus, Sir Cecil Abel and Sir Maori Kiki (deceased) and others he worked alongside to force the early attainment of independence and nationhood.
“I also pay tribute to the policemen, colonial servicemen, carriers, aid post orderlies, the early catechists, teachers, plantation workers and labourers who had a hand in raising the early leaders of PNG.”