I WANT to commend the good work of the Australian kiaps in PNG during the pre-independence era.
They were the real heroes during the colonial times as they were the influence of civil authority in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea (TPNG), and in the period leading up to full independence in 1975.
The kiaps represented the government in many different capacities and many of them go out of their way to serve the people.
The people of PNG today fully appreciate and value the kiaps for bringing their still uncivilised and primitive warring communities together in building a country.
I am glad that the kiaps were recently given recognition with a heart-warming tribute given to them and their past work in the former Australian territories by the Australian parliament.
It is a national shame that after more than 30 years of self-government, the PNG Government and Parliament have yet to officially pay tribute to the work of Australian kiaps during pre-independence PNG.
The kiaps made this country what it is today – a modern thriving democracy carved out of many primitive societies and glued together by their untiring efforts.
I agree with all comments that the kiaps’ story is still very much an untold story that successive PNG and Australian administrations had neglected in both countries’ history until now.
Their story must now be told for the benefit of the younger generation of PNG and Australia.
The work of the kiaps should be included as part of our history in our school textbooks, and even in Australia, if I may add, lest we forget.
The kiaps and their families in PNG made immense and, sometimes, personal sacrifices.
Unlike the civil servants of both countries today, the kiaps were a special breed of government agents.
They were fully committed and dedicated to their job on behalf of the Australian government and PNG administration, and they made many positive contributions to the development of a new country and shaped it eventually for independence in 1975.
I thank Australian Member of Parliament Scott Morrison for recently moving a private member’s motion in the Australian parliament to recognise the service of Australians kiaps and to acknowledge the hazardous and difficult conditions they worked under to bring peace and development to former Australian territories like PNG.
As such, I think the PNG Government and Parliament should follow suit and pay tribute to the kiaps.