Tourism plans afoot for historic site

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday 11th June 2013


A HISTORIC site in the Gazelle district of East New Britain has been allocated K30,000 to have it developed.

The Gazelle district administration allocated the funds to have the site, called Tungna-parau (“grave of the white”) developed for tourism purposes.

The site’s restoration committee has a plan for a wild life and an orchid garden for tourists to visit plus the establishment of an educational institute including a multi-purpose hall. The site was where Fijian Methodist missionaries were killed in the early 1800s. 

The Methodist Overseas Mission decided 75 years later to erect a memorial on the site.

In 1953 the church asked the State to set aside the land and the State obliged, acquiring the land in the August of that same year for two pounds from the native landowners.

A year later the land was transferred to the state and was gazetted and named Tungna-parau Memorial Reserve. The desire to erect a memorial structure in 1953 never happened until 21 years later when the first memorial stone was built just before independence.

The blessing and unveiling of the structure was witnessed by Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and two Fijians who accompanied him to the site.

A second memorial stone was built in 2007 to mark the reconciliation with the relatives of the massacred Fijian missionaries, the Fiji United Church and the PNG United Church.

The regional synod of the United Church held at Raluana Circuit committed five circuits to organise restoration work at the site.

The Vuna-valagar restoration committee was established then to oversee the project.

The committee said the objective of the project was to strengthen spiritual respect, unity, memories, history and pilgrimage of believers.