The Kokoda Track Authority is pleased to bring you the latest news from the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.
Check back regularly for updates!
KTA Livelihoods Scoping Study
In 2003, the KTA commissioned a review and scoping study of the KI Livelihoods Project. The scoping study set out to address two objectives:
1. An evaluation of the design and implementation of the project since 2011 against its objectives
2. A set of clear, feasible and empirical recommendations (at the project design, delivery and activity levels) to enable delivery of a successful
and sustainable livelihoods project which brings benefits to both local communities and trekkers.
Pacific Island Projects was contracted to undertake the Livelihoods Review and Scoping Study. They conducted fieldwork in two terms along the
Kokoda Track in late 2013 and consulted with over 500 people covering eight of the fourteen local government wards along the Kokoda Track.
KTA Livelihoods scoping study [Download]
KTA Quarterly Newsletter Issue 2- 2014
Please click on this web link to download your copy of the newsletter.
KTA Quarterly Newsletter Issue 2
KTA Quarterly Newsletter Issue 1- 2014
KTA has many events, activities and projects lined up for 2014. Take time out to read KTA's Quarterly Newsletter
issue 1 and keep yourself informed.
Read more about our project updates, features and other important notices.
Tour Operators or tourist trekkers if you have stories and pictures about your experience that you would like published
in KTA's Newsletter please forward them to the Communications Officer.
KTA Quarterly Newsletter issue 1 [Download]
Pilot Drying Room Project
Drying Room pilot project is now been completed, with the drier being installed and ready for testing.
It was constructed by a local carpenter with three other local men from Efogi village.
Drier is identified as a need, as a lot of trekkers have difficulty drying wet clothes and items over smoky fire.
It becomes an extra load to porters and even trekkers themselves when carrying wet items with them along the track.
The project is hoped to be successful to improve trekking experience.
If this Drier project is successful then we all have one less problem to worry about.
It has been decided by KTA that if this pilot project turns out successful then the drying room will be operated by the
Efogi Primary school.
Funds generated from this project will help the school to acquire basic necessities for students.
The students will be engaged in operating the Drier and may become part of their regular work schedule.
Testing of the drier will be done by the Livelihoods officer upon his next visit to Efogi.
This is a pilot project therefore needs proper testing.
Awareness On Guesthouse Accreditation Scheme
The Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Kokoda Track Authority have completed an awareness on the
Accommodation Accreditation Scheme to fourteen (14) Kokoda Track Guesthouse Operators at Efogi recently.
The awareness was facilitated by Heni John the Product Development officer for PNGTPA and KTA livelihoods officer Hollen Mado
assisted by elaborating on presentation and facilitated participant’s feedback session.
The purpose of the awareness was to inform all Track Guesthouse Operators of the TPA’s Accommodation Accreditation program
in the country and how they will benefit from it.
TPA is working on a possible separate category for the Kokoda Track accommodation
accreditation plan for accommodations from their five different accommodation categories. KTA (Livelihoods officer) will be working
closely with them to develop this category in their program.
Participants Guesthouse operators who attended were:
• Manari - 3
• Efogi - 4
• Launumu - 2
• Kagi - 2
• Naduri - 2
Collective feedback from guesthouse operators was impressive as most understood the concept and accepted the plan to operate
under the TPA-KTA Accommodation Program.
The following points were highlighted and discussed.
• Accommodation Accreditation Scheme
-What it is?
-Why it is important?
-How can it improve our business?
• Issue of pamphlets on Accommodation Accreditation Scheme
Some important comments made by the guesthouse operators were;
• The challenge to maintain traditional guesthouse outlook while maintaining a semi-permanent structure
• Frequent repair of buildings against ever
declining supply of natural building materials
• Interpreter to escort European auditor because most people did not understand comments made by the former auditor
• They need sustainable timber milling activity to
acquire good timber for guesthouses and building infrastructure in the long run .
Constant repair becomes a problem as natural resources become scarce. A concern raised in the recent meeting with the
The TPA Accommodation Accreditation Scheme generally was accepted by the Kokoda Track guesthouse operators as a
good support program for them apart from KTA’s Guesthouse Certification program. The TPA will develop a separate
accommodation category for the Kokoda Track trekker accommodation facilities as part of their existing program.
The KTA Guesthouse Certification Program will hopefully see a good number of the trekker accommodation facilities
along the track be certified after a follow-up walk in April 2014.
Toilet Upgrades For Kokoda Track Guesthouses
he Kokoda Track Authority’s Guesthouse Certification Program has made improvement on conditions of most guesthouse
toilets along the Track. The Program is designed to improve guesthouse facilities of which the Toilet Upgrades project is
Forty-seven (48%) guesthouses have received toilet seats with bases based on recommendations from two
guesthouse audits so far.
Most guesthouse toilets on the track do not have proper toilet facilities. Materials used for toilets
are from local wood and bamboo which often are in need of constant repair. Toilet seats and bases from local wood do not
often provide a good platform for trekker toilets. Therefore is the need for properly manufactured toilet seats and bases,
thus the need for the Guesthouse Certification Program.
Twenty-five (25) toilet seats and bases have been delivered to the
northern end of the track in 2013, and the other twenty-two (22) to the southern end of the track in March 2014.
Guesthouses who have received toilet seats and bases have installed them ready for use in this trekking season. Guesthouses
who have the KTA supplied toilets seats and bases now have proper and more comfortable toilet platforms for the trekkers.
About half of the guesthouses along the Kokoda Track have received toilet seats and bases from the Toilet Upgrades
Program under the Kokoda Track Authority’s Guesthouse Certification Program.
The toilets will be installed by local guesthouse operators for trekkers.
Other guesthouses who have not received toilets will be issued toilet seats and bases once they have met most or all
Trekkers will now be having proper toilets to use on the Kokoda Track.
The theme for the month of November to December is about "SAFETY ALONG THE TRACK"
Draft Review of Commercial Operations License Conditions 2014
This is to inform all License Tour Operators and Stakeholders that your views and comments on the Commercial License
Conditions 2014 are needed by January 17th next year.
Click Draft Review of Commercial Operations License Conditions 2014 to get your copy.
Kokoda Track Independent Guest Haus Certification Program,
Auditor’s Report, April 2013
The objectives of the audit was to enable all guest haus owners to be visited and informed of any
aspects of their property which either met certification guidelines or which didn’t meet certification guidelines.
The initial audit visit in 2012 was intended as an opportunity for guest haus owners to prepare themselves and
their properties for the commencement of the 2013 trekking season and to also prepare their properties for this
audit visit conducted in March 2013.
The report comprises of four parts, namely:
- a brief summary of the audit and auditor’s comments;
- a summary of all auditor’s recommendations for certification of campsites, trekkers huts and guest houses with a comparative analysis of all sites from the 2012 and 2013 audit visits presented in a tabulated comparative analysis format;
- a summary of campsite locations, descriptions and recommended group sizes in table format; and
- a comprehensive file of photographs of all campsites, trekkers huts and guest hauses visited during the 2012 and 2013 audits.
Click link to view Kokoda Track Independent Guest Haus Program, Audit's Report, April 2013
Click link to view Guesthouse Certification Training Manual 2012
Indigenous Architecture - A Cane Bridge on the Kokoda Track
By Michael O'Kave, Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) Operations Manager
The story of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea can never be fully understood until you experience the
beauty and precision of the local craftsmanship.
The humble yet intricately designed Cane Bridge built by the people of the Papuan Waria is a testimony of
their character and their indigenous engineering skills rarely found in Papua New Guinea.
Picked from the most hardiest and longest of bamboo plants growing wild in the farthest reaches of the forests
of the Track, these massive bamboo poles are cut into finger-thick strips, which are then fastened strand-upon-strand
into a rope - an arm or a leg thick, creating steps, railings and supports tied securely into the thick boughs of trees
growing beside the river. The Papuan Waria's cane bridge is a team-effort and depending on the length of the
crossing, bridge-building can be a day to half-a-day long.
The Waria tribal area covers the upper reaches of the Waria River, and extends along the Kira in the Northern Province
and further north across to Garaina in the Morobe Province.
Many of the Waria legends, myths and day-to-day discourse reflect the Waria lifestyle and how it is fused into nature
and centred on the rich alluvial plain of the Waria River. The River can be described as normally being tame and harmless,
but in the wet season it is terrifyingly fierce like a raging wild boar, causing destruction and misery to the people and the environment.
I remember sitting in a village meeting contemplating the latest technology on building a sustainable bridge. In fact, building a
sustainable bridge was the topic of discussion at the meeting, bringing harsh yet intellectual debate between the tour operators,
the local people and the Kokoda Track Authority – the custodians of the track.
I remember someone sitting next to me saying, “We need to preserve the authenticity of the track”.
The one opposite said, “I agree, but what about the 1942 stories? Can we duplicate the kind of bridges the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels crossed?”
All were at a loss at the village meeting that day for a long while until a Waria village leader said, “We don’t have the money, the
resources or the knowledge to build modern bridges like the kind the white-man builds. Nor do we remember what kind of bridges
our grandfather’s crossed during the War. Let us build bridges with the resources we have and the skills we know to possess today –
that is ‘authentic’ enough.”
It was a defining moment as everyone unanimously agreed that this was certainly a certifiable option to building bridges on the Track.
Until today, the first of the Kokoda Track cane bridges’ swings proudly over the Eora Creek demonstrating the engineering skills of
the local indigenous people. It is undoubtedly an attractive design, not to mention enticing as it swings from side-to-side, calling to the
weary trekker and villager like a siren, daring them to walk its creaky steps over the wild waters of a creek that extends into the Waria.
It is an awesome experience and certainly a value-for-money for trekkers who wish to test their courage and steal a chance to admire
the unique craftsmanship of the Papuan Warias'.
I had the privilege, in February 2013 of inspecting and crossing this amazing piece of indigenous architecture. I walked across the
cane bridge with a grateful smile knowing that the local indigenous skills had found its rightful place in this beautiful untouched
environment with so much beauty and history, showing its natural brilliance against the mountains of sleeping giants that made
up the Owen Stanley Ranges.
I wrote in my diary that February evening, “Arrived safely on the other side; trustworthy.”
ABOVE: The Eora Creek cane bridge built by the Papuan Warias along the Kokoda Track.
Credit Michael O'Kave and Papua New Guinea Tribal Adventures.
Australian Veterans Honour the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ 70 Years On
Twelve Australian veterans and two Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels were at the Kokoda Station, November 2nd, to commemorate
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ Day and pay their respects to those who participated in the World War Two Kokoda Campaign.
The stifling heat and humidity did nothing to effect the dogged determination of the old heroes as they marched proudly
onto the Kokoda Memorial Field, while crowds of locals and visitors gathered around to shout cheers of welcome and
beat kundus’ for them.
Chief guests at the event were two Australian government ministers – the Australian Government Minister for Home Affairs,
Justice and Defence Material Hon. Jason Clare, MP; and Australia Government Shadow Minister for Productivity, Population,
Immigration and Citizenship, Hon. Scott Morrison, MP.
The highlights of the program were reflections by Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Dickson Hango and Australian World War Two veteran
Leonard Griffiths who both spoke briefly of their experience during the Kokoda Campaign.
During the program a bugler from the Australian Army played the ‘Reveille’ as the Australian flag was symbolically raised at the
original location it was once raised in triumph at the defeat of the Japanese back in November 3rd, 1942.
“We are tremendously honoured to have the veterans and a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel return to Kokoda to commemorate
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ Day with us,” said James Enage, KTA CEO.
“This nationally recognised day is rooted in a turbulent time in our nation’s history that although terrible, has forged a friendship
between Papua New Guinea and Australia that continues from strength-to-strength 70 years on.”
KTA would like to thank the Kokoda Station community, the Australian High Commission, the Kokoda Track Foundation, and the
licensed Tour Operators and their Trekkers who were a part of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ Day event.
ABOVE: Kanimba dancers from Kokoda, Oro Province
ABOVE: Australian veterans march onto the Kokoda Memorial Field.
ABOVE: Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels' Dickson Hango and Francis Akati Simeni side-by-side
Australian WWII veteran Leonard Griffiths at the Kokoda Station Memorial Field.
Photo courtesy of Ken Pep.
Efogi Celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the Battle at Brigade Hill
The WWII Battle at Brigade Hill, Kokoda Campaign 70th Anniversary was celebrated at Efogi on Sunday the
9th and 10th of September.
Efogi is about two kilometres from Brigade Hill, which makes it the closest village to the second most intense
battle that took place during the WWII Kokoda Campaign following the Battle at Isurava.
With the support of KTA, villagers treated themselves to soccer competitions, a choral night and much feasting,
topped off with a greasy pole competition that delighted and amused not only the entire community but trekkers
who spent the night there. People from surrounding villages like Launumu, Naduri and Kagi also participated in
“We are celebrating the WWII Battle at Brigade Hill by doing the things we enjoy in our own PNG way – sports,
singing and feasting. We want to be the legacies our forefathers can be proud of for we understand the terrible
things they endured and it is because of this we honour them with our happiness, our gratefulness and our
coming together,” said Robert Batia, KTA Deputy Chairman.
The KTA team comprising of CEO James Enage, Chairman Ruben Maleva, Deputy Chairman Robert Batia and
Livelihoods Officer Hollen Mado helped organise the event and also participated in the soccer competitions,
where Hollen kicked the winning goal during the dying minutes of the game with his trusted trekker boot thus
taking his team “Sisa”, which means ‘stubborn and annoying’ in the Koiari language, into the grand finals.
ABOVE: The Kokoda Campaign 70th Anniversay banner designed by youths of Efogi village.
ABOVE: The 'Sisa' team receiving a 'pep talk' from their coach
Isurava WWII 70th Anniversary Commemorations
Isurava came alive on Sunday, 26th of August, as members of the Isurava village community came together to
remember the 70th Anniversary of the Battle at Isurava – one of the major battles of the World War Two
Isuravans’ marked the significant date by way of a huge feast and traditional singsings that united the whole
village in remembrance and story-telling.
“The people of Isurava are proud of their history, however painful it was. When the older generation spoke
of the destruction of land, life and property 70 years ago, and the resilience of the people who rebuilt their
lives after the devastation of World War Two, everyone – especially the young people were moved and felt
encouraged,” said KTA Chairman Ruben Maleva who was present at the event as an official guest.
KTA and the people of the Kokoda Track welcome all trekkers to come along to the next Kokoda Campaign
70th Anniversary event to be held at Efogi village on the 7th of September in commemoration of the Battle at
Brigade Hill that took place on the 8th of September, 1942.
Kokoda Campaign 70th Anniversary Celebrations
The Sogeri National High School, in partnership with the Kokoda Track Authority, put on a spectacular
Kokoda Campaign 70th Anniversary ‘Singsing’ show on Sunday, 29 July 2012. The school grounds
burst with colourful and impressive traditional ‘bilas’ that many – by the end of the day – compared
to the Goroka Show.
Special guest speakers were Australian High Commissioner His Excellency Ian Kemish and Papuan
Infantry Battalion World War Two Veteran Ben Moide.
The annual Sogeri Singsing was of special significance this year as it commemorated the 70th
Anniversary of the beginning of the World War Two Battle at Kokoda in 29 July 1942. War Veteran
Ben Moide was one of the soldiers in the Papuan Infantry Battalion– a local militia made up of
colonial settlers and natives – who were the first to fire shots at the approaching Japanese in
Awala village and thus ignited the famous Kokoda Track battle.
During the ceremony KTA donated six copies of Ben Moide’s biography ‘Nameless Warriors’ to
Sogeri National High School and other schools in the Sogeri area.
“Seeing our young people today celebrate their culture and remember the sacrfices of their elders
is an honourable thing. I commend Sogeri National High School for the the time and effort they’ve
put into the event,” said James Enage, KTA CEO.
ABOVE: World War Two Veteran Sargent Ben Moide and former Australian High Commissioner Ian
Kemish were guests of honour at the event.
ABOVE: Mekeo dancers
ABOVE: Huli dancers
Kokoda 70th Anniversary Program
Join us at Sogeri National High School, July 29th, 9am-3pm for the Battle of
Kokoda Reflection and Sogeri Singsing.
A truly historical and cultural experience, free of charge to the public.
ANZAC Day Dawn Service
This years dawn service at Bomana War Cemetery was attended by thousands that came to pay their
tributes at the moving annual ceremony.
This year was made all the more special with Veterans making the journey from Australia and the family
of an Aboriginal soldier laid to rest at the Bomana Cemetery.
Private Frank Archibald’s family made the journey to perform a traditional ceremony at the Bomana Dawn
Service to return his spirit home. They performed the ceremony for Private Archibald and 6 other aboriginals
soldiers laid to rest here.
The visiting veterans were helicoptered in to a special service held at Isurava this year after the dawn service
earlier that same day, which was attended by an estimated 300 people.
Brian Boon, KTA Safety Package Project Manager, was there for the occasion saying it was a very emotional
ceremony attended by trekkers, locals and the veterans.
Guest House Certification Program
From May 17th to 24th 2012, Guy Chester from Eco Sustainability completed three training
sessions in Efogi, Manari and Kokoda, in preparation for the 2013 launch of the KTA Guesthouse
Certification program. A total of 57 guesthouse owners participated in the training. Hollen Mado,
Livelihoods Officer, has reported a high rate of interest from guesthouse owners wanting to do the
training again as they found it very useful.
“The guesthouse owners that attended have found it to be very beneficial in a practical sense and
those that didn’t attend are very keen to attend the next lot of workshops as they’ve heard how
well the first sessions went,” says Hollen.
The program consists of independent assessors certifying campsite, trekkers’ huts, guesthouses
and lodges with a set of criteria to reinforce program integrity. The Guest House Certification
program would see an independent assessor make initial assessment in September, 2012 to
prepare guest house owners for the March, 2013 assessment that should involve all guest
house owners along the Track.
This program is a mechanism driven by KTA and the Kokoda Initiative to upgrade and improve
guest house services along the Track for the industry.
KTA will assist where possible to ensure that the program is successful and sustainable.
Livelihoods Officer, Hollen Mado, is currently preparing for the arrival of Dr Rob Gilfillen and his team
later this month to deliver another key service development training to ward communities.
Dr Rob Gilfillen will be conducting basic massage therapy workshops for 20 selected villagers along
Each ward has selected one male and one female representative to attend the workshop in Efogi
being conducted from the 9th-14th May.
The training will be specifically for the basic massage techniques focusing on neck and shoulder
and lower leg therapy.
Hopes are that this added service will create more eco-friendly jobs along the track and bring a
new service to trekkers along the track.
Darwin Tourism Conference
The recent 2 day Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference 2012 took place in Darwin,
Australia, 28-30 March.
The conference brought together leading professionals in Indigenous tourism from 16 different countries
from throughout the Pacific Asia region.
The conference worked to develop a “Darwin Declaration on Indigenous Tourism” and was influenced by
contributors to the industry from as far as the US, Nepal and the South Pacific.
Tourism leaders met, reviewed and endorsed principles that actively develop the mainstream approach to
tourism activities in their regions.
These documents aim to be delivered to the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the UN World Tourism
Organisation to assist with forming a guide for future actions for development for the industry worldwide.
KTA Chief Executive Officer, James Enage, and KTA Advisor, Rod Hillman, attended alongside PNG based
tour operators Philip Batia, Muriel Gerari and Eileen Salewagen and TPA representative, Alice Kuaningi.
The inaugural conference also extended to a field trip program supported by the Department of Sustainability,
Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
As our participants are still homeward bound the next issue will provide a feature of the participants and their
experience of the event.
One Journey, Many Stories
Tourism Promotion Authority Papua New Guinea (TPA) recently launched the trekking season in
Sydney, Australia, to an audience of stakeholders from the tourism and trekking industries as
well as Australian and PNG Government officials.
KTA was represented by Chairman, Reuben Maleva, CEO, James Enage and KTA Advisor, Rod Hillman.
The Kokoda Track received great publicity out of these events, highlighting the importance of the
trekking industry to the economic value the track possesses for the Australian and PNG markets
but also to the communities along the track that KTA disperses trekking fees back in to.
Chairman, Ruben Maleva, highlighted that the trekking industry had not only been a great boost to
tourism in PNG but to the communities of Kokoda and Koiari. “They slowly seeing change as a result
of trekking fees paid by tour operators to KTA and redistributed to communities along the track in
the form Tourism Service Payments to the various wards.”
The event was used as a platform to also highlight the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Kokoda.
Which will be commemorated through a series of village based events throughout the year and in a
wider capacity by corporate entities such as Air Niugini.
The launch also showcased the Kokoda Initiative video “One Journey, Many Stories” that provides a
great look into the people and various projects being carried out along the track.
This video is also available online through the following link http://youtu.be/7rqQYungPqs
Coroner’s Report into the Death of Samantha Killen
Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with the family and friends of Samantha Killen, who
tragically passed away whilst on the Kokoda Track in 2009.
A full investigation was conducted into
Samantha’s death and a report recently furbished to KTA.
The Coroner’s Court of Victoria has
completed the investigation into the death of Samantha Killen on the 17th April 2009.
The cause of death has been identified as “exercise acquired hyponatraermia”.
Recommendations have been made for KTA and Tour Operators to implement.
Need for KTA to “Provide information to participants as to the need to ensure appropriate hydration
“a period of acclimatisation should be undertaken before exercising in hot and humid conditions,
especially if travelling from cold/temperate climates”
The KTA asks all Tour Operators to read the Coroner’s Report and make themselves familiar
with the findings and recommendations.
Click here to download:
Kokoda Track Conservation Underway
KTA recently embarked on track conservation projects to preserve and improve deteriorated
sections of the Kokoda Track for the upcoming trekking season.
KTA Chief Executive, James Enage said, “It will be a busy trekking season this year as we
celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Kokoda, so this conservation work is important
to ensure the Track is in great condition for trekkers and communities.
KTA Rangers will lead teams of skilled local communities to refill pitfalls, clear drainage and
trees along the way.
Work will take place from Mt. Bellamy (Kokoda Gap) to Owers’ Corner, which affects
approximately 60% of the total Kokoda Track.
The track conservation work is part of the ongoing Safety Package program under the joint
PNG-Australian Kokoda Initiative, implemented by the Kokoda Track Authority.
The launch of the official Trekking Season will take place in March with track conservation
works scheduled to be completed end of February.
Kokoda License Conditions Review
Rueben Maleva, KTA Chairman, recently announced the publication of the reviewed
licensing operations conditions for Tour Operators operating along the Kokoda Track Corridor.
The Kokoda Track is the single largest land-based tourist attraction in Papua New Guinea,
attracting thousands of trekkers over the last decade alone.
With the tourism industry growing, KTA ensure industry standards are regularly reviewed and
improved upon to ensure track communities and tour operators meet requirements to maintain
a sustainable trekking industry and to provide operating guidelines to ensure a world class
trekking experience and tour operator staff working conditions meet healthy and safety standards.
Key changes include stronger safety measures, improved working conditions for trekking
staff and robust environmental conditions.
These amendments came about as a result of extensive consultations with stakeholders over
the last three months, in time for the busy season ahead.
This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Kokoda and Tour Operators are
anticipating numbers to increase as people make the pilgrimage in honour of the significant
World War II commemoration.
Copies of the 2012 Commercial Operations License can be picked up from the Kokoda
Track Authority office or on the KTA website www.kokodatrackauthority.org.
Expression of Interest: Pacific Asia Indigenous
Tourism Conference Darwin
The call for expression of interest to attend the Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism
Conference being held in Darwin from 28th March to 1st April 2012 is now open.
The conference aims to bring together business entrepreneurs that promote cultural
heritage and community based tourism.
Chosen candidates will attend the conference fully funded by the Australian
Government, this includes travel and conference expenses.
For more information please click here to download the form.
Tour Operator Forum, Stakeholder Forum, Season
and 70th Anniversary Launch
The Kokoda Track Trekking Season will be launched next month in conjunction with
the Tour Operator and Stakeholder Forum in Sydney.
The forums are an opportunity for the KTA and Tour Operators to share information
and provide updates on track management and conservation, Ranger reports,
trekker numbers, landowner issues, safety package and livelihood activities.
Tour Operator attendance is important in maintaining good track management,
building on the safe trekking experience and growing the trekking industry for PNG.
All feedback for consideration in the forum agenda are welcome, please submit
to firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday March 9th.
Those attending Port Moresby Tour Operator Forum may bring two representatives.
Australian based Tour Operators will be required to register their attendance at the
Sydney Forums by no later then Friday March 20th.
Tour Operator Forums:
Port Moresby | Lamana Hotel | 23rd March, 2012 | 8.30am – 3.00pm
Sydney | Rydges World Square| 26th March, 2012 | 12.00am – 4.00pm
Sydney | Rydges World Square | 27th March, 2012 | 8.30am – 4.00pm
Port Moresby | TBA | 22nd March, 2012 | 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Sydney | TBA | 29th March, 2012 | 6.30pm – 9.00pm
To register your attendance please contact Lilly Gabina at Kokoda Track Authority
on 323 6165 or email email@example.com
Annual Management Trek
Chief Executive Officer, James Enage, Training Officer, Robert Batia and KTA Chairman,
Reuben Maleva, will set off from Kokoda on the Annual Management Trek January 24th.
This annual trek is an important activity that gives the management team an opportunity to
meet face to face with all ward communities along the track and update them on important
upcoming projects and get their feedback on ongoing projects.
Awareness consultation sessions will be conducted along the way to ensure the communities
understand how this year’s programs will affect them.
Tour Operator License Requirements
There are 83 registered tour operators currently licensed with Kokoda Track Authority.
It is important to note the KTA is unable to issue licenses to companies that don’t adhere to
compliance measures with the Investment Promotion Authority.
Please ensure you have your IPA registration and reporting up to date as KTA will not issue
licenses or renew licenses to Tour Operators that have their company or business certificate out-dated.
Pre-Departure Information Package
Through the Safety Package program under the “Kokoda Initiative”, KTA is developing a pre departure
information kit to assist trekkers in preparation for their journey on the Kokoda Track.
The kit will complement current KTA material and aims to ensure trekkers get the most out of their
experience at the same time as understanding and appreciating cultural, natural and historic values.
Some of the pre departure information included addresses some of the issues raised at recent tour
ways trekkers can prepare themselves to respect the rules and code of conduct while on the Track
- cultural sensitivity when engaging with communities along the Track
- health and safety guidelines
- KTA commercial license conditions
- roles of porters and guides
This information will be accessible online to interested trekkers through the KTA website as well as
available in hard copy at the KTA office.
Anzac Day Preparations
The Traditional Gunfire Breakfast at the Australian High Commission following the dawn service at
Bomana War Cemetery will be by ticket entry only.
All interested tour operators and trekking parties must make sure they obtain tickets before the day.
Some tickets will be available from the KTA office.
Please contact Sylvia at 323 6165 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book tickets.
Track Maintenance Funds
Track maintenance ward funds have been increased for the year 2012 from K2,000 to K3,000.
Please contact Michael at KTA on 323 6165 or email email@example.com for
SUBSIDISED FIRST AID TRAINING
KOKODA TRACK PORTERS AND GUIDES
The Kokoda Track Authority, through the Kokoda Track Safety
Package, is offering the following discounted First Aid training to Porters and
Guides who are employed by KTA licensed tour operators.
EMERGENCY/BASIC FIRST AID
K80 P/PERSON – 3 DAY COURSE (Usually K345 for course and lunches)
Training locations: Port Moresby (St. Johns Headquarters) and Kokoda (Kokoda Hospital)
POM: Course 1: 7 to 9 Feb
Course 2: 14 to 16 Feb
Kokoda: Course 1: 6 to 8 Mar
Certificate – subject to satisfactory completion of the course, participants will be awarded a
Certificate for “Emergency First Aid”.
WILDERNESS/REMOTE FIRST AID
Porters or guides must have successfully completed the Emergency/basic First Aid course
before they may attend this course.
K150 P/PERSON – 3 DAY COURSE (Usually K945 for course and lunches)
Training locations: Port Moresby (Lamana Hotel) and Kokoda (Kokoda Hospital)
POM: Course 1: 27 to 29 Feb
Course 2: 5 to 7 Mar
Kokoda: Course 1: 19 to 23 Mar
Course 2: 26 to 28 Mar
Certificate – subject to satisfactory completion of the courses, participants will be awarded a
Certificate for “Provide First Aid in a Remote Situation”.
Catering – Lunches and morning/afternoon teas, will be provided
Please contact Lily Gabina on 323 6165 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Track Permits Online
The system is now live, allowing all Tour Operators to purchase track permits online.
This convenient system was showcased at the Tour Operator Forums in October and was well
received by all.
Once the new year and the trekking season gets underway we are expecting to see this system
being made use of more regularly as it will be the most convenient way of securing permits,
saving Tour Operators time and money.
Hawks Tackle Kokoda Track
AFL Team, Hawthorn Hawks Recently Walked the Kokoda Track Bringing Footy Culture
to Local Communities
Arriving at Owers’ Corner late Friday afternoon, the Hawthorn Hawks were looking forward
to the showers and meals awaiting them at Crowne Plaza Hotel after completing the famous
Kokoda Track in 4 days and 2 hours.
Speaking to Mitchell Hallaghan, who was picked up by the Hawks in the 2010 player draft
for the AFL, 2010 NAB AFL Draft, the track was testing even for a team of well-trained
“It was pretty hard, not what we expected, but it was more mentally hard than physically hard.”
In the team’s fourth visit to PNG, the trekking team comprised coaches, players, corporate
partners, administrative staff and other team representatives.
They travelled in two teams along the track. The administrative/corporate team taking seven
days to complete the track travelled ahead of the players who enjoyed overnighting in
villages along the way, providing the children with footballs and having a kick around.
“They (children) were over joyed, we didn’t know if they’d know much about how to kick
an AFL footy but they had natural skills and just got into it,” said Hallaghan.
Arranged by trekking company Executive Excellence and with trekking permits from
Kokoda Track Authority, the teams were able to continue their team tradition well supported.
With different experiences to be had by the two parties walking the track, the players
were to carry all their own gear and had to perform tasks along the way which was the
basis for their team building exercise.
This trek is completed by new recruits into the team, a form of introduction to the
Hawthorn team that model their team culture on the four pillars of Kokoda - courage,
mateship, sacrifice and endurance.
“We had to do tasks along the way; re-enact injured soldiers, carry sand bags weighing
as much as equipment soldiers would’ve had to carry during the war, it was pretty tough
but it’s a huge part of team building,” said Dean Cheney, Hawks defender.
“It was pretty emotional when we reached the four pillars, which being a big part of our
team culture, and that were pretty special, a bit of man love when we’d reached the end.”
Mitchell Hallaghan said, “The porters were great though, so helpful. When we’d reached
our camp every night they’d have everything ready for us, they were great.”
Weighing themselves in at the end, some had lost up to 10 kilos. Considering part of their
fitness routine works on building muscle and putting on healthy weight, the task itself is a
big ask for the players.
“With the footy season upon us, I don’t think we’ll be doing it again anytime soon, but
definitely a great experience,”
In Their Footsteps - Fuzzy Wuzzy Day 2011
In 2009 the Papua New Guinea Government enacted a National Day to recognize the heroic assistance
provided by PNG Nationals during World War II to the Australian diggers, known as Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Days.
The idea arose out of a trek in which the former, Tourism Minister, Hon. Charles Abel, and Kokoda
Track Authority Chief Executive Officer, James Enage, walked the Kokoda Track in August, 2009.
Whilst on the trek they saw a need to pay tribute to Papua New Guineans that also contributed
significantly in World War II and put their lives on the line for us to have the lives we have today.
The Kokoda Battle was fought for four months along that track in 1942, in which the Japanese
army planned to capture Port Moresby through the Kokoda Track, this took them over the Owen
Allied troops drove the Japanese soldiers out of the Kokoda valley towards the end of October,
1942 and raised the Australian Flag on the 3rd of November 1942 in Kokoda Valley.
The name ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel’ derived from a poem titled ‘The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels” written by
Sapper H.E. Bert Beros, an Australian soldier. Sapper H ‘Bert’ Beros serviced in both
World War I and World War II. He wrote this poem at 4am on the Kokoda Track after
having been on stand-to. It may never have been printed but for the fact that an officer
sent a copy home to his mother. She was so impressed that she had it published in the Brisbane Courier Mail.
It was later published in a book ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and other verses’ in 1944.
“Many a mother in Australia
When the busy day is done,
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
For the keeping of her son,
Asking that an angel guide him
And bring him safely back –
Now we see those prayers are answered
On the Owen Stanley Track…
…Not a move to hurt the carried,
As they treat him like a Saint,
It’s a picture worth recording,
That an Artist’s yet to paint.
Many a lad will see his Mother,
And the Husbands, Weans and Wives,
Just because the Fuzzy Wuzzy
Carried them to save their lives.
From mortar bombs and machine gun fire,
Or a chance surprise attack,
To safely and the care of Doctors,
At the bottom of the track.
May The mothers in Australia,
When they offer up a prayer,
Mentioned those impromptu Angels,
With the Fuzzy Wuzzy hair.”
There were some 50,000 Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels recruited throughout Papua New Guinea who
worked in places such as Milne Bay, Rabaul and the Kokoda Track and are well remembered
for their selfless acts of courage and sacrifice.
The conditions were very difficult as they used the Kokoda Track to carry wounded soldiers
to medical assistance.
The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels were most famously immortalized in images leading the blind and
carrying the wounded on stretchers to safety.
Today they are honoured in paintings, statues, with medals and now celebrated on
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day.
The Kokoda Track Authority and local communities will celebrate Fuzzy Wuzzy A
ngels Day at Kokoda Station on the 3 November 2011. Cultural performances and
presentations will highlight the occasion at the site where the Australian flag was raised
after battling the Japanese across the track in 1942.
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Sports Day at Efogi
As part of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day celebration a sports festival was held in Efogi from
25 - 31 July. Teams from villages throughout the Mount Koiari region gathered to compete
in sports activities as well as hold public meetings and celebrations.
Men and women's soccer and volleyball, and men's touch football games were played by
representatives from Manari, Efogi, Kagi, Naduri, Launumu, Envilogo and Boridi villages.
Mumu (earth oven) feasts and a greasy pole competition (won by Naduri villages) were
held on the last day of the celebrations.
The KTA wish to express its sincere gratitude to the Department of Environment and
Conservation and the Government of PNG for funding and supporting this program.
Communities along the Kokoda Track and the KTA will further celebrate the Fuzzy Wuzzy
Angels Day on the 3 November 2011.
The final workshops for Ward Development and Business Training were completed at
Efogi in the last week of July.
Participants completed community project proposals including airport and road upgrades,
new classrooms and portable saw mills. Business projects focused on guesthouses, trade
stalls and group catering. Participants will now work together with the Ward Development
Committee to further develop the proposals and seek funding from the local level governments
and donor organisations.
Community Clean up at Kokoda Airstrip
The airstrip at Kokoda has been freshly cut and cleaned thanks to Grace Eroro and her family who
took the initiative in Juen which encouraged over a hundred community members to volunteer in the
The community used grass knives to clear the area while KTA Ranger Donald Siga organised a
lawn mower to assist with work. Kokoda community member Grace Eroro said this initiative was
about partnership efforts and local people taking ownership. KTA through the KOkoda Initiative
Safety Package, will be delivering a tractor and slasher in July/August to assist with continued
maintenance of the airstrip.
Conservation work re-routed to old wartime track
Conservation work on the Kokoda Track is underway with the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA),
as part of works to improve safety along the track through the joint PNG-Australian
government Kokoda Initiative.
Erosion and steep drop offs have been assessed by the KTA operations team and Rangers,
along with local landowners and New South Wales track construction expert Barry Lewis.
KTA Chief Executive James Enage said the problematic section at Ioribaiwa is some 280
metres long and includes the last steep section up to Ioribaiwa ridge. “The plan is to make
this section safe and return this section of track to an authentic jungle experience. The new
section of track follows a route proposed by landowners and passes through Japanese
defensive positions from 1942, and in some areas picks up on the old war-time track,” he said.
The new alignment allows the track slope to be on average less than 10 per cent which reduces
the potential for erosion and ensures a safer path for trekkers. Short lengths of fencing made from
bush material will be placed to ensure trekkers do not damage the Japanese defensive positions.
Eleven community workers from Ioribaiwa are involved in completing works to a high standard
and ahead of schedule. Other short sections of track south of Ioribaiwa will be worked on in the
coming weeks, where slippery slopes and roots place trekkers and other track users dangerously
close to the steep slopes off the track edge. Work will move to Ofi Creek at the end of the month
to address the steep and dangerous approaches to the creek from the north side.
Ward Development Committee Training
This month Ward Councillors and Ward Development Committee members will receive training in
micro-finance, governance and transparency training as part of the joint PNGAustralian government
Kokoda Initiative Livelihoods Project implemented by the Kokoda Track Authority.
The training is the first of its kind in this area, and aims to ensure effective use of KTA tourism
services payments and other funding sources (such as loans for community micro-business ventures).
The first training will held at Kokoda, 9 May 2011 followed by workshops in Efogi and Sogeri.
Kokoda numbers on track for 2011 season
The Kokoda trekking season was officially launched in Sydney on the 12 April 2011 with high
expectations for the 2011 season. Forward bookings are looking strong and recent research
has shown that people’s experiences along the track are overwhelmingly positive.
Independent research prepared for the joint PNG- Australian Government Kokoda Initiative
which surveyed 200 people who had trekked Kokoda, revealed that the majority of trekkers
felt that the track experience exceeded their expectations.
Major tour operators are reporting strong forward bookings particularly for ANZAC day and
the months of May and June. Major Australian wholesaler, Gap Adventures has also recently
recognised the potential and added Kokoda to their product offering.
Vera Huntink, sales and marketing manager for Papua New Guinea Tourism and Promotion
Authority in Australia and New Zealand says that visitation numbers has been buoyed by the
improving operations along the track and increasing positive word of mouth.
“Over the last two years significant work has gone into raising standards along the track,
encouraging community engagement and giving back to communities. This has improved
trekker safety and experiences along the track,” said Vera.
“Research shows that word of mouth has the biggest impact on trekker numbers, so when
trekkers are having good experiences and the news is positive, this translates directly to
increased bookings,” she added.
Major improvements along the track have been undertaken by the Kokoda Track Authority
(KTA) which has been supported since 2008 by a joint initiative between the Australian and
Papua New Guinea governments to protect the Kokoda Track and surrounding region.
The KTA ensures that all tour operators along Kokoda obtain a licence and all trekkers pay trekking
fees. A voluntary code of conduct has been agreed by operators and a new licensing system set up
in 2010 helps to ensure professional standards are met.
Working in partnership with the PNG-Australia Kokoda Initiative, led by the PNG Department of
Environment and Conservation and Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water,
Population and Communities, the KTA has contributed to improving health, education, transport
and livelihoods for local communities along the track.
In the past two years the KTA has delivered over $185,000 in cash and supplies to the Kokoda
Track Communities as a direct dividend of the collection of trekking fees.
With these measures in place, everyone who treks Kokoda can be confident that they will be
directly contributing to local communities, giving even more personal meaning and depth to
the trekking experience.
Kokoda is physically and mentally challenging, and preparation is key to a successful experience.
The KTA has also made investments into improving the information available to trekkers preparing
for the track. In May last year the KTA launched a website to provide an objective and factual
resource with reliable and up to date information for trekkers, potential trekkers and their families.
A pre –departure safety kit funded through the PNG and Australian Government’s Kokoda Track
Safety Package is also expected to be released this year.
Over the years a range of well known personalities have proven that trekking Kokoda is something
that all Australians can aspire to. Politicians including Kevin Rudd, Joe Hockey and Bronwyn Bishop,
beauties like Caroline Pemberton (Miss Australian 2007) and the amazing Kurt Fernly who completed
the 96Km trek without the use of his legs, have all conquered the trek.
Vera Huntink says that there is potential for significant growth in tourist numbers to PNG not only with
more trekkers heading to Kokoda but also by promoting the other attractive tourism products around
“Improvements to the Kokoda Track are certainly translating to growing numbers along the track but
we are also focused on raising awareness about the other niche segments including world-class diving,
surfing, bird watching and fascinating cultural experiences,” she said.
Major Australian wholesalers are also recognising the potential of Papua New Guinea’s diverse product,
with Adventure World and Coral Seas now packaging cultural tours to PNG’s highlands and Madang
and Wild Earth Expeditions covering Mount Hagen, Sepik River and Kimbe Bay.
Access to the country is also greatly improved with Qantas Link introducing flights to Papua New Guinea
late last year which provides better same day connection times from Port Moresby to popular tourism sites
throughout the country.
KTA appoints new Chief Executive
The Management Committee of the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) announced today the appointment of
Mr. James Enage as its Chief Executive effective as of 7th February. “We are pleased to announce
Mr. Enage’s appointment as he is a local man with a deep understanding of the Kokoda Track,
its people, the trekking industry and Government processes.” said the Acting Chairman of the KTA,
Mr. Ruben Maleva.
Mr. Enage has been the Chairman of the KTA for the past 2 years and brings a wealth of experience and
understanding to the position. He has previously held positions such as KDP Health Program Manager,
Policy analyst with Dept. Prime Minister and NEC, and the Human Resource Manager with Central Provincial
Administration. He also holds various honorary positions such as the Chairman of the Kokoda Track Sports
Development Program and the President of the Dobbo Warriors Rugby League club.
The KTA’s Management Committee will now seek a landowner representative from the Koiari people to
represent their interests. Mr. Enage will convene a series of meetings to elect the KTA Koiari landowner
Mr. Ruben Maleva will act as the KTA Chairman until a Management Committee meeting in May where the
Committee will elect a new Chairman.
“This is an important day for the KTA where a local man takes on the most senior role within the organisation
and we thank the Australian and PNG Governments for their support through the Kokoda Initiative over the
past three years” said Mr. Maleva. The current expatriate Chief Executive, Mr. Rod Hillman, will work closely
with Mr. Enage throughout the rest of 2011.
Kokoda Rangers at Booderee National Park
Rangers from the Booderee National Park have hosted a group of their counterparts from Papua New Guinea
for a 10 day training programme aimed at sharing park management, visitor management and track
maintenance learning’s with Kokoda rangers.
The initiative, promoted by the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) with the support of the Australian Government,
aims to provide the rangers with further expertise, which will assist them in protecting and maintaining the
significant historic, cultural and environmental values of the Kokoda Track.
Rod Hilman the CEO of the KTA says that the exchange is invaluable to Papua New Guinea.
“With exchanges such as these rangers from the Kokoda Track pick up valuable expertise in
track and visitor management, general operations and gain a better understanding of working
within a protected area. This allows Kokoda rangers to continually improve the safety and trekking
experience along the track for trekkers and local communities,” stated KTA’s CEO.
The concept of Park Rangers is new in PNG. Through this placement, the KTA wants to expose
Kokoda Rangers to the breadth of work that an Australian Ranger engages in, including visitor
management, pest, plant and animal control; track maintenance and general park operations.
The aim is to provide them with an opportunity to acquire parks maintenance and visitor
Booderee National Park provides the perfect scenario to learn about community involvement
in protected area management. The park is jointly managed between Parks Australia and the
local Indigenous community, under the administration of the Parks Australia Division of the
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC).
DSEWPaC has supported the KTA throughout this project as part of the Australian
Government’s commitment to assisting the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG)
to protect the Kokoda Track through the Kokoda Initiative.
The placements will contribute towards the Kokoda Initiative goal under the Second Joint
Understanding between PNG and Australia on the Owen Stanley Ranges, Brown River
Catchment and Kokoda Track Region of “a safe and well-managed Kokoda Track, which
honours its wartime historical significance and protects and promotes its special values.”
Kokoda Track Communities repair Madilogo Rd
Communities from four Wards on the Kokoda Track have pooled money together to repair
Madilogo Road, as part of the Kokoda Track Authority’s tourism services payments program.
The four Wards have chosen to contribute K2,500 each, out of the K10,000 payments they
each received towards providing food and manpower to fix the road. Work will start in December
with communities nominating youths to repair the road by hand.
Koiairi LLG President, Ogi David said, “This is a really good initiative from our communities and
we appeal for more support to help us with this work.
“Madilogo Road is the quickest transport corridor for villages both on and off the Track – it’s the
fastest way for people to get into town.
“At the moment the road is nearly impassable so upgrading this road is important not just for the
village people but could also provide access for trekkers who may need to use this road as an
“Tourism services payments are empowering the people to make decisions about what they
want in their village and their Wards,” he said.
KTA Chairman, James Enage, said the tourism services payments were a direct benefit from
“We are working with the Local Level Government to ensure a coordinated and effective
delivery of funds.
“The Madilogo Road is a great example of what this money can be used for. Communities
have also expressed interest in using these funds to repair community halls and to start
agriculture projects and training programs to further community skills.”
A total of K160,000 of tourism services payments will be distributed to 14 Wards across
the Kokoda Track this year.
Kokoda Track Tourism Industry Grants
Tourism associations and organizations that can provide beneficial projects to the trekking
industry along the Kokoda Track now have the opportunity to nominate for small cash
grants as part of the PNG Government’s commitment to the Kokoda Initiative.
PNG Government funding for the program, through the Department of Environment and
Conservation and delivered by the Kokoda Track Authority will total K40,000.
Kokoda Track Authority Chairman James Enage said he was excited to be part of such
a program which will have wide reaching benefits for the trekking industry and
communities in the region.
“There is a lot of potential to deliver new and improved tourism services and tourism
training to the Track region.
“We are looking forward to the innovative projects which the tourism industry grant
“Associations and organizations could receive up to K10,000 which would help them
to setup and implement these programs,” Mr Enage said.
Activities eligible for the grants include; the introduction of innovative tourism services,
tourism training programs, pilot projects and minor setup costs for organizations
To find out about the application process or for further information, contact the
Kokoda Track Authority; email@example.com or 323 6165.
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day
Papua New Guinea celebrated its inaugural Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day on the 3rd of
November amidst the backdrop of Kokoda station’s breathtaking Owen Stanley
Mountains. In a gust of flamboyant color and festivity the event was marked by
reverent appreciation for the 50,000 Papua New Guineans who helped Australian
diggers during the Second World War.
Celebrated PNG style with 43 sports teams, 16 singsing groups, 14 string bands and
4 choirs the day was attended by 2,000 thousand local people who came from as
far away as the Morobe and the Central provinces and a dozen Australian trekkers
from two trekking companies (Backtrack Adventures and Adventure Kokoda).
The Guests of Honor for the day were the six recipients of Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels
Commemorative Medallion comprising of one original Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel and
wives and descendants of Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. Medallions were presented by
the Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, HE Ian Kemish.
Other special guests of honor included Soc Kienzle, the son of Captain Bert
Kienzle, who presented an inspiring speech in Motu and displayed the original
Australian flag his father raised on the 3 November in 1942.
The event was funded by the PNG Government, through the PNG
Department of Environment and Conservation as part of the Kokoda Initiative.
A Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day celebration will be held in Efogi on Tuesday 9th
November with a sports program and flag raising ceremony.
To watch the celebrations at Kokoda, check out video report by ABC Papua
New Guinea Correspondent Liam Fox: www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/11/03/3056448.htm
Tour Operator Forums in Port Moresby and Brisbane
Licensed tour operators left their walking boots behind to attend the annual
Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) Tour Operator Forum at the Hideaway Hotel today.
KTA Chairman James Enage said, “This season has seen growth in trekker
numbers from the challenges of last year. Introducing Tour Operator licenses,
improving infrastructure through the Safety Package and improving training for
porters and guides has built confidence in trekkers and they have started to return.”
This year, the KTA has introduced the Tour Operators Licensing System,
completed track conservation work and worked with Track communities to
deliver the Livelihoods Pilot projects.
Since July this year, 62 tour operators have registered their business of which
83 guides and porters have taken part in KTA’s First Aid Training.
KTA acknowledged the financial support of both the PNG and Australian
government through the Kokoda Initiative to progress important activities
on the Track.
Through the joint PNG-Australia Kokoda Initiative the KTA has delivered the
safety program, which has upgraded roads, bridges and airstrips.
“We worked with communities to prevent river flooding in Kokoda – to build
this wall in time 352 tonnes of rock was moved by hand,” said Mr. Enage.
The forum presented programs for next year including KTA Board and Ward
Development Committee Training in financial administration, review of toilets
on the Track, a broader Livelihoods program and a small grants system to
Kokoda Track tourism associations that support the industry.
Jack Deia, No Roads Expedition, Country Manager said, “This is a time
when we local tour operators engage with international tour operators.
“This is where we express our view, share ideas and learn from each other
so that we can provide a good service to those that come to our country.”
Heroes of the Medallion
Of all the World War II images photographed during the Papua New Guinea
war campaign, only one stands out as a touching reminder of a war that,
although tore apart the world, brought together two men and ultimately two nations.
It is the image of Raphael Oimbari in a confident yet measured stride, an
unfaltering steady look of concern, his right hand linked and grasping ever
so carefully the left arm of Private George ‘Dick’ Whittington of the Royal
Australian 2/10th Infantry Battalion who wears a blindfold, barefoot, a
walking stick in his right hand poised inches above a well worn dirt track
leading through thick kunai grass, their shadows merged backwards in a right
diagonal, walking in unison in what must have been a glaring hot afternoon sun.
Photographed by New Zealand-born photojournalist George Silk – Australia’s
second official World War II photographer – the shot was perfect in an imperfect
setting in Buna, Papua, 25 December 1942, as both men made their way to the
Dobodura field hospital.
Tragically Private Whittington never got to see the photo published. He died the
following year the picture was taken, a brave young man of just 23.
Like the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that died in war he will remain forever
preserved within the borders of the photo and therefore he, as the Remembrance
Ode proclaims “age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn, at the going
down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them”.
Raphael Oimbari and George Silk lived to see the picture celebrated as a
Papua New Guinea World War II icon on many of the nation’s war memorials.
Silk passed away in 2004 and Oimbari a decade earlier in 1996. The three men
connected to the picture sadly did not live to see the image become the main
feature of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Commemorative Medallion nor realize how
much they were regarded as national heroes, especially Raphael Oimbari the
most recognised Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel.
Presented in a black leather chest-like box featuring the Australian Government
Crest, the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Medallion is 38.75mm in diameter and manufactured
from an alloy of bronze, aluminium and zinc. Designed and minted by the Roya
l Australian Mint the face of the medallion bears the image of the famous
Oimbari-Whittington photo with the words Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Papua New Guinea
Campaign raised as its border.
The Australian Government commissioned the Commemorative Medallion to recognise
surviving Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, and their widows, in PNG who assisted the Australian
forces during the Second World War. Many Australians, wounded and suffering
terrible illnesses, owe their lives to these brave civilians who were recruited from
nearby villages along the Kokoda and from plantations where they worked as
indentured labourers some of whom came from as far away as Madang and Sepik.
On 28 April 2009 the former Australian Prime Minister, the Honourable Kevin Rudd
MP, at a joint press conference with PNG Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael
Somare, announced the commemorative medallion recognising the contribution
during the Second World War of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
The first medallion was presented by the Honorable Alan Griffin MP, the then Australian
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, to 87 year old Mr Wesley Akove of Kokoda Village, at a
ceremony held at the Bomana War Cemetery on 23 July 2009 (PNG Remembrance
Day) at the same time officially launching the Medallion in Papua New Guinea.
To date, 30 medallions have been awarded to Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
The name ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ was immortalized in Bert Beros poem “The Fuzzy
Wuzzy Angels”, published in 1944 in the book The fuzzy wuzzy angels and other verses
by Sapper H.E. Bert Beros. The poem describes the almost divine admiration the author
had for the dedication and care native carriers had in carrying and escorting wounded
soldiers and supplies along the inhospitable Kokoda Track.
The inaugural Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day this 3 November was officially gazetted as a
national day by the former Minister of Culture and Tourism Charles Abel, as it was the
date when the Australian flag was raised again at Kokoda after the defeat of the Japanese
forces in 1942.
The Kokoda Track Authority have, for the last 6 months, been planning and preparing
celebrations for Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day to recognize and celebrate our national heroes.
Presentations of Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Commemorative Medallions will occur at the event in
Kokoda. Cultural performances and sports events will also be highlights not just at Kokoda
but at Efogi as well.
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day will be a special day for our country to celebrate our national
heroes and recognise their assistance to allied forces during the darkest days of the
Second World War.
Etched into medallions, memorial plaques and Remembrance Day publications the
image of Raphael Oimbari and Private Whittington will continue to remind generations
of Papua New Guineans and Australians of the sacrifice and courage it took to work
together under the most difficult and trying of circumstances to forge bright new futures.
Celebrating our heroes on Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day
Across the country Papua New Guineans will be recognising and celebrating our heroes
on the inaugural Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day on the 3 November 2010.
Gazetted by the National Executive Council as a national day, it is a special day of
remembrance for the 10,000 Papua New Guineans, known as Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels,
who helped Australian Diggers during the Second World War.
PNG's Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, Hon Guma Wau, says the event will pay
tribute to and remember the struggles and efforts of our Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who
served during the war.
“We want all generations to celebrate and recognise the efforts, compassion and
care of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels,” he said.
Kokoda Track Authority Chairman, James Enage, said that remembrance events
are being organised by the communities in Kokoda and Efogi.
“The guides and porters of the Kokoda Track who walk with overseas trekkers
through rugged terrain are our own modern day angels and so activities like stretcher
races and hill climbs have been organised as part of the celebrations,” he said.
Sports events, cultural performances and the Kokoda Track Authority Chairman’s
Trek will follow official speeches and presentations at Kokoda.
“We will be walking the Track to meet with communities and commemorate the Angels
who guided wounded soldiers.
Proud new Kokoda Rangers
Imagine having a job where you meet interesting people from different backgrounds,
trek through pristine tropical rainforests, cross vibrant streams and rivers, and escape
the stresses of city life.
Well these gentlemen have got this and much more. Meet the newly inducted Rangers
of the Kokoda Track Authority: Landy Noel, Nuana Momoa, Elijah Peter, Donald Siga
and Joe Duhube.
It wasn’t an easy process applying though, Ranger Joe had to walk from his village
Abuari to Moresby and Ranger Elijah’s biggest concern was his lack of formal education
but in the end it was his experience and the old adage of hard work and determination
that has proven his capabilities.
“A Ranger is like the ‘was-man’ of the trek and makes sure that all trekkers carry a
permit to walk. And it helps to be able to speak Koiari, Motu, Tok-pisin and English,”
says Ranger Landy with a smile who’s walked the track more than 32 times on his patrols.
“He is a man-on-the-ground type of worker who has knowledge and skills to assist trekkers
and walks the track to inspect the roads, bridges and guest house facilities along the way
to see whether they’re up to standard,” explains Ranger Donald who patrols Ward 15 – Ward 16.
The longest patrols are Ranger Elijah’s who covers 20 to 30km in 9-10 days. But working
closely with everyone in his community is what Ranger Elijah loves about his job especially
his 3 year old daughter who is a constant motivator to him of how important it is to preserve
the track so that when she grows up she can appreciate it and think of the work her father did
in spite of his lack of formal education. He hopes that she will receive a full education and
contribute to his legacy and that of Kokoda.
Ranger Joe is KTA’s youngest recruit and makes up for his youth through his profound
knowledge of the trek’s history extending back to the pre-contact, early explorer, colonial
and to the famed World War II days.
“In the past trekkers and locals were removing war relics along the trek and either taking
them back as souvenirs or selling it. When I worked as a porter I would explain to trekkers
and the locals that this was wrong since these things were what made the trek interesting.
Now that I’m a Ranger I am able to carry out this awareness. I believe someday the Kokoda
Track will become a World Heritage site or a National Park so I am determined to see
it preserved,” says Ranger Joe.
For Ranger Nuana, becoming a Ranger holds sentimental value to him because he is the
proud son of a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel.
“I often wonder about the dangers my father faced and the feelings he had during WWII.
He was barely out of his teens trying to understand a war fought on his land by strange men,”
remarks Ranger Nuana.
His late father Momoa Monobe would be proud of his son’s achievement and that includes
traveling to Australia with Ranger Landy to do work experience at Booderee National Park in NSW.
The rangers have many stories to share regarding the trek especially the legacy left behind
by an ancestor. For instance Ranger Joe’s great-uncle Boiri Gurigo was a mail courier during
the 1920’s and 1930’s and used the trek to carry mail on-foot from the Kokoda stations all the
way to Popondetta.
Rangers Landy, Nuana, Elijah, Donald and Joe cut a striking figure in their brand new khaki
uniforms and will be a force to be reckoned with. So should you include Kokoda Trek in your
vacation plans you have nothing to worry about because you are in good hands. Equipped with
their VHF radios, First Aid Training and tough stamina these Rangers will be there to ensure a
safe and memorable trekking experience.
These proud new rangers will be reporting to the Kokoda Track Authority; and supporting the
goals of the joint PNG-Australia, Kokoda Initiative, to provide a safe and well-managed Kokoda
Track by improving the trekking experience and track facilities.
Owers’ Corner Road now “2WD Heaven”
The road through to Owers’ Corner is now accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles as part of the
Kokoda Track Safety Package, a PNG and Australian government partnership to improve safety
along the Track.
Community members and trekkers can now safely travel along the 16.3km road to the Owers’ Corner
end of the Kokoda Track in all types of vehicles without difficulty.
Further work including applying gravel to ensure road conditions survive the heavy rain season will
continue to be done by the contractors, Dekanai Constructions, with the entire upgrade expected to
be completed before the end of the year.
Kokoda Track Authority Chairman, James Enage said, “Improving the access to and from Port Moresby
benefits local communities living in this region and contributes to providing a safer trekking experience.”
Other activities under the Kokoda Safety Package include upgrades and maintenance to the Kokoda
airstrips and terminal, subsidised first aid training for porters and guides, safer creek crossings, and
repair to the concrete road leading up to the Kokoda Hospital.
Construction of rock-filled walls along two creeks south of Kokoda has been critical in minimising
flooding into the lower Kokoda township. Teams of 55 men from the Kokoda area recently helped
move 330 tonnes of rock by hand to build the 34 metre long walls which divert the high volume of
water that flows through the creeks after very little rain.
The majority of the Kokoda Track Safety Package is being managed and implemented by the
Kokoda Track Authority, with funds from the Australian Government.
Both the PNG and Australian governments are committed to continuing to work with local
communities and the trekking industry to ensure that the Kokoda Track is as safe as possible,
while recognising the risks inherent in this remote and rugged area.
Track maintenance to sidestep Brown River erosion
Track upgrading and maintenance work commenced at Brown River on the Kokoda Track on
Sunday 25 July and was completed Friday 6 August. The work is being undertaken to address
risks associated with erosion and potential bank collapse on sections of the Brown River.
The track works are being implemented by the KTA, who have engaged New Zealand track
builder Tim Eden to supervise the works. Tim Eden, KTA Ranger fo rthe area Elijah Peters,
KTA Operations Manager Chris Halstead, and local landowners assessed the site and marked o
ut a suitable route for the realigned track, which will take the trekkers away from the river edge but
will still provide safe views of the river.
Fourteen local workers from Manari and Madilogo have been recruited to undertake the track
building work and will be on site with Tim for 13 days. In order to setup for the track works,
12 local people had to carry all the tools and food in across the ranges over two days from the
closest vehicle access west of Madilogo.
Reports from the track indicate works are going ahead of schedule and to a high standard enabling
the team to move on to the second problem area where they can utilise an old section of track likely
to be the old war track. With realighment of tracks through forest areas there will be some initial
vegetation disturbance apparent and over time the new track will integrate with the jungle walking experience.
Foreign Ministers Sign Second Joint Understanding
The Papua New Guinean (PNG) and Australian Governments signed a Second Joint Understanding
to support sustainable development of the Owen Stanley Ranges, Brown River Catchment and
Kokoda Track region, and protection of its special values.
Papua New Guinean Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration, Sam Abal, and
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Stephen Smith signed the agreement in
Alotau, PNG on the 8 July 2010.
Papua New Guinean Minister for Environment and Conservation, Benny Allen and
Australian Minister for Environment Protection and Heritage, Peter Garrett said the signing
of the Second Joint Understanding marked the continuation of a joint Australian and
Papua New Guinean Government commitment to work together to protect the Kokoda
Track and surrounding region.
Ministers agreed that the Second Joint Understanding (2010-2015) on the
Owen Stanley Ranges, Brown River Catchment and Kokoda Track Region,
would provide the basis for the ongoing development and management of the Kokoda Track,
including improved service delivery to communities along the track, further support to the
Kokoda Track Authority's management of the track, and the promotion of the track
as a world class tourist destination.
The second Joint Understanding will also improve the lives of local communities,
by providing access to the potential economic benefits arising from the development
of renewable resources including hydropower, water, forest carbon and tourism.
The second Joint Understanding 2010-15 builds on the achievements made by Papua New Guinea
and Australia following the signing of the first Joint Understanding in 2008.
Through this second Joint Understanding the Governments of Australia and PNG have
agreed to five key goals to continue the good work in the region:
1. A safe and well-managed Kokoda Track, which honours its wartime historical
significance and protects and promotes it special values.
2. Enhanced quality of life for landowners and communities through improved
delivery of basic services, income generation and community development opportunities.
3. The wise use and conservation of the catchment protection area, including the
Kokoda Track and its natural and cultural resources and values.
4. Building national and international tourism potential of the Owen Stanley
ranges and Kokoda Track Region, supported by a possible future World Heritage nomination.
5. Working with communities, landowners, industry and all levels of government
to ensure that activities established under the Kokoda Initiative are sustained into the future.
“The Australian Government is committed to preserving the historic values of the
Kokoda Track – a place of great significance to both Australians and Papua New
Guineans,” Mr Garrett said.
“Through this initiative on the Owen Stanley Ranges, Brown River Catchment and
Kokoda Track Region, which was established in 2007, we will continue to deliver
practical improvements through a program of works that have already delivered
very real on-ground results.
Mr Allen said the Papua New Guinean Government was pleased to commit new
resources to maintain the excellent progress made under the first Joint
Understanding and ensure activities are sustained into the future.
“The Kokoda Track and Owen Stanley Ranges represent a time when an important
bond was formed between our people and the people of Australia during the
Second World War. This is a bond that continues today.
“Through this second Joint Understanding we will be able to continue the important
work on protection of the Brown River Catchment region, providing community
access to the economic benefits associated with sustainable use of the water,
power, forest carbon and tourism resources in the region. We will also work towards
a possible nomination of the Owen Stanley Ranges for World Heritage Listing.”
KTA Chairman James Enage said, “This agreement is important for trekkers
ensuring a safer and well managed Kokoda Track, whilst supporting local communities
and protecting the important values of the Track and surrounding regions.
“As part of this Initiative, the Kokoda Track Authority works with local communities and
tourism operators to improve safety, track facilities and trekking operations.”
In 2007 the Australian Government committed $14.9 million over four years to support
the Kokoda Initiative. In 2010 the Australian Government announced an additional
$4.9 million for the Kokoda Track Safety Package in response to immediate safety issues.
In 2010, the Papua New Guinean Government committed 5.5 million Kina to the Kokoda Initiative.
To read more about the Kokoda Initiative or view the Second Joint
Understanding visit: www.environment.gov.au/heritage/international-projects/kokoda
Rangers on Work Experience in Australia
Kokoda Track Authority chairman James Enage and two Rangers, Landy Noel
and Nuana (Nuxie) Momoa spent two weeks at Booderee National Park in Australia
where they observed the maintenance and management of the local award-winning
The trip was an opportunity for them to share their experiences and observe
techniques that control soil erosion, how to count and protect endangered
native animals and learn simple waste management methods.
Mr Enage said, “It was fascinating learning about the cultural and natural
science aspect of national parks; learning about flora and fauna would add
to the great trekking experience at Kokoda.
“The topography and visual of Booderee National was quite different but the
principles of visitor safety and how health and sanitation is managed is just the same.”
The Park is jointly managed by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal community and Parks
Australia and time was spent within the community to share experiences and
explore livelihood opportunities that could be utilised within PNG.
As Ranger Momoa’s first time in Australia, he said, “We made great friendships
with the Aboriginal communities and have learnt so much about their culture and
how they engage in preserving land as a national park.”
Ranger Noel said, “We went out into the parks and cleared areas, constructed
camp sites near caves and while we were conducting a marine survey we spotted
nine whales; it was an experience I’ll never forget.”
The Rangers’ visit was part of the Australian Government’s $14.9 million Kokoda
Initiative, designed to assist Papua New Guinea in protecting the Kokoda Track
while improving the lives of Track communities.
This includes improved training for local rangers and guides, as well as opportunities
for increased income generation and employment for the people that live along the Kokoda Track.
Research Project: Possible Hydration Related Illness in
Trekkers on the Kokoda Track
In early 2010, a non-profit advisory group Adventure Medicine submitted a
proposal to the Kokoda Track Authority for assistance to conduct important research
on the Kokoda Track to examine the possibility of hydration related illness in trekkers.
This proposal was considered by the PNG and Australian Governments and was
determined appropriate to be funded under the joint Kokoda Track Safety Package.
The Adventure Medicine research team conducted the study on the Kokoda
Track from 16 to 19 April 2010.
To read more about the research findings click here to download the fact sheet
or visit the Adventure Medicine website www.adventuremedicine.net.
Commercial Operations Licences Now In Force
In a strong show of support from Tour Operators the KTA has issued a total of 55
Commercial Operations Licenses to Kokoda Track Tour Operators.
For a full listing visit Listing of Licenced Tour Operators.
Trek permits will only be issued to companies holding a valid licence.
Copies of the Commercial Operations Licence Handbook and Application
Form are available by visiting Tour Operators Area.
Should you require further information or assistance completing the application form, please contact Lilly Gabina at:
Click here to email Lilly Gabina.
(675) 323 6165