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Issue #2 Jun 1, 2016

NDA APPOINTS NEW JAPANESE DIVE INSTRUCTOR Takahiro Yamaguchi joins the NDA Dive Team in Jul 2016. His appointment is expected to increase interest from Japan based tour operators. He is welcomed by Joseph & Peter both qualified PADI Dive Masters ready and willing to see more divers taking advantage of the superb diving available in Madang and the offshore islands. In addition to his appointment, NDA have purchased a new vessel which is undergoing upgrades in Australia and due to arrive in PNG around mid July. This 12 passenger dive boat to be named Dallman Diver is fully equipped to provide a new standard of diving from NDA’s P.A.D.I. Dive facility at the Madang Resort. Stinger Madang Reef Explorer and the Kalibobo Spirit.

Events Calendar 2016 DATES




Jun 03-05

Bilum Festival

Mapor, Karkar


Jun 11-12

Madang Festival



Jul 13-17

Mask Festival

Kokopo, ENB

Aug 05-07

Crocodile Festival

Ambunti, Sepik R.

Aug 05-07

Enga Show

Wabag, Enga


Aug 20

DWU Show



Aug 20-21

Mt Hagen Show

Mt Hagen, WHP


Sep 16-18

Goroka Show

Goroka, EHP


Sep 16-18

Frangipani Festival

Rabaul, ENB

Oct 15-16

Morobe Show

Lae, Morobe

Oct 28-29

Canoe Festival

Alotau, Milne Bay


World Surf League Titles

Ulingan, Madang


Nov 04-06

Kundu Festival

Alotau, Milne Bay


MADANG FESTIVALS IN 2016 Madang has 3 major festivals in 2016 which include the Bilum Festival on Kar Kar Island which will be held on Jun 4 & 5. The organiser is Pholas Yongale whoi has the full spoort of the Local Government Council and the people of Kar Kar. The Madang Festival will be held on Jun 10-12 which will commence with a Miss Madang Gala Dinner at the Madang Resort followed by activities over the weekend featuring a float parade, cultural sing sings, dances and singing plus canoe and boat races to be held on the Madang Harbour. The DWU Cultural Show on Aug 20 is the most culturally diverse show in PNG as students from the University display their cultures from all regions of PNG in an effort to retain their cultural identity. The show is for just one day but offers tremendous photo photographic opportunities

TAIMTUDAK (Time of Darkness) By Sir Peter Barter Phd.(hon) GCL, OBE, Kt Several hundred years ago a massive volcanic eruption caused darkness to fall over the northern part of the mainland and most of the highland provinces of Papua New Guinea. This brief event in PNG resulted in a multitude of legends that describe a “time of darkness”. Early missionaries and anthropologists gradually began collating legends of “taimtudak” from areas that had no history of any relationship with each other. Different terrains, languages and tribal wars meant that each legend was somewhat parochial, yet when the stories began to emerge after colonisation and pacification amongst the various tribes there was an amazing similarity between the legends. They all described a time of darkness lasting one or two days, when sand fell from the sky and destroyed gardens and people and animals. It is also interesting to note that the famous Russian Naturalist, Nicholay Mikloucho-Maclay who first settled in 1871 at Gorendu Village on the Rai Coast of Madang, was made aware of the time of darkness. The Rai Coast legends supported the same basic information from the legends documented by early missionaries, and anthropologists based throughout the Highlands of PNG including Mt Hagen, Wahgi Valley, Tari, and Wapenamanda. It was the consistency of this information that brought about intrigue and ultimately the need to further research the extent of what probably was a massive volcanic eruption.

opportunity for multi-disciplinary research and began communicating with a number of academics about a research trip to Long Island. Quickly the number of interested researchers grew and included Professor Glenn Summerhayes, Dr Jared Diamond, Louise Morauta, Mary Mennis and Dr Stewart Fallon. We were then able to set a date for a special visit to Long Island between 13 and 16 June 2014, aboard my vessel the Kalibobo Spirit. The day before departure, an old friend of mine, Dadok Tamsen joined the group. Dadok was born on Bagabag Island, lived most part of his life on Graged Island (Mittibog Is) opposite the Madang Resort and a very respected person with a sharp mind of early colonial life in Madang. The small group of scientists boarded the Kalibobo Spirit and sailed the 70 nm across the Bismarck Sea to Matafun on the south west coast of Long Island in strong SE winds with moderate seas arriving at first light on Saturday June 14. Professor Blong told me of his first visit (with Chris McKee) in 1976 which had taken him 14 hours in rough weather. On arrival at Long Island

It is easy to sit back today and read about the work done by many internationally acclaimed anthropologists, archaeologists, geologists and volcanologists who have been able to determine that the eruption responsible for “taimtudak” occurred at Long Island, 70 miles east of Madang and 30 miles North of Saidor. However, many questions remain concerning details of the eruption. Professor Russell Blong has written a number of papers about volcanic activity at Long Island and a book connecting Long Island and the time of darkness. Not surprisingly, the book is titled “Time of Darkness” and was first published in 1982. Now at the age of 70 he continues to undertake research to find out more about the eruption responsible for the time of darkness, in particular a more accurate date for the actual eruption. This eruption is now regarded as one of the 10 largest eruptions anywhere in the world in the last six hundred years. Although I am not an academic, I have interest in the early exploration of PNG in pre-colonial times, including the work recorded in Maclay’s etchings and diary As a businessman, I have been involved with operating expeditionary tourist vessels in PNG for more than 40 years during which time I was elected twice as Regional Member of Madang, Governor of Madang, Minister for Provincial Affairs, Health and Bougainville. When the idea of visiting Long Island for vulcanological investigations was discussed with Professor Blong and Chris McKee (of Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory), I thought it would be a good

they took some time to recover before being well enough to start work. Our group went ashore at Matafun, met some of the many people I know on Long Island, and an SIL family who had just completed the translation of the Bible’s New Testament, after 28 years of living amongst the people. Prof Blong, Dr Fallon, and Chris McKee then set about walking up the nearby dry creek bed in search for of old vegetation that had been charcoalized and preserved by within deposits of the eruption. The charcoal is to be analysed in order to more accurately determine the date of the massive Long Island eruption, using the radiocarbon dating method. Mary and Dadok scoured the shoreline for any remnants of pottery and visited a small impromptu “sing sing” performed to celebrate a birthday and launch of the New Testament in the local ples tok (language). The group returned to Matafun in the early afternoon satisfied with having been able to extract material they felt could provide the information required. We departed Matafun and headed for Pt Kiau As we sailed around the northern part of Long Island, looming over us was the deeply scarred volcanic cone Mt Reaumur, a predecessor of the much

larger caldera volcano that forms the bulk of Long Island. The caldera of Long Island is huge measuring 13 kms long by 8 kms wide and is occupied by Lake Wisdom which is up to 300 m deep. This is possibly the largest fresh water lake in the Pacific and with the lake’s surface being about 100 m above sea level and maintaining constant level, it could ultimately serve in making Long Island one of the most productive agricultural islands in the region with an unlimited source of water and potential hydro power. Strong SE winds reaching 40 kts deterred us from proceeding to Malala, so we anchored at Point Kiau at the northern tip of Long Island. Point Kiau hosts a small community, an Aid Post and a lighthouse. We spent some time in the late afternoon of June 14 talking to the people about our purpose for the visit, it was not long before they were describing a buried village ‘long way liklik’, from Point Kiau. This is a very confusing and sometimes frustrating expression for representing distance. On the morning of Sunday June 15 a small part of the group was able to make the climb to an early occupation site about 2.7 km inland from the coast – “long way tru”! Sherds of pottery were found during the visit and obsidian (volcanic glass) had been found when the site was discovered during garden making in 2013. Also on that Sunday morning, Prof Blong examined coastal outcrops near Point Kiau. A good collection of charcoal samples was made from logs exposed in the volcanic deposits. In previous years, the Melanesian Foundation had funded the Lutheran Health Services to build two Aid Posts at Bok and Pt Kiau as well as rebuild the Matafun Health Centre. Gideon, the Lutheran Nursing Officer, who was the only trained medical person on the island, had no medicine and was caring for a patient who was on a drip and under a shelter made on the beach. The Matafun Health Centre was closed and I was unable to determine whether the Bok Aid Post was operational, but I was assured there was no medicine, which resulted in us having to leave medicine ourselves on the island. The reasons given for the closure of health services were: no water, no radio, no medicine, no boat, bad weather (dry and SE winds) and all the health staff had ‘run away’! Interestingly enough, prior to our departure from Madang, I contacted the Provincial Health Office and advised them we would be visiting Long Island and would be happy to take whatever medicine is was available – there was no response . The early afternoon of Sunday June 15 we visited Saoko River on the north western side of Mt Reaumur. The scientific group walked up the dry creek bed and located good carbonised trees, samples of which were extracted and carried back to the Kalibobo Spirit. The brief visit to Long Island was very successful. Dr Fallon will process the samples at the radiocarbon dating laboratory at the Australian National University in Canberra. It is expected that results will emerge in the next few months providing an estimate of the date of the eruption to within 10-15 years, and possibly more accurately – quite amazing. An improved estimate of the time of the last latest major eruption on Long Island will give us a clearer idea of just how long the ‘taimtudak’ stories have been passed down from generation to generation. The improved age estimate will also help us date changes in prehistoric agricultural activity at the Kuk World Heritage site near Mt Hagen, So many times research is carried out and so little of this information is provided to the public. Yet this information can effect not only our understanding of the past, but may affect our future too.

KALIBOBO SPIRIT Will be taking several cruises up the Sepik River and to Milne Bay in 2016. A special cruise is scheduled in August which will be accompanied by Dame Carol Kidu which promises to be a very special cruise. For more information about departure dates, costs and

PACIFIC ARIA VISIT OF MADANG On Feb 21, the P&O mega ship visited Madang with 1500 passengers mainly from Australia. Many of the passengers were former residents of Madang and PNG. A further visit to Madang is planned in November. MTS organised a mini cultural festival where 20 groups performed sing sings and song at the Sagen Aben Park at the Madang Resort. The above picture shows the Pacific Aria passing the Olympic pool of the Madang Resort.

CONFERENCES IN MADANG The Sana Room is one of the few international conference centres in PNG that have hosted major international meetings over the past 50 years in PNG including 2 Pacific Forums which attracted 20 Heads of State



-By Sir Peter Barter, Phd (hon.) GCL, OBE, Kt

The new Garden Wing at the Madang Resort is nearing completion and will provide 20 de-luxe rooms, each with its own kitchenette, balcony overlooking the gardens and Madang Harbour. , all rooms have king side, split beds, 50” flat screen TV, split level air conditioning with custom made furniture.

In 1989 Jean-Michel Cousteau, sone of Jacques Cousteau sailed into PNG aboard the Alcyone to make several documentaries which included the “Ring of Fire”, “Into the Time Machine” and “River of Crocodile Men”, these documentaries were shown to millions of viewers world wide and later a book was published by the Cousteau Society. During the visit Captain Jacques Cousteau sailed into PNG aboard the famous Calypso a ship that was built in 1950 and the picture shows both the Alcyone, the Calypso tied alongside the Melanesian Discoverer on the original marina at the Madang Resort. The Alcyone is still in use by the Cousteau Society whilst the Calyso was rammed by a ship and sunk in Singapore harbour. It was later refloated and shipped to France for restoration, just recently funds were raised to complete the restoration and it is now back in service. MTS played a significant role in the Cousteau visit to PNG. The late James Kinjimali a senior Cruise Director and guide lead the expedition up the Sepik River in the filming of “River of Crocodile Men”. During this visit James was taught to make movies - he excelled himself later in producing hundreds of films aboard the Melanesian Explorer, later the Melanesian Discoverer, these documentaries are still being shown regularly on the inhouse channel at the Madang Resort and Kalibobo Village and have been digitally preserved as they contain historical information into the pioneering of maritime tourism in PNG. Jacques Cousteau was a naval Captain, en engineer, an inventor, film producer truly a remarkable man. He was largely responsible for inventing the “regulator” and diving equipment which gave birth to recreational Scuba Diving. The films and books produced in PNG provided an amazing increase in interest which resulted in a significant increase in tourism to PNG including diving which he described as the “best in the world”. Today in PNG we are witnessing a decrease in tourism arrivals despite the millions of kina being spent to promote the industry. The prime purpose of giving this very brief history of the Cousteau Society is to help those decision making positions to consider the importance of inviting well known and famous people with credible reputations to PNG to experience what can only be described as one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations. In 2014 Sir Mick Jagger travelled aboard the Kalibobo Spirit through Milne Bay as an example. Not one toea was spent to attract the Cousteau Society to PNG or Sir Mick Jagger , in fact they paid for most services and yet their visit did more than millions spent on advertising! More recently we had a visit in Madang and Kavieng of 80 international scientists led by Professor Philippe Bouchet to undertake biodiversity research in Madang and Kavieng. In Madang they were persecuted by unreasonable demands by the people yet the research resulted in important discoveries and a check on environmental issues that would have cost millions had the researchers charged for their work. PNG needs to encourage such research and to pass on the skills to up and coming Papua New Guineans and at the same time see this an opportunity to improve the image of PNG for tourism and investors.

CAIRNS SHERIDAN HOTEL This is what you can see driving from the Cairns International Airport at night driving along Sheridan Road towards the city of Cairns 75 superb 4.5 star rooms, conference rooms and the Palms Restaurant and an attentive staff ready to make your stay in Cairns an amazing experience.

VALE ~ Peter Hill Peter Hill 1938-2016 passed away following a long illness. Peter has lived in Madang since 1962 and was three times President of the Madang Local Council and a highly respected member of the Madang Community. His wife Marueen is an equally amazing person and is widely known for her work with Red Cross, Rotary, CWIA, the handicapped and women’s group throughout PNG. Peter was buried at sea from the Kalibobo Spirit witnessed by 180 persons. (see picture)

NEWSLETTER FEATURES Each edition of the Melanesian Newsletter we endeavour to include brief articles on domestic and international interest in an effort to make our readers more aware of cultural and historic events. The next Edition of Melanesian Newsletter #3 of 2016 will contain historical facts about Nicholai Mikloucho-Maclay, the famous Russian naturalist who first visited and settled in Madang in 1871

MELANESIAN TOURIST SERVICES LIMITED P.O. Box 707, Madang, Papua New Guinea T: +675 4241300 F: +675 4222543 E:

2016 newsletter no 2 june edition compressed