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Bougainville: Peoples Integrated Development Peace and Economic Self-reliance, Moses Havini
From the NFIP Forum on Peace and Human Security in the 21st century, 20th - 28th September 2000
Session VII - Concrete Peace Initiatives and Models,
(Peace Boat - M.V. Olvia - Brisbane - Auckland, Aotearoa NZ)

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The cry for peace has never been louder. It is being heard from the ‘four winds’ of this planet. It is becoming louder and more urgent as we enter the new millennium. This is because the ‘culture of war’ that was supposed to end with WWII (as pledged in 1945 by all Members of the United Nations at the time of the declaration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) - has instead flourished at an alarming rate.

It was perfectly legitimate to wage wars against fascists and dictatorial regimes that dared to dominate the world. But we now have more wars and conflicts than all wars of the last century put together. New conflicts arising at the conclusion of the old millennium have added dimensions to conflicts with new meanings.

Arising from the previous millennium of colonial expansion we have struggles of liberation, conflicts within nation states and new conflicts between states. Of all the 99 recently recorded wars, two-thirds actually occurred between 1989 and 1996, most of them occurred in ‘developing countries’. The sum total of these conflicts include destroyed political systems, collapsed economies and populations distraught with every horrific imaginable abuse of human rights. The bombing of Serbia last year is the classical example of the new dimension to which modern warfare has now developed.

The same powerful nation states that pledged to end the scourge of war after World Wars I and II in 1945 were unfortunately the same actors in this new unwelcome paradigm shift. They now justify their actions by planning so-called ‘surgical operations’ and by commissioning ‘smart’ weaponry to inflict ‘minimum’ destruction.

As a comical twist, the Serbian president dictator Slobodan Milosevic recently held his own ‘War Crimes Tribunal’ in Serbia. He charged US President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Chirac with war crimes committed against his nation. Milechovic charged the three world leaders for ‘crimes against humanity’. He held them personally responsible for more than 500 sorties by NATO warplanes that destroyed vital infrastructures, killing hundreds of civilians and more than two hundred of his Serbian soldiers.

To be noted, its the same three players i.e., United Kingdom, France and the United States of America plus Germany and Japan that invaded the Pacific arena in the last century.

Powerful and rich nations, by virtue of their power, still hold the key to peace. They also hold the license to war.

We, the indigenous peoples of the Pacific now challenge these powerful nation states to take the key steps away from war and take the path that leads to peace.

Nation states who have long colonised us, along with new neo-colonial states must set the example so that the rest of the world can follow. The only way that peace can be firmly planted (and that we can turn away from the ‘culture of war’), is by exercising a strong will to rej ect war permanently. All peoples must turn away from all things war-like and from warmongering attitudes. Nation states who are the proprietors of weapons of mass destruction must also immediately destroy those harmful arsenals.

We put down our ‘clubs and spears’, we burnt our ‘bows and arrows’ in response to the peace that was preached to us by the missionaries of colonisers. We became of one mind with the ‘Prince of Peace’ and we became brothers and sisters of the world. Why then have guns, bombs and nuclear power come to dominate and threaten our very existence.

The process of colonisation, world war theatres in the pacific and now globalisation, have made the pacific indigenous peoples members of a global village. It is only right that we the Pacific peoples impact our values and culture of peace onto this global village, or we will be trampled by it.

Wherever you see resistance and struggle in the Pacific, you will find Indigenous Peoples rising up to meet the challenge of suppression and continued exploitation in one or more forms from previous and present powers. Political exploiters have now been joined and supplanted by transnational corporations that are not bound by any national rules or regulations.

We, the Pacific peoples are gaining strength to combat the destruction of our societies by joining forces at government, non-government and at grassroots or "taro root" levels. NFIP/PCRC, PIANGO, PCC and other pacific voices must network beyond conference interaction to achieve the free and an independent Pacific we want.

We must individually and collectively continue to lobby international forums with vigour to impact nation states and multi-national corporations that seek to dominate us. To be truly free, our ability and our desire to live according to our unique cultural identities must find expression in daily life.

Personal Concept of Peace:

The concept of peace in Bougainville society was and is in its own intrinsic values. Found within its matrilineal family system and the very fabric of its society. The matrilineal system established values since time immemorial that was and is still synonymous with stability.

This is because the matrilineal system is an established chiefly system where chiefly rights were and are still handed down through inheritance rights. The chiefly system in our culture is not elitist in nature but rather an acknowledged responsibility to serve and care for the extended clan of family units. Each Tsuhana or clan Assembly is served by three lineages who are co-custodians of the wider community.

This is unlike other tribal organisations in some indigenous societies found in Papua New Guinea. In PNG Highland societies the right to rule, or passage to leadership was accorded through how individuals amassed wealth and sought popularity, a requirement for popoular leadership, within the clan. In this model of society, rules could easily be changed or manipulated to suit one’s quest for leadership.

By comparison, no static rules and principles grounded that society; and it was thus prone to instability and an unstable environment. The end result of this in some Melanesian societies was regular tribal warfare where members were killed, food crop and domestic animals destroyed. This is the example of a volatile society that is bereft of a peace philosophy.

In Bougainville’s society of inherited leadership, every person in the society is accorded value and status. The egalitarian quality of this society caters to the sense of fulfillment and purpose necessary for a culture of peace to be sustained. Our ancestors learnt from experience how to build this peace into their society. This wisdom is their contribution to our generation in our common search for peace.

Society norms and rules were developed to protect the survival of each clan, which predicates peace, harmony and tranquility across the society and the wider region. Our oral history records that during the early period of migration and settlement, there were clan wars and skirmishes over territory and land ownership. This led to separate periods of conflict in two stages of tribal expansion called Polaruhu and Polaihan.

The society that developed out of the tribal consultations flourished into a cultural period of harmony and achievements that are valued by generations of Bougainvilleans. The norms of a classical Haku/Halia society have outlasted European invasion and colonisation, WWI and II and even our (Bougainville) current war with the neo-colonial invasion of Papua New Guinea. The Bukas made peace with one another and developed cultural and economic ties with the rest of Bougainville and further south into what is now the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.

To enjoy peace, society had to provide for the basic needs of its members in terms of land rights and usage, shelter, food and safety from harm and external threats. These were and are still the basic factors that each family unit requires for the pleasure of not only enjoying peace and living within its own boundaries, but also across tribal and clan boundaries.

A stable society also provided for mechanisms whereby conflicts could be resolved rather than resorting to tribal warfare as a means of settling disputes. There were elders whose job was solely to maintain tribal law and order; and where redress was meted out to those who had breached society rules. Their decisions were final and sometimes involved heavy punishment by means of restitution. Incarceration is a foreign concept that did not exist.

Deterrence was not instant (i.e. punishment by death) as in other non-matrilineal societies. This is where individuals or clans resorted immediately to impose their own brand of justice as in ‘tooth for a tooth’ and ‘eye for an eye’ as in the old biblical sense. In our matrilineal society the nurturing role of women has developed into the concept of bearing one another’s burden, be that physical or behavioural.

The clan rather than the individual bear the consequences of a misdemeanor or unlawful act committed by any member of the clan or tribe. The ‘shame’ of causing trouble or burden on one’s mother is a natural deterrent and ‘restitution feasts’ require much effort over time in the planting and harvesting of crops, raising of pigs, negotiations by Elders. It does not take long for young people to learn respect and peaceful behavior in this system.

Thus, every individual is significant in the family; each family is a valued member of a clan, each clan is an asset to one of the four tribes constituting North Bougainville society. Every person is therefore an asset to Bougainville society in the same way as a citizen is an asset to a nation. There are no exclusions or slaves. Every human being in the society has an identity, a home, a place and every mother in the clan is a ‘clan mother’ to all individuals of the clan. There is no such concept as an orphan.

Established rules and laws were important to keep members in check and for peace to be maintained. This was an important factor in the maintenance of cordiality and to make sure that all members of that society lived in awe of each other and kept a peaceful environment alive.

In essence this was and is the meaning or concept of peace in our Haku/Halia societies of Bougainville. This is why the Peace Process is working in Bougainville.

Historical Background:


Bougainville is the biggest of the 7 islands that make up what is known as the Solomons Archipelago. It is about 990 kilometres long and 96 km wide at its narrowest part. It is just on the perimeter of Papua New Guinea approximately 1,000 kilometres from Port Moresby or Waigani, the Administrative Centre of Papua New Guinea. Just 8km separates Bougainville from the international border dividing the Independent State of the Solomon Islands from PNG.

The land area of Bougainville is 9,300 square kilometres. It has three extinct volcanoes with one active, Mt. Bangana 9000 feet high. Bougainville is rich in volcanic ranges and soil, surrounded by alluvial plains with the outlying islands raised from the coral shelf. The island is made up of the main island of Bougainville, Buka Island to the north of Bougainville and the Atolls of Nissan, Carterets (Tulun), Nuguria (Fead), Mortlock (Takuu) and Tasman (Nukumanu), 150km to 200 km Northeast of Buka Island and Bougainville. Bougainville is not a part of the landmass of Papua New Guinea. It is separated by 550 kilometres of ocean to the nearest Papua New Guinea town Rabaul, East New Britain Province.


The people of Bougainville are of Melanesian stock. Bougainvilleans are very different in appearance from Papua New Guineans, with much darker (black) skins. They do not see themselves as Papua New Guineans and identify more strongly with their Solomon Island relatives. They refer to Papua New Guineans as ‘redskins’, more as a way of distinguishing themselves from Papua New Guineans who are much lighter in colour pigmentation. The people are ethnically, socially and culturally related to their relatives in the Solomons. Prior to the colonial boundary separation, the people of Bougainville and the Solomons freely traded with each other, married across tribal groupings and owned land in Bougainville and in the Solomons. Once the political boundary was created the social interaction that existed along clan and tribal groupings was discouraged. However, ‘traditional border crossing rights’ still allow the people of Bougainville and the Solomons to visit relatives and trade with each other across the international border today.

Brief History.

First European contact was with French Explorer/sailor Captain Louis de Bougainville. He commanded two French vessels " La Bourdeuse" and "L’ Etoile" during his epic tour of the Pacific. Captain Bougainville first sighted the island on July 4th 1768, made landfall and sailed along the eastern coast of the island northwards. He was so taken by the beauty of the island he named it "Bougainville" in honour of his family. He made contact and traded with the ‘natives’ of what is now called Buka Island North Bougainville.

Whalers and traders often called at the island to replenish their supplies from the 1790s onwards. In the late 19th century, many Bougainvilleans were ‘blackbirded’ i.e. captured or lured aboard ‘slave trading’ vessels along with Solomon Islanders and Ni Vanuatu to work in the sugar cane farms of North Queensland (Australia) and coconut plantations in Fiji and Samoa.

Colonisation Period

During their second Scramble for Colonies in the Pacific in the late 18th century; Western powers namely Dutch, Great Britain and Germany claimed different parts of the Pacific as their properties/territories. The Dutch claimed the western half of New Guinea (Dutch New Guinea) in 1828 as part of their East Indies Empire, whilst the eastern half was divided between Great Britain and Germany.

In 1884 Great Britain claimed the Southern half of New Guinea (British New Guinea) whilst Germany claimed the Northern half of New Guinea (German Niu Guinea) the following year in 1885.

Great Britain, in fear of France moving into its spheres of influence established a protectorate over Southern Solomons calling it ‘Solomon Islands British Protectorate’.

Bougainville and Solomon Islands Partitioned.

Until 1884 Bougainville and Buka continued to remain outside of European influence, but was subject to German exploitation of its resources along with the Shortlands, Choiseul and Isabel of Western Solomons.

In 1899 Germany and Great Britain divided the Northern Solomons between themselves whereupon; BOUGAINVILLE became part of German Niu Guinea to the north. The Solomons (Shortlands, Choiseul and Isabel Islands) south of Bougainville fell within the British sphere of influence. This political horse-trading was in exchange of territories Germany held in Samoa and Tonga. By a mere exchange of diplomatic notes between London and Berlin this Agreement was ratified in 1899.

Bougainvilleans and their indigenous political systems enclosed within these colonial boundaries had previously governed themselves without centralised bureaucracies. Colonial boundaries between Bougainville and the Shortlands of the Western Province of the Independent State of the Solomon Islands were drawn arbitrarily without consideration for the ethnic or economic ties they cut across.

In 1906 Britain handed over British New Guinea (now called "Papua") to the control of the new Commonwealth of Australia. In 1918 Germany was defeated during WWI and consequently lost all its properties in the Pacific. Australia then took over New Guinea including Bougainville as a ‘Trust Territory’ under the League of Nations.

During WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army upon landing and gaining foothold in the Solomon Islands, moved further north and occupied Bougainville. Some Bougainvilleans quickly gave their allegiance to the Japanese Imperial Army seeing them as their new liberators. In 1945 at the end of WWII and defeat of Japan, the Trust Territory including Bougainville became the Mandated Territory this time under the United Nations in 1946.

In 1949 The United Nations approved Australia’s continued Administration of the Trust Territory of New Guinea (including Bougainville) to be jointly administered with the Territory of Papua. There was apparently no improvement in relations between native Bougainvilleans and the Australian Administration and so political indigenous movements, branded as ‘cargo cults’ became rife in the area.

The Seeds of Conflict, Rebellion and Nationalist Movements.

Between 1954 and 1962 the first Nationalist Movement against both the Australian Government and the Papua New Guinea Administration manifested itself in the form of the ‘Hahalis Welfare Society Rebellion’ on Buka Island. The people were refusing to pay Head Taxes to the Port Moresby Administration.

In 1962 both the Port Moresby Administration and Canberra launched a massive campaign to collect overdue taxes and arrest tax defaulters. Sir Paul Husluk, then Minister for Territories, ordered more than 500 Australian and Papuan police officers to be flown to Buka to clamp down on the ‘rebel uprising’.

The ensuing battle left 40 Hahalis people and 25 policemen seriously injured. The Colonial Administration gaoled 306 Bukas for riotous behaviour, 272 for obstruction, 8 for refusing to pay head tax and 2 for escaping custody. The seed for rebellion had been planted.

The United Nations Decolonisation Committee.

In 1962 during the United Nations Decolonisation Committee Visiting Mission to Papua and New Guinea; a meeting of over 1000 leaders in the town of Kieta requested that the Trusteeship of Bougainville be taken from Australia and placed in the hands of the United States of America. The meeting claimed that Bougainvilleans had been neglected, exploited and poorly treated and that the Australian Administration had ignored promises on non-segregation that had been made during WWII.

Call for a Referendum.

In a significant meeting on September 8th 1968 in Port Moresby, 25 Bougainville leaders met and issued a statement calling on the Australian and PNG Administrations to allow Bougainville "to go it alone", or failing that, to arrange for a plebiscite or referendum to be held. A conclusive Bougainvillean view on the following questions was sought:-

(a) whether Bougainville should be an independent nation on its own; (b) leave PNG, and unite to form one nation with British Solomons to the south of Bougainville or (c) remain with Papua New Guinea.

This request was rejected on the basis that it would be too expensive to conduct a referendum, but the overriding colonial hopes were that PNG’s independence was to be funded by the giant copper mine imposed on Central Bougainville.

An independent referendum however conducted by a Bougainville based political Organisation, Napidakoe Navitu Association, conclusively found that 99.9 percent of Bougainvilleans were in favour of an independent Bougainville.

Unilateral Declaration of Independence – September 1, 1975

The climax of Bougainville Nationalism and Political Dissent against the Australian and PNG Administrations came on September 1, 1975; in an act of Unilateral Declaration of Independence, (UDI) proclaiming Bougainville as the New Republic of Bougainville. A new Flag was raised and a new National Anthem sung for the occasion.

This declaration was proclaimed 15 days before Papua New Guinea attained her independence from Australia. The argument here was that Bougainvilleans ‘never freely ceded their sovereignty to anyone’, nor were they about to give it away to the newly constructed Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

The newly independent State of Papua New Guinea’s first action was to suspend the Bougainville Administration for twelve months, cutting off all services into Bougainville. In the midst of continued Bougainville-wide civil disobedience and on the brink of war with Papua New Guinea, new efforts were made to resume peaceful negotiations with Papua New Guinea.

Negotiations re-established.

In 1976 February negotiations were re-established between Bougainville and the Papua New Guinea Government leading in April to the ‘lifting of suspension’ on Bougainville and the granting of Autonomy in the form of a Provincial Government system.

In July – the first elections of the Provincial Government were held with substantial powers for Bougainville to run its own affairs but within the PNG Constitutional framework; a move reluctantly agreed to by Bougainville leaders. In August the Bougainville Agreement was signed between the Papua New Guinea Government and the Bougainville leaders for the Organic Laws on Provincial Government to be enacted and officially incorporated as an Organic Law of the Papua New Guinea Constitution.

The Second Phase of the Struggle :

Mining, Politics, Environment - and the Panguna Landowners Association Grievances.

In 1978 Panguna Landowners held serious grievances concerning the giant open cut CRA Australian–owned Bougainville Copper Mine. They were demanding compensation payments for destroyed land and better environmental protection measures of the flora, fauna and the water systems.

In 1981 the North Solomons Provincial Government sought to re-negotiate the 1974 Bougainville Copper Agreement for a greater share of tax revenue and increased rate of royalty to better serve the exploited Bougainvilleans, but the request to negotiate was not endorsed from Port Moresby.

In September 1981 the Landowners undertook their first decisive action by setting up roadblocks that effectively stopped the mine workers residing in Arawa reaching the Panguna Copper Mine and stopped ore production for a couple of days.

In April 1988 the Landowners stepped up their price for just compensation demanding K10 billion for past destruction of the environment. They also demanded that 50% of BCL profits, etc., be transferred to the North Solomons Provincial Government and that the ownership of Bougainville Copper Limited be transferred to the people.

In August 1988 a meeting was held at the North Solomons Provincial Assembly Arawa, between the Landowners, NSPG and some members of the PNG Government to discuss the report of an Environmental Impact Study on the Panguna Mine. This study was carried out by the New Zealand based Applied Geology Associates Group of Consultants (commissioned by the PNG Govt). Landowners were present when this report was tabled saying, after 24 years of exploration and mining,… ‘there were no evidences of chemical pollution, soil degradation, and no mine-related diseases in and around the mining area where the landowners lived.’

The Landowners rejected this report outright as ‘whitewashing’ the CRA Copper mine the Papua New Guinea Government. MR.FRANCIS ONA, the new leader of the Panguna Landowners Association angrily stormed out of the meeting publicly announcing that he would close the CRA Copper Mine.

Deployment of the Police Riot Squad and the PNGDF

In November 1988 explosives were stolen from the Panguna Mine magazine and a series of attacks on CRA Mine property began in Panguna and in the town of Arawa. In December the Papua New Guinea Government deployed Police Riot Squads from Lae, Port Moresby and Wewak to contain violence. These Riot Squads burnt villages in Panguna and along the Port Mine Access Road to the Panguna Mine, causing social mayhem instead of apprehending the ‘culprits’.

In January 1989 the PNG National Executive Council imposed Dusk to Dawn Curfew on Central Bougainville. Displaced village populations were incarcerated in sweltering tent detention centres and human rights abuses were mounting.

By March the Papua New Guinea Cabinet approved the deployment of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. On March 22nd 1989, the first contingent arrived in Bougainville aiming to force open the mine and replace the disgraced riot squads. Technically, army deployment required a ‘State of Emergency’ to be declared, thus the autonomous Provincial Government was suspended without notice and all of Bougainville lay at the mercy of armed forces.

This move was seen by Bougainvilleans as a ‘declaration of war’ on Bougainville. The former ‘militants’ (i.e., disgruntled landowners) who (up to this stage were sabotaging CRA Bougainville Copper facilities) now re-grouped as the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA). Soon after, the BRA was formed and recruited all over Bougainville.

On the 25th of May 1989 CRA closed the operations of the Bougainville Copper Mine indefinitely and a steady evacuation of overseas employees began.

Australian Supplied Iroquois Helicopters - for PNGDF Deployment in Bougainville

In May 29th 1989, the then Australian Minister for Defence and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Gareth Evans, under the former Labour Government, endorsed and donated 4 Ex-Falklands Iroquois Helicopters (used during the Falklands war by British Forces). Supplied with Australian and New Zealand pilots for immediate deployment in the Bougainville war theatre, a guerrilla style warfare ensued. PNGDF immediately converted these helicopters into ‘gun-ships’ with devastating effects not on the BRA forces, but on ordinary civilians.

In June 1989 Deputy Prime Minister Ted Diro issued a statement outlawing the BRA (as an illegal organisation) with the State of Emergency coming into effect on the 26th of June. Security Forces on Bougainville now had ‘unlimited powers’ of arrest, etc. A ransom of K200,000 was endorsed by the PNG Cabinet for the capture of Mr. Francis Ona and his seven Deputies ‘dead or alive’.

In January 1990, the Papua New Guinea Defence Force launched a number of military operations in and around Panguna mine, including the ‘Operation Footloose’ as an all out attempt to ‘flush the BRAs’ out of the Bougainville jungle. In violent clashes PNGDF suffered heavy losses and they were accused of gross human rights violations by International Human Rights Organisations including Amnesty International.

The PNGDF effectively failed to ‘flush’ the BRA out of the jungle, rather, they grew in strength and were popularly supported by the community.

The First Cease-fire Agreement.

A token cease-fire gave the perfect opportunity for the PNGDF to withdraw from Bougainville. On March 1st 1990 a first cease-fire Agreement was forged between the BRA and the PNGDF observed and supervised by International Observers.

The BRA surrendered their weapons and on March 16th 1990, the PNGDF and PNG Police Riot Squad withdrew from Bougainville. This PNG withdrawal included the termination of all government services and withdrawal of all public servants from leaving only Bougainvillean officers technically unemployed. A vacuum on Bougainville was created by the withdrawal of all government services added to the suspension of North Solomons Provincial Government.

In the absence of a government and services, the leaders of Bougainville quickly reformed to establish the ‘Bougainville Interim Government" so that the people of Bougainville were not without a legitimate government. This B.I.G. thus became the ‘Political Arm’ of the defending Bougainville Revolutionary Army.

The Blockade

From March 1st – 15th, 1990, a total blockade, land, air and sea was put into effect as part of a new " Counter-insurgency and low intensity conflict" tactic on Bougainville. This tactic, perfected in Vietnam by the Australian army, was now taught to the PNGDF. Designed to cause hardship from the absence of medical and basic goods and services, a psychological war would be put into effect to exploit the situation and win over Bougainvillean resistance to PNG.

The Blockade had disastrous effects on the population of Bougainville. With a chronic shortage of medicine and other drugs, including all the normal and basic necessities to sustain life, between 5000 to 10000 people died from normal preventable diseases in the first 2 years of blockade.

Bougainville’s resolve remained unbroken, accusing the Papua New Guinea Government of breaching the International Convention on the ‘ Prevention and Punishment of Genocide’ . Article 11 states– ‘deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part’.

This blockade was even more severe than the blockade placed on Iraq during the Gulf War about the same time where the American–led United Nations peacekeeping force stopped everything into Iraq, except for medicine and other drugs.

Model 1:
The Bougainville Peace Structure:


It is most fitting that this "NFIP Forum on Peace and Human Security in the 21st century" is held on the Peace Boat with the aim of networking for peace in this region and other parts of the world. A "floating peace village" that has provided us with the opportunity to talk with each other, discusses and search for the meaning of peace. This, at a time that most regrettably and unfortunately has been plagued and troubled by more wars/conflicts than at any other time in our human history.

The 1999 Hague Appeal for Peace (HAP) heralded a world appeal to ‘abolish the culture of war’ once and for all in a new millennium and to replace it with ‘a culture of peace’. There have been many definitions of peace given. One of these states that ‘Peace’ is an ‘absence of war’. According to Pope John Paul II, ‘war is a defeat for humanity’.

The United Nations now considers peace a ‘Human Right’. Peace and disarmament can not materialize in a vacuum. There first must be an environment of peace. This often is preceded by peace accords and agreements signed and entered into by warring parties. The breeding ground for conflict is in the very centre of humanity and that is, in the hearts of men and women.

In order to find peace in our own Bougainville experience we had to return to the very depths of our own humanity. The BRA has always been the most willing and co-operative party in the search for peace, indicated by the number of Peace Accords we have so far signed with the Government of Papua New Guinea.

To this end, several peace accords were entered into from 1990, only to fail after being violated in the most part by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

Eventually, a frustrated Papua New Guinea went to extreme measures such as creating a resistance force with divide and conquer tactics and culminated in the 1996 and 1997 covert hiring of African and British mercenaries to finish off an unwinnable war. The outrage expressed by PNG military at being ‘passed over’, not to mention concerned regional governments and even the shocked PNG civilians foiled diabolic plans.

Peace Accords

From 1990 onwards, the most significant success was in 1997 - when through the New Zealand Government, new peace initiatives were arranged for peace talks to be re-commenced between BIG/BRA, BTG/Resistance and the Papua New Government.

The Burnham Declaration. One of the first fruits of this new peace process was the Burnham Declaration - July 5 - July 18, 1997; with the following principles:
1. Unity and Reconciliation,
2. Process for Negotiations,
3. Ending of the War,
4. Declaration of a Cease-fire,
5. A Neutral Peacekeeping Force,
6. Demilitarization,
7. Lifting of the Blockade,
8. Political Process and
9. Commencement of Process,
10. Venue for First Meeting.

The Burnham Declaration was in fact Bougainville’s own initiative heralding a new and a different approach to peace. The test was whether Papua New Guinea would be prepared to honour this new direction, adopt the declaration and become a party to the Peace Process.

In what can only be attributed to a PNG change of government, a new political climate after PNG’s 1997 General Elections and also a new political change and government in Australia, the Government of PNG under Prime Minister Bill Skate decided to accept the new declaration (The Burnham Declaration).

The Burnham Truce - October 1 - 10th, 1997, Burnham Christchurch NZ.

The formal participation of the PNG Government was seen as the next major step in this new process at our next round of talks held at the same venue, Burnham Army Camp, October 1-10th October 1997.These Talks were in fact the ‘litmus test’ as to whether the Government of Papua New Guinea would continue to support and move on with the Peace Process. As part of the natural progression of the Peace Process, a new concept for a ‘truce’ between all parties was developed.

The Burnham Truce became the document, which was necessary as the pre-requisite to creating and establishing an on-goining peaceful environment in Bougainville/Papua New Guinea. This was in fact following closely successful examples of various ‘ mini-peace treaties ’ signed between various groups on the ground in Bougainville to cease animosities amongst themselves.

Following from other definitions, including that of the Concise Oxford Dictionary:-

‘…a truce was an agreement for temporary cessation of hostilities, suspension of private feuds temporarily, while something was worked out between the parties.’

Only when it was fully examined by the Bougainville Interim Government and BRA did everyone decide to commit themselves to the truce document. It was deemed appropriate that some kind of a truce should also be entered into between the Bougainvillean parties and the Papua New Guinea National Government at this level of negotiations. The Burnham Truce signed by representatives of the National Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Bougainville Transitional Government (BTG) and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), immediately sought to undertake the following steps:

1. To cease armed conflict
2. Peace and reconciliation, and,
3. The return of normalcy and restoration of services by all parties.

The leaders also agreed, as immediate interim measures, to the following: -

  • Respect and promote basic human rights and fundamental freedoms,
  • Refrain from all acts of intimidation and armed confrontation,
  • Promote peace and reconciliation in the community,
  • Lift all restrictions, to restore freedom of movement and delivery of services to the people of Bougainville subject to appropriate clearances,
  • Field commanders of the PNG Security Forces, the Resistance and BRA, and Village Chiefs, to meet on a regular basis to consult, review and monitor the implementation of this commitment as well as consult as required, and resolve any incidents which may threaten or breach these understandings as well as to promote the aspirations expressed herein,
  • Recommend to the National Government and Leaders on Bougainville to immediately invite a Neutral Regional Monitoring Group to monitor the terms of this agreement.

The Lincoln Agreement on Peace and Security - January 1998.

  • The first Leaders Political Meeting reached the 'The Lincoln agreement on Peace and Security' calling for the following:
  • Extension of the truce Monitoring group to 30 April 1998,

Cease-fire agreement to come into effect at 2400 hours on 30 April 1998,

· Withdrawal of PNG Defence Force from Bougainville,

· Peace Keeping Force and Mandate,

· Transition to civilian peacetime policing

· Removal of bounties and free movement

· Amnesty and pardon

· Restoration and development

· Consultation and liaison

· Political issue

Agreement covering implementation of the Cease-fire - 30 April 1998

HMS Tobruk in Bougainville.

· Cease-fire permanent and irrevocable coming into effect as of 2400hours April 30, 1998

· Invitation of Neutral Regional Peace Monitoring Group,

· Mandate of the Peace Monitoring Group,

· Invitation of United Nations Observer Mission,

· Withdrawal of Papua New Guinea Security Forces from Bougainville,

· Disposal of arms by all forces under arms in Bougainville,

· Rescinding of the 'Call Out Order' (seen as an act of war) on Bougainville,

Creation of a demilitarized neutral zone in Arawa.

With the cease-fire now in place, a Peace monitoring Group led by Australia with members from New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu is now in place to assess and monitor the progress of the peace process and observance of the cease-fire.

A Bougainville Peoples Congress Government is now in place elected and hence the continuation of dialogue with the Government of Papua New Guinea regarding a political solution of the Bougainville question is continuing.

The Bougainville Reconciliation Government (BRG):

The People’s Congress.

The new parliament of Bougainville is the Bougainville Peoples Congress, democratic and representative of the people at the grassroots level. It would institute, promote and protect rule of law, both common and cultural.

Initiate, build and implement a public service program to accommodate and provide basic needs and services to the people of Bougainville. It would emphasise sustainable development, protect the lands and resources of Bougainville from outside exploitation.

Establish a sound economic base to provide for an economically and viable country and in particular as a broad base establish the vital functions of: -

Port and Airport facilities, Customs and Immigration,
Resource management and ownership,
Health and Education,
Public Works,
Census and Human Resources,
Electoral Boundaries,
Investment Board,
Agricultural Services,
Communications (Post and Telecommunications),
Reconciliation and Compensation


The Bougainville Reconciliation Government.

The leaders of Bougainville in keeping to their schedules of establishing the BRG approved and adopted a BRG Constitution on December 24th 1998. The Constitution is clear and succinct in its intentions.

The PREAMBLE states that the ‘people of Bougainville, proud of the wisdom and worthy customs of their ancestors, mindful of our heritage and conscious their destiny: -

Declare that: -

  • All power in Bougainville belongs to its people and is exercised on their behalf by the Congress to be established by this Constitution,
  • The resources of Bougainville belong to the people of Bougainville’.

The Constitution is also seen as a vehicle that the BRG will negotiate with the Government of Papua New Guinea for an amicable political settlement and to provide for the governance of Bougainville.

The Constitution also takes into full account ‘the inherent political, social, cultural and indigenous rights of the people of Bougainville, as these rights may, effectively or notionally, be known under international law, when negotiating a settlement with the Government of Papua New Guinea’.

The leaders of Bougainville also see that this Constitution will apply until a Political Settlement is reached between the Bougainville Reconciliation Government and the Government of Papua New Guinea.

Structure :

The BRG consists of two principal arms, namely –

  1. The Bougainville People’s Congress, which is an elective legislature with powers of law-making; and
  2. The Congressional Executive Council.

Composition of the Congress.

(1)The Congress is a single-chamber legislature consisting of-

  1. all MPS representing the people of Bougainville in the parliament of Papua New Guinea,
  2. members elected from the forty(40) former community governments,
  3. members elected from communities, in addition to the forty community governments, and
  4. members appointed as nominated members,

(2) The Congress may also, by resolution, determine the maximum number of members in the Congress, taking into account the need for fair representation of all groups and areas on Bougainville in the Congress.

Act of self-determination:

The Constitution also gives power to the Congress to determine when appropriate for the future of Bougainville to be determined by an act of self-determination by the people, it may by resolution, so specify the manner in which such an act may be implemented. This does not however stops the Bougainville Peoples Congress at any time to also negotiate a political solution with the Government of Papua New Guinea.

The Bougainville Constituent Assembly (BCA).

As in accordance with the Constitution the Bougainville Constituent Assembly was formally elected on the 15th of January 1999. The BCA is the forerunner of the BRG, which is to be formally elected in the months of March and April 1999.

The BCA has a wide representation from Bougainville including Women, Churches, BRA, Resistance Forces, Bougainville Interim Government, Bougainville Transitional Government, and Indigenous Religious Groups.

The President Mr. Francis Ona, who is not a part of the current peace process, has also been invited to appoint his members into the BCA.


Bougainville Reconciliation Government:

The election for the Bougainville Government was held in April 1999. Election writs were issued, nominations received, ballot papers printed and polling teams mobilized. By the 23 April declaration of membership were declared and the swearing-in and First Sitting of the BRG Congress took place soon after that.

In order to have fair representation of all citizens in the Congress, elections were held by the following methods:

  • election of representatives by Chief Electoral College Method,
  • Nominations of Women Representatives, and
  • By the Secret Ballot.

In total ninety-three members were elected including the President and two Vice Presidents. All members elected under the respective methods were considered as duly elected. All Members of the Congress were not elected under or along party lines. We have always considered party politics to be divisive, easily corrupted and an invasion of our own traditional systems of our clan and tribal systems which rules 99.9% of our people.

Party politics from the Papua New Guinea political system has long been considered by Bougainvilleans as corrupt and has not served its purpose even after 25 years of independence in Papua New Guinea. Modern party politics is also an affront to chiefly values and rules of our traditional rules and values.

Not only has it allowed "larikins" to be elected over chiefs but also it easily corrupted young men and women because of party politics. With the shifting characters from such people, not only have they been prone to corruption, but have also responsible for making our people value the western system more that our own traditional systems.

PNG Opposition Court Challenge :

The formation of the BRG was not without its challenges from the PNG Opposition in the PNG Parliament. After the failure of the PNG Parliament to enact Amendment Legislation during the December 98 sitting; to have the BTG fall outside of the PNG new reforms on Provincial Government. The PNG NEC instead approved a submission on the 31st December to that effect. On January 1st 1999, Bougainville rightly came outside of the new reforms on Provincial Government.

This immediately allowed the people of Bougainville to get on with the business of (a) creating a new constitution (b) electing of a Bougainville Constituent Assembly (BCA) as forerunner of the BRG, and (c) preparations for the election of the BRG in April.

The PNG Opposition took the Skate Government and all parties involved to the Supreme Court of PNG for sedition, claiming that the decision undertaken by the NEC was illegal and in breach of the constitution. This case was thrown out of court early 1999 when the court agreed and ruled that in the light of the ‘political sensitiveness’ of the PNG/Bougainville political situation that the NEC was right in its decision. This matter was ruled to be essentially a political matter, to be judged by parliament and not by the courts.

Bougainville proceeded with the elections in April and elected members into the new Bougainville Reconciliation Government Peoples Congress. We elected ninety-three members in the new Bougainville Government, and we consider that our actions were not in anyway illegal in the context of the people of Bougainville and their struggle.

One of the very first tasks of the Bougainville Congress was to enter into a new charter for negotiations with the Government of Papua New Guinea to continue our discourse, mainly focussed on the political settlement of the people of Bougainville. Our mandate from the People’s forums throughout Bougainville was to develop and create a new nation state, incorporating our own value systems in a new political frame-work, in a new Bougainville political system. It is a most exciting period of experimentation as we enter into the new millennium.

Model 2:
Peoples Integrated Development for Peace and Economic Self-reliance.

The blockade in Bougainville was intended by Papua New Guinea (with some Australian counsel) to squash Bougainville’s quest for independence. In fact, the opposite occurred.

For the first time since invasion in the late 1700s, Bougainville was truly on it’s own and free from foreign leadership or interference. For a brief time before re-invasion by the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF), our leaders came together and a unified Bougainville raised the flag declaring it’s independence on the 17th May 1990. Although ‘divide and conquer’ tactics from outside immediately attacked this vision, the 1970’s dream was re-born.

The next decade of battle and survival, and the lessons learned from many failed attempts at imposed peace talks became a re-education period. Whilst the BRA defended the perimeters, Bougainvilleans from all walks of life and political perspectives quietly lived off the land, researched and prepared for the future.

Some went abroad to study economic systems and environmental alternatives for sustainable development. Others looked at education models and indigenous cultural expressions whilst others studied medicine and community health systems. But by far the greatest learning was taking place in the jungles of Bougainville.

High up in the mountains where the displaced population fled for safety, educated Bougainvilleans submitted themselves to the wisdom of elders to learn how to survive. They came to respect eldership and chiefly leadership that served the people and led by example. The mothers they were defending taught the young BRA values and leaders returned from United Nations Human Rights Commissions to conduct bush seminars on the universal declaration of human rights. A disgruntled ragtag army became defenders of human rights and highly respected members of society. They risked life and property to ferry sick and injured people across the sea blockade to the Solomon Islands, returning with urgently needed medicines and educational materials that were then distributed to civilian aid posts.

A new university of life coined the term ‘mekim no save’, i.e. ‘learn by doing’. To mention just two of many remarkable examples, fuel made from coconut oil ran cars and trucks and generators. Hydropower stored in car batteries provided electricity for light, communication and powered musical instruments and sewing machines.

By the mid 1990’s, all this experience of self-reliance flowered into a genuine appreciation for independence. People still blockaded after five years of war no longer suffered from a colonised mentality, nor did they consider themselves to be Papua New Guinean. A unique sense of Bougainvillean identity energized the population to design a future based on the rediscovery of traditional values combined with knowledge and technical skills from traditional and international systems.

The most pressing needs for survival led to assessment of existing needs and the resources available. A concern for parity amongst the people led to the formation of BOCBIHP. This long title describes the vision: Bougainville community based, integrated humanitarian program. Initially homegrown in Central Bougainville, BOCBIHP spread across southern areas and into the north by 1998 delivering services and offering training placements in courses ranging across a wide range. Fields of medical, education, technical training, secretarial, agricultural, and specific officer training in leadership, community work, bible colleges and philosophy and counseling programs. Programs were drafted from shared visions of voluntary personnel.

I share the following papers with you as evidence of the implemented a-political models currently in operation. BOCBIHP became a ‘registered NGO’ for international purposes. It is supported and protected by our political leaders, chiefs, BRA, BWPF (Bougainville Women for Peace and Freedom), the churches and all our citizens. During the time of war it was necessary to formalize the NGO nature of the work to satisfy overseas donor organisations requirements for delivery of aid.

Social Services of Bougainville to Bougainville Interim Government (BIG) Controlled Areas.

An Overview

1. The establishment of Social Services in BIG areas.

1.1 Despite a situation of war, blockade and lack of resources, there exists in BIG areas of Bougainville a set of functioning structures that have been developed over the past six years (post 1990). These structures are successfully providing training and a delivery of social services, subject to military interference, to the civilian population of some 90,000 people in BIG areas.

1.2 The educated and well qualified educators, health workers, administrators, secretarial officers, lawyers, agricultural officers, trades people and many other technically qualified Bougainvilleans have not been idle in their time of struggle to survive the war in Bougainville.

1.3 A Community of willing volunteers has organised committees, training institutions and services that must be supported, maintained and sustained. To do otherwise would invite the potential for mistrust, suspicion and political bullying to dismantle the current peace climate and process in it’s fragile infancy amongst the people.

1.4 In delivering these services to the people, Bougainvilleans have sacrificed personal gain and endured hardship for the welfare of others. Although they are civilians, they have continued to sustain these infrastructures without salary and operate at various levels of delivery overcoming daunting logistics, frequently at the risk of their own lives.

2 Considerations for an Interim Plan for Social Services during the TRUCE

2.1 The Australian Government Assistance program to deliver urgent aid and resources to Bougainville must be made conversant with the existing infrastructure that has become BOCBIHP. BOCBIHP is a Social Services and non-political / non-military division operating in the Non Government Controlled areas of Bougainville, operating under the recognition and cooperation of the Bougainville Interim Government BIG and the BRA.

2.2 Any restoration program to be initiated in the BIG/BRA areas of Bougainville must recognise and cooperate in partnership with the Internationally well respected BOCBIHP initiative as a confidence building mechanism for Peace and Trust to exist. To over ride or compete with the existing infrastructure will not only waste valuable resources on duplication of services, but it will challenge the whole philosophy of self reliance to a people who will reject dependency in any new guise that is presented.

2.3 Other partners to be considered are the organisations who represent the wide ranging agencies and support groups that have a part to play and who express concern and/or maintain aid and fundraising in providing various levels of assistance to Bougainville through BOCBIHP:

2.4 BOCBIHP operates in Bougainville with the assistance of a Humanitarian Office in Honiara, Solomon Islands. This became necessary to facilitate international deliveries of resources and emergency relief. Refugees and medical patients who were not able to run the blockade back to Bougainville staff the office with Sr. Ruby Mirinka who commutes between the sources of supply and the training institutions within Bougainville.

2.5 BOCBIHP is a responsible organization that has established sound philosophy and procedures of accountability. These include:

* Maintaining proper accounting procedures,

* Managing budgets with participating partners,

* Delivering accurate reporting to partners and Service Departments with detailed distribution reports of all aid whether medicine, clothing, educational materials etc.

* Producing flow charts for distribution of services

* Established communication plans

* Established staffing infrastructure and chains of command

* Established curriculums and writing of training programs,

* Assessment procedures and certification of levels attained in all programs.

2.6 BOCBIHP eventuated as a ‘grass roots’ infrastructure that is successful because it is designed by Bougainvilleans who are both educated and experienced in the disciplines of the services required and they know their own people and culture to adapt the two paradigms to each other.

2.7 The ad hoc requests from Bougainville were recognized quickly by the community to cause unequal distribution and social fragmentation. What was required was an organised civil response to deal with not only relief distribution, but to build a more fundamental self-reliant community. A community that would no longer complain and criticize but role model a new approach to living the kind of lifestyle envisaged by the political aspirations of the people.

3. The formation of Bougainville Community Based Integrated Humanitarian Program (BOCBIHP) within Bougainville.

    1. The non-political umbrella organization, Bougainville Community Based Integrated Humanitarian Program (BOCBIHP), was formed initially under the leadership of a health officer Mrs. Ruby Mirinka (formerly the Principal of the Arawa Nursing School) with an educator, Mr. Charles Mikua (formerly the Principal, Arawa High School). A staff of able and energetic self-motivated officers has developed the entire existing infrastructure and services. These are freely open to all Bougainvilleans, but have taken time to develop according to the availability of limited resources. They also depend very much on the goodwill and interest of individuals who have the health, circumstance and initiative to seek inclusion.

More partnership in supply of training and resources (human and material) will assist all people to benefit from the current and proposed social services.

3.2 BOCBIHP was developed by the people under PNG blockade, as a self-help integrated community based program to combat continued deprivation of essential medical drugs, clothing, safe water supply, food and security.

3.3 The aims and objectives of BOCBIHP include bringing about social change to encourage:

* Community participation in activities/programs that promote healthy living. Village Health Committees conduct village education programs in sanitation, hygiene, safe water storage, nutrition, preventative health care and the causes of illness.

*Primary health care, maternal and child care, HIV / Aids education - there are 12 Health Center bases (five in Central Bougainville, five in Southern Bougainville, two in Northern District). The training hospital includes one 20-bed ward.

* Education - there are currently eighty-nine (89) schools in the Non Government controlled areas of Bougainville. There are 71 Community Schools operating with a 1997 enrolment of 4,726 pupils.

There are also established special training schools. One, the Education Development Centre trains community health workers, teachers, carpenters, agricultural officers, secretaries and radio technicians. Another, a Technical School, teaches and makes hydro-electricity and metal work with spades, shovels, bush knives and basic tools including saucepans. Two other schools are Bible Colleges.

* Education to promote self reliance and survival within a war environment - staff includes 36 village midwives, 36 village aides, 23 aide post orderlies, registered traditional healers trained in modern hygiene and renown for bone-setting, herbal remedies and external rotation of fetus to avoid breech deliveries.

* Training in the empowerment of women - includes women’s fellowships and committees formed for both representation at village and BIG level, peace initiatives and palliative care programs. A new project is now funded by WCC to establish sewing groups for the purpose of women’s socialization, sharing and helping each other physically, emotionally and spiritually; and to train women and young girls in new skills of dressmaking and tailoring to help clothe people in remote areas.

* Protection of environment - includes re establishment of native fruit and nut trees, re-afforestation in denuded areas; use of coconut oil for many needs such as petrol, lighting, soap and ointment; planting of protein supplementary crops such as soy bean, and the production of rice using fixed site gardening method. The people are learning from trained agricultural officers how to protect their physical environment from pollution and irresponsible plant and animal husbandry.

* Relief help to refugees in the Solomon Islands - including an APHEDA education joint project for Bougainvillean students who, as refugees, enrolled in primary, secondary or tertiary education institutions in the Solomon Islands. There are 71 students enrolled in 1997 in this program.

4 Social Service needs in the Interim Phase -

During the time of TRUCE and NEGOTIATIONS

4.1 Until such time as a full political settlement will determine the future infrastructure and locations of Social Services in Bougainville, it will be necessary to maintain all operational existing structures and services.

4.2 The operation of services will not require massive outlay on Capital Expenditure to set up initially, as the operational patterns existing will provide a natural pathway to enter the BIG / BRA areas. All peoples who as yet have not received any assistance will therefore be more easily reached through local established centers and new forward bases can be prepared for them.

4.3 The Honiara office will need to remain open until such time as a gradual phasing down of refugees can happen with the safe repatriation of all refugees and secure relocation to their own homes in Bougainville is made possible with the restoration program.

4.4 BOCBIHP has identified the need for accreditation of its trained youth and all people who contribute in a meaningful way to the Restoration Process. It also recognizes the need to extend the education system as it exists and build a multipurpose and multilevel Tertiary Program that can develop in incremental stages. Needs analysis must be conducted in the interim followed by a planning stage once security of resources can be guaranteed within the Peace Process.

Proposed model structure: For a Bougainville Centre for Culture, Environment and the Performing Arts.

Bougainville is emerging from a decade of political and economic and Cultural Revolution. A war that left Bougainville in ashes and claimed the lives of more than 15, 000 people from a population of 200,000

The people of Bougainville believe this is the time for change. We are striving to rebuild Bougainville with the aspiration of a sustainable Bougainville culture that can be expressed in the contemporary world. Our culture has suffered from past mistakes and failures of administrations and government systems as with many other third world nations. In Bougainville, it is our aim to make necessary changes and adopt policies that will best serve the Bougainville people.

At this significant period of reconstruction in the peace process of Bougainville, culture must be addressed and integrated into this process. It is by referencing our traditions, morality and conscience that we can enhance the quality of life inclusive of all people whatever their individual and economic means.

For survival Bougainvilleans return to cultural knowledge and traditional practices to sustain life during the deprivation of war and blockade. The renaissance of Bougainville culture and knowledge has inspired a new generation to incorporate appreciation of this rediscovered culture into a sustainable lifestyle within the Bougainville environment.

A resource and development centre is an urgent priority for the planning required in acknowledging and integrating cultural practices into all projects of the reconstruction of Bougainville.

Statement of Purpose.

The purpose of this draft is to put forward an overview of the project to our national leaders of the Bougainville Peoples Congress for their consideration and approval.

• With this approval we intend to seek wide consultation between the people and technical expertise.

• We will continue to investigate offers of land tenure, public access and site placement. (Investigate the current offer of site at Aropa, central Bougainville).

• We will seek funding from overseas funding bodies.

• We will continue to plan and design for a multi-function, a multi-purpose complex that can, with flexibility, accommodate all activities envisaged in the centre.

• To this end we will aim to refine and update this draft proposal as time and circumstances dictate. The planning may involve stages and prioritising of developmental tasks and being aware that the aims are so diverse and the support for cultural centers may be so wide spread that the need for multi-scenarios and satellite campuses may develop.

Aims of the Project:

To research education system best suited for Bougainville

• To research Bougainville literature, oral history, traditional and modern history of Bougainville.

• To research and write Bougainville cultural knowledge and practice into education syllabus at all levels from pre-schooling, community and secondary schooling into tertiary studies.

• To write, illustrate, publish and print children's books for all cultural programs and syllabus requirements. We envisage this literature to incorporate the needs of English and Tok Ples (Vernacular languages).

• To provide courses and facilities for Bougainville youth in basic computing skills and information technology.

• To write and record both traditional and contemporary Bougainville music, chants, ceremonial methods of communication.

• To establish a library for visual images of the geography of Bougainville, the people and the culture. To become a repository for safe keeping of traditional and modern history and the arts (literature, music, dance, ceremonial and visual arts) in collaboration with ownership by local communities.

• To create an Image Bank using a range of media to research and record the unique Bougainville culture.

• To display collections of art-cultural items representative of all Bougainville cultural traditions. This function may require incremental development to accommodate sufficient space for storage and display.

• A multi-function centre that includes accommodation and work and performance spaces for both Bougainville and overseas programs and incorporate cultural events. Education in servicing and resource facilitation activities are envisaged. Village leaders and artists would be invited for interactive cultural experiences, their knowledge and expertise valued and imparted to students via cultural camps and excursions. Bookings for overseas academics programs would be welcomed for either broad-based art or specific research based projects.

• To provide a data base identity for all artists where art works, artifacts, authorship of songs and plays and literature, visual arts, etc may be registered if required for copyright and marketing purposes.

• To provide accreditation and official acknowledgment of artists and performers and any training in educational academic and skill based courses in the arts, information and communication and computing courses.


It is envisaged that the Centre would initially employ eight (8) staff full-time and be further assisted by part-time workers and volunteers. The centre would have ongoing funding requirements but it is envisaged that it will become economically sustainable by stages of development. The means for economic viability could include the following:

• A modest budgetary allocation from the Bougainville Peoples Congress or the government of the day.

• Modest fees for Bougainville community courses.

• International fee structure for overseas courses.

• Eco-tourism style package tours.

• Sale of publications (textbooks, literature and cultural brochures), artifacts produced in courses by students.

• A marketing venue for sale of Bougainville art works with a commission charged for on-site and retail venues.

• Entry fees for cultural film screening live performance and art exhibitions.

• Women's groups could be sub-contracted to maintain hostel and catering needs.

• Local transport for access to the centre and excursions and field trips could be sub-contracted to local village drivers or community transport business groups.

This centre will be crucial to the grass-roots development, rebuilding, reclaiming of the culture, and aid in the consolidation of peace in Bougainville. It will further provide economic opportunities for Bougainvillean artists in general and employment opportunities for the local community whose co-operation and support will be vital in the promotion of the resource and development centre.

This centre will develop and grow in response to the needs of the Bougainvillean people.



Spatial Character


1. Management of the Environment

Display & Teaching Areas, Indoor / Outdoor Links, AV Facilites & Live Feed, Resource Centre for Field Prjects

  • The study of and evaluation, assessment and management of natural resources.
  • Exploration of the traditions of self-sufficiency & management of the environment + resources + reconciliation in a current cultural context.
  • Collection of information on traditional & new agricultural systems.
  • Conduct of environmental assessment programs focusing on local knowledge and tradition blended with new approaches.
  • Conduct of remediation studies e.g. mining areas.
  • Studies and information on inter -coastal zones and fishing grounds.

2. Reconciliation

Special Space of Cultural Significance.
Form should have Origin in Symbolice Roots

  • Cultural & Political information on origins and options for changing the concept of the "Payback Cycle"
  • Develop programs for management of agricultural production and natural resources through co-operation not conflict.
  • Research and information on Customary Law and the interaction with Contemporary Law.
  • Research on how "Ecosystems" know no boundaries tribal or otherwise.
  • Information on the process of rebirth and rehabilitation, both successful and otherwise, of newly independent nations.
  • Facilities for international conferencing to discuss the conduct of these processes in open forum.

3. Education

Overlap with Spaces for 1 & 2 plus Interactive and Technically Based Facility with some Laboratory and Work Shop Areas

  • A culture in context - methods of recording, researching and teaching :
    • Oral history
    • Visual history (past & present)
    • Physical planning (village life)
    • Ritual in daily life
    • Music
    • Art
  • Education
    • Formal programs
    • Casual programs
    • Distance learning
    • Trades building skill base
    • Programs for overseas students
  • Data management
    • Accessible data banks of images
    • Formatting information in a way which may be able to lessen the need for a major permanent collection. This information would be accessible both in the centre & in remote areas.
    • Interactive presentations relating to past, present and future.
    • History, development and conflict in context.
    • Develop a data base of existing self sufficiency skills
    • Database of past and present agricultural techniques.
    • Data base of traditional medical techniques and substances
    • I.T. links to other similar centres and groups worldwide, which would enable exchange of information, ideas and some live feed interactivity.
    • I.T. training programs

4. Identity & the Future

Performance Spaces Coupled with Art & Craft Workshops.

  • A performance and activity centre for establishing a sense of identity through an understanding of the past, the conflict, the capacity for self-reliance and the opportunities this creates for the future.

5. Commercial

Retail & Display


  • Tourism and the exposure of current cultural expression in a constructive & commercially beneficial way.
  • Revenue generating through the promotion and sale of
    • Music
    • Literature
    • Historical Publications
    • Art and agreed artifacts
    • Cultural / Eco tours.
  • Promotion of environmental consultancies regarding the management and development of resources. These would be run by locally trained people with access to all the data and experience available from the broad base of local knowledge.

General Comments of the Facility and Its Form and Image.

The Centre would be a live facility focusing on encouraging cultural exchange, political and social debate and the development of community based programs. It would be a centre to promote an understanding of the ongoing evolution of nation that has fought for the right to choose their own path to the future

  • The Centre should reflect in its form and siting:
    • Its defined purpose
    • An ability relate to change and evolution
    • The symbolism of rebirth and reunification.
    • A response to climate and the physical siting
    • A sustainable level of maintenance
    • An attempt to achieve as low as possible input of services and output of waste.
    • Locally sourced materials and components where possible.
    • A method of construction which is a blend of past, present and future and techniques.
    • A method of building maintenance which can be handled locally.
    • A self evident pattern of re arrangement, alteration or addition which can be managed locally
    • Its ability to and method of transmitting data to outlying areas.
    • It should tread as lightly as possible on the ground to allow the site to preserve its own balance.

  • The centre must not be a copy of traditional structures but must have some of their vocabulary in its visual statement. It possible the design should be able to be constructed using local labour. The building program could become a skill development program plus if it is constructed by Bougainvillians the maintenance and repair could be managed at a local level.


The people of Bougainville are just emerging from the ashes of war after ten years of (1988 – 1997) fighting between the Papua New Guinea Government, its armed forces and the people’s army, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA). This is for their right to self-determination and for an independent and a free Bougainville.

Trapped in a blockade and no contact with the outside world for ten years; the people had ample time to re-visit their past. Not only did they re-discover their ancient indigenous traditional systems of good governing but also new models. In this new classical period of discovery, Bougainvilleans beliefs have only been strengthened; that it is not only possible to incorporate indigenous systems within current models but it is a must . The ‘peace model ‘ and the ‘peoples integrated development peace and economic self-reliance model have had their successes partly due to the Bougainvillean indigenous wisdom. They are new innovations that are to be further perfected.

It may now be considered radical or out of the norm to embark upon anything that lies outside western systems of democracy as introduced. We do not necessarily believe this to be true. For a long time we have been deprived of the opportunity to experiment and develop our own political systems based on the principles of our indigenous political and ancient traditional systems.

The ten years of war and more specifically, the peace process that followed enabled for the first time in Bougainville history a drawing together of traditional leaders, chiefs and women for summits and conferences throughout Bougainville. It was an exhaustively long process using many resources including helicopters and ships to most inaccessible parts of Bougainville.

But it was the most unifying and inclusive experience that forged a true ownership of Bougainville’s decision-making.

We intend to push ahead with our new concepts as we feel that for the first time the people of Bougainville have been given a mandate and an equal voice in participation in this mandate. Colonialism had also discriminated women of their rights and all western contact and rule had been by western males to the men in our lands. During the years of war, women reassumed their lifesaving and nurturing roles in leadership. And are now celebrating a new gender balance in their contributions in the current processes, but also as we know it within our own matrilineal system. The inclusion of the right of all peoples to participate in all matters dealing with their social, political, cultural and economic life will be fully respected. As Bougainville and its people continue to fight for a free and an independent nation state; within the family of already existing independent islands states of the Pacific.

Thank you.


1. Negotiated Peace Agreements between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville: -

  • The Burnham Declaration – July 1997, Burnham ,Christchurch ,New Zealand
  • The Burnham Truce – October 1997, Burnham, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • The Lincoln Political Agreement – January 1998, Lincoln, Christchurch New Zealand.
  • The Cease-fire Agreement – 30 April 1998, Arawa Bougainville.

  1. Marilyn Havini, Ruth Spriggs, Jossie Sirivi & Michael Heffernan (Architect Consultant – Sydney - Bougainville Resources and Development Cultural Centre Project – 15 July 2000 – Sydney/Canberra - Australia /Palmerston North NZ
  2. Bougainville Community Based Integrated Humanitarian Program Report (BOCBIHP), Sr. Ruby Mirinka August 1998.
  3. Moses Havini; Paper – Bougainville Peace Process and Disarmament, PeaceCentury 2000: A Peoples Human Rights Conference, May 1 – 7, University of Alberta, Edmonton CANADA.

Index page on Bougainville