- Bill Rosenberg
Reproduced, with permission, from NZ Council of Trade Unions’ CTU Monthly Economic Bulletin 169, June 2015. It was subtitled “Economist, Unionist, Colleague, Friend”. Ed.
Peter Conway died on 9 June after a serious depressive illness. He was Council of Trade Unions’ (CTU) economist before me, and he was my boss and colleague as CTU Secretary. He also founded the CTU Monthly Economic Bulletin. So I’m taking this opportunity to remember him as an economist – but also as more than that, because he was never “just an economist”. This touches on only some of his contributions, but hopefully a fuller appreciation of his work will be written. I’ve been helped for some of the details by the eulogy (former CTU President) Ross Wilson read at Peter’s funeral. Doubtless Peter would say that many of the ideas I attribute to him were not just his but the CTU’s and the union movement’s. Maybe, but he was able to put them together coherently and make them real.
Christchurch Unionist In 70s & 80s
Peter came to formal economics relatively late in his career, though he had been thinking about it and practicing it for much longer through his union work and wider involvement in political, international and social justice issues. I knew him and his wife Liz Riddiford when they were in Christchurch in the late 1970s/early 1980s. We were involved in anti-apartheid actions, opposing new powers for the Security Intelligence Service (SIS), debating what was needed for a strong and independent New Zealand economy and society, and he was working for the (former) Clothing Workers Union. One of my strongest memories is about the music he was always involved in, but I also remember his clear mind, principles and analysis. I largely lost contact with him until the 2000s but Ross relates how Peter’s work in the (former) Distribution Workers Federation and (former) National Distribution Union is remembered for his meticulous research for bargaining, great tactical and strategic sense, compassion, conscientiousness and solidarity. Those were tough times, with employers often ruthlessly using their powers under the Employment Contracts Act (ECA) – assisted by official acquiescence – to freeze out unions and limit their ability to function.
In 1996 Peter took over from Liz in looking after the home and children, and took the opportunity to study. He finished his BA and with the help of a scholarship entered a MA in Economics at Massey University from which he graduated in 1999. This was no small feat while looking after a family and continuing to work part time, but it was the formal basis for him to work as an economist, even though he had been thinking, researching and living “economics” for many years.
Always on task, his thesis was on “Wage bargaining theory, decentralisation, the Employment Contracts Act, and the supermarket sector”. The heart of its findings were later published as a paper in the Department of Labour’s Labour Market Bulletin as “An ‘unlucky generation’? The wages of supermarket workers post-ECA”. It found “a significant fall in wages for supermarket checkout operators in the period after the introduction of ECA. Reduction in wages is strongest among new generations of workers”. It looked at possible explanations in theory and in practice.
CTU Economist, Then Secretary
In 1999, shortly after Ross had been elected President of the CTU and the year the Labour-led Government was elected, Peter became Economist and Policy Director of the CTU, replacing Peter Harris who was appointed an economic adviser to the Minister of Finance, Michael Cullen. As Economist and Policy Director, Peter covered a huge range of issues. The Labour-led Government involved the union movement in many of its programmes and Peter sat on boards and advisory committees (such as the Workplace Productivity Reference Group and the Board of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise) as well as writing submissions on legislation and other developments. Ross said “he did an exceptionally good job. He enjoyed being a labour economist and his credibility and reputation grew as he engaged with the Government bureaucracy, and political and business leaders. I think we all appreciated his ability to explain economic issues in a simple and convincing way through the media”. He told me a number of times how much he enjoyed the job of economist, hinting that he somewhat regretted leaving it to take on the duties of Secretary.
In February 2000 he wrote the first issue of this Economic Bulletin, introducing it with words that are as true now as they were then: “Several times a day, we hear an announcement of ‘and now the latest from the money markets’. This preoccupation with the financial sector has tended to have a crowding out effect on other relevant statistics. Of course, the financial statistics are changing every day so there is some justification for such frequent updates. But in the interest of balance, the CTU will produce a monthly bulletin on ‘the latest from the labour market’”. He produced 101 issues before handing it on.
Looking back at some of his writing and speeches there are recurring themes of ideas and ways of thinking. He was a leader in the New Zealand union movement in grappling with the need to raise productivity in order to raise wages. This was not a naïve neoclassical “wages will only rise if productivity rises” argument. It recognised the basis of increased productivity as a means to improving living standards but that connection was no simple mechanical matter. It required workers’ involvement in the way their workplace was managed in order to contribute their skills and knowledge to improving efficiency. It required union involvement because this was not about individuals “performing better” but about a change in the way work was done, in performance as a group. That in turn required changes in the way unions worked – a challenge to many unions.
And it was not automatic that higher wages would follow from higher productivity: that required organisation and bargaining through unions or the already apparent gap between productivity and wage growth would only widen. In 2006 he received an Industrial Relations Foundation Grant to travel to the USA, UK, France and Ireland to meet academics, researchers, practitioners and union colleagues. He produced a 57 page report (Liz says it was mostly written on the flight home) which is notable for its thoroughness and balance. Peter continued his involvement in programmes to raise productivity (to the degree the Governments of the day would allow) right through to his tenure as Secretary, persuading a sceptical Minister of Finance in the current Government to part with some funding. Peter’s approach was holistic, always considering social, distributional and sustainability issues as well as conventional economic concepts, challenging (not least to unions) and balanced. He was very disappointed that under the present Government the holistic, workplace based approach to productivity was largely lost in favour of a narrower ideological view.
Education, Climate Change
Peter had a deep interest in education, particularly vocational and “lifelong” education. But this was always in a wider context. For example in a 2006 speech to an Institute of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPNZ) conference he brought in themes of the broader transformative purposes of education, productivity, high-quality, high-skill, high-wage workplaces, economic development, industry strategies, partnership between employers, Industry Training Organisations, unions and Tertiary Education Organisations, the needs of young Māori workers, workplace culture and organisation of work, low pay, decent work, and market failures (particularly the failure of employers to develop skills). Similar themes recur in subsequent submissions he wrote on Tertiary Education Strategies, on Language, Literacy and Numeracy, and on changes to industry training and skill development.
Peter was also instrumental in the CTU in 2007 adopting a Climate Change policy which again was challenging to some affiliates, particularly those in industries directly affected. Framed around the urgent need for a collective response to the threat to the planet and the harm it causes to workers and their families, it also called for “just transition” including assistance to those on low incomes and worker and union involvement to ensure that workers are not disadvantaged in employment or other costs. It saw a role for workers in making their workplaces more energy efficient, including education and training for these purposes. It recognised some industries would be hard hit and needed special provision, including consideration of the risk of “energy leakage” where overseas firms had a competitive advantage by not being required to take emissions into account. It gave guarded support to emission trading or a carbon tax, but said much more was needed: market solutions were not enough. I was in touch with him on and off during the 2000s, often on international trade and investment issues; in which he took a strong interest including membership of a government advisory committee, submission writing and protests. During those years, the CTU’s policy was evolving towards “policy coherence”: consistency of these international economic policies with its domestic economic, social and environmental objectives.
When the National-led Government took power in 2008, the CTU tried to maintain a working relationship and positive role, proposing policies to counter the Global Financial Crisis which was threatening high levels of economic disruption and unemployment. In October 2008, the CTU had released a paper written by Peter called “Short Term Stimulus for Long Term Gain” with principles and concrete proposals for an effective and humane response which also took our social and economic development forward. Peter and Helen Kelly took an active role in the post-election Job Summit and Peter compiled a 23 page paper containing a large range of practical initiatives which could avoid high unemployment and income loss, be fiscally sustainable, but acknowledge changing Government directions. Unfortunately the attempt at positive engagement was in the end unsuccessful, cut short by the Government’s attacks on rights of working people such as 90-day trials.
Peter’s most recent substantial piece of work – there were many others – was the research he initiated and directed on insecure work. The result was the publication “Under Pressure”. Several CTU staff and external researchers collaborated to manage this project and write the report, putting us all (including Peter) “under pressure”, but it is a valuable piece of work. Peter himself contributed to several parts, but notably compiled the list of 70 recommendations in 20 different areas as to “what can be done”. It was typical of his work – relevant, focussed on workers’ needs with a wide social and economic view, and always bringing forward feasible alternatives as well as well-informed critique.
Ross said Peter used to say to him that he was “soft on people but hard on issues”. I saw that frequently in meetings with Ministers and officials, in the many interviews he gave and in his management and work. Journalists say he always had something worthwhile for them to quote. That was because he prepared meticulously, understood what made a good interview and understood deeply what he was talking about. Since his death, I have had contact from economists on the other side of the political and economic fence acknowledging his wisdom, decency, thoughtfulness and respect for people.
As Secretary of the CTU, Peter had to face up to some hard management issues, but he did so and carried through difficult decisions with humanity. He was a demanding boss – sometimes frustratingly to the last full stop – but he made the same demands and more on himself, always available, always thinking about what would carry the movement and working people forward – perhaps in the end to his own cost. But I always felt supported. He knew my job and let me run in it while giving me the professional support it requires. He helped make it for me too, the best job I ever had.
Not long before he became seriously ill in April 2014, Peter had announced his decision to step down as Secretary in December 2014 (ten months before the end of his elected term). He wasn’t sure exactly what he’d do once he had left, but he would continue to work in the areas he had so much experience in. Having made that decision, he looked happier and more relaxed than he had in a long time. It is a tragedy for New Zealand and New Zealand workers that he was unable to carry out his plans. But he and the Labour movement deserve to be proud of his unstinting and insightful contributions to thinking, practice and action.
- Murray Horton
I never knew Peter personally; he wasn’t a friend or colleague. Neither Bill nor I can remember if he was ever a CAFCA member. If he was, it was so long ago that no proof remains. When Bill sent the above obituary and photo, he wrote to me: “He (Peter) certainly supported my continuing to work on overseas ownership issues and put out media statements in my CTU role. I think the CTU paid for my travel to speak to CAFCA or CAFCA-organised meetings in Christchurch a couple of times. I remember he told me a story - I can’t remember if it was before I started working there or after - about being in some kind of discussion or meeting about trade and, to the horror of the others present, supporting CAFCA’s position and when challenged saying something along the lines ‘they’re our people’”.
A search of the Watchdog Website only reveals a couple of references to Peter, the most substantive one being an article that Bill wrote in issue 111 (April 2006), reporting on his attendance (as a tertiary education union representative) at the December 2005 World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong. Peter was also there, representing the CTU as an observer. Bill wrote: “The closest the organisation comes to transparency is that many delegations have non-governmental members of the delegations and observers. Most of these are industry representatives – the New Zealand delegation for example had several farmer representatives, including from Federated Farmers and the kiwifruit industry, and a fishing industry representative. It also included Tim Groser, until 2005 New Zealand’s WTO Ambassador and now a National Party MP (this was during the Clark Labour government. Groser is, of course, now NZ’s Minister of Trade Negotiations, Mr TPPA himself). Observers included Peter Conway from the CTU, a development agency representative (from Oxfam, selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and one from the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. The observers get varied treatment, some being treated virtually as delegates, others (like Peter) being given very little access or information other than being able to talk to members of the delegation and attend their morning briefings”. Bill also recorded that Peter arranged for him to meet NZ’s negotiator on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS): “Little came of this; though it gave us some understanding of the way the New Zealand delegation saw things (i.e. they largely dismissed the concern of the developing countries)”. Bill also recorded that Peter had written “a more extensive report on the outcomes, covering all aspects of the negotiations”.
Roger Award Event Muso
Actually, Peter did appear in a more recent Watchdog, you just have to know where to look. In my report (issue 123, May 2010) of the Wellington event to announce the winner of the 2009 Roger Award, I wrote: “The formal part of the evening was wrapped up in fine style by veteran Wellington activist and musician, Don Franks who, when asked to perform, had requested advance confidential knowledge of the winner so that he could write a special song, ‘Do Like Jesus Done’, to mark the occasion. This was performed, with great gusto, by Don and two other musos (one of whom is a very senior national union official; I’m not sure whether his organisation would approve of some of the song’s lyrics, which can be read at http://www.indymedia.org.nz/article/78346/anz-wins-roger-award). The crowd loved the song and it was a rousing way to wrap up the business of the evening”.
Peter was that “very senior national union official”. As long as I’d known him he’d been a very talented musician - he played mandolin that night. What more quintessential CAFCA activity to take part in than a Roger Award event. I hadn’t seen him for many years but as he was leaving the venue he turned and came straight back through the crowd to me, specifically to say that he thought that my Watchdog obituary of my father (published five years earlier, in 2005) was one of the best things he’d ever read. This was such an unexpected thing to be told that I was taken aback and I’ve never forgotten it. Remember, he was not a member, I had no idea that he read Watchdog and for him to single that one thing out for mention, years after publication, means that it must have really resonated with him. It was the last time I ever saw Peter. As for my Dear Old Dad, I’m sure that would have made him turn in his grave yet again.
I knew Peter most when he and Liz were in Christchurch in the late 1970s and early 80s. As a young man he started his union career in 1977 as an organiser in what was then the Canterbury Clothing Trades Union (long since subsumed into what is now First Union). He worked in that union’s office in the Trade Union Centre, where CAFCINZ regularly held events in those years and where I was a regular visitor (that central city building was one of the innumerable victims of the 2010/11 Christchurch quakes, and has been demolished. It is being rebuilt in the suburbs). The clothing industry was one of personal interest to me at that time – my then partner spent years as a clothing worker, most of it in what is now the decidedly non-PC fur industry. Those were the long gone days of both compulsory unionism and political unionism.
Peter cut his teeth working as Assistant Secretary with veteran Canterbury Clothing Trades Union Secretary Hugh McCrory (my obituary of Hugh is in Watchdog 62, September 1989, http://www.historicalwatchdog.blogspot.co.nz/2009/12/foreign-control-watchdog-1989.html). In it I wrote: “The Clothing Trades Union had an active relationship with CAFCINZ/CAFCA…It played a leading role in the coalition of groups that organised the very militant demonstration against the 1979 National Party Conference in the Town Hall. In June 1988 CAFCA and the union held an imaginative picket outside the Closer Economic Relations Ministerial Conference at the Sign of the Takahe. In August of that year, CAFCA and the union helped organise the Sydenham demo at which Richard Prebble gave a new meaning to the word egghead” (i.e. he was hit, smack on the forehead, by an egg while he was doing a TV interview outside a boisterous public meeting featuring him. Despite yolk running down his face, he continued the interview. Presumably that must have been the way he usually had his eggs).
Peter was actively involved in some of this. I am indebted to our old mates the NZ Security Intelligence Service (SIS) for keeping clippings on file which pointed out that “Mr P. Conway, organiser of the Canterbury Clothing Trades Union” was publicity officer for the People’s Coalition (of which CAFCINZ was part) which organised that 1979 National Party Conference demo (Press, 20/7/79, “Protests To Be ‘Noisy And Visible’”. The SIS reports tagged me as the organiser of that protest, which was during the Piggy Muldoon government). In another report the SIS listed Peter as “nir” (Not In Records). And Peter was part of the vibrant social scene which was part and parcel of Christchurch political activism in those years. As a musician he was especially valued. After Peter’s death, Jim Consedine wrote: “He and Liz were members of a loose-knit community I belonged to in Christchurch in the 1970s, and I remember him with great affection”.
Ross Wilson, former CTU President, wrote an obituary of Peter in the September 2015 issue of The Transport Worker (journal of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, http://www.rmtunion.org.nz/publications/documents/TTW-Sep2015lo-reswebsite.pdf). Writing of those early years in Christchurch he said: “Peter was active in the (Federation of Labour District) Trades Council and threw himself into union and political activity, including the Marxist Political Economy Conference in Christchurch in 1981 and the Springbok Tour protests the same year. Arriving in the UK in 1984 to the miners’ strike Peter was delighted when he landed a job at the Hounslow Trade Union Support Centre and he was soon heavily involved in organising support for the miners and their families. He never forgot the grim conditions, picket lines, families without food, and the role of women”. I visited him and Liz when I was in London that year; CAFCA Committee member Paul Piesse also has a story of running into Peter at a big London demo during those Thatcher years.
Dion Martin, veteran Palmerston North union activist and organiser for 20 years of that city’s annual May Day concert, wrote: “Peter Conway attended many Manawatu May Day Concerts, either as convenor of judges, where he always honoured every performance by articulating in a very creative manner before the final presentation, their positive qualities… or as a performer, where his bands often played and even won the May Day Cup (Not The Day Job, 2002 & 2005 and Spanner In The Works, 2007). Peter was a wonderful mandolin and guitar player … he wrote and played many original songs …I especially remember his song to mark the 100th anniversary of the Waihi miners’ strike …and if you have ever witnessed the funky remade versions of ‘Power In The Union’ and ‘Solidarity Forever’ you will know of his talent”.
A Great Loss To Unions & Workers
Peter Conway was a very significant leader in the trade union movement, first in Christchurch, then nationally. His death is a tragedy for his family and friends and a great blow for the union movement. CAFCA has had a long and ongoing productive relationship with a number of unions and individual unionists – in the case of my good friend Paul Watson it goes right back to the 1980s when he too started off working with Hugh McCrory in the former Trade Union Centre office of the Canterbury Clothing Trades Union (Paul is now South Island Secretary of First Union). We have ongoing friendly relationships with that union and others including the Maritime Union, Rail and Maritime Union, Service and Food Workers Union, and Unite. In some cases those relationships go back decades. Of the CAFCA Committee, Paul Piesse is a retired union official; Lynda Boyd is a current one; both Warren Brewer and Colleen Hughes have a long background in grassroots union activism; Jeremy Agar was involved in the teachers’ union during his 30 years in Toronto; and Bill Rosenberg is, of course, the CTU’s Economist and Policy Director (successor to Peter Conway). In my own years in a “real” job I was both a grassroots delegate and unpaid local union official. Unions and unionism have changed dramatically in recent decades, but they remain the only viable means of organising and protecting the interests of workers. Neither unions nor workers can afford to lose people of the calibre of Peter. For that reason we mourn their loss along with them.
- Murray Horton
It is always important to be reminded that the battle against transnational corporations (TNCs) and “globalisation” is not an intellectual exercise. When push comes to shove, some people shove back hard. They actually wage revolutions and wars of independence against the TNCs. One such struggle occurred in our backyard – in 1989 the people of Bougainville, led by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), succeeded in shutting down the cause of their misery, the gigantic Panguna mine, owned by Rio Tinto, the world’s biggest mining company, and the owner of the Tiwai Point smelter in this country. The mine has never been re-opened nor has the company ever returned to the island. That war of independence against a TNC and its client government exacted a terrible cost in human suffering for the people of Bougainville.
For most of the 1990s, the island was sealed off by a particularly brutal blockade by the Papua New Guinean (PNG) military (backed up by helicopters piloted by Australians and New Zealanders), which closed off all contact with the outside world and led to the deaths of anything up to 20,000 people, many from perfectly treatable illnesses. No medicines could get in and anyone requiring hospitalisation had to risk violent death from PNG forces on the short but extremely risky sea crossing to the nearby Solomon Islands.
In 1997 the military stalemate led to the extraordinary spectacle of the PNG government hiring foreign mercenaries to try to succeed where its own military had failed. This use of mercenaries by TNCs, particularly mining TNCs, is the logical development of corporate feudalism. State violence has become privatised, along with all other State "services". But we owe the people of PNG a big vote of thanks - they rose and physically chucked out the mercenaries, forced the Government to back down, and voted out the politicians (including the Prime Minister) who were responsible. The mercenaries’ fiasco provided the breakthrough to the peace settlement on Bougainville, which has achieved autonomy. The people of one of the world’s most "primitive" countries defeated the world’s biggest mining company and its local agents. And they did so with a minimum of bloodshed, using homemade weapons or those retrieved from where the retreating Japanese had stashed them during WW11.
Watchdog has reported on Bougainville for decades, through its many twists and turns. And it’s important to remember, and to pay tribute to, the honourable role that New Zealand (under a National government) played in ending that war. Peace talks were held at Burnham Army Camp leading to the 1998 peace settlement (I thought it was a stroke of negotiating genius to uproot tropical combatants and drop them into a Canterbury midwinter. The threat of hypothermia alone would give them a powerful incentive to settle). New Zealand followed that up with a deployment of unarmed troops as peacekeepers in Bougainville.
Speaker At Taking Control Conference
Watchdog has previously paid tribute to leading figures in the Bougainville independence struggle (see the one to Francis Ona in issue 109, August 2005, http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/09/09.htm). Moses Havini, who died in May 2015, aged in his 60s (he wasn’t sure exactly how old he was), spent 15 years from 1990, based in Sydney, as the representative of the Interim Government of Bougainville for the region and the world. In that capacity he was one of the featured speakers at the 1998 Taking Control Conference in Christchurch, organised by CAFCA, GATT Watchdog and Corso. My report on that is Watchdog 87, June 1998, http://www.historicalwatchdog.blogspot.co.nz/2009/12/foreign-control-watchdog-june-1998.html).
Writing about the public meeting which opened the conference I wrote: “There was supposed to be a second international speaker there – Moses Havini, who represents the Bougainville Interim Government in Australia – but he unfortunately missed his Sydney flight and did not arrive until the next day. It had been quite a saga getting him to NZ, so we were just grateful that he came at all (when first invited, nine months earlier, Bougainville was a forgotten war behind a blockade. How things have changed. Taking Control was actually Moses’ fourth visit to Christchurch – the other three were for peace talks – but the first time he’d got into the city and met the people)”. Writing about the Conference proper I said: “We brought in the Canadian and Bougainvillean speakers (whom Corso subsequently hosted on national speaking tours) because our problems and struggles are far from unique (the personal highlight for me was the session where Catherine Delahunty and Moses Havini spoke about the battle against mining TNCs in Coromandel and Bougainville). The only difference is one of degree”.
A Life Devoted To Independence Struggle
The Sydney Morning Herald (15/5/15, http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/moses-havini-leader-of-struggle-for-bougainvilles-autonomy-20150514-gh1lii.html) had a lengthy, detailed obituary of Moses, so I refer you to that. Moses devoted his life to the struggle for Bougainville’s independence. “On May 28, 1975, the Interim Provincial Government in Bougainville agreed to secede from PNG. On September 1, 1975, a month before PNG's planned Independence Day, Havini carried the Bougainville flag to Wakunai (North Bougainville) and a Universal Declaration of Independence (UDI) was proclaimed. Similar ceremonies were conducted around the island. In January 1976, at Hutjena, the PNG Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters into the crowd. Havini, a man committed to non-violence, was hit in the back with a canister, causing a wound that took months to heal and left a large scar….
“…In January 1990, Moses, Marilyn and their four children fled Bougainville and moved to Sydney. As Havini was married to an Australian citizen, PNG's request for his deportation as a ‘terrorist’ was unsuccessful. For the next 15 years Havini, living in Sydney, was the representative of the Interim Government of Bougainville for the region and the world. …Connected to his homeland only by satellite telephone and fax, Havini learned the arts of diplomacy with the UN, media, Australian and regional politicians. He attracted supporters to build an Australian political base, the Bougainville Freedom Movement, when Australian progressives were more motivated by events in East Timor.
“…A decade later the Bougainvilleans again learned that although they had won the war with PNG and set up the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), the victory had little meaning if no country recognised the winner. So Havini decided his focus was to encourage a just peace between Bougainville and PNG. He made representations to the United Nations Human Rights Council, supported by Bougainvillean delegations. These efforts were also supported by the many women's groups on Bougainville that Marilyn had helped to create. They charmed Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to take seriously the need to support a New Zealand initiative to set up peace talks. These led to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, where Havini was a key member on the ABG's side. It decreed that all armed personnel should be withdrawn from the island by December 2002.
“…By 2005 the Havinis had moved back to Buka, as negotiations between PNG and the ABG had established autonomy on Bougainville. Moses became mentor to the ABG as Director of Parliamentary Committees. Marilyn says Moses' aim throughout his life was to see ‘Papua New Guinea as a friendly neighbour, rather than their ruler’. In August 2013, Havini was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and returned to Sydney for treatment”. He died in Sydney and received a State funeral on Bougainville.
Marilyn is also a longstanding Bougainville independence leader. Watchdog 106 (August 2004, http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/06/16.htm) includes Jeremy Agar’s review of “As Mothers Of The Land: The Birth Of The Bougainville Women For Peace And Freedom”, co-edited by Marilyn Havini and Josephine Sirivi (women play a much more prominent role in Bougainvillean society than is the case in most other Pacific nations. It is a matrilineal society i.e. land is passed down the female side of the family. Both editors were leading figures in the independence struggle, as were their husbands. Josephine Sirivi’s husband, Sam Kauona, was the head of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army).
Being Good Neighbours
It is important that CAFCA pays tribute to these leaders of a successful struggle to drive rapacious and murderous TNCs from our neighbourhood. It is the ultimate manifestation of good neighbourliness. “Moses Havini, like his namesake, was a man who had a date with destiny. They shared the same cry: ‘Let my people go’. Neither man lived to see the fruits of his labours realised but Havini’s struggle for Bougainville as an independent country was fundamental to its destiny” (Sydney Morning Herald, ibid.). Rest in peace, Moses, you fought the good fight.