Buka and Beyond

Buka Island, Bougainville

On Buka Island, we connected with many friends from Manus, and also said goodbye to our friend Bobo who joined us on the Kavieng to Buka leg of the journey.

Before departing Buka we needed to arrange our travel documents since we are leaving Papua New Guinea waters and heading to the Solomon Islands. John Kiu from Manus island but based on Buka, has been very helpful in helping with that. Thanks John!

The Manus community held a farewell barbecue for us before we left.

Numanuma, Bougainville

We entered Numanuma first, where my cousin is based, before Taperoi. Over 100 people gathered at Numanuma and over 120 people gathered at Taperoi to see the Manus dance and listen to awareness on climate change. Some issues raised by these two communities are – shore line erosion, coral bleaching, they have already lost one of their islands, and fruit trees such as mango and rambutan are not bearing fruit. They also commented that it was their first time to see the Manus canoe and Manus dance and that we were the first group to come to their community to explain what climate change is and the threats to the environment, culture and livelihood. At the end of the awareness, both communities donated garden vegetables and K150.00 to climate challenger crews. We left Taperoi at 4 pm to Kieta.

Kieta, Bougainville

The Climate Challenger is in Kieta now. We visited Arawa town yesterday to do some shopping and have a look around. Arawa was my home from 1983 to 1986 when I did my grade 7 to 10 at Arawa High School before going to college from 1987 to 88.  In 1989, I returned to Arawa and spent 3 months with Arovo Resort operating their ferry. I had to leave because of the crisis. Now Arawa town is not the same as before. Most shops were burned down including the hospital and government building. It really is a nightmare. Now, land owners are taking ownership of the businesses here which I for one appreciate the fact that we must run our own affairs/business etc. They have a rule here that they do not want to see foreigners (esp Chinese) doing business here.

Now it is very peaceful here. I encourage everyone to come and visit Arawa and hope to sail back to Arawa next year.

Taro, Choiseul Island, Solomon islands

We have decided to head straight to Taro on Choiseul Island, Solomon Islands from Kieta as the Shortland Islands are quite far out. We hope to spend a week in Taro doing minor repairs to the canoe. We need to replace some of the heavy timbers on the canoe’s platform and also to extend the canoe deck by 200mm to cater for rough seas. The crew have gained so much weight on the voyage so far (it must be from all the generous welcome ceremonies) so we need to raise the canoe draft for when we encounter big swell. We also need to replace the outrigger and cut a new one in Taro. We expect to depart Kieta tonight and are expected to arrive in Taro on Thursday 10 am.

Jimmy Kereseka from Taro has informed me that there will be a welcome lunch for us tomorrow with the Premier, PS and the executive members, chiefs and church leaders from and from around Taro. The Premier has expressed to his executives that this is a “historic moment for Choiseul Province because the Climate Challenger will first land here in Choiseul when they arrive in the Solomon Islands”. So we are all looking forward to this historic ceremony… Let the Wind take us through to Taro peacefully!

Signing off,

Capt. Manuai Matawai

Categories: Climate Challenger in Bougainville, Climate Change, Conservation | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Buka and Beyond

  1. karol kutan

    Kaks Manu..

    Good to hear you guys are well and have called in to Arawa. Brings back memories isn’t it? Give my best wishes to my Kaki Pokakes, Checheng Manus, my fren Cholai and the rest of the Climate Challenger Crew..

    Ndre best.

    Karol Kutan

    • Hi Karol,
      Arawa is a home for us but not the same as before.Great to have the chance of visiting Arawa again after the crisis. It is all over now. Arawa is shaping up and probably in 10 years time, you will see a big change. Most importantly, it is very peaceful and seeing the locals running business here is an era of development. Let us own it!

  2. Tapas Samol

    I trust Win will guide you and your crew safely through the entire trip. Hamamas mas stap oltaim.

    • Thanks, yoya ti Taro capital of Choiseul Province. Yoya kine langiti ndrol le mat for some minor repair. Yoya ndro wian. Yes, Wind will guide us Thru.

  3. Frances Papabatu Revo

    Hi to all the Climate Challenger crews,
    I have called my Dad (Franklyn Papabatu) who is at Taro Island to also meet you people… That is where Kiliwi and myself call home although our home is on the main land (Nukiki) just a few minutes by boat from Taro Island…We live in different countries but are connected by the sea… Enjoy you stay in Taro…


    • Chauka Molean

      Thank you Frances, please look after our heros and make their stay a pleasant one.
      Good one Mr Matawai and crew

      • Frances Papabatu Revo

        Yes, Dad called yesterday to say that he went to meet them and had a chat with Bernard. He is planning to take them to our home village (Nukiki) on the main land of Choiseul so that they could give some awareness talks on Climate Change…People were excited to see for the first time the Manus dance. I am sure they won’t forget that experience….. Great connection!


    • Great to know know Manus connection. The culture is connecting us. Your dad met us on Taro yesterday.

      • Frances Papabatu Revo

        He called yesterday saying that he met you people….That is my home ples and yes, your going to Taro is another experience for my people there at Taro Is. Enjoy your time there.


    • Very much appreciate it, good to have families spread out accross the pacific.

  4. Brother – Keith Jackson has extracted the latest key events from your blog and posted the story on PNG Attitude on Monday. It include the farewell at Manus to arriving at Buka. It has generated alot of interest worldwide. Also, little did I know that Keith Jackson is a cousin of Maclaren, now Melinda’s husband. The wedding was beautiful. And Polalau looked tall and handsome. I wish you were there as well. Keep safe.

    • Hi brother, sadly missed the event. I wish I should be there! Thanks to have Polalau witnessing the ceremony on my behalf and fmilies in Manus.

  5. Paul Membup

    Im still following you till guys till yous arrive back home at Manus, On the net every nite to see your progress.

    wong Paul Membup

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