Dave is a semi-retired graduate civil engineer ( former registered professional engineer)in his early 60s and his assignment is in the role of “Public Works Officer”. The purpose of the assignment is to” support Arawa Urban Council (AUC) in technical areas and administration, involving works, water supply, sewage, roads and general infrastructure, enabling it to improve service delivery of all town amenities.”
Rosie, a registered diagnostic radiographer also in her early 60’s , is as yet unsure of what she will be able to do but we are anticipating that she will be able to assist with primary health or teaching in some way. She has taken a year’s unpaid leave from her job in Whakatane Hospital, to allow her the opportunity of returning early to her old job if she is unable to find a satisfactory way of occupying her time.
Where is it ? We’ve had some interesting comments when we’ve said to various people where we are going. One guy said “Oh yes” as if he knew but when questioned thought it was “a nickname of West Auckland or something,” but the one that took the cake was one shop assistant who said:”you mean there is a place where Bogons come from!” Actually it is North East of Australia and is part of the Solomon Island chain but is officially part of PNG – for now at least.
( click on maps to enlarge for clarity)
Brief History of Bougainville
During the 1990’s Bougainville was the scene of a civil war that claimed some 10,000 lives . The problem seems to go back to an arbitrary decision of former colonial powers to include Bougainville with Papua New Guinea instead of the Solomon Isles, with whom the Bougainvilleans (?)are more ethnically aligned. The construction of the copper mine at Panguna South West of Arawa ( the large opencast pit is clearly visible on Google Earth) apparently against the wishes of the locals finally brought things to a head- after years of complaints to deaf ears some locals took matters in their own hands and engaged in acts of sabotage on mine equipment.The PNG government sent in the military to restore order and things rapidly degenerated into civil war with many Bougainvilleans retreating to the forested interior or being relocated to sheltered villages . Don McKinnon of New Zealand finally facilitated peace negotiations that left Bougainville as an independent territory within Papua New Guinea and with the right to undertake a referendum within 15 years over independence. The copper mine , which the conflict had closed, was to remain that way.