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Leader calls for New Zealand to stand with West Papua



Benny Wenda (centre) with audience members at AUT – Te Wahanui

Jayapura, Jubi – An independence leader is advocating for New Zealand to join the fight to free West Papua.

Benny Wenda, an independence leader for West Papua and founder of the Free West Papua Campaign spoke at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) last night. During his address, he talked about the country’s struggle for freedom and human rights abuse over the last 50 years.

The Indonesian government took over West Papua months after the country was given independence from the Netherlands at the end of 1961 in its mission to claim former Dutch colonies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Wenda  told the audience his experience of living in West Papua – his mother was beaten and the Indonesian military raped his aunt in front of him in 1977.

However, Mr Wenda shared how he managed to escape from prison in 2002 after being arrested for leading peaceful demonstrations. He said the land was being destroyed by the Indonesian military, causing deforestation, which is the West Papuans’ source for food.

“They don’t care about our environment, our nature. They only care about how to get rich…If we don’t act, the forest will be destroyed,” said Mr Wenda.

West Papua is located 500km north of Australia and a close neighbour of the Pacific, New Zealand in particular.

“Australia and New Zealand need West Papua…we are the gatekeeper and for security reasons, West Papua is very important,” said Mr Wenda

He encouraged everyone who attended the meeting to spread the message about the injustice through the Free West Papua Facebook page.

Director of the Pacific Media Centre at AUT, Professor David Robie, said when he attended the World Media Freedom day in Indonesia last week, the authorities attempted to gag discussion about West Papua.

“Whatever happens in West Papua is going to have repercussions for the rest of the region…it’s important to know of issues happening in our own region,” said Professor Robie.

Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said New Zealand needed to join the other seven Pacific Islands urging for change, and make it eight.

One attendee, Auckland University student Georgia Thomson, admitted she did not know much about West Papua before the meeting, but said she wanted to learn what she as an individual could do to help.

“I thought it exposed people to a lot of information you wouldn’t otherwise find in your news media and then, of course, you wouldn’t know to look for it,” said Miss Thomson.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee was unavailable to comment on New Zealand’s relationship with West Papua. (*)

Te Wahanui

Arts & Culture

Taparu in Kamoro socioculture




Kamoro women when sorting out sago caterpillars. – Jubi / Doc

Mimika, Jubi – Each clan in Kamoro has ‘taparu’ or a specific location as a place to find food sources when they encircle rivers and mangroves in the lowland estuary of Mimika District.

A Dutch anthropologist J Power states ‘taparu’ is a local terminology emphasizing the relations of land and its inhabitants. “There are also the names of surrounding neighborhoods taken from the ancestral names,” as written in a book “Taparu Fratri of Mimika-Kamoro ethnic groups in Hiripau Village, East Mimika District, Mimika Regency”, by Dessy Pola Usmany et al. from the Ministry Education and Culture Directorate General of Culture Papua Cultural Value Conservation Center, 2013.

‘Taparu’ itself is more related to groups who inhabit within this region or surrounding environment as Kamoro people always encircle the river and sago forest for catching fish or gathering food. Everyone knows their own ‘taparu’.

‘Taparu’ in Kamoro language means the land, while Sempan people call it ‘se iwake’. If someone wants to mark the land he passes in gathering food, he solely adds the prefix ‘we’ such as tumamero-we and efato-we in Omawka village.

Similarly, people in Nawaripi village also do the same. Their areas are including Tumukamiro-we, Viriao-we, and Iwiri-we. All of these names reflect the relationship between the land and inhabitants.

Meanwhile, like the majority of Kamoro people, Ojibwa people believe in the power of their late patrilineal clan that depicted in the symbols of animals. The anthropologists call these symbols with totems which mean a belief that embodies a symbolic representation of society.

Unfortunately, today taparu also face the severest challenges of sedimentation due to tailings of mining activity that cause the silting of river and discolouration of Mollusca habitat in the estuary of Mimika District. (*)


Reporter: Dominggus Mampioper

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Jayapura indigenous school pays attention to children’s rights




Children in the Indigenous School learn how to carve. – Jubi / Engel Wally

Sentani, Jubi – Director of Indigenous School of Jayapura District Origen Monim stated that he would pay attention to the rights of children studying at his school as it stands in an area declared as a child-friendly village.

“We have a guide about what indicator of a child-friendly village is, which was given by the Head of the Women Empowerment and Child Protection Office. So it would be our concern,” said Monim in Sentani on Tuesday (09/11/2018).

He further explained that the indigenous school runs their activities every day, from 14:00 to 16:30 Papua time, and a speedboat provided to pick up students to school.

“So far we operate independently. In the future, we would also try to provide snacks or additional food for children in Khandei class, namely for those aged 8-13 years,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Head of Women Empowerment and Child Protection Office of Jayapura District, Maria Bano confirmed on the guide of the child-friendly village that already implemented in the Indigenous School of Jayapura District.

“Children from formal school continue their learning activities there, in the indigenous school, which encourage children playing and having fun with their friends. Because at their age, children need to observe their environment and people around them,” said Bano. (*)


Reporter: Engel Wally

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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KNPB supports Kanaky for self-determination




KNPB and Gempar Papua activists at the Secretariat of Central KNPB. – Jubi / Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – Central West Papua National Committee (KNPB) held a limited discussion to support FKLNS (Organization of the Liberation Struggle of the Kanaky Tribe in New Caledonia) which has been well received by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to conduct a referendum in November 2018.

The First Chairman of Central KNPB Agus Kosay said it’s time for Kanaky to get self-determination from French colonialism.

“Kanaky must declare their self-determination. If Kanaky gets their independence, it would be able to give their support to West Papua because we share the same situation, which lives under the colonialism,” he said on Wednesday (08/12/2018) in Jayapura.

Meanwhile a member of Gempar (Papuan Youth and Student Movement) Nelius Wenda said as a nation oppressed by Indonesia, West Papua fully supports the referendum agenda of New Caledonia.

“Kanaky must determine their destiny. It must be far better than being under the French colonialism. In the future we Papuans are just like Kanaky,” he said. (*)


Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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