Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Coastal region and small island papers 10

Welome address at the Inaugural Summit on Motu Kaitabu Development, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea Appendix 1

by the Honourable Kabua Kabua, Chairman of the Motu Koitabu Council

As we approach the new millennium, the Motu Koitabu people of the National Capital District must now seriously ask some important questions relating to their lives, such as: ‘Where are we heading? What is our destiny? What are our needs and wants?’

We need a political direction. What do we want to achieve for our Motu Koitabu people in terms of political, economic, social, cultural and spiritual developments as we enter the 21st century? It is time to take stock of our affairs. Results from past efforts were not realized for various reasons. There were possibly system failures, human failures; this we do not know. But one thing is certain: we have been left behind in terms of development for far too long by ‘outsiders’ living in the NCD. We are just spectators in the development of our own land.

To assist the Motu Koitabu Council determine the political directions of our people, this summit is organized so that prominent Motu Koitabu leaders from our villages can come together to identify and discuss the current problems being faced by our people. The invited leaders include politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats, academics, village elders, women’s representatives, church and youth leaders.

It is my belief that my council must and will exercise a ‘bottom-up planning approach’, such that all our villages will be involved in any development plans that affect their respective areas. We must also accept and adopt the ‘Community-based Development Project/Programme’ methods recommended by the United Nations. This will involve collecting and analysing socio-economic data before formulating policies and strategies for the development of our Motu Koitabu people.

During the next two days, your resource speakers will be talking to you about environmental issues, the legal status of the Motu Koitabu Council, the impact of decentralization and reform on Motu Koitabu villages, education and other topics of interest.

I am more than happy to see a very good attendance here this morning and it is my pleasure to welcome each and every one of you to this summit. May your discussions be fruitful and this summit a success. God bless you always.


Summary of the UNESCO-CSI field project on 'Sound development in the Motu Koitabu urban villages, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea' Appendix 2
Revision date:

1 March 2001


Sound development in the Motu Koita urban villages, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea


To address, through generating awareness and self-realisation, the social, economic and environmental problems affecting the livelihood of the Motu Koitabu people.


Motu Koita villages in Port Moresby, the national capital of Papua New Guinea.

Starting date:



Representatives of the Motu Koitabu villages; Motu Koitabu Council; Papua New Guinea Institute of Public Administration (PNGIPA), National Commission of Papua New Guinea for UNESCO; UNESCO: Associated Schools Project network (ASPnet), ‘Growing up in Cities’ (GUIC) project, Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme, Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) platform.

Pilot project leader:

Mr. Haraka Gaudi, 
Institute of Public Administration (PNGIPA), 
PO Box 1216 Boroko, Papua New Guinea. 
Tel: 675 3260433, 3267345, 3267163, Fax: 675 3261654. 
e-mail  gaudichn@upng.ac.pg


The Motu Koitabu, numbering around 30,000 of the city’s 250,000 total population, are the traditional landowners of the greater Port Moresby area.  The city’s current population is a cross-section of people from all the provinces of the country and the world over.  Problems faced by the local people are related to rapid urbanization and limited space.  Major development projects exacerbate these problems. 
The project seeks to assist the Motu Koitabu address their immediate environmental and conservation problems. It seeks to link the urban village population with municipal authorities, government agencies, as well as aid donors in a multidisciplinary approach and team effort to promote wise practices.
The main activities under the project can be listed as follows:

Phase 1 (completed 1998): An awareness campaign in Baruni, Tatana and Hanuabada villages, together with site surveys, data collection and meetings with villagers, were conducted. A final report covering Phase 1 was prepared.

Phase 2: The activities have included:

Awareness seminars conducted in Baruni and Hanuabada villages. Baruni seminars targeted church-based youth groups, while the Hanuabada session formed part of the United Church Urban Region Youth Convention, attended by 600 youths from urban areas like Port Moresby, Madang, Lae (Morobe Province), Goroka (Eastern Highlands Province), Popondetta (Oro Province), Manus,Wewak and Vanimo. The findings of the Phase 1 Final Report were disseminated to the participants.

The successful and historic Inaugural Summit on Motu Koitabu Development was held in Baruni village from 31 August to 1 September 1999. The theme of the summit was ‘Identity and Survival of Motu Koitabu People in the Year 2000 and Beyond’.

A working group adopted by the summit, the Motu Koitabu Task Force, was established under the leadership of Mr Gaudi. A general meeting was organized on 20 December 1999 at Parliament House by Lady Carol Kidu, Member of Parliament for Port Moresby South Electorate.

A workshop on ‘Growing up in Cities’ was held in Port Moresby in November 1999. Young people from the NCD and all over PNG took part. Participants gained experience in co-operation and interaction among themselves and with others to influence their own human and physical environment. A youth declaration was also prepared.

Lady Kidu was appointed as Chairperson of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Urbanization and Social Development. In December 2000, the final report of this special committee was submitted to parliament. Mr Kabua Kabua and Mr Gaudi presented a set of Motu Koitabu position papers to this parliamentary committee in a public hearing in early March 2000.

Achievements & Assessment:
  1. The Motu Koitabu are slowly becoming aware of the complex social, economic and environmental problems affecting their livelihood.

  2. The leaders, Motu Koitabu councillors, task force members and invited community leaders believe that the only way for their people to meaningfully participate in sustainable development, is to work within the established structures and systems.

  3. An identified constraint has been a lack of co-operation among community leaders and Motu-Koitabu councillors, leading to petty jealousies, bickering and the promotion of self-interest.

  4. Primary and secondary schools within the project area have been registered as UNESCO Associated Schools Project network (ASPnet); these schools have adopted ‘environment’ as a theme.

Future directions:
  1. Extend and develop advocacy activities targeting minority groups in Motu Koitabu society.

  2. Plan and prepare supplementary educational curriculum materials focusing on the Motu Koitabu.

  3. Together with researchers and students from the University of Papua New Guinea, conduct research and social profiles of Motu Koitabu villages, with special reference to land ownership and land-use issues.

  4. Organize strategy meetings with representatives of all stakeholder groups to exchange views and develop action plans for addressing issues of relevance to the Motu Koitabu cause.

  5. Full documentation of all activities.


List of contributors

Appendix 3

David CHOULAI and  Kaia VARONA
Community Development Specialists and Consultants with HARMONY Inc. (PNG) Ltd.

Haraka Gabutu GAUDI
Former Lecturer, University of Papua New Guinea, currently with the Papua New Guinea Institute of Public Administration. A Motu Koitabu Rights Advocate from Baruni village.

Formerly a Research Fellow, Political and Legal Studies Division, National Research Institute, currently with OK Tedi Mining Ltd.


Lady Carol KIDU, MP
National Parliament Member for Port Moresby South Electorate. Mother and grandmother of Motu Koitabu children and champion of social justice issues relating to squatters, women, children, youth and the Motu Koitabu.

Eric L. KWA
Lecturer in Law specializing in constitutional and environmental law, Law Faculty, University of Papua New Guinea. Originally from Siasi Island, Morobe Province.



Discussion items relating to Papua New Guinea in the 'Wise coastal practices for sustainable human development virtual forum' Appendix 4

The articles listed relate to Papua New Guinea, and may be accessed at the ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable

Human Development’ forum at http://www.csiwisepractices.org  user name= csi, password= wise.
The forum contains contributions from all over the world.

Cost-benefit analysis of major infrastructural developments / Papua New Guinea – Haraka Gaudi

Clarifications sought about levels of government control – Gillian Cambers

Levels of government responsibility/concepts of land ownership – Haraka Gaudi

Environmental impact assessment and capacity building – Maria Rosario Partidario

Environmental impact assessment as a management tool / Philippines – Miguel Fortes

Environmental impact assessment/mobilizing the public – Haraka Gaudi

Local control of water supply / Papua New Guinea – Mali Voi

The future of the wise practices forum – an Asia-Pacific regional perspective – Maarten Kuijper


Social profiles of Baruni, Tatana and Hanuabada villages (1999)

     Appendix 5

Baruni village: a social profile

Brief history

Baruni people are members of the Koitabu tribe who live along the coast extending from Kilakila in the National Capital District to Gorohu in the Central Province, west of Port Moresby. Traditions state that they came from the hills behind Port Moresby, several generations before the arrival of Europeans, and are the original landowners.

Earlier in their history, the Baruni people were known to have lived inland, away from the present village site. They settled in different hamlets on a seasonal basis. During the planting/rainy season (November to March), each clan or ‘iduhu’ would live in hamlets in their gardening areas. In the dry season (June to October), when hunting was the main occupation, they would live in other hamlets. There was no concept of permanent villages before missionary contact in the early 1870s. Their livelihood was based on hunting, gardening, gathering food and a traditional exchange system with the Motuans especially from Hanuabada. Wallaby and wild boar meat, and garden produce were exchanged for sago and fish.

The missionaries of the London Missionary Society (LMS) arrived in the Port Moresby area on 21 November 1872 and thereafter converted the people to Christianity. They introduced the Baruni people to the idea of living in permanent villages.

Social organization

There are no chiefs in the Koitabu tribal hierarchy. The Koitabu had clan or iduhu leaders who were warriors and hunters. The basis of the iduhu is the patrilineal line. Women normally joined the iduhu of their husband, living with his group. There are seven traditional iduhus in Baruni.

Almost all village activities are centred on the church. One of the reasons for the Motu Koitabu’s complacency about all major development on their land, is the notion that ‘God will punish the wrongdoers’. Even if villagers know who is responsible for misappropriation of church funds, or who conspired with the developers, etc., they will leave settlement of these matters to God, despite the fact that there are established courts and legal avenues. The religion in Baruni is predominantly United Church, although there is now an emerging Catholic following.

Population characteristics

The table which follows on the next page shows the population characteristics for Baruni village. This is based on a house-to-house survey conducted by Mr Haraka Gaudi in 1999.

  Numbers Percentage
  Male 788 53
  Female 703 47
  Total 1,491    
  0–13 yrs (child) 579 39
  14–24 (teen) 348 23
  25–56 (productive) 530 36
  57+ (old)   34   2
  Total 1,491    
Marital status
  Married 605 41
  Single 886 59
  Total 1,491    
Education level (highest qualifications)
Tertiary 18   1
  Grade 12 20   1
  Grade 10 242  16
  Grade 8 81   5
  Grade 6 354  24
  No education/child 776  53
  Total 1,491    
  Employed 270 18
  Unemployed 531 36
  Student 346 23
  Children 344 23
  Total 1,491    
  Local 1,123   75
  Part-local 368 25
  Total 1,491    

Life expectancy is around 56 for males and 60 for females. On the average, the household size index is estimated at 7.5 people per dwelling unit; however, there are situations where as many as three to four families may live together in a single house.

Inter-marriages have brought Kerema and Kairuku people (from Gulf and North Western Central Province), as well as from other provinces, to reside in the southern and north western parts of the village. The village cannot be clearly divided on a clan or iduhu basis, members are intermingled in small groups throughout. Bigger and better, modern-type houses are now being built north of the village.

In the 1970s and 1980s, about 60% of employees worked as non-manual workers in government departments and private firms (many as clerks or general office workers). However, in recent years, employment in the government sector has decreased dramatically. Now most Motu Koitabu people are employed as general labourers and security personnel.

Tatana village: a social profile

Brief history

Tatana village is located on a 25.5 ha island, about 4 km from Port Moresby City. The people are predominantly Motuan but a few Koitabu have migrated from Baruni due to intermarriages. The village is divided into two main clans: Araira and Tatana.

Unlike the other Motu Koitabu villages, the origin of the Tatana people is not clear. While other traditional villages have been in existence prior to European contact, Tatana is said to be a recent settlement, with its origins just prior to World War II. The villagers were evacuated during the war and returned to the site after the war. During their absence, American servicemen built the causeway linking the mainland to the island. The American servicemen used the northern part of the island as a wharf. Since the war, the causeway has been widened into a two-lane access road by the NCDC.

Population characteristics

The following table shows the population characteristics for Tatana village. This is based on a house-to-house survey conducted by Mr Haraka Gaudi in 1999.

  Numbers Percentage
  Male 983 52
  Female 892 48
  Total 1,875     
  0–13 yrs (child) 637 34
  14–24 (teen) 464 25
  25–56 (productive) 720 38
  57+ (old)   54   3
  Total 1,875    
Marital status
  Married 784 42
  Single 1,091   58
  Total 1,975    
Education level (highest qualifications)
Tertiary 26   1
  Grade 12 32   2
  Grade 10 231  12
  Grade 8 79   4
  Grade 6 484  26
  No education/child 1,023  55
  Total 1,875    
  Employed 294 16
  Unemployed 749 40
  Student 419 22
  Children 413 22
  Total 1,875     

The pattern and character of Tatana reflects a typical Motuan village. The houses are arranged in traditional styles according to clan groupings (iduhu), and are built in a linear arrangement extending out to sea as the clan expands. Footbridges or walkways (‘nese’) built between rows of houses serve a number of purposes. They mark clan boundaries, provide public access and carry water pipes and electricity lines to each house.

Recent houses have changed the traditional village character, image and lay-out. The new houses are sporadic and do not follow a formal pattern; particularly those built on land. These new migrants to Tatana, many through intermarriage, prefer living on the land.

Basic urban services like water and electricity are available, but water in particular is inadequate. Tatana and neighbouring Baruni have been without water for more than 10 years; women and children carry heavy containers of water from low-lying sections of the village where the water pressure is higher. Sometimes this is done on a daily basis, especially during the dry season. Waste disposal and garbage pick-up was discontinued some 10 years ago. While pit latrines are common for houses built on land, people still dispose of human waste, as well as plastics and non-perishable items, in the sea.

A substantial landfill along the foreshore area of the island had provided more land for housing. Over the past 20 years, the village has expanded in size as well as in population, but this has been restricted to the sheltered northern part of the island. Two natural factors, topographical limitations and the prevailing Southeast Trade Winds restrict further extension of the village.

Hanuabada village: a social profile

Brief history

Hanuabada is located about 2 km from Port Moresby in the Fairfax Harbour area. The people are predominantly Motuan but there are two Koitabu settlements occupying different locations within this big village. The settlements are, from southeast to northwest along the coast, Hohodae (Koitabu), Poreporena (Motu), Tanobada (Motu), Elevala – an island now joined to the mainland (Motu) – and Kuriu (Koitabu). 

The Koitabu were said to be the original landowners and were renowned as sorcerers. Motuan men were discouraged from marrying Koitabu women and, for there own safety, kept to their own group and lived over the sea. This practice has continued to the present day. Migrants from Gulf Province live at Gabi village.

In 1941, the villagers were evacuated and the village was occupied by the Australian New Guinea Auxiliary Unit. Labourers accidentally burnt it down in May 1943. The villagers returned to the village after the war in late 1945, and in 1949 the Australian Army rebuilt the section over the water.

Population characteristics

Because of limited resources and the size of Hanuabada, there was no house-to-house survey conducted.

Hanuabada’s connection with the church is very strong, more so than any other Motu Koitabu village. Although the village is predominantly United Church, other churches also have influential standing. There are 18 Motuan and 8 Koitabu iduhus in Hanuabada. Clan leaders are in charge of clan matters while deacons take care of church business.

Often the houses built over the sea are occupied by three to four families (20–30+ individuals). These houses follow a linear pattern, with the walkway defining iduhu boundaries. The traditional clan leader’s house is the first over the sea and closest to the land, symbolizing his social status. The clan leader determines where everyone builds his house in his clan boundary. Houses built on land demonstrate a more sporadic layout. Because of a land shortage, people have actually moved inland, building new homes even over existing graves in the cemetery. People living along the road between the primary school and the Gabi settlement now bury their dead near their houses. The future of the houses over the sea is unknown, since they are not included in the plans of the proposed port relocation project.

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