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Traditional Owner Technical and Cultural Exchange: Madang Province, Papua New Guinea November 2009

Arriving at the airport

In 2009, Ocean Revolution, NAILSMA and Save PNG, with the support of The Christensen Fund, brought together Indigenous land and sea managers from across north Australia and north Papua New Guinea for a technical and cultural exchange. 

The exchange, which took place in Madang Province, had a profound effect on the participants from both Papua New Guinea and Australia. One participant in the exchange, Naomi Hobson, has been instrumental in establishing a Steering Group and Advisory Group to set land and sea management priorities for Umpila people (known as The Sandbeach People of Cape York).

In a candid moment, Karkum Village youth prepared a short video for the delegation from Australia to view on their return home. In the video, a confident young man spoke openly about his thoughts on the exchange.

“We would like this type of networking and communication to be strong and to be carried forward into the future. The future is ours. If we can build such communities, so that we can get to know each other more and force the development, we can bring great change to the whole world.”

Highlights of the exchange included the sharing of music and dance, cultural tours, technical exchanges (including presenting I-Tracker to Karkum land and sea managers) and formal and informal presentations from the delegates.

The exchange also included several private and public meetings with local PNG landholders, led by members of the Kimberley Land Council Board, to discuss an 'Indigenous Negotiations Tool Kit' being developed by Ocean Revolution.

“The trip made me a stronger person and gave me the resolve and determination to work harder with my Umpila families to get things done.”

Naomi Hobson, a member of the Indigenous delegation from Australia writng about her experience.

The Indigenous participants from north Australia captured their experience in Papua New Guinea through a series of photographs and audio recordings. These elements have been combined to produce a Story Report for their communities. With the participants’ permission, we are delighted to present these stories to you.

Support for the exchange was provided by: Balkanu Cape York Development Cooperation; Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights (Momase); Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Cooperation; Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, Kimberley Land Council; Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council; North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance; Save PNG; Torres Strait Regional Authority; The Australian Government’s Caring for our Country, Ocean Revolution and The Christensen Fund.

View video clips made during the exchange