Venue : Apeo Teata’s Residence, House # 47, Lihir Townsite.
Time : 7:30pm to 11:35pm
Chairman : Apeo Teata
Secretary : Mannie Mehu
Present : Arnold Pasia, Karikoi Teika, Mola Sione, Stanley Apawa, Telakoa Fifaia,
Apeo Teata’s Family.
Welcome & Opening Remarks.
Chairman, Apeo Teata declared the meeting open and then briefed everybody on the current situation concerning Takuu and the recent ‘panic’ among fellow islanders on the issue of Takuu sinking soon. Points highlighted by Apeo in the opening remarks were:
- Sinking of the Mortlock Atoll. What are the remedial measures to take?
- Resurrecting the Mortlock Association and Business Ventures
- Current Problems eg. Shipping and Health services
The above were to be the main agenda items for the meeting and the ideas put together to be shared with the others from other centres. Before these issues were discussed, it was suggested that a Lihir Takuu association be formed.
Formation of The Lihir Takuu Group.
The Lihir Takuu Group is formed on the understanding that it will be an independent group working along side the global Mortlock Association. The group will coordinate its own meetings and raise its own funds to support the needs of the Mortlock Association from time to time. Remitting of funds to the Mortlock Association will be subject to approval from the group members. The group will have a representative in the Mortlock Association board.
The committee for the Lihir Takuu Group was voted in unanimously.
President : Timothy Apeo Teata
Secretary : Mannie Hotono Mehu
Treasurer: Mola Tekapu Sione
A small constitution will be drafted for the Lihir Takuu Group in accordance with the Mortlock Association constitution. The Secretary will act as the media man and will relay issues discussed by the group to the Mortlock forum.
Membership : K46 or a carton of beer that will be used as initial fundraiser, all profits going to the association.
Account: Cheque Account having three signatories and two to sign at any one time. Signatories to the account are Apeo Teata (President), Mola Sione (Treausrer) and Arnold Pasia (Member). All cash on hand and chequebook would be kept at Apeo’s place. The account will be started after the first fundraising this Saturday 11th November.
Fund Raising: Raising of funds will mainly be from functions through the selling of drinks and food. A K10 fortnightly contribution from each member was imposed as another means of raising funds. From the K10 contribution, K6 would be for the group and K4 would go to the BIG Mortlock Association. Funds will only be remitted when the need arises.
The Treasurer of the Lihir Takuu Group was given the task of tabling the fundraising activities and writing up guidelines for the account.
The Lihir Takuu Group also recognises it’s own Technical Team comprising of Arnold Pasia and Mannie Mehu. Their job is to give advice on the current Takuu situation and work together with technical people from other centres. They should be automatic members to the group of technical personnel dealing with the current Takuu situation.
Sinking of Takuu Atoll : What do we do?
Some ideas put forward during the meeting were.
i) The trip to the island during Christmas period is a definite MUST and the team should comprise of engineers, geologists, surveyor, meteorologist, media man and any other interested person. A feasibility study report, given ample time, is intended to be the aim of the trip. Areas to be looked at during the trip would be weather patterns (locally Vs globally) wave movements and shifting of sands, damage by wave action etc. The group should do designing of seawall and other coastal protection measures.
ii) The group of technical people to visit the island should also be given the task of educating the people at home about global warming and its effects. The people should be told that Mortlock Island would one day vanish under the sea. Video documentaries like the one on the Maldives Islands should be shown to the people at home.
- Replace the current ‘paes’ on the coastal front with an inclined seawall made from stones held in gabion baskets. The crest of the seawall should be in line with the current coastal cut (actual land) and the toe should be extended to where the milmilo starts. This means that the seawall will cover all the hatupas and beach sand. The natural slope of the beach should determine the degree of inclination of the seawall. This seawall should be the full length of the island and should follow the curve of the island’ s beachfront.
- The sides of the island should have seawalls like the above as well. The string of hatupas on either side of the island will make the rebuilding of ‘na vasi te henua’ very easy. Maybe, the seawall on the sides of the island should extend as far as the hatupas so as to claim land.
- Transport rocks from elsewhere to build the walls, if we run out at home. Rocks furthest from the island we live on should be used first. We must note that the rocks closest to the island also act as protection for the island. Places like Lihir dispose off rocks into the sea. Rocks could be also transported from Bougainville to the island.
- Build a floating jetty-type bridge along where the milomilo meet the hatu tautamas(correct term is nahui), the whole length of the island, complete, discontinuous or discontinuous but overlapping. Strong and permanent posts should be planted into the bedrock and the jetty/bridge should be suspended buoyantly from these posts (picture an oilrig). It should rise and fall with the tides. The jetty/bridges will also be used as canoe/ boats anchorage.
- If funds are available, hire a dredge machine to pump sands from the deep back on to the coastal shelf.
- Do a bathymetry survey of the atoll and get some aerial photography done for altimetry interpretation/study. This will determine areas of rising versus that of erosion and help in planning and designing seawall and other coastal protection measures. Again, this depends on funds availability.
Resurrecting the Mortlock Association
Discussions and brainstorming concluded with the following key points.
- The old Morltock Association should not be resurrected. A totally new association should be formed with a new approach and a new spirit of association. The past should be forgotten and we should work towards achieving new goals.
- The Association should draw all the Motlocks together. This Association should be the ‘global’ association for all Mortlocks. Other smaller centres can have their own groups.
- A new constitution should be drawn and a draft circulated for all Mortlocks to see and comment on before the final draft is made.
- Office bearers should not only be people from POM. Any Mortlock from around the globe can be nominated and everybody has the right to vote. This needs to be done urgently.
- Transparency should prevail.
Current Problems at Home
Top in the list of current problems faced by our people is the lack of shipping service to the island. The following discussions and suggestions were put forward.
- The management of Sankamap should be investigated and those implicated should face the full force of the law. An audit should be made into the accounts/ affairs of Sankamap management. In the mean time no one should be pointing fingers at anybody because no one knows the real problem behind the Sankamap fiasco.
- We, the people of Mortlock Island should recognise the service that the current Sankamap management has given to our people despite the current situation. It is fair to say that they have done their best but have not gained enough support from our own government. Also, we must know that our provincial government was in total control of Sankamap.
- It is known that there have been some cases of mismanagement where the ship was used for personal purpose. Sankamap should have a Board instead of just a Chairman.
- It must be realised by all that Snakamap was not meant to be a profit making business. It is supposed to be service. If Sankamap was too expensive to run, why not trade it in for a smaller boat or have it leased to a profit making company? We should ask our provincial government to have our vessel on lease to another company. It is believed that every run Sankamap makes is a loss. We must also take into consideration that Sankamap does not only service Mortlock Island.
- The NSP atoll islands (Fead, Nissan, Tasman & Cateret), as a whole should ask the Government to bail the ship out of its current financial woes.
- In future, Sankamap must be serviced in Rabaul or in POM instead of Cairns. It is allot cheaper and the service provided within the country, from reliable sources, is just as good as that overseas, especially in Motukea.
The second issue raised concerning problems at home was Health Services. The following suggestions were made.
- Secure some fund from somewhere and send a medical team home. Medical trips to the island should be organised on a quarterly or biannual basis.
- A medical sister should be posted permanently on the island. The present APO should be retired. Someone in the right position should speak to our provincial government health division to have this gazetted for next year.
- Health service problems tie in with shipping services. Therefore, first things must be done first.
Next Meeting: This will be decided during the fundraising function this weekend. It will coincide with the starting of the Lihir Takuu Group Account.
It is encouraging to see the interest of Takuu people in their own affairs building up very rapidly. We, the Lihir Takuu Group pledge to work in unison with all the other groups in other centres to achieve our goals.