Weekly Commentaries

This is Sunday Chronicle's weekly commentaries on various issues of interest affecting the country. All individual commentators are done by elite Papua New Guineans from diverse educational backgrounds.

Friday, January 15, 2010

'Waigani, Wakaiene,' the nerve centre of Papua New Guinea


DOES anyone know what Waigani means, where this name originated from, and who gave this name? Did the Papuans or Centrals give this name to this portion of land or was it a foreigner who gave this name? I am not really sure if someone has already written a commentary about this name, but what I write here is out my own research of this name which is interesting and at the same time very important to the livelihood of this nation.

Sometimes we take names for granted when all names do mean something after all. And depending what they are, names really do speak what is known as a curse or a blessing in line with religions or cultural beliefs.
Well this is how the story starts with a gentleman by the name of Yambaki Kodowage (nicknamed, "Yams") of Kewamugl village in the Dalge area, Kerowagi District, Chimbu Province. He was the one who gave the information about the name Waigani which was relayed to him by late Goiye Mongolu, one of the comrades of those who travelled with a patrol officer or Kiap namely Jim Taylor to Port Moresby via Goroka, EHP.

Yambaki gave a slight story of himself first by saying that, when he was a small boy.  During the World War II, German missionaries arrived in his village and appointed his late father, Kondowage as an evangelist of the Lutheran Church. Then after the war ended kiaps were moving into the highlands area and one of them was known as Jim Taylor, an Australian. He came to his village and recruited carriers to carry this patrol boxes over to Goroka then would be air lifted to Port Moresby by plane. That was what he saw and the rest of the story was given to him by late Goiye Mongolu when he might have asked, what happened after he left the village.

Goiye told him that the kiap or patrol officer chose nine of them including himself and they are namely; Goiye Kande; Goiye Mongolu; Waumalga (surname not known); Bandie (surname not known); Kutne (surname not known); Dekene (surname not known); Palgau Moiwe; Kawagle Kenkuye; and Yambaki Buna.

They were all from the same tribe known as Dalge, in a village called "Waigani". Yambaki Buna was the uncle of Yambaki Kondowage and the present Yambaki who told this story (who is named after Yambaki Buna). And present Yambaki, nicknamed 'Yams', his son who is five years of age is named Buna after late Yambaki's father.

Goiye continued to tell Yambaki Kondowage that they travelled all the way to Goroka EHP, with Jim Taylor. Sometime later Jim Taylor decided to bring all of them down to Port Moresby to work in the nation's capital. And at the same time one of them passed away, that is Yambaki Buna, he died in Goroka and never made it to Port Moresby. It was a sad day for the folks. The rest paid there airfares which was about five Australian dollars each and arrived in the nation's capital and camped at the location which now is called Waigani, right where the Parliament House stands.

The following day Mr. Taylor was to allocate the location of their working area so he called them up to find out which tribe and village they all came from. One of them stood up and said, "We all come from 'Waigani' village in the Dalge tribe." In this Mr. Taylor called them men from Waigani, or men of Waigani which in the Dalge dialect meaning 'Wakaiene', which in Tok Pisin means, "gutpela, or gutpela tru!" In English we say, "good or very good". And also it means blessing.

So one day Jim Taylor said,  "this place you are camping at will be called Waigani. And this is how it got its name ever since today. This name is the name of a village in the Kerowagi District of Chimbu Province. It is not a Papuan or Central Province name. Here Jim Taylor and his friends from Chimbu camped and slowly started in part to develop what is now called Port Moresby.

Finally Goiye told Yambaki that, they retired back to their home province when age did not allow them to continue their living in the city. And Goiye himself was the last of the travelers from Waigani to die. He died in 1986 in a ripe old age and was buried beside his comrades in Waigani village.

Now, Waigani - Wakaiene - "gutpela, gutpela tru" - or  blessing has opened its doors in the nation's capital out of Chimbu Province from the Creator God.  That is something worth telling and retracing.
Yes, during the colonial era, Papua New Guinea from Waigani was paradise as those who lived in the 1960s and 1970s can tell. But afterwards when PNG got its independence, the House of Assembly was replaced by a building dubbed as a Haus Tambaran.  Following that and the erecting of carved totem poles right at the front of the Parliament House, things have fallen apart.

The nation is deatorating and about to collapse. Waigani the control or nerve centre of PNG is riddled with untold corruption and scandals.  Instead of blessing, curse has taken place - the opposite altogether.
I don't think those that tirelessly sweated and started the good work of this great nation leaving their homes, tribesmen, family and province would want to reap nothing after their hard work. Or even we cannot call up the men from Waigani in Chimbu to come and clean up the mess, but the understanding and task placed on the so called Christian country is immense. God put Adam and Eve in Paradise but they "blew it" by their disobedience of God's commands. Has Papua New Guinea not done the same way by bringing up idolatry into the place of blessing? Truly, we cannot buy a blessing, it's a free gift from God and if it was given at the first place, didn't we take care  instead of destroying it - Wakaiene?

I do believe God opened up a door of blessing centred in Waigani but the devil in jealousy of this has come and blocked the way by setting up the opposite to blessing. Haus Tambaran is a cursed name directly opposed to Waigani,  a name of blessing:  names do make a great difference in a persons or a nation's livelihood. Why Papua New Guinea is going backwards is because of this reason and worse is yet to come unless the Haus Tambaran and the totem poles are  removed.

Again, if only the idolatry in the form of objects that is an outrage to God which provokes anger rather mercy and blessing is removed, blessings will surely flow throughout PNG starting in Waigani. It is just as removing the rubbish that has been blocking the mouth of the stream so people can drink of it and quench their thirst.
So let God's blessings flow or blessing doors be opened so that both the nationals and foreigners be blessed rather be making them go dry. Nothing is impossible for the name says it all. "Waigani, wakaiene, wakaiene!"  God bless Papua New Guinea.

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