Air Niugini Announces Kokoda Campaign

Speech by Sir Mekere Morauta KCMG MP, Minister for Public Enterprises

I am pleased to announce Air Niugini as the official carrier and promoter of the 70th Anniversary of the Kokoda

Since the opening of the Isurava Memorial a decade ago almost 30,000 Australians have trekked across the
Kokoda Trail to walk in the footsteps of the soldiers who fought along it in 1942.

Their journeys have created a trekking industry that has generated K100 million over the past decade and
provided direct employment for Papua New Guinea guides and carriers. This amounts to 60,000 employment
journeys for guides and carriers and 210,000 nights camping for local landowners along the Trail.

Kokoda has become more than a pilgrimage for Australians. It has become an important means of maintaining
national bonds of friendship.

Australian troops came to the same realisation in 1942. Without the support and sacrifice of our legendary “fuzzy-wuzzy angels”, the tide of war would not have turned and the Australian flag would never have been raised on the Kokoda plateau on 3rd November 1942.The flag-raising ceremony symbolised the brotherhood forged between us in the darkest days of the Pacific War.

As time slowly steals the survivors from our midst, we owe it to them to ensure their service and their sacrifice is
never forgotten. It should be a source of pride and inspiration for future generations of Papua New Guineans.
And Air Niugini is committed to ensuring that their legacy is honored and never, ever forgotten.

Kokoda has come to symbolise the special bond between Australia and Papua New Guinea. We work together
to overcome adversity. We share and appreciate each other‟s cultures and traditions. We are part of the
neighbourhood of Pacific countries.

Air Niugini has announced a number of initiatives that will maximise awareness of the 70th Anniversary of the
Kokoda Campaign.

These initiatives include:

  • the creation of a dedicated website, and
  • the creation of a “flying billboard” on the side of a Boeing 737 that will show the map of the Kokoda Trail

along which the battles of 1942 were fought. Air Niugini‟s 737 will create unprecedented awareness of
Kokoda and ensure that young Australians and Papua New Guineans continue to learn about the bond
that was formed 70 years ago.