West Papua Open Day, 26 March 2023


Good info, Good food & Good fun; Meet old friends, Make new ones. Guest Speaker Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins will be presented with our Hammarskjöld-WestPapua Living Memorial project, including sixty two-minute videos of tree-planting ceremonies around the world. Bishop Huggins was the first Australian to plant a living memorial, and is organising for the documentation to be delivered to the Anglican Communion Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, who in turn will present it to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN 75 Committee. The documentation is designed to remind UN executives, bureaucrats and member-states of the mistake they made in 1962 when they transferred the administration of West Papua (then Nederlands Nieuw Guinea) to Indonesia.

PLUS new choir performs Tony Millman’s new sing-a-long for West Papua.
Heaven is within draws on the biblical Luke’s 17:20 and was sparked by Paul van Kalken’s mum’s favourite Dutch maxim ‘Heaven hasn’t yet opened a sub-branch down here’ (Paul is the popular Concierge at the Melbourne Town Hall). The lyrics are particularly relevant as the leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group this month as Benny Wenda and Morris Kaloran (West Papua Provisional Government) lobby the Vanuatu and Fiji governments to vote, in June, for West Papua to take its rightful place as a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Lyrics: V1: Heaven won’t be coming to a neighbourhood near you/Heaven won’t open a sub-branch anytime soon/And while our prayers float slowly down to earth/The miracle within us all continues to give birth. V2: The earthly affairs of this mortal domain keep us running around this spiral of mischief and pain/And as we petition the concierge with our hopes and all of our fears/The answers keep flowing within our blood & our tears.

AND THEN there’s Dr Joe’s amazing auction for WP Rent Collective
Joe Toscano is the founder of the West Papua Rent Collective and his auctions help pay the rent on our glorious five-star-energy office in Docklands. This auction has: (1) Something rare for the historian, the home-maker, or the music-maker; (2) Spectacular oil-painting of a Melanesian Hornbill; (3) A stool hand-hewn from a discarded stump found in the Buchan Caves area.

1. Rare historic (1979) tea chest from Papua New Guinea.

Listen to see what you can do with a tea chest [hint: that bass sounds shockingly good] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC2usDYhwWM





2. Maxi McNaughton’s painting of Melanesian Hornbill (30x20cm, canvas on wood frame).

The Papuan Hornbill is a true ‘Melanesian’ bird, its habitat ranging from the Maluku ‘spice’ Islands that shadow the west coast of West Papua, through New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, out to the Solomon Islands. The spectacular bird is a geophagine (eats soil), which Jared Diamond (1999) argued ‘bound poisonous and/or bitter-tasting secondary compounds in ingested fruits and seeds’. West Papuans call them the ‘whoosh whoosh bird’, after the sound of their wings in motion. Jacob Rumbiak, from Yabon village in the Birdshead, claims he and his brother trained their hornbill to protect the family’s chickens from eagles. Lovers of The Lion King might recall that it was a (red-billed) hornbill called Zazu who saves King Musafa’s girlfriend from a committee of vultures.

3. David McKenzie’s wooden stool, from a stump he found near the Buchan Caves in Gippsland. Nurtured by an ancient flowing stream, this sculpted tree carries stories of Aboriginal lore and ceremony, as well as colonial massacre and desecration.

The Buchan Caves in East Gippsland are highly significant to the Gunaikurnai custodians, and are also home to the Bell Miner, Powerful Owl, Superb Lyrebird and Pied Currawong. The vast caverns are a honeycomb of spectacular limestone formations carved by an underground river 400 million years ago, with magnificent stalactite and stalagmite forms, pillars and rim pools, and an ancient flowing stream. Cradled in an environment like this, what stories might this very special sculpture tell?

Check out the Hammarskjöld-WestPapua Living Memorials

Know your history? Who was Dag Hammarskjöld? What did he do for West Papua? How do we know? Can the UN rectify its terrible mistake in transferring West Papua to Indonesia? (25 photo-essays, fully referenced, downloadable PDF)
Can the UN rectify its mistake in transferring West Papua to Indonesia, compressed

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