All posts by fmc64

PNG Independence – a moment of pride

Raho Kila

 On 16 September 1975,  Papua New Guinea became an independent state after 70 years under Australian rule. Student Raho Kila shares the significance the day has for her.

I am proud to call myself a Papua New Guinean, home to seven million people who are so friendly. Papua New Guinea is split into four regions; Papua the lower coastal region, Highlands the mountainous region, Momase which is upper coastal region and the Islands the exterior region. I proudly come from the Papuan region where a woman’s story and journey is told on her body.

There is only one day a year were Papua New Guineans come together to parade our heritage and our culture on 16 September. Forty-two years ago on 16 September 1975, Papua New Guinea had gained independence from Australia. On this special day we get to remind ourselves of all the things that we get to share as a nation, the richness in our diverse cultures and linguistic diversity.

Most importantly it’s the coming together of 20 provinces, 1000 cultural groups and 800 distinctive languages with a population of seven million and still counting. To me personally, Independence Day is a moment of pride and an embracing of my culture. I remember  when I was little my grandmother would wake me up at 5am in the morning to dress me up in my tradition costumes and tattoo my body as she told the story of ancestors. These stories were of my ancestors that voyaged out in search for goods to serve our village. The same stories that are tattooed on woman’s body and passed down from generation to generation. Once I would be dressed in my traditional costumes I would parade in school as proud Papuan. However as I grew older and traveled aboard to study I felt my culture sipping through my fingers as I slowly lost touch of my Papua New Guinea independence day routine.

Growing up in Australia and New Zealand I have adapted into a culture that I cannot claim as mine in order to socially survive, being privileged with my grounded parents I have never lost sight of being a Papua New Guinean. Coming to Christchurch and University of Canterbury as a young Papua New Guinean woman, it has definitely been a wakeup call for me and a rigorous journey in consolidating my identity as Papua New Guinean.

Especially being a minority in a city that is nowhere near home, I have come realize that I am not only an ambassador to my country’s identity but I am an ambassador to my unique culture.

Surprisingly, although I am thousands of miles away from home I am thankful to the Pacific Development Team who have given me opportunities to reconnecting on my culture and language and embrace my unique culture and identify. I have had the privilege of teaching linguistics students at University of Canterbury, my native mother tongue, as well as reconnecting on my culture where I have shared the same stories that my grandmother once told me and in turn has allow me to be a hold my head up with pride.

Although I may not be fluent in my native language or fluent in my cultural understanding at the end of the day. I am proud to identify myself as a young Papua New Guinean woman who has traveled aboard away from home and shared the stories that of my ancestors once told.

Click here to find out more about the Pacific Development Team>

Sustainapalooza – travelling smart

21106675_10154935808387336_6038527362664806228_nLife can be stressful and expensive – and that’s without the added pressure of driving to University every day! Sadly, these drives are also the most harmful to the environment. During short commutes and stop-start city driving your car engine does not have adequate time to warm up, which means that fuel is burnt less efficiently and your car’s emissions are at their highest. So what’s a poor student to do? UC’s Sustainability Office team explores the solutions as part of the lead in to Sustainapalooza.

Sustainable transport is the answer! Whether you’re a barefooted CUBA kook on a skateboard or a group of flatties sharing a carpool, there are plenty of alternatives that are not only kinder on your mind, body and wallet, but better for the environment too. Figure out what sustainable transport option is right for you:


Too often we forget the simple pleasures offered by getting somewhere on our own two feet. Whether you spend this time listening to music or chatting with your mates, walking is a great way to soak up the scenery and boost your energy levels to get you ready for the day.


Ditching the car and jumping on the bike might make that 2000 word essay easier to tackle. Cycling improves your brain function, releases endorphins and lowers your stress levels, whilst keeping those pesky winter bugs at bay by strengthening your cardiovascular and immune systems. It’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of the garden city, and for every 1km you choose to bike instead of drive, you will save enough CO2 to keep a 60 watt light bulb running for five hours!

Taking the bus

Need to catch up on lecture notes or cram for a test? Tag your mates in some memes? Schedule in your afternoon nap? Bussing takes away the stress of driving and gives you a period of free time to use as you please, whilst lowering the congestion on the roads and the pollution in the air.


Cutting down on driving isn’t always easy, especially for those who live far from campus or who need to travel throughout the day. Carpooling is a sustainable travel option that lowers the cost, stress and environmental impact of driving, while making the commute more social and enjoyable. Exciting plans are underway to extend the Smart Travel initiative to UC, which makes it easy to arrange safe, shared rides for both frequent and one-off trips.

 To learn more about the Smart Travel initiative click here>

UC Sustainability Office

Create a sustainable future – Sustainapalooza 18 to 22 Sept

21106675_10154935808387336_6038527362664806228_nGet ready for a week-long festival of sustainability, celebrating the best of what people are doing to create a sustainable future!

Sustainapalooza is on 18-22 September, with the Sustainability Awards Ceremony on Thursday 21 September.

This festival brings together students, staff and the wider community, and showcases a range of sustainability initiatives. These include a market day hosted by UC’s Eco Clubs, e-bike trials and a cycle cinema, a tasting session, a spotlight on green building and a garden party to wrap the week up… plus heaps more. Check out the full Sustainapalooza programme here.

See you there!

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