Message from the Voluntary Organizing Committee (VOC)

Greetings everyone for the new year, 2018. The Crocodile Prize is happy to announce the short listed entries and winners of the different categories of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition.

The Competition ended on the 31st October 2017. That was when the last entries from budding writers were received. Since then, the VOC has been in constant communication with several members of the writing community who are not entirely connected to the Prize and to Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Firstly, the VOC sorted out the entries at the closing. The folders for each category was put together and sent to selected Literary Expert to cull from whatever numbers of entries received to only 10 entries. This part of the process took weeks because these people doing the culling were also doing these in their free time.

The sorting out of the folders gave adequate information for a comprehensive report to be written on the organising and the result of the annual competition. The report was published on the Crocodile Prize blog, the Crocodile Prize Facebook page and in the Post Courier. A special report was also written for the Poetry category alone because of the sheer interest and the numbers of entries received for that category alone.

Secondly, on receiving the 10 selected entries, the VOC then sent these off to the Judges. This was right in the heart of the Christmas and New Year period so the Judges were given ample time to have their holidays and have some time to judge.

Thirdly, the VOC then sent the 5 selected entries of each categories to the appropriate Sponsors. The sponsors were to pick the overall winner from among the 5 entries shortlisted by the judge.

At the time of the writing this update, two of the sponsors have identified the winners of their categories. The VOC will be informing the winners soon.

In the meantime, the VOC will be publishing all the entries on their blog. A list of the winners of each of the categories will be posted in the coming days.

Some of these winners will be featured in the news as a lead up to the Prize giving event.

A Prize giving reception was planned to be staged at the Gateway Hotel on the 17th of February 2017. Traditionally, this reception was convened on a weekday and took up to 2 hours. The event at the Gateway in 2018 should take for 3 hours: i.e. from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock in the evening. The reception will feature two key note addresses from members of the writing community, reading of 2 poems, a short story extract and a case story of what Crocodile Prize has done for an individual’s life and career.

Let’s have this time to call to stage, those with the passion for writing, illustrating and art, those with the spirit of altruism and those who want to support Literatures in PNG. Lets call to stage and acknowledge the generosity of the sponsors. Lets take the time to promote and celebrate Literature (Writing Illustrations and art) in PNG with aspiring Literary Papua New Guineans. Congratulations to all who participated in 2017 and those who have been selected as winners.


2017 Competition Report

Compiled by Gretel Matawan and Emmanuel Peni

This is an account of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition

The Voluntary Organising Committee (VOC) of the Annual 2017 Crocodile Prize Literature Competition in PNG is happy to announce that a successful year of literature competition has come to a close. We would like to thank all the sponsors and the public who have sincerely supported this competition.

There have been several queries on when the winners will be announced. The VOC is excited too to know about the winners.  However, the winners will have to be administered through a lengthy process of judging and selection.  Our Volunteers have put together the folders (9 altogether) of the entries. Below is the summary of the entrants and the entries for this year.

This is the 7th year of the Annual Literature Prize.  This year the VOC received 245 entries from 87 Papua New Guinean writers and artists.

The Table 1.0 shows that the majority of the writers are from NCD. The VOC did its best to use several media platforms to reach every PNG citizens.  It is unfortunate that very few entries are coming in from outside of NCD.  The Committee is looking at accepting written pieces on paper from remote places in 2018.  Otherwise, the VOC will do its best to reach out to the people of PNG in 2018. Hopefully we get some entries from even those provinces not listed here:  West Sepik, Southern Highlands, Hela, Western Highlands, New Ireland, Central and other PNG citizens living abroad. We have an entry from Fiji.  We can confirm that it is from a Papua New Guinean citizen.  We would like to also report that the entries from Gulf Province were from Kikori secondary schools after a visit by a member of the VOC in 2017.   Our publicity and communications team have learnt a lot in promoting writing in the last two years of work in PNG. Literature spaces and activities in PNG have declined to a state of irrelevance.  This is a tragic and frightening trend when considering Google and fb and Alibaba and more are fighting and in the process spending billions to get information from people around the world. When will Papua New Guineans wake up and write our own history, experiences and our aspirations?  Why do we let outsiders do it from their reference point and own our stories?

Table 1.0 shows the Provinces and the number of writers/artists who have sent in their literary piece(s).

Provinces (Areas) Number of Entrants
East New Britain 3
East Sepik 3
Eastern Highlands 4
Fiji 1
Gulf 3
Jiwaka 2
Madang 2
Manus 3
Milne Bay 2
Morobe 5
Mt Hagen 1
NCD 46
No Response 2
Oro 1
Central 1
Simbu 1
West New Britain 3
Western 1
Grand Total 87


There are 8 categories showing here in which entries have been received for. Of these entries two other category winners will be selected from.  These are: Emerging Young writer and Women in Writing.  The figures in the table clearly show that poetry is the most preferred literary piece to be written and sent in at 53% of the total. It is exciting to see that short stories went over half a century.  The VOC will work hard to help the writers/artists of PNG write or illustrate more our experiences, past and our dreams. It is unfortunate that Heritage writing continue to register low levels of entries. One can easily imagine anyone telling a tumbuna story (we have thousands) or describe a cultural experience.

Writing for children is one category; the Crocodile Prize is going to promote more in the next couple of months. We are interested to have more stories for our children so they become readers of our own journey.    

VOC will be more available for Essay and Journalism category next year after the Crocodile Prize blog has been upgraded to Premium.     There will be more interaction and discussions on the entry pieces sent in.

Table 2.0 shows the number of entries received for the categories in which prizes were secured for 2017.

The 2017 Categories Number of Entries
Short Play 3
Essays and Journalism 26
FB & NBC Radio Comp 4
Heritage Writing 14
Illustrations 3
Poetry 130
Short Stories 52
Writing for Children 13
Total 245

It is exciting to see that the 60% of the entries came from the economically active population of ages between 21 – 40 years (refer to Pie chart 1.0 below). It is unfortunate that the older population who would have had many experiences and culturally more rooted sent in less this year.  It is presumed that those who have resigned or have their careers stalling (11% of the total entries) would find passion somewhere else and writing and illustrating could have been a healthier, productive and meaningful diversion.

Chart 1.0 also gives a good indication on the members of the writing societies whom the VOC will target next year to promote, guide and support and engage in the literature competition. Even if they do not want to participate, their entries or submission can be used to add to the body of knowledge captured for generations to use to understand the evolution of the PNG cultural heritage.    
Where to from here:

The process of identifying the winners will take two months. Firstly, the folders will be sent to those who will cull (select what can be judged) from whatever numbers down to 10 entries. The 10 entries will then be sent to the judges who will then select only the top 5 entries. The top 5 entries will lastly be sent to the sponsors who select the winner.  We will announce the 5 shortlist at the end of January 2018. The winners will be announced at a Ceremony at the Grand Papua Hotel on the 10th February 2018.  There will be an official gathering where the 2018 Crocodile Prize Competition will also be launched.  Stay tuned for the announcements and the winners and the launching.

A burning question to discuss is the participation of women in PNG. Both 2016 and 2017, (under the leadership of Papua New Guineans) have proven beyond doubt the participation of women in writing has gained its foot hold.  There are more women sending in entries (55 %) than men folks.  The quality and diversity of the entries far outweigh that of men. Women were the youngest of the entrants and the oldest. Last year’s winner of the Paga Hill Foundation Writing for Children Category was a 14 year old girl from Bougainville.   Females were more active in asking for information and following the rules and guidelines.  The tides have turned and so there must be a category for Boys in writing and Men in writing.

The only issue encountered by the administrative team of the VOC was the lack of respect to the rules and procedures. One of the entrants sent in 23 entries altogether. Clearly this person did ignore the rules or did not bother to ask for clarification.  Others continue to send in entries without the entry forms.  This may sound like hard work to you as an entrant, but technology has made it so easy. One can literally take a snap shot of the entry from and inbox this through fb messenger or email it in picture format.

The VOC takes pride in our work in one tiny area of literature in PNG. What we are especially proud about is our process on identifying the winner.  Our selection and judging process is very stringent. We want to instil integrity into the processes and give an opportunity for the public, sponsors, supporters and participants to believe that we have been transparent and accountable. We want to show and prove that we can be objective and manage wantok system, nepotism and any other possible foul play or conflict of interest.

Otherwise the VOC are privileged to be given the opportunity to lead the Crocodile Prize. The VOC would like to congratulate everyone on their efforts and wish everyone a success in their different endeavours.

 Our Sponsors:

Sponsors Category
Port Moresby Arts Theatre Best Short Play
PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Essays and Journalism
Haltmeier Family FB & NBC Radio Comp
Cleland family Heritage Writing
Yet to Announce Illustrations
Kina Securities Poetry
Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited Short Stories
Mineral Resources Development Corporations Women in Writing
Library for all, Australia Writing for Children


The Interim Working Committee

Chairman: Emmanuel Peni, (Author, Director – People Centred OD Consult)

Deputy Chair: Joycelin Leahy (Blogger and Author, operating out of Brisbane, Australia)

Other member of the working Committee:

Ruth Moiam, Consultant (World Bank Communications)

Martyn Namorong, (Blogger, National Coordinator – EITI)

Baka Bina, (Supreme Courts – Human Resources)

Gretel Matawan, (Communications, Institute of National Affairs)


Apologies for Silence

Message from the 2017 Volunteer Organising Committee of the Crocodile Prize

Dear everyone

The Volunteer Organising Committee would like to sincerely apologise for the silence we have given to all.

Our Volunteers are putting together the folders (10 altogether) of the entries, and are summarizing all the entries so we can have a comprehensive response as a report to you all.

The folders will go to those who will cull ( select what can be judged) from what ever numbers down to 10 entries. The 10 finalists entries will then be sent to the judges who will select only 5 entries. The 5 entries will go to the sponsors so that the winner can be selected from.

Our selection and judging process is very stringent. We want to instill integrity into the processes and give an opportunity for the public, sponsors, supporters and participants to believe that we have been transparent and accountable. We want to show and prove that we can be objective and manage wantok system, nepotism and any other possible foul play or conflict of interest.

Please bear with us.

We will also publish all the names of all those who sent in entries in the Post Courier next Friday – so look out. On Friday we will also have decisions: on when the finalists will be announced, when the Prize Giving Ceremony will take place and other important information. We will publish these on the news paper too. We initially planned on announcing the winners in December 2017. But this is not feasible anymore. we appologise too for this.

Thank you for your understanding.

We apologise again for the delayed announcement.

Yours sincerely

2017 Volunteer Organising Committee

# Tami Ana

From the Author of Sibona, Emmnauel Peni- A short story from his collection of Short Stories.


Tami:  lol multi tasking with my namba wan:  #cooking, #chatting #Texting  #Instagramming #Liking #happy Faceting #chatting.

Ana:    Shared a page on Climate Change.  Sceptics of climate change also include God fearing Christians. So much for depending on religion to save the day.

Tami was in a good mood, singing and dancing, headphones on, checking his mobile phone and helping his partner, who was cooking for the couple’s evening meal.  Ana was in a good mood too, humming a song, which was on repeat and dancing.  Both continued to check on their mobile phones, send messages, update statuses and chat to each other as they cooked.

Then they each set aside their phones and sat down to eat at the table.  Their phones were visibly active with vibrations and flashing blue lights to confirm delivery of messages or notifications on Facebook.  The phones were placed just beside their plates.  They checked the phones now and again as they ate in silence.

So what did you think of my last post?  Ana asked as she picked up Tami’s empty plate and set it on top of hers.  What should I think of what post? Answered Tami.  Oh you know, the post I tagged you on, on Facebook not long ago, Ana said as she looked searchingly for some important and deeper conversations.

You mean the rape and murder of that young boy in Lae, he asked with indifference.  Are you sure if it’s a boy? He chuckled and then returned to his phone.  You find that funny, do you? Asked Ana with much agitation.  I am sorry; I have so much on my mind! He said and looked seriously at her but for a fraction of a second and then quickly departed the place as he stared into his phone. She gently placed her phone on the table, pushed the chair as loudly as she could, stood up from the chair and placed her hands on her hips.  Her glare was as fierce as a lion who is just about to catch its prey. Is that right, and your page is full of selfies of yourselves, your friends and all other lame posts on Facebook, friends talking about what they ate, the status of their relationships and where they were travelling to. You call all that “so much on my mind?”  Let’s see then, two minutes ago, you posted photos of your trip to Wewak.  The photos were of the hotel, food and beer.  That’s too much on your mind? cried Ana.

Tami looked at her with concern; the smirk that was there on his face was replaced with resignation and guilt.  He placed his phone on the table and stared at it. His shoulders dropped as low as ever but not as low as his ego. Ana could smell the guilt. She stopped and waited for him to say something. The silence between them was constantly broken by Ana’s vibrating phone. Ana ignored it.  Tami had his phone on silent and the blue light was beeping and flashing with intense craving for attention and urgency.

After a while he looked up pleadingly at Ana.  Can I please check my phone again for that post dear, please? he begged, still unsure if he should reach out and pick up his phone.  His yearning and craving to check his phone were unbearable; he was fidgeting, almost choking.  She looked at him, then to the phone, rolled her eyes and stood up, a sad smile broke as she shuffled to the kitchen sink. Would you like a glass of water? she asked as she reached the kitchen.

He reached out swiftly and grabbed the phone, held it with both hands and started checking all his messages and posts and notifications. “Would you, …………” she stopped at the start of her question as she turned and realised that Tami was staring at his phone.  She looked at him sitting there with the phone in both hands, his eyes glued to the phone screen.  A feeling of despair overcame her. It encapsulated her like a grey cloud that appears suddenly and threatens rain.  She held both hands on the edge of the sink in the kitchen and took deep breaths for support as she fought back tears.  She took another huge breath; he looked across and jumped up from his chair. “Found it,” he said as he danced toward her, he lied as he had just started to scroll down the page looking for that particular post.

“It is a boy! A boy?” he exclaimed and stopped to take some time to accept that fact.  Oh my God, this was done by someone completely out of it.  This guy had been on the binge for 3 straight days.  He had marijuana and additional homemade steam.

“There you go, darling see, I was angry, I put an angry face and had the hash tags.  Here look,” and he brought the phone over to her.   #rape, #drugs #alcohol #violence. “ Yiha! yes! You did indeed!” she exclaimed.  He felt the raw sarcasm and it cut through him like a blade.

“Great, then what?” she asked.  “Then what, what else do you want me to say?”  he asked exhaustingly.  “Are you on a mission to be disappointed in me tonight?”  he asked.  She ignored his question.  “I expected you to feel something and talk about solutions. I expected more from you and from all other people posting on that particular thread.  No one seemed to want to do anything.  All they do is say something, use emoticons and then hash tag.  Here look at a couple of these.”

“What’s wrong with hash tagging?  Everyone is doing it;” he started but ended up whispering to himself.

“Let’s see than, how many more posts have you hash tagged?” She brought her phone to him so they both scrolled down from the most recent post.

Hit and run by drunkard Government Employee #drugs, #alcohol #violence.

Policeman Murders wife #drugs #alcohol #violence.

Nun raped during a Peace Ceremony #rape, #drugs #alcohol #violence.

Drunken Youth kills Members of a family over K 5.00   #drugs #alcohol #violence.

Drunk driving PMV driver kills 7 #drugs #alcohol.

Priest caught with Marijuana Destined for Australia   #drugs #alcohol #violence.

PNG: Are We Preserving Our Culture?


Each day, many aspects of PNG culture are lost. The question to each of us is what are we doing to preserve our culture? We may never get back what we lose today. Journalist Scott Waide had a chat with Gary Juffa, one of the most outspoken leaders about PNG culture.

“Papua New Guinea loses aspects its culture daily…many practitioners of ancient cultures, dress, languages, customs, arts and crafts are dying too, taking along with them a rich history and knowledge of their environment, their past, their folklore….much of which are unrecorded…

Oro is trying to revive and preserve the many different ancient cultures….I commissioned the fashioning of these traditional war clubs and purchased several that I intend to use to decorate my home…spears, shields, slings have also been commissioned…to be displayed at the upcoming Oro Tapa Tattoo Festival planned for launching next month and intended to be an annual event promoting Oro culture in its purest traditional form…let us never forget our roots, so that we may know where we are, who we are and where we are going…a people in transition…”

Ikin-yal’s Backyard Revelation – Short Story

Ikin-yal’s Backyard Revelation – Short Story

PNC Goroka
Election campaigns in Papua New Guinea draw large crowds. This is one campaign at PNC Goroka.

Story and picture by Bomai Witne

Why should these people brave the hot sun, to sit and listen to one person? Who is this guy? My thoughts ran wild as I watched from the distance. It was in Goroka town, Papua New Guinea on the weekend.

The speaker had a white stained shirt with long sleeves. The shirt was probably stained with the same betelnut that filled his mouth as he spoke. He puffed one cigarette after another and moved his mobile phone quickly between his mouth and ears. He rambled loudly to someone on the phone. We could only hear his voice.

Each time, he pretended to listen and responded loudly. He wanted everyone around him to hear his conversation. The man was surrounded by a small crowd. Those around him, almost a hundred, controlled their movements and conversations as to not disturb him.

The look on their faces suggested the people in the crowd had neither eaten a proper meal nor slept in the last few days. The sun’s heat was strong enough to hang thick in the air, and melt dirt on these people. The man in the white shirt kept talking for almost two hours. I observed from where I waited. The crowd knew how to wait too. They seemed trained. They chewed betel nut and smoked their rolled tobacco.  The sun’s heat, the sweat and the hunger were not important. The members of this audience would have been good candidates for military or Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. They were showing signs of great loyalty to the man on the phone.

The man demanded the attention of the people after two hours. He told them that he had been talking to his boss in Lae, and added that his assignment to Goroka recently to take a junior public service position was a clever and calculated action by his boss. He said his boss had given him the position so he could stay close to his people and campaign for the 2017 national election. The crowd became alive and cheered. They yelled and laughed. They looked at each other and looked at the hopeful candidate, nodding in agreement. They savored this small ‘insight’ with anticipation. Obviously, they nodded to each other to say all their dedication is paying off.

The man in the white shirt started again on the mobile phone. He stopped between his talk to chew betelnut and puff cigarettes. He pretended to get angry at callers on his phone. He told the crowd, the callers were deliberately disturbing him from talking to his people.

He assured the crowd that he would work at his new post in Goroka for six months and resign to contest the election. The people cheered again. He asked for the team leader of the group to come forth and handed him a K100 cash.

“Go and get some scones and cordial for your people”, the candidate ordered.

“Don’t forget betel nut and brus”, someone in the crowd shouted as the team leader was on his way out.

The candidate called another person from the crowd and handed him a bundle of cash and mentioned that it was for transport and beers for the men who braved the hot sun. The people rose in unison and hugged the candidate. The womenfolk also went up to hug the candidate for the men’s beer money.

As they waited for ‘lunch’ to arrive, the candidate went into a building close to the meeting yard and came out with another man. This second character was dirtier and fatter than himself.  The second man appeared drunk but he was forced him to talk to the crowd. The fat guy introduced himself and gave another K100 to the people and referred to his friend in the white shirt as the ‘right man’ for the job. The people cheered and spoke to each other in their own language.

After a few minutes, a bushy moustache middle aged man with a cowboy hat emerged. He wore a dirty pair of jeans that was rolled to his knees. He introduced himself as the ‘young leader’ of his people and spoke.

“My people are always loyal to whoever they support in election. This is the first time Ikin-yal, a prominent public serviceman invited us to talk to his people, and we are thankful and will always be loyal to them.”

It was only then did I realized that the man in the white shirt was called Ikin-yal, and he was inviting groups of people from his electorate to the backyard of his office to reveal his intention to contest for his electorate in the 2017 Papua New Guinea national election.

Morobe Mural – a Distinct Impression

The Morobe Mural. Picture by Scott Waide

The Morobe Province Mural has left a distinct impression on writer and TV broadcaster Scott Waide’s mind. Here he writes…

The mural of the Morobe province is a magical work of art. The artist who painted this master piece of languages, cultures and personalities definitely had fun doing it.
Just as part of the world is packed into a country with 800 languages and a multitude of distinct cultures, Morobe is a cross section of a the whole of Papua New Guinea. It is the four regions in one landmass.
There are coastal peoples stretching from the border of the Madang province to the Oro province border. The language groups and family links blending, unending in seamless transition from one end of the province to the other. Their many tongues are like words of a song adhering to no particular beat with each, a song unto itself. Malasanga, Karnai, Kinalakna, Migabac and Bugawac, Kate, Yabem…
It is a long band of sandy beaches and rocky, porous coral punctuated by river mouths – some warm, gracious and generous while others cantankerous, moody and unpredictable.
Then the master creator looked to the North to Wasu and paid special attention to the beaches and rivers. Let’s give them a mixture of black and white sandy beaches. Some with bright white pebbles and some with dark sand. It must be like their languages – a cacophony of color and beauty. Let the leatherbacks take refuge there on their way to distant shores.
On the other end of that band of sand beaches, let them be sheltered from the rough seas by the islands of Lababia and her sisters so that the warriors of the Suena, the Zia and the Yekora will also learn how to stand together in times of strife.
In my mind’s eye, I see an artist, a master speaking to his peers – those who created the masterpieces of the Navaho, Sioux and the Inca. Fellow creators, he says. Now that I’ve created what will be known as the Eastern Highlands, let’s take the most nimble and agile bowmen and put them in the highlands of Morobe where Aseki and Menyamya will be.
The ferocity and bravery of the Hamtai, the Menya and the Angaatiha must be matched by nothing less than the towering mountains and the mighty gorges for This is a place not for the faint hearted. They must be hardy enough to survive the rigors of a thousand year journey.
In the distance, the Markham River beckoned. Taking a handful of various colors, he sprinkled them on the valley at the feet of the mighty Sarawaged and the Finisterre. There, the Wampar, the Adzera and the Numanggang were allowed to roam on the flat plains as far as the eye could see.
As the sun darkened on the Zia and set behind the mountains of Wantoat, he left in the hope that this wonderful mural would be given the respect and honor it so deserved.