Front: James Sabi (DEC), Kay Kalim (DEC), Elton Kaitokai (DEC)
Back: Mark Nizette (DSEWPaC/DEC), Barry Lewis (Track conservation expert)
Photo by Rawena Russell
As part of the Kokoda Initiative, the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), in conjunction with Papua New Guinea's Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) hosts an annual Stakeholder Forum.
The purpose of these annual events is to bring together stakeholders to share knowledge and identify opportunities for cooperation in the Kokoda region. The 2012 Forum was held in Sydney in late March, and DEC will host another Stakeholder Forum in Port Moresby later in 2012.
Kokoda Initiative stakeholders are many and varied. Stakeholder groups include Track communities, tour operators and other tourism providers, Australian and PNG governments (at national, provincial and ward level), staff from the Kokoda Track Authority, military historians and war veterans, the not-for-profit sector, trekkers and academics.
Most of these groups were represented at the 2012 Forum in Sydney, ensuring a wide range of views and lively discussion, with a strong contingent of Papua New Guinean representatives.
The theme of the 2012 Sydney Forum was "The Kokoda Experience" and discussions centred on asking participants what they believe to be the core values of the Kokoda Track. As expected, values differed greatly for each stakeholder group, and the responses will be used to feed into a scoping study for interpretation of the area, with the possibility of developing an interpretation plan in the future.
Interpretation plans provide a way of organising and communicating messages about heritage, and give the audience (such as trekkers and Track communities) a wider understanding of why the site is significant. This can be undertaken through various methods, such as coordinated signage or electronic media.
Dr Linda Young, of Deakin University, ran a session on the opportunities given by interpretation planning and the key steps to undertake.
Kay Kalim (Deputy Secretary, Sustainable Environment Programs, PNG's Department of Environment and Conservation) and Paul Murphy (Assistant Secretary, Heritage North Branch, DSEWPaC) gave an overview of the Kokoda Initiative and delivery partners.
Elton Kaitokai (DEC) giving a presentation on social mapping.
Photo by Rawena Russell
Guest facilitators on the day included Howard Bamsey (Advisor to the Kokoda Initiative), Bill James (author, Field Guide to the Kokoda Track) and James Enage (CEO of the Kokoda Track Authority).
Professor Joan Beaumont (ANU) and Phil McNamara (Network Kokoda) spoke of Kokoda with respect to military history. Dr Andrew Moutu (PNG Museum) presented on PNG's cultural heritage, while James Sabi (PNG's Department of Environment and Conservation) spoke about the natural and environmental values of the region.
Leith Isaac (PNG's Tourism Promotion Authority) presented on current PNG tourism activities and marketing, and Rod Hillman (Advisor to the Kokoda Track Authority) discussed the value of trekking and tourism to the region.
With respect to the sustainability of the Kokoda Initiative's objectives, Ruben Maleva (Chair of the Kokoda Track Authority and landowner) gave a presentation on community needs in the region, and Elton Kaitokai (from PNG's Department of Environment and Conservation) spoke about the findings of a social mapping project in the area, which will be used to identify landowners and enter into an ongoing dialogue about their views and needs.
David Moffat also spoke about the 'Lost Battlefields Project' which provides learnings in terms of working with the community to protect an area of cultural and historical significance.
Mark Nizette (DSEWPaC) chaired the event and also spoke of 'Sustaining the Kokoda experience into the future'. Perhaps the key message from the forum was that the sustainability of the Kokoda Initiative lies with landowners' and communities' satisfaction with the benefits delivered by tourism, and their ownership of the program.
- Interpretation Planning - Dr Linda Young (PDF - 1.07 MB) | (Word - 34 KB)
- The Kokoda Initiative - Kay Kalim and Paul Murphy (PDF - 1.02 MB) | (Word - 33 KB)
- Military Values - Prof Joan Beaumont (PDF - 252 KB) | (Word - 30 KB)
- Military Heritage - Philip McNamara (PDF - 344 KB) | (Word - 30 KB)
- Natural Values - James Sabi (PDF - 1.45 MB) | (Word - 34 KB)
- PNG Tourism - Leith Isaac (PDF - 1.05 MB) | (Word - 31 KB)
- Tourism in the Track region - Rod Hillman (PDF - 331 KB) | (Word - 33 KB)
- Social Mapping - Elton Kaltokai (PDF - 905 KB) | (Word - 34 KB)
- Sustaining the Kokoda experience - Mark Nizette (PDF - 506 KB) | (Word - 32 KB)
- Forum summary - Mark Nizette (PDF - 78 KB) | (Word - 30 KB)
(Note: not all presenters used Powerpoint presentations).
For further information and a summary of the group discussions, see the Forum Minutes: