Friday, 20 February 2015

I have a date!

3 March.

10 days away.

10 days to spend with family. 240 hours left being in the same country as Dan. One more chance to see my nephew as a two-year-old. And then I will be 4447 kilometres away from home, forging a new chapter in my life.

To be completely frank, I'm absolutely terrified. And strangely, not of what I will find once I get to Buka, but rather of leaving those I love behind. Of course I will be back before I know it, and of course it's the initial departure that is the hardest. But that doesn't negate the fact that leaving my family and Dan and friends intermittently feels like a knife in my stomach.

However...while I can admit the difficulty in leaving, there are many things to look forward to. I'm excited to miss the Wellington winter and live in perpetual summer for the next year. I'm excited to learn a new language and participate in a new culture. I'm excited to cook new foods and explore new places. I think the thing I am most excited about is being in a place so rich with history, in which trust and reconciliation are being rebuilt each day by people determined to create a safe and peaceful future. The Bougainvillean Civil War killed up to 20,000 people, roughly 8.5% of the population, and created deep divides between Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, as well as within the small island community itself. 

Kids hang around a PMG (Peace Monitoring Group) vehicle during reconciliation ceremony, Bougainville, PNG 1999. Photo: Ben Bohane /
The archival project I will be working on in the Division of Media and Communications for the ABG aims to restore and record historical documents from the conflict period, as well as assisting the digitisation of government records in Bougainville. Hopefully, increased efficiency in records management will contribute to good governance in the region, resulting in more effective government services to the community as well as in the lead-up to the impending referendum for independence from Papua New Guinea. While archives can sound dull to some people, I think that this particular context makes it actually pretty fascinating!

Having said all this, I don't even have the details for my itinerary yet. I am picking my contract up on Tuesday, and will have my flight details by then hopefully. I will be leaving Wellington on 1 March to go home to Auckland until I fly out. Stay tuned for the journey ahead... 10 more days!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

This crazy idea turned in to a reality...

Kia ora whanau,

I've been offered my dream job! In March 2015 I will be leaving Aotearoa to live and work in Buka, Bougainville for a 10 month assignment with Volunteer Services Abroad (VSA)

Given that internet is ridiculously expensive in PNG, I've created this blog so that you all know what I'm up to, and so that I can share my experiences and learning curves in a more in depth way than Facebook allows. Some of you may know that I already have a blog ( However, I haven't written regularly or seriously on Passion In A Name in quite a while. Plus, it's a very old blog and I feel like this is a new year and a new adventure. Therefore, this will be my primary blog.

My assignment in Buka is with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) in Records and Archives Management. Following the civil war of the 1990's, the Bougainville Peace Agreement provided the Bougainvillean people the right to a referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea. The date of this referendum is subject to the implementation of a weapons disposal plan and the ABG achieving an appropriate standard of 'good governance'. The records management system being implemented by the ABG, with the assistance of VSA volunteers, is a key step in establishing good governance in Bougainville and moving towards independence.

So, I will soon be travelling forth to a fascinating and beautiful island in the wider Pacific. I am simultaneously apprehensive, excited, terrified and ecstatic. Thank you for your support, and follow this blog if you want to hear about how I go once I actually get to Buka!