Archive for January, 2007

In 2006, Oxfam started working with some local health, women’s and youth groups in Tari who were concerned to try and reduce violence in and around their town. After a State of Emergency was declared in September, there was a fear that police would enter communities to seize weapons by force. So the civil society groups worked together with the community police in Tari to encourage the peaceful surrender of weapons and no police raids took place. Since the emergency, security in Tari has improved markedly; a road project is now underway and services are being restored (banking, post office). Still basic education and healthcare are apparently abysmal and Tari is pushing for the establishment of a separate Hela province to try and improve access to services. I went to PNG to meet with these and other groups to plan Oxfam’s research and advocacy into gun violence prevention. This photo shows James Palona from Tari Urban Youth Group (left) and Joseph Worai, who runs Community Based Health Care from Tari.

I spent New Year’s 2007 in Gisborne in the North Island’s East Cape at a Rhythm and Vines party on a vineyard together with 18,000 drunken kids. I drove up from Wellington with an old friend Michelle Snater and we camped at the site the night before the party started. We spent the day collecting signatures on a petition to make trade fair before the kids got too drunk. Once the sun went down my Oxfam colleague Kirsty took the petitions over the stage where we showed them to the audience and then attached them to balloons to be released in a dawn ceremony.