Celebrations started on September 13th and ended on the 16th at the Bogia Administration centre.
It was an initiative by the Member for Bogia to revive the unity and the joyful culture of the Bogia people and to encourage development in the district. In the past, celebrations such as Independence Day, sports carnivals and choir festivals were only hosted by schools.
“For a long time now, our district has been labelled as a trouble area with law and order issues. Say if you visit the Beon Prison now you will see that it is full of people from Bogia because we have a serious law and order issue in the district,” local MP Robert Naguri said.
“I started all these gatherings since 2017 Christmas season and then last year during the independence celebrations, than later Christmas celebrations and now this independence celebrations. This is an effort to bring us all together. When Bogia district comes together, we come together to start to change the mindset of people. We will encourage them to consider their life and their lifestyle.
“So this celebration is to unite the district, our three LLGs; Iabu, Almami and Yawar. When we are united then we can contribute to the government’s development.
“We can spend so much money, but if we are not united then there will be no development. With unity our district will prosper.”
Despite the disunity among the Manam Islanders and a few mainlanders in recent years, this 44th independence celebrations overlooked differences and disappointments. People from all walks of life came together with one mind; to bring unity once more.
Anthony Koring, a local landowner from Bogia and the headmaster of St. Mary’s Bieng Primary School on Manam Island, expressed how impressed he was with the assistance from the District Development Authority and the Member.
“This is a very important event for Bogia. For a very long time we did not hold such celebrations.”
He further pointed out a number of recent changes in the district, including in infrastructure as well as law and order.
“Us coming from the three LLGs, we are very happy to see each other to celebrate our cultural diversity in traditional singsing together. Through his (Naguri) leadership and the DDA, my school has received assistance for restoration of classrooms which were damaged during the volcanic eruption since 2014,” stated Koring.
It was an inclusive celebration leaving no one behind. There were a lot of local traditional groups as well as from other provinces such as Jiwaka women singsing group and Manus dancers who added colour to the event.
The celebrations continued into 16th September, the actual 44th anniversary of the country’s independence.