Kokoda Track Authority

KTA welcomes review

The review will be conducted in response to complaints and issues raised by the landowners along the Kokoda Track.

Chairman of Kokoda Track Authority James Enage said the Authority proposed to the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government in 2014 for a review to be conducted.

The call for the review is purposely to strengthen the Kokoda Track Authority’s governance and administration and importantly to improve services and benefit sharing amongst communities and landowner groups along the Kokoda Track.

Kokoda Track Authority review starts

The review comes under the Special Purposes Authority and administered by the Ministry and Department.

The Kokoda Track Authority was established under section 42 of the Local Level Government Administration Act 1997.

It aims to help implement projects and manage benefits derived from the Kokoda Trail to best serve the communities and villages along the track, both in Central and Northern provinces.

“Over the years we have received a lot of complaints from landowners and respective players to review the arrangement,” explained Minister Isifu.

Kokoda Track reopened

The track was shut down by angry villagers along the track over issues of development and spin-off benefits.

For the last 2 weeks, Koiari villagers along the Kokoda Track have been camping at Depo village, the gateway of the track.

The track has been a tourism product for over 2 decades, attracting international and local tourists but villagers say there is nothing to show for.

Locals add there hasn’t been any improvement in their standard of living and health and education services are still lacking.

Kokoda Trail blocked off

The turnoff at Depo, leading to Ower’s Corner, has been blocked with empty drums and a banner announcing the closure.

The blockade, placed on Sunday (February 4), follows the lack of response from the Government in relation to grievances raised via an advertisement in one of the dailies last month (January 24, pp26).

In the advertisement, the Kokoda Track Landowners’ Task Force Committee said they have been “economically suppressed, oppressed and exploited under the Kokoda Initiative Program for the last 10 years”.

Kokoda Track operations to be tightened

Tkatchenko said the alleged incident that happen at the Kokoda trail was because KTA were conned into issuing the two expatiate couples trek permits to walk the 96km track.  

“They con their way into so that is the problem, we will look into KTA.  

“So we must prevent it happening again in the future, that is why will be doing a review of Kokoda Track Authority.

“Because if the permit were not issued, and cross checks and balance were taken seriously they will not have trekked the Kokoda Track.

Kokoda incident must be challenged in court, says former KTA boss

Last week, Mattew Iovane and American Michelle alleged accounts were flashed on a London newspaper front page with the headline, “Kidnapped by cannibals: Brit and girlfriend stripped, beaten and tortured by Papua New Guinea tribe.” 

In an interview with Loop PNG, Bartlett the owner of Sogeri Lodge said legal challenge should be pushed against the couples.

Attacked tourists travel was private

Michael O'Kave KTA Operations and Safety Manager told media that the couple did not go through a licensed operator to pick guides but made private arrangements with other guides on the ground.

O'Kave says the KTA has policies in place that flag such arrangements adding that for now they will help facilitate for the suspects to be brought over. He clarified  that the trip that led to the incident failed in terms of arrangements as it did not meet vital safety criteria.