Wau-Waria dusts off neglect

On Friday, March 15th, Wau-Waria opened a new police duplex, welcomed four new police vehicles and four firearms. They have also signed a memorandum of understanding for police reservists to boost manpower in the district.

During the gold rush of the 1920s and 30s, in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Wau was a thriving town in Morobe.


According to a publication in ‘The Polynesian Society’ by Daniele Moretti, the large-scale mining industry ground to a halt just when independence was approaching. Most of the expatriates left the Wau township, leaving behind their houses and infrastructure, including shops, clinics and well-maintained roads.


Years of neglect, however, saw Wau dwindle to a shell of a once-booming economy.


The new local Member for Wau-Waria, Marsh Narewec, is determined to restore the pride of Morobe, starting with law and order.


From their district services improvement program funding, K3 million was committed to law and order.


“That includes the building of the new police duplex, upgrading of this police station, including the cellblocks. We only have male cellblock. According to the United Nations standard, you have to have juvenile cellblock and also women’s cellblock. So, we will build juvenile and women cellblocks as well.


“We have some reserved police officers that have outstanding allowances; we also sorted them out. We bought new firearms and new police uniforms for the officers.


“We did the ground-breaking for the new police accommodation; we will continue to build accommodation until we cover all this area with police houses. This will be what we call a ‘law and justice precinct’, or sector, for Wau-Waria district.”


Narewec said they are strengthening their foundation at Wau before moving on to Garaina and Waria.


The district is looking to construct a courthouse this year as well, with Narewec urging the Morobe Provincial Government to give them the K1 million that was budgeted for their district.


“Maybe after the courthouse we will look at building a rural lockup so that we complete the full law and order cycle; you commit a crime, you get arrested, you have a temporary lockup, then you face judgement and if you are found guilty then you go to the lockup. So, when we have the complete system of law and order in the district then we will be addressing law and order. Otherwise, it’s still broken, the system is not complete.”


As it is, the liquor ban that was enforced in 2023 still remains, with Narewec saying it will be in force until he sees some change in people’s mindsets.


The event on Friday was attended by Police Minister, Peter Tsiamalili Jnr, representatives from the Morobe provincial administration and Wau-Waria’s development partner, the PNG Forest Authority.



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