Kokoda Track Authority (KTA)

Kokoda Track Landowners Unite

This event aimed to resolve escalating tensions among local landowners who had blocked access to the historic Kokoda Track. The barricade, erected by villagers, was at a key checkpoint for trekkers.

The ceremony was attended by key figures, including KTA board members, local village leaders, Oro Provincial Administrator Trevor Megei, and representatives from the Papua New Guinea Tourism Authority (TPA). The gathering underscored a renewed commitment to community unity and development.

Foreign tour firms put on notice

President, Kila Sibolo, has declared that foreign firms who do not comply with PNG law, who do not meet their financial obligations to campsite owners, and who do not provide for the welfare of guides and porters will no longer be tolerated.

“KTTDA is a landowner-based association established to ensure our village communities across the Kokoda Trail receive their fair share of benefits and opportunities from Kokoda tourism,” said Sibolo.

“We have used the COVID shutdown period to review past practices and we were shocked at what we found.

Women Rangers Break Barrier

However, despite this special role, the ranks of the Kokoda Track rangers have been historically male dominated.

This gender barrier has been shattered by four women with a common interest in preserving the history, culture and environment of the iconic trail.

Nido Inara, Stella Kanawi, Julie Fred and Tracey Havala are among a cadre of new rangers recruited by the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) through the Ranger Capacity Development Project. The project is supported by the Kokoda Initiative, which is a partnership between the Australian and PNG governments.

Increasing safety along Kokoda Track

The Kokoda Track Authority and other key PNG agencies accompanied Papua New Guinean and Australian defence personnel to inspect key Kokoda Track river crossings to identify a site for a new permanent bridge that will increase safety for local communities and trekkers.

The scoping team included Kokoda Track Authority chief executive Julius Wargirai, National Museum and Art Gallery director Dr Andrew Moutu, CEPA Hydrographer John Ari, and Colonel James Kidd – Head of Australian Defence Staff.

Kokoda Track to be maintained

The agreement between the PNG and Queensland government is part of an extended memorandum of understanding to increase cooperation in tourism, environment and conservation.

Acting KTA CEO Julius Wargirai said the partnership was initiated in 2017 to share skills and experiences between Papua New Guinean and Australian rangers.

“PNG and Australia share many common challenges in conserving and managing protected areas and forests, while also balancing the needs of tourists and local people,” Wargirai said.

Cancel annual KTA trip to Australia: Veteran trekker

Major Charlie Lynn says the annual KTA ‘junket’ to Brisbane for a Tour Operators Forum on November 27th, 2019, should be cancelled and the venue switched to Port Moresby.

“The agenda for the forum is currently irrelevant to the reality of the Kokoda trekking industry,” said Lynn, who is the Adventure Kokoda founder and a former Australian soldier and politician who was inducted as an Officer of the Logohu by the PNG Government in 2015.

Scholarship scheme for Kokoda children

Papua New Guinea Special Purpose Authority, the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA), and international development NGO, the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF), have teamed up to fund the parent contribution project fees for more than 1,850 primary school students from all eligible KTA wards along and around the Kokoda Track.

Working together on Kokoda Track

This is the first of a series of projects where Queensland rangers will join with KTA rangers and local communities in a capacity-building arrangement. Rangers and communities will share and apply knowledge and skills to protect the fabric of this historic place and make the Kokoda Track safer for trekkers and local people who use it every day.

QPWS Ranger Dave Fuller said it was an honour to learn local land management techniques from KTA rangers and members of the community directly.

PNG-Queensland rangers to work together

This follows the signing in Brisbane of a memorandum of understanding between the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS).

Environment Minister John Pundari said the work that the rangers will undertake, carried out in steep terrain and wet conditions, will not be easy but will be very rewarding.