PNG sign agreement to allow students study in New Zealand

 FIRST year law student Gibson Gibe from Tari burst into the hallowed council chamber of New Zealand’s Victoria University yesterday morning performing the famous Huli jump, complete with paint, malo and kundu. 
The high pitched chant, normally from a multiple of voices, was alone on this day but lost neither its haunting appeal that has delighted audiences worldwide nor its genuine cultural attachments which grounds it in Hela.  
Then from outside the chamber, a long female voice cried in Hiri Motu: “Edihoro Manubada”.  
Eli Mada, of Barakau, complete with Motuan skirt, paint and miniature lagatoi  entered the chamber with a swishing grass skirt. 
Master in public policy student and Barakau lass, Mada had broken her fast and was dancing to signal the arrival, not of a lagatoi after a long journey as her descendants did in the tradition of the Hiri trade, but Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who bore tidings that would bring her and many others in PNG much more than sago and betel nut.
Assisted by fellow Pacific islanders, the small PNG student community of just eight put on a colourful and emotional welcome ceremony for O’Neill  and his entourage which heralded a new future which when more students from PNG will enter this prestigious university which is second to none in the country for research and academic excellence.
O’Neill was guest of honour at the university to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the university and the Commission of Higher Education to pave the way for Papua New Guinea doctoral students to complete education at Victoria.
It is an initiative of the Victoria University which is willing to pay tuition fees for PNG doctoral students with the PNG Government picking up accommodation and boarding costs.
The university’s vice chancellor Pacifica Luamanuvao Winnie Laban drove this initiative and visited all the six universities in PNG and the relevant ministers to seal the deal.
The deal was signed by vice-chancellor Prof Pat Walsh of Victoria University and the director general of PNG Commission for Higher Education Prof David Kavanamur.
Students gave an excellent rendition of Barike’s Wan Kantri and performed songs and dances from Samoa and Tonga.

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