Introducing … Gima Kilamanu-Naime at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, South Australia

The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia was asked by the prestigious Prince Alfred College in Adelaide to assist in facilitating two presentations on Papua New Guinea on 14 August 2018. The school wanted to engage their junior school boys in a different culture, extending the interest of their students. It was wonderful to see their interest in PNG, recognising PNG as Australia’s nearest neighbour.

Jan Kleinig of our PNGAA South Australian group was asked to assist and she engaged with the PNG Association of South Australia who are in contact with PNG international students studying their Masters in Adelaide universities.

The presenter was representing both Papua New Guinea and the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia too. It was important that they could speak confidently and entertainingly about Papua New Guinea – and that they understood the background and goals of the PNGAA.

To our delight Gima Kilamanu-Naime stepped up to the challenge so we’ve asked Gima to share his story with us. Gima was asked to give 2 x 40 minute presentations at 9am and 10am. The boys were fascinated with his story – what he found challenging or easy growing up in PNG, differences he found travelling to different countries, and what he is passionate about, any why.

The theme ‘Treasures of our Community’ covered culture, food, life in PNG and language.

Tell us a little about yourself Gima – where are you from?

I am from the Central Province in Papua New Guinea and I am married with three boys and the eldest is 6 years old. My Dad is from Kalo which is South East of Port Moresby and my Mom is from Pinu Village, North West of Port Moresby. I did my primary school, year 1-7 in PNG. And did 7-8 in Wollongong High School in NSW. I then went to a high school in New Zealand called Nelson College (for boys) and went straight to year 11. I did year 11,12,13 which was also called Form 5,6,7. I returned to PNG and did my Undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. I worked at Telikom PNG for the last 10 years before coming to Adelaide. I have been to China, India, Singapore, and New Zealand but I would like to travel more.

How did you come to attend high school in Australia and New Zealand?

It was a blessing that started with my mother pursuing further studies. My mother had enrolled to do her MBA at the University of Wollongong and my sister and I were fortunate enough to join her. We attended high school there and enjoyed every bit. Just towards the end of my mother’s degree, we applied to go to New Zealand under Aotearoa Scholarship and were successful. It was three years before we return back to Papua New Guinea.

After working for 10 years, what has inspired you to apply for a post graduate scholarship in Australia? Can you also tell us about your course?

After reaching ten years of working, I felt that I needed to make a choice about what I wanted to do for the years after this. I had always been interested in technology, but starting a business was one of those interests that had become a goal. I also was interested to learn how to take ideas and turn them into successful ventures whether in the office or as a business. These aspirations formed the main reason behind the degree that I chose. I also have a young family and this step to pursue further studies would open greater possibilities for us in the future.

Who sponsors the scholarship and what does the scholarship cover?

The Australian Award Scholarship is a prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian Government. The scholarship provides an opportunity for Papua New Guineans to study in Australia to better themselves through studying at world class education institutes while living and enjoying life in Australia. The scholarship covers tuition fees and a stipend to cover expenses such as food, rent, transport and pocket money.

Do you know how many PNG students are on scholarships in Adelaide?

I don’t know actually but its more than 20 in South Australia.
Is your family in Australia with you? My family is not with me at the moment which is one of the hard part of being on the scholarship. But there is every opportunity to bring your family down. I will be travelling back to PNG to visit them this festive season.

How do you hope that the scholarship will help you?

The scholarship has already helped me in many ways including changing my view of the goals. The course that I have enrolled in has challenged me to think differently and in new ways. I have also tried to attend networking events held around the city such as Adelaide Blockchain, Adelaide Students Toastmasters, and others which help you build your outlook about things.

Are there any challenges you have faced coming to live in Australia?

The most challenging part is being away from family even more than winter. I had never been away for this long and that put stress on my wife and children but they have done extremely well and are supportive of me. My mum and sister have also been very supportive and it helps when you know your family is behind you. I have also family in Adelaide and that has surely made it easier.

What have you enjoyed most about this study opportunity?

I have had the opportunity to meet new people and even made new friends. I tried new food and enjoyed walks along the beach. There are still many things I have yet to try and that makes it more exciting. Also I hope to bring my son and share this experience with him and I know that, that will be a great time.

What are your dreams for the future?

Gima, Ethan, Spencer, Christian and Deanne Kilamanu-Naime

Ea The biggest dream is to start a business that can both help people and be sustainable at the same time back in PNG. Having gone through most of the first year of the course, that dream is a lot clearer and more importantly I am learning how to make it a reality. My family is very important and to have something setup for us and using the knowledge and skills I have and will acquire is well worth the time we spend away from each other. But also I want my children to also know that they can achieve whatever they set out to do.

Can you think of opportunities where your course in Innovation and Entrepreneurship might develop the current relationship between Australia and PNG?

In this course, one of the studies I find very interesting is how entrepreneurial opportunities come about and how they are exploited by entrepreneurs. And although there are many perspectives about entrepreneurship, it may either start with someone recognizing a need in a market and organizing the resources to exploit it or someone exploring how the market responds to something and adjusts to grow that response if its good (Alvarez & Barney 2007)*. It all starts with an idea, and some sort of action. Young Papua New Guineans are starting to take action to explore entrepreneurial opportunities using the internet and I believe this will only grow and expand. By partnering with young entrepreneurs in Australia, we can look to solve issues that many countries are facing because those issues are what we are facing in PNG, such as financial inclusion, online education systems and even renewable energy systems. I believe there is great opportunity for entrepreneurial adventures to stem out of partnerships between Australia and Papua New Guinea especially for young people.

*Alvarez, SA & Barney 2007, ‘Discovery and creation: alternative theories of entrepreneurial action’, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Vol 1, No. 1-2, pp 11-26

The PNGAA appreciated you helping the association with this presentation. Can you tell us how you structured it for the boys please?

I wanted to give the best I could so my plan was:

1) Do a 20 mins powerpoint presentation.
a) General Introduction, Location, Population, Independence Day,
b) Culture – we talked about 5 different groups of People in Papua New Guinea
c) Language – I showed a group how to say good morning in my mother’s language
Abadi – ‘gaba gaba nonoa’ which means ‘good morning’
d) Life – shared a bit about chores and hunting wallabies at the grasslands around Pinu Village.
e) Food
2) Questions and Answer time (10 mins)
3) Pass around some PNG objects and talk about them (10 mins)

Can you tell us a little about what you spoke with them about and what artefacts you showed them?

Thanks to the generous PNG families in Adelaide, I was able to show a Kundu drum from Central Province and some Sepik masks, a garamut drum (log drum) as well as bilums and baskets. We talked about what the Kundu drum was made from and how the central men played different beats to signal the start or end of the dance.
The most intriguing artefact that the boys had a lot to say about was the Sepik wood pillow carving. They couldn’t believe that someone could sleep on a wooden carving and thus went on to provide many suggestions for me to take back to the Sepik people including using leaves bunched up together instead. The boys got to pass around some shell jewellery as well used as part of traditional attire for dances.

What do you think the boys at Prince Alfred College found most interesting about PNG?

I tried to also show that Papua New Guinea had lots of different cultures and languages and how the people can look very different from each other but still be from Papua New Guinea. A good example was showing how different the Central province people looked from the people of Bougainville. We also looked at several different videos of dances from Manus to the Tari Wigmen. I think the boys enjoyed the brief presentation of how diverse their nearest neighbouring country is.

The presentation went very well I thought. The boys seemed interested as they asked a lot of questions which was great. Very intelligent boys and I believe the videos of the different dances and different artefacts that were there were also helpful.

Gima, the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia was privileged to have your help with this presentation and we wish you all the best for your future success.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.