40 years in the Pacific
By Caleb Jarvis As a young boy growing up in Papua New Guinea (PNG), every Saturday Dad would drive up a windy road that overlooked 2-Mile settlement in Port Moresby, where people went about their daily lives. Looking out the window of our 1978 Toyota Corolla as we climbed the hill, the vibrant colours and the glistening tropical waters are forever etched in my memory. Dad and I were on our way to Taurama to collect the international newspapers and a Phantom comic, which arrived every week from Australia. As we reached our destination, there was a mass of people and all I could see was blood splattered all over the walls and across the road. Seeing the terror on my face, my father calmly explained that is was the stain from buai (betel nut) chewing and not to be concerned. PNG was certainly an exciting place to spend my childhood years. Having worked in the Pacific for more than 25 years, I have returned often to Port Moresby and marvelled at the bustling modern city it has become. The developments in the broader region have also been huge, particularly over the past ten years.
As Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year, it’s an ideal time to reflect on how these developments will shape the next 40 years of trade and investment in the Pacific.
Below are what I see as some of the greatest changes in the past 40 years, and what the next 40 years must bring for the Pacific to grow and meet its enormous potential.
The changing nature of connectivity
The Pacific once felt isolated. Now it’s more mobile and global than ever before. When my family operated its business in PNG there was no internet or mobile phones and two-way radios were the norm for communication.
According …read more