Troy ‘Jungaji’ Brady
From Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea, Ben Hakalitz has had a diverse musical career spanning over thirty-five years.
As a drummer and percussionist he toured worldwide with international artists such as Yothu Yindi, Sanguma and Tribe Of Jubal. A well respect studio musician, producer and performer, he has also worked with George Telek, Not Drowning Waving, Drum Drum, Tamabaran Culture and Henry ‘Seaman’ Dan.
Along with his varied work in theatre and film, he performed at the Closing Ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and in the opening acts for the Australian tours of Bon Jovi, Kylie Minogue and Carlos Santana.
For his many contributions to Australian society via music, Ben Hakalitz was awarded an Australia Centenary Medal for services to the Australian community.
Bougainville and East New Britain
Bougainville is the largest island in the Bougainville Autonomous Region of Papau New Guinea. It is mountainous and forested with substantial rainfall. Geographically it is part of the archipelago and ecological region of the Solomon Islands but politically part of Papua New Guinea.
It has been inhabited for many millennia by Austronesian peoples, with the first European colonial contact by the French explorer Louis de Bougainville in 1768. At the turn of the 20th century it has within the German colonial empire as part of German New Guinea. During World War One it was occupied by Australia and was incorporated into the Australian Territory of New Guinea in the 1920s.
During World War Two it was the site of fierce fighting between Japanese and Allied forces and after the end of hostilities Australia resumed control.
It was incorporated in 1949 into the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, but Bougainville mounted a bid for independence when Australia declared Papua New Guinea independent in 1975. However, the goal of independent status failed to gain international recognition and in 1976 it and nearby Buka Island became part of Papua New Guinea, albeit with some provisions for self-governance.
Due to conflict over large scale copper and gold mining activities by the multinational mining company Rio Tinto at the Panguna Mine and the subsequent distribution of mining royalties, between 1988 and 1998 there was a civil war. It lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives and devastated the island’s infrastructure and social life because of the protracted hostilities and a wide-ranging blockade. Eventually, in 2001 a peace agreement was signed.
Along with Indigenous languages, many Bougainvillians speak Tok Pisin as the main language of communication, with English also used as an official language for governmental and business purposes.
Another region of Papua New Guinea with distinct cultures is the eastern area of New Britain Island. Known officially is East New Britain it is a province of Papua New Guinea with its capital at Kokopo, which is located near to the volcano-destroyed city of Rabaul. Rabaul had been a key administrative, economic and education centre for the region. The Tolai people are one of the province’s Indigenous groups and maintain strong connections to their culture especially in music, dance and art works.