Papua New Guinea is remarkable in so many ways due to its ongoing connection to its roots and traditional culture. While much of the nation’s inhabitants still rely largely on subsistence farming, once upon a time, before the colonial period, living off the land was all anybody knew. If one could not produce something they needed, they simply traded something they had with someone who could offer something in return. As with any society, over time the nation moved towards an inevitable modern exchange system and PNG evolved from subsistence to a markedly monetary existence. The beginnings of this more modern economy saw the use of shells (among other things such as pig tusks) as the predominant currency and although Papua New Guineans now officially use coins and notes for money, shell currency still plays an integral role in the nation’s culture.
Storytelling is a wonderful gift for both the creator and the listener. Whether it’s telling tales passed down or conceptualising imaginative fictions, stories are to be enjoyed by young and old.
Papua New Guinea has a rich storytelling culture and The Crocodile Prize has increased the hunger for more homegrown literature. The national writing contest encourages creative writing and also provides Papua New Guineans with an opportunity to have their stories recognised and published.
This year, Paga Hill Development Company (PNG) Ltd had the honour of sponsoring the Award for Writing for Children, a category I feel very passionate about. It gives storytellers an exciting opportunity to share tales with younger generations. It also has the ability to spark a greater interest in reading and learning from an early age.
Overwhelmed by the number of entries into the Writing for Children category, The Crocodile Prize Organisation through Keith Jackson, invited us to publish a special edition children’s story book. We gladly extended our sponsorship to assist in publishing and distributing this collection of 33 stories, edited by Ben Jackson, to local schools and libraries in Papua New Guinea. Trickery at the Crocodile Pool and other children’s stories from Papua New Guinea is now available for purchase here.
I am privileged to have been invited to write the foreword for this wonderful collection of tales:
I am proud to present this collection of short stories that have been specifically written for the children of Papua New Guinea by Papua New Guinean writers.
Each story is written from the heart and the book brings to life a unique collection of work to educate children and to ignite an interest in reading and writing from an early age.
This wonderful initiative of the Crocodile Prize Organisation supports written storytelling and contributes to Papua New Guinean culture and national identity.
All the stories in this collection were submitted as part of the Paga Hill Development Company Award for Writing for Children.
Not only does this award encourage writers in Papua New Guinea to cater for a young audience, it also inspires children exposed to their own literature to take a greater interest in reading and writing.
It is a special gift to share homegrown literature with younger generations.
Reading can change our sense of what is possible. It can open up a whole new world of imagination and realisation.
The storytellers in this book are in many ways educators, sharing experiences, cultural values, lessons and wisdom. Every story offers a child an opportunity to learn.
I would like to thank Keith Jackson and the Crocodile Prize Organisation for inviting Paga Hill Development Company to be part of this inspiring initiative.
My hope is that this collection of stories will be widely read in schools and homes, and contribute to existing homegrown literature which encourages children to develop a love of reading and writing.
Gudmundur (Gummi) Fridriksson, is the CEO of Paga Hill Development Company (PNG) Ltd, overseeing the development of Paga Hill Estate, a world-class, master planned estate located in the heart of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Visit Gudmundur Fridriksson’s website: http://www.gudmundurfridriksson.com/ and find out more about the Paga Hill Estate at: http://www.pagahillestate.com
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