Sunday, August 30, 2009

The email exchanges between me and Bruce Copeland

Below are some of the email exchanges between Kokoda Trail “Trek leader and Military advisor” Bruce Copeland and me yesterday.

I leave it to you good people of Australia and Papua New Guinea to make your own judgement.




From: Bruce Copeland [] Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 11:42 AM
To: malum nalu; Aaron Hayes; big pat; Bill James; bill shorten; charlie lynn; David Baker; duncan chessell; ecosystems melanesia; Frank Kolma (new); frank taylor; gorethy kenneth; John Miles; kerry.willson wilson; kevan smith; kokoda trekking; kokoda trekking; kokoda track; kokoda trekking; maureen gerawa; noel pascoe; ray baker(backtrack); reg renagi; ruth dicker; simon eroro; Simon Hart; tim noroads; Valker Scholz; Wayne Wetherall; warren bartlett; Wesley Raminai; Gail Thomas
Subject: A series on gay/lesbian AusAID advisors


At last dear chap, you are going to do a series on AusAID gays and lesbians who banned AIDS Holistics in 1992 and blocked in 1995.
 My residential status is known / ignored in high places.
It is actually on my website. You are out of your depth mate. My AIDS awareness campaign is seen to be more important and small boy journalists should know that.
 Write an article on the subject. I have made a statement in this email to be quoted. You only know about this by reading my website along with everyone else. The nation knows and does not care.
Bruce Copeland

Subject: RE: Never to trek with PNG operators
Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2009 11:06:59 +1000



Trek with a bunch of tax cheats?

 And you, Bruce, are an illegal alien who has no valid visa to reside or work in Papua New Guinea in whatever capacity, including “Trek leader and Military advisor” as you like to call yourself!

 And I might add “HIV/AIDS Advisor” to that list.


From: Bruce Copeland [] Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 10:32 AM
To: Aaron Hayes; andy ng (new); big pat; Bill James; bill shorten; charlie lynn; daniel korimbao; David Baker; duncan chessell; ecosystems melanesia; Frank Kolma (new); frank taylor; gorethy kenneth; John Miles; kerry.willson wilson; kevan smith; kokoda trekking; kokoda trekking; kokoda track; kokoda trekking; maureen gerawa; noel pascoe; ray baker(backtrack); reg renagi; ruth dicker; simon eroro; Simon Hart; tim noroads; Valker Scholz; Wayne Wetherall; warren bartlett; Wesley Raminai; malum nalu
Subject: Never to trek with PNG operators


Malum Nalu
I would like to explain why I would never trek with a village Kokoda group, except perhaps one - either as a trekker or team leader. At least an expatriate team leader may indicate serious involvement by the village trek operator.
 In Australia, I have learned by bitter experience never to deal with any group calling itself a company without an address that I or an agent can visit. An address like Kokoda Fuzzy Wuzzy Trekking is not a proper address "C/- Kokoda Trekking Authority".
 I would never deal with a company with only an email address. They could take my hard earned money and never be heard of again. They could pop up again as Eora Creek Trekking to try the same stunt again.
 I would not deal with a company that does not respond promptly to enquiries. I would not be in interested at all in waiting 2 months for someone to wander down from a village to check their e-mail.
 They may arrive two months late when we are waiting at Port Moresby. Some trek leaders are seen at the email shops. But they are mainly working for Australian trek operators.
 I would be afraid that their porters would not arrive at the start point in time. Village trekking companies may not have a policy of flying their porters.
 I would not deal any company that does not indicate a ready supply of trekking equipment maintained and in good repair ready to start. That includes tents, back packs and communications.
 We will not even talk of whether or not the village trek leader knows anything about the war. It is a common furphy that the grandsons of the fuzzy wuzzy angels are experts on military history. Not true.
 I once listened to one such leader telling the trekkers of the massive battle on Lake Myola in which 2000 Japanese and Australians were killed. The Aussies retreated across the lake.
 Those are the reasons why I would never trek with a village group. At least the Australian groups have a reputation to preserve. Some are the key group in a provincial or urban area.
 I would trek with Aussie groups with a PNG trek leader but never with a PNG group. I speak from 15 years of experience in PNG. With the unknown village trekking groups too much can go wrong.
Who is going to trek to the village to get their money back? The process will be for budding trek owners to work for an Australian trekking company and learn the ropes for many years.
 And learn that PNG time is not acceptable. The cargo cult mentality does not apply to trekking. Trekkers do not just fall out of the sky with money for descendants of fuzzy wuzzy angels. They are not diverted by the Australian trekking groups stealing trekkers with their computers and emails.
Bruce Copeland

Subject: Australians not paying tax to PNG & Australia
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 00:50:16 +0000

Malum Nalu,
My friend Reg says I am to make peace with you. But I had thought we were already at peace. I have long admired the stories of colonial times that you write.
 But you are off the deep end with Kokoda Trekking. Today you wrote a report on the effort of my friend Aaron Hayes and by arrangement of paragraphs, implied that he had set up the Trekking Association because of the illegal action of Australian companies in not paying tax to Australia and PNG.
That is getting cheeky.
 You and Eroro appealing to the basest of cargo cult mentality by which the goodies are going to fall from the sky if villagers build airstrips and light flares.
 But on Kokoda there are going to be Australian trekkers/money falling from the sky and all is needed is a computer and email. Aaron does not say that. But he is seeking to lift standards of village trekking groups even if it harms his own trek group.Like me, he identifies with the village needs.
 Village trekking groups are in increasing numbers. They have been making their email address that of KTA. Intending Aussie trekkers are not going to send an email and wait for someone to wander in from a village to respond.
 I am sure that most Kokoda village groups have never had a trek. And they blame the Australians. Cargo cultists blamed the whiteman for diverting the great white birds carrying the cargo from heaven.
 There is much to running a trekking group. There is need for marketing in Australia. There is need for tents and back packs to be wasked after every trek, stored in Port Moresby and not stolen by wantoks.
 There is need for collecting money from the trekkers, arranging air flights, confirming bookings, arranging transport to and from hotels and arranging porters to be where they are supposed to be. Profits do not come out until bills are paid.
 If large numbers of village trekking groups are running, there will be problems weekly in the trekking season. Trekkers will be left stranded in Port Moresby and Kokoda. There may be fights on the track between Oro and Koiari groups.
 And last but not least, there would be few village trek leaders who have any idea about the war from an Australian view. They would know little about the detail of what happened where.
 ”Ahh, Australians fought the Japanese here".
 They would have to rely on the trekkers having done their own study. But even those trekkers need to have the books related to the ground. Some trekkers come just for the trek. They can contact a village trek group.
 There is a big difference between Australians forming a PNG company and registering their Australian company. There is also double-tax agreements between Australia and PNG. Will PNG trekking companies have to pay tax to Australia and have a company in Australia?
Bruce Copeland
Trek leader and Military advisor


  1. Anonymous6:54 PM

    Interesting read.
    I do not know the details of the email but it seems straight forward.
    Bruce Copeland and Malum Nalu having an email dialogue about treking in Kokoda, the advantage of an Australian trekking company and a local company, and whether Bruce is trying to escape paying taxes.

    Correct me if I am wrong.
    Yet the fact of the matter is that local groups are usually lacking in resources and an outside company can easily walk all over them in terms of competition. That being said, we value quality, honesty and transparency in business dealings and we can let the customers/clients decide who they will choose.

    I belief in competition to bring out the best in goods and services. A perfect example being Digicel's presence in PNG.

    I look forward to the day when the internet gateway is made accessible to other companies so we can all enjoy cheap internet services like other humane countries. Maybe then a bush fella can have easy access to internet.

    God bless PNG.
    Mathew Zanggo

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