My fellow citizens and indeed our friends from Australia and New Zealand.

It is time to remember the hardships ANZAC soldiers and our Pacific volunteers faced during the two world wars from Gallipoli in Turkey to Kokoda and Sanananda in Papua New Guinea. May the Spirit of ANZAC, underscored by the bravery and courage these young men exhibited and the mateship that grew between them and our Pacific and PNG carriers, never be forgotten.

April 25th is ANZAC Day. It is a day when, once a year,  a National Day of Commemoration is held in Australia and New Zealand to remember victims of war and recognise the pivotal role members of these countries’ armed forces played during the last two world wars in securing the peace we enjoy today. It is similar to our Remembrance Day, observed annually as well.

The sacrifices made by ANZAC soldiers include our own volunteers, better known as “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels”, who contributed to war efforts as carriers of war supplies and wounded soldiers for care and recovery.

Courage, ingenuity, endurance, and mateship were all central to the life of these brave men, shared on the battlefilds. They are just as important today as they were then. Our willingness to roll up our sleeves and lend a hand, to be there for our neighbours, and to give back to our communities keeps the ANZAC spirit alive.

Needless to say, wars are never a good thing. The world we live in has always been full of conflicts, going far back into antiquity. History is littered with conflicts that have led to wars, which in turn have brought upon innocent lives destruction, famine, death, and the fall of nations. Wars give rise to tyranny.

As a prelude to this year’s ANZAC Day, Australian Prime Minister and my brother prime minister, Hon. Anthony Albanese and I have decided to take on the grueling Kokoda Track in a 2-day walk before marking the day in a memorial ceremony at Isurava. Many of you already know the history and significance of Kokoda Track. It is where a handful of young Australian soldiers held off Japanese invasion in one of the bloodiest battles of WW2 fought on PNG soil.

Why must we do this, you ask? What is the significance of this task? It is because in the busy grind of work and life, it is so easy to forget the hardships and sacrifices those who went before have made. It is also a necessary feat to share, to symbolise and rediscover the spirit of endurance and mateship that our two people shared during WW2 at Kokoda.

The trekking is symbolic to reignite the ANZAC spirit. Australia and PNG must walk hand in hand to carry each other,  share each other’s burden, and walk into a future of peace and prosperity that we are working to create for our children to live in.

As we are gathered to remember the sacrifices of our fallen heroes, our two nations must not forget this shared spirit of support, as ANZAC soldiers and PNG’s Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels demonstrated along Kokoda Track. 

The walk Prime Minister Albanese and I took underscores the Spirit of ANZAC and reflects our two nations shared journey in the past, and the construction of a fresh journey into the future.

Australia and PNG now enjoy the peace and security from the sacrifices of those fallen soldiers.  WW2 was a war that caught us all in the Pacific by surprise, and our forebearers bore its atrocities even when we were in no way responsible for it. But, true to form, we rose to meet it – and won.

To continually remind us of the sacrifices of our wartime heroes and the atrocities of war, I urge more people to walk Kokoda. Not just Australians and New Zealanders but also Papua New Guineans. War is the ultimate breakdown in human discourse; it must never be repeated no matter how frustrated we are at each other as human beings. I urge us to at least trek Kokoda once, to remind ourselves that wars and conflicts are never the answer to resolve our problems.

There must never be another war again in the Pacific, or another Battle of Kokoda. For those of us in the Pacific, we want our region to always remain peaceful, blue with pristine clear waters, and filled with fresh air.

Let the Spirit of ANZAC live on, forever.

May we never forget.

Hon. James Marape, MP

Prime Minister