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A message from the PrimeMinister, Mr Michael Somare on the occasion of Papua New Guinea’s Independence.
My people of Papua New Guinea, the big day we have looked forward to for so long — our Independence Day — has arrived.
Today is the 16th of September,1975 — the day of Independence for Papua New Guinea.
We have talked about this day, we have planned for it, worked for it and looked forward to it.
Today, our young nation takes possession of the prize which marks our people’s determination and hard work.
This country and its people now enter independence and sovereignty, and as from now, we will be counted among the family of nations.
I think we are more fortunate than many other countries.
We have been lucky because we have reached full nationhood without the fighting and bloodshed that has been experienced by many other former colonies.
But even so, our achievement of Independence still represents years of planning, overcoming opposition, debates, and hard work on the part of everyone who has contributed to the birth of our new nation.
I know that every man, woman and child of our nation shares this moment of pride and happiness with one heart, to join in celebrating our Independence.
At this point, I wish to remind all of us too that this is just the beginning. Now we must stand on our own two feet and work harder than ever before.
Our land and our history has plenty to offer our people in this effort.
Our rich cultures have always provided us with our sense of values, and will continue to do so.
This has meant that our people have developed a distinctive lifestyle and attitudes that are wholly our own.
Our task now is to find a way of life that suits our own people, and at the same time will equip us to take our place in the world family of nations.
From our own rich resources and traditions, from shared experiences and varied skills, we will strive to create in our new nation a distinctive Papua New Guinea society — borrowing ideas from others and adapting them to suit our own national needs.
As a united people we will achieve our goals, with the stability of our background to support us, and the richness of the earth to provide for us.
Many who have helped build this nation are no longer with us. Their efforts and services must be remembered at this time.
I speak of men like Matthias ToLiman, Pita Simogun, Kondom Agaunde, Vin ToBaining, Somu Sigob, Paulus Arek, Sir Donald Cleland and many more. This country owes them a great deal.
There are also others who have helped in one way or another to build this country. I would like to pay tribute to the Australians, British, New Zealanders, and many other races who have worked towards this day.
Churchmen, businessmen and civil servants all played their part.
We are now, indeed, masters of our own destiny. Our leaders hold the responsibility for the future of our country and its governments.
The people’s welfare, freedom and peace will be the primary concern of our politicians. The people have given our politicians their mandate, but that mandate rests within the people.
I am sure that our leaders, will always ensure that our Independence from others and our national unity are the basis of their service to the people.
In conclusion, I would like to say again that the achievement of our Independence is our national pride.
We do not owe this Independence to the Government of Papua New Guinea, nor to the Government of Australia, nor even to the United Nations that has watched over our progress during the past years.
We owe our Independence to the men and women in the villages who helped build roads to link our diverse peoples together.
We owe it to others who have counselled wisely on village, district and government committees, and to our fathers and mothers who have had the vision to work in some small way towards our freedom.
We are indebted to wise elders of our own clans, and those, from other lands who saw unity and peace as the long term aim of their work.
We should work together after Independence in the same spirit as those men and women toiled to achieve our Independence.