Hi! My name is Samuel Neyaupa and I am the Lands Officer for theEastern highlandsSimbu Mission. Land in this part of the world is a very important commodity. Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission of theSeventh-dayAdventistChurchis blessed to have an officer directly responsible for land matters in its two provinces Eastern Highland and Simbu. Since its inception in June 2007, the division has with the support of the Executive Committee tasked itself to update all land lease documents and will look into other areas as time goes on. Years 2010 and 2011 has been earmarked to update the data for all the leases in the local mission.
Basically, the situation here is that more than 880 churches and ten community and primary schools with few health day clinics are established on both customary and state lease lands. Also about five percent (5%) of churches establishments are located on state leases and documented in the colonial administration about forty (40) years ago. The rest is on customary land. This is the major reason to carry out an update on all matters relating to lands. In fact,Eastern Highlandswas the first province and Murio Surveyors of Goroka carried out the Boundary Identification and Final Order Surveys in 2010. It was successfully completed and a report already furnished to the Local Mission Executive Committee. ForSimbuProvince, only recently the Executive Committee has approved for Duambo Surveyors to carry out the task and we are expecting it to finish within a time frame of three months starting September 2011. We definitely have a mammoth task to accomplish but praise God, it is soon to be over by His grace.
Currently to carter for the establishments of local churches on customary lands, this section has devised a customary land agreement document for both parties (Church and indigenous land owner) to sign. This is kept in the local church as well as the Local Mission Office for legal purposes.
Re-survey work done at Asempa,OkapaDistrictEastern HighlandsProvincein October 2010
The lands division has identified huge task for this local mission to accomplish in the years to come. These include Land Investigation Report, Survey, Valuation, Land Registration, and perhaps Land Compensation for all local churches established on customary land. Reason being more than eight hundred churches are established on customary land because 75% of land inPapua New Guineais owned by indigenous people. The lands division sees this task could cost the mission thousands of dollars or even millions to accomplish.
With God’s help, we have come this far in land matters and it is our firm believe that with Him, we can continue from here on.
Thank you and God bless.