Evia Waide: Meeting Jerry Nalau as an 18-year-old, patrol officer recruit in 1969

Former Kiap, Evia Waide, shares his story on this first meeting with (Sir) Jerry Nalau, as an 18-year-old, patrol officer cadet in Rabaul.

After sharing the tale of how Sir Jerry Nalau, caused a detour of the a royal visit my Prince Charles during Independence, we received overwhelming responses including a story from a former kiap (patrol officer)  who met (Sir) Jerry Nalau in 1969 as a new recruit into the colonial civil service.

Sir Jerry was one of the first Papua New Guineans to be appointed District Commissioner in the years leading to Independence in 1975.

Evia Waide, Garaina, Morobe Province
I met Jerry Nalau in 1969 at Kokopo.
He was then Assistant District Officer (ADO), Acting District Officer, the “number two kiap” under Des Cleland who was then the Assistant District Commissioner (ADC). Mr. Cleland was the son of former Administrator, Sir Donald Cleland.
Kokopo was my first posting after attending Vunadidir Local Government College.
Mr. Nalau was a giant of a man, from Nasingalatu, Finschhafen. I was 18 and smaller built so that’s how he looked to me when I first met him.
He must have been over 6ft tall, an expert shooter in basketball, with constant smile on face. But don’t be fooled because he could be a vicious tornado when things went wrong.
“Mr. Nalau will look after you,” said the ADC and he sent me to Mr. Nalau’s office.
I timidly knocked on his door. No answer. I knocked harder, then came: “Shit! that f…ing door is open! Do you want to break it down?”
I opened the door, walked in. Jerry was busy writing or pretending to write. He let me stand while he continued to write. (You stand and wait, I am the Boss attitude).
He finally stopped, looked up…no smile on his face. He knew who I was and what I was there for. The ADC had told him that he would be responsible for my training to “make me a kiap.”
The conversation went something like this:
Jerry: So! You want to be a kiap?”
Me: I am already a kiap, Sir.
Jerry: No, you’re NOT a kiap yet. Where a you from, Mangi?”
Me: Popondetta.
“Orokaiwa! Orokaiwa!” He said as stood up to his full height. That’s when I realized how tall and big this man was.
The conversation went on…
Jerry: Are you Orokaiwa?
Me: No, Mambare.
Jerry: So, you are a Booty?
“Yes!” I said very proudly, knowing that this Giant, finally knows who I am.
Jerry: ” Ok, Mangi, I know Mambare people are very strong people, I will make you a Kiap”
So started my training and as he said he trained me well. I’m proud to say that I learnt a lot from him that help me through as a kiap.

– Evia Waide went on to serve in  various postings  including Enga, Eastern Highlands &  Morobe.

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