Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers: Fwd: In the Spotlight – Papua New Guinea

Fwd: In the Spotlight – Papua New Guinea

In the Spotlight – Papua New Guinea
By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
25 Mar 2020

New Guinea is the second largest island on the planet, behind Greenland.  It is roughly split equally down the middle, with the western half being the Indonesian province of Papua.  Papua New Guinea (PNG) occupies the eastern half of the island, and is an amazingly diverse country, with over 800 acknowledged languages.  Located on the "Ring of Fire," PNG also includes over 600 occupied and unoccupied additional islands.  Like many of the island nations in the South Pacific, the island has gone through many phases of affiliation, with PNG most recently being administered by Australia for about 60 years.  Prior to 1919, PNG was split with the northern half being controlled by Germany, and the southern half being administered by the British Empire, before Australia took over administration.  PNG gained its independence in 1975 from Australia, and has been a member of the United Nations since Oct of that year.

PNG, like other former British outposts, is another example of how the 1990s were the high-water mark of hashing, and as the British Empire reduced in size, hash clubs started to fold as the world changed.  Although new clubs are still popping up in other parts of the world, hashing in PNG has been on the decline ever since.  The Hash House Harriers first arrived in PNG on 13 Feb 1970, on Bougainville Island, when Joe Griffiths, assisted by Bob Duffy, founded the Panguna H3.  Researching for this article became increasingly detailed when I looked at Magic's records, which identify 27 hash clubs that had formed.  When cross referenced against the hash genealogy, there have been as many as 31 hash clubs that once scurried around the major islands of PNG. 

After the Panguna H3 formed, the following clubs soon followed: (Arawa H3 – 1971), (Port Moresby H3 – 1974 / Jan), (Port Moresby Harriettes – 1974 / Sep), (Lae H3 – 1974 / Oct), (Goroka H3 – 1975 / Feb), (Rabaul H3 – 1975 / Mar), (Arawa Harriets – 1975 / Dec), (Rabaul Harriettes – 1976), (Lae Harriettes – 1977), (Wewak H3 – 1979), (Bululo H3 – 1980 / Feb), (Kundiawa H3 – 1980 / Dec), (Star Mountains H3 – 1982 / Aug), (Madang H3 – 1982 / Dec), (Vanimo H3 – 1986), (Boroko H3 – 1987), (Porgera H3 – 1990), (Port Moresby Full Moon H3 – 1994), (Kokopo H3 – 1996), (Kwariwai Very Occasional H3 – 1997), (Taurama H3 – 1998), (Moresby Over The Hump H3 – 2005), and there is no founding dates available for (Ajotau H3, Gazelle H3, Kavieng H3, Kimbe H3, Loloho H3, Mount Hagen H3, Popondetta H3, Yonki H3).  [NOTE: Any updates to the founding dates for the aforementioned hash clubs, would be greatly appreciated.]

Currently, there are the only two remaining hash clubs in PNG, and they are in the capital city of Port Moresby.  The oldest currently running hash is the Port Moresby H3 (a.k.a Pukpuk H3, a.k.a. POM H3), which had its first run on 7 Jan 1974, when Horst Wippern, assisted by Peter Mendl, came over from the Mother Hash in Kuala Lumpur.  On my recent visit, I was focused on joining the Monday evening Port Moresby H3 trail, but once we arrived, I noticed there was a Port Moresby Full Moon H3 trail scheduled for Saturday evening.  The Port Moresby Full Moon H3 was founded on 19 Oct 1994, by Chris "Krinkle Kut" Smith, assisted by Rob "Malibog" Denny, and usually runs on the weekend closest to the full moon.  Never one to pass up hash run, I quickly rearranged my schedule, and we walked about 4 KMs to the outskirts of town and joined in the fun.  Being a night time trail, and having been warned about the safety of the streets after dark, I did not expect it was going to be too long.

A pack of about 20 had a short trail of less than 2 Kms around the gated community, with a couple stops along the way.  This gave us an opportunity to chat and enjoy the clear sky and the full moon, eventually making our way back to the hares' house.  After completing the trail, we relaxed with a beer (SP Beer) or three, and the hares provided an excellent dinner buffet.  The kids were then moved into the living room to watch some movies, and we commenced a fun filled circle of down downs with many jokes, songs, and revelry.  Having walked to the hash, we were warned about being on the streets after dark, and were graciously offered a ride back to our hotel by T-Rex, a local hasher.  He is a hash superstar in my book, as he also offered to take us on a hike in the Varirata National Park the next day.  It was raining on the drive out, and for the first hour or so of the hike. Then it cleared off just as we arrived at the first of the two main lookouts. Amazing scenes of green mountains and countryside made it well worth the effort.

On Monday, the following day, we joined the Pukpuk H3 (a.k.a. the POM H3, a.k.a. the Port Moresby H3) for another excursion of hashing fun.  As Men's hash clubs around the world have grown old and grey, their numbers have diminished.  Further confined by the changing mining processes on PNG, and expat community dynamics, this has had a huge effect on the available recruits to keep the hash going.  Such is the tale of the Pukpuk H3. We had a small pack of about a dozen, but it was very robust.  A daylight walking trail took us through one corner of the city, and was followed with plenty of delicious food (and beer of course).  The circle was mixed with good fun, many songs, and lively banter, and all combined for a fun evening and another exceptional hashing experience, which somehow (haha), ended with me getting awarded the Prick of the Week.  Guess that was due to my exceptionally wacky personality, or the many songs I kept singing.  If you ever find yourself in the South Pacific, make sure to get over to Port Moresby, and enjoy yourself a most excellent hashing experience.

For many more articles like this on the history of hashing, check out . . .
On on!