Success Stories 18 Mar 2020
While Bougainville would be synonymous with conflict and tensions, it brings cherished childhood memories for Amanda Kora who fondly remembers 'the village' that raised her.
Currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Accounting and Taxation and a minor in Commercial Law at Victoria University in Wellington, Amanda says that the opportunity to study abroad would not have been possible without the sacrifice of her parents who relocated her to Port Moresby as a child.
"I was born in the town of Arawa, in what was then known as the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea," Amanda explains
"Today it's known as Bougainville and it was where I lived in the early years of my life. When the civil war became intense my parents made the hard decision to send me and my younger sister to Port Moresby to live with my bubu - my grandmother and my mother's maternal aunt."
"To my parent's credit that was the sacrifice they had to make to ensure that should things had intensified further, at least my sister and I survived. I never appreciated this when I was younger because I felt lost without my family and often felt isolated."
"In hindsight I can now say that my parents' decision was not just life changing and wise but it was a milestone, because I am one of the more fortunate ones from my generation of Bougainvilleans, most of whom either lost their lives or lost years of education and childhood due to the crisis."
Today Amanda is a wife and a proud mother of 12 and says that her husband and children are her greatest inspiration as she looks to set up a sustainable and prosperous future for them.
As Bougianville undergoes further consultation with the PNG government after its historic referendum in late 2019, Amanda also hopes to play an active role in her home country when she returns. Prior to studying in Wellington, Amanda worked as an accounts officer and hopes that her experience, studies and internship will enable her to assist in building Bougainville's tax system.
Having interned with MBIE, Amanda worked with the Compliance Team under the Energy and Resources Markets Branch (ERM).
"My role as an intern involved providing compliance support work to the ERM Compliance Royalties Auditors."
"The team that I worked with investigates and audits all businesses that have petroleum or mining permits or licenses to determine whether these businesses are dealing fairly and paying the appropriate taxes in the form of royalties to the government."
"Highlights for me from this internship was gaining insight to compliance work in the petroleum and mining industry and the level of value this industry has in any country."
With her final year of studies now underway, Amanda looks forward to returning to Bougainville and giving back.
"While Bougainville is undergoing a period of transition from PNG, there are still many challenges - the major ones being social and economic development and human capital," she says.
"I hope to return home and have an active role by not only helping build Bougainville's tax system, but I also want to be an active volunteer and advocate for early childhood education, tertiary education and climate change action."
Image: Bougainville residents during the referendum held in November 2019. Source: RNZ Pacific
Second image: PCF summer intern Amanda Kora