Papua New Guinea Chief Magistrate Mr John Numapo is firmly committed to supporting the Nation’s ‘bright young things’.
After 22 years with Magisterial Services and many more ahead of him, Mr Numapo, sees the future for PNG Law and Justice sectors in encouraging skilled Papua New Guineans to gain the qualifications that will ensure they move ahead both professionally and personally.
“And I’d like to see some of my own children follow my path and go into law – through the ADS program”, Mr Numapo said. “My second daughter is considering that life path – but that still has to be her own decision.”
“Whatever career path they choose, however, and whatever tertiary studies they do up here, I’m sure that they’ll be eventually looking at studying in an Australian university.”
Mr Numapo’s own links with his ADS alma mater – Melbourne University – are still strong. An active member of the University Alumni, he remembers his own time in Australia as interesting and very exciting.
“Whenever I have to go to Melbourne, I make sure I drop into the University. “It’s a very family oriented University – there’s many children and even grandchildren of original students studying there.”
“I still feel very much at home on the Campus and I’m proud to be asked for feedback on emerging pathways the university is considering, particularly those relating to postgraduate studies”, he said.
Originally from Chimbu Province, Mr Numapo and his younger brothers and sisters were raised in many parts of Papua New Guinea as their father moved around the country in his role as a Police Officer.
“My Dad certainly had an impact on my career choice”, he said. “I can well remember even from an early age, many discussions around family meals about the roles of judges, laws and legislation.”
After secondary schooling at Goroka, then a Diploma followed by a Degree at UPNG, Mr Numapo’s next studies involved his Master’s Program in Australia.
“I was offered both a position at the University of Wellington in New Zealand and the one at Melbourne University, but I chose the Australian scholarship, as it meant I could take my family with me.”
“We made some great friends while we were there – and from all different ethnic backgrounds. “Everyone was so warm and welcoming and my children would return to Australia for a visit any time at all.”
In fact, Mr Numapo’s second daughter Amy has just come back from a visit to Australia organised by her school. His wife Api went along as well to help the teachers supervise the forty excited year 10 students for their educational tour of Australia.
Although responsible now for 70 District Courts, 104 Magistrates, and almost 600 Support Staff, Mr Numapo occasionally gets a chance to put on his “gown and wig”.
“I do sit on the bench from time to time – just to make sure I stay in touch and don’t get rusty. “So I get to practise law as well as my main administrative responsibilities for the operations of district and provincial courts across the country.”
A confirmed supporter of the Australian Scholarships program, Mr Numapo can only say positive things about his overseas studies.
“It’s not just having the opportunity of going to some of the best universities in the world, but it s the extras you gain – such as broadening your mind and expanding your knowledge”, he said.
And would he go back for further study if he had the opportunity? “Definitely”, the Chief Magistrate says; “there’s no doubt about it”.