Leo Joseph Hannett

Leo Joseph Hannett (1941- ), writer and politician. Hannett was born on Nissan Island, NSD. He was educated at a Catholic mission school at Rigu, Bougainville, Catholic seminaries in Rabaul and Madang, and UPNG from which he graduated with a B.A. in 1971. He was the first PNGan to matriculate within PNG. His writing career began in Madang seminary when he produced a slim journal Dialogue, the first publication by a PNGan. His plays include Road Bilong Cargo and The Ungrateful Daughter.

Hannett’s political career began with his expulsion from Madang seminary for his outspoken anti-colonial views. In 1969 he defended the land rights of the Rorovana people in Bougainville against the Bougainville Copper Mining Company project at Panguna. In 1968 Hannett was involved in a meeting of North Solomons students, parliamentarians and public servants which formed the Mungkas (black) Society in Port Moresby. In 1973 he gathered support within North Solomons in favor of secession from PNG. However, he did not seek to arm the people and declared his movement non-violent. This campaign resulted in the national government granting North Solomons an Interim Provincial Government. Hannett joined the Interim Government and established its successful business arm, the Bougainville Development Corporation. He was premier of North Solomons province from 1980-84. His published articles include: “Down Kieta Way: independence for Bougainville?”, “Resuming Arawa: discrimination against the whites?”, “The Case for Bougainville Secession” and “My stand on the Bougainville Crisis”.

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