Colin Filer

This paper is due to appear in: Howitt, R., et al (eds), 1996. Resources, Nations and Indigenous Peoples: Case Studies from Australasia, Melanesia and Southeast Asia . Melbourne: Oxford University Press.


If Papua New Guinea (PNG) can properly be described as a 'nation', it is a nation which seems to consist entirely of 'indigenous peoples' - or what Papua New Guineans themselves would rather call 'customary landowners' - whose collective sovereignty resides in what was once described as a 'parliament of a thousand tribes', despite the fact that there are probably ten times that number of traditional political communities in PNG, while the national parliament can only accommodate the elected leaders of approximately one hundred 'tribes' at any one time. If there is one thing which unites this loose confederation of ethnic groups, beyond the mere fact of statehood, then one would have to say that it consists either in a general commitment to the Christian faith or else in an intense desire to achieve the elusive state of 'development'. But a great deal of the 'development' which takes place on customary land is unsustainable, since it entails the continual depletion of renewable, as well as non-renewable, natural resources. Since PNG's customary landowners retain effective control over the use of the nation's natural resources, the mismanagement of these resources may be taken as evidence that indigenous peoples only become the natural allies of their natural environment when they have either lost control of it already or have not yet begun to think that their 'development' requires the sacrifice of their environmental legacy.
The role of customary landowners in the mismanagement or depletion of PNG's renewable resources has been placed in the limelight of public debate by the government's own National Forestry and Conservation Action Programme, which was initiated in 1990, and by subsequent efforts to formulate a National Sustainable Development Strategy in pursuit of its notional commitment to Agenda 21 and a separate Biodiversity Conservation Strategy which reflects its additional acceptance of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. But this outburst of good intentions has been matched by the forward march of Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau, which has now become the dominant force in the 'development' of PNG's forest resource, controlling at least 70% of the country's log harvest. This company is also a key constituent in the national government's 'Look North' policy, which is designed to reduce national dependence on 'traditional' sources of investment in Australia and other Western countries. All discussions of renewable resource depletion therefore take place in a social context which not only features the familiar contrast between long-term public policies and short-term corporate gains, and thus between 'sustainable' and 'unsustainable' forms of development, but also contains a second opposition, within the private sector, between a complex of Asian business interests which now dominate the logging and fishing industries and a group of 'Anglo-American' companies which still dominate the mining and petroleum sector. Forest management in PNG has thus become an additional point of friction between the Australian and Malaysian governments, a test of national 'governance' in the eyes of the World Bank, and an opportunity for companies like Chevron to improve their own environmental image by donating funds to nature conservation projects in their spheres of operation.
A great deal has been written about the local social impact of mining and petroleum projects in PNG, firstly because a few large-scale projects have had such a considerable impact on all aspects of their immediate environment, and secondly because the operators and the government have agreed that large amounts of time and money need to be spent on all manner of environmental impact studies. Much less has been written about the local social impact of logging or forestry projects, firstly because this kind of economic activity has been widely dispersed and locally sporadic, and secondly because the government has failed to force or persuade the operators to pay serious attention to its own environmental regulations.1 It may well be feasible to construct a general model of social and economic change which embraces the impact of all forms of extractive industry on local landowning communities in PNG, despite the sectoral imbalance in the nature of the evidence. On the other hand, the way that 'landowner issues' have actually been addressed in recent debates about forest management may also lead us to question that peculiar form of economic determinism which is associated with the professional practice of social impact assessment. The cries for 'development' which emanate from all corners of the rainforest are not simply the effect of what 'developers' have done, or what they now propose to do, but are reflections of a deepening frustration with the current pattern of relationships between the rural village and the global state, a vicious circle of demands and disappointments which constrains, as much as it reflects, the way that natural resources are depleted by the engines of extractive industry.

The Castle in the Forest

The independent state of Papua New Guinea was born with a national constitution which already contained an official commitment to sustainable development, one of its five goals being 'for Papua New Guinea's natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all, and to be replenished for the benefit of future generations'. At the time of Independence, in 1975, the national government already boasted a Ministry and an Office (later a Department) of Environment and Conservation. A detailed statement of Environment and Conservation Principles was endorsed by the National Parliament in 1977, and this was followed, in 1978, by three substantial pieces of environmental legislation - the Environmental Planning Act, Environmental Contaminants Act, and Conservation Areas Act.
Unfortunately, the state's fine green clothes have not been clearly visible to the mass of the population and have not always been appreciated by the smaller number of 'elites' who knew of their existence. Provincial governments were never given any role in the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, but the national department lacked the money and the manpower to police the exploitation of the country's natural resources.
Nowhere have these shortcomings been more painfully evident than in the forestry sector. In the wake of a 1979 white paper which recommended an increase in log exports as a means of raising government revenues, a dubious array of foreign logging companies descended on the nation's shores, and most were allowed to operate without regard to the Environmental Planning Act. Even in those few cases where environmental plans were submitted to the Department of Environment and Conservation, the Department had no capacity to either assess the accuracy of the factual statements, or monitor the operator's compliance with the promises, which were included in these submissions, several of which turned out to be the barely distinguishable products of a single word-processor located in the government's own Forest Research Institute. For the better part of the 1980s, DEC had only one officer assigned to the task of monitoring logging operations in the whole of PNG.
In April 1987 the Prime Minister, Paias Wingti, appointed an Australian lawyer, Tos Barnett, to conduct a Commission of Inquiry into what Barnett himself later described as the 'heavy odour of corruption, fraud and scandal arising from the timber industry'. Two years of investigations revealed a scene of 'rampage and pillage' in many lowland areas:
Operations were being commenced illegally; forest working plans, if submitted at all, were being widely ignored; logging tracks were being pushed through at the discretion of the bulldozer driver; hillsides and river banks were being logged; and the immature forest resource was being bashed and trampled in the reckless haste to get the logs down to the waiting log ships. The dazed and disillusioned forest owners stood watching in disbelief as foreign operators removed their trees before moving on to the next area, leaving environmentally disastrous logged-over hillsides, temporary gravel/mud roads and rotting log bridges to erode and cave in to clog the watercourses. (Barnett 1992:97)
And the source of the smell which prompted the Commission's work was found in the many documented instances
where in order to gain access to the timber, foreign operators misled and bribed local leaders, set up 'puppet' native landowner companies, bribed provincial government premiers or ministers and gave gifts or bribes to national ministers or members of the national parliament or took such people into some form of partnership with them. They also similarly bribed and gave benefits to at least one secretary of the Department of Forests and other officers. (Ibid:100)
Being a highlander whose own interests were primarily tied to the coffee business, Paias Wingti had nothing to lose from Barnett's revelations. But Wingti had been dislodged from office within a year of Barnett's appointment, and his replacement, Rabbie Namaliu, was rather less enthusiastic, primarily because his deputy and coalition partner, Ted Diro, was the commissioner's most prominent target. Nevertheless, the national government was moved to acknowledge its own loss of control over the logging industry by invoking the assistance of the Tropical Forestry Action Plan, and the World Bank was only too keen to lead the TFAP review team to PNG because the Bank's own image could be nicely greened along the way.
In April 1990 a round-table meeting in Port Moresby approved a five-year National Forestry Action Plan which contained sixteen separate projects with a combined cost of about forty million kina (the kina then being roughly equivalent to the US dollar). The greater part of this cost was to be met by grants and concessional loans from the international community - most notably the World Bank itself, the UN Development Programme, and the Australian government's aid budget. These funds were to be split roughly equally between projects designed to rationalise the 'development' of the nation's timber resources and projects designed to achieve the alternative goal of conserving selected areas of special ecological or cultural significance. For this reason, the Plan was later renamed the National Forestry and Conservation Action Programme.
During the following year the Forests Minister, Karl Stack, did everything he could to underline the potential contradiction between these two general goals. At the round-table meeting he astonished the conservationists, and might even have irritated the World Bank, by announcing the imposition of a two-year moratorium on the granting of new timber permits and an indefinite moratorium on the granting of log export permits; but once his Cabinet colleagues had approved these measures, the Minister found so many good reasons to ignore them that he was able to issue new timber permits at an unprecedented rate. Even after Stack had been replaced, and a new Forestry Act had been passed by Parliament in 1991, a rearguard action by vested interests in the bureaucracy delayed its gazettal until the eve of the national election in June 1992.
Having recovered the premiership in the wake of this election, Paias Wingti awarded the Forests Ministry to another wealthy white citizen, Tim Neville, who did rather better than his predecessor at showing how wealth acquired outside of the rainforest might provide some immunity from the temptations of this particular office. The flow of new timber permits finally dried up, log shipments were delayed while the Minister personally checked their credentials, and rumours of conspiracies to murder him provided an extra touch of heroism in an Australian television programme devoted to his exploits. Under the terms of the new Act, the old Department of Forests was transformed into a corporate body - the National Forest Authority - and its central offices were carpeted, refurnished, and secured, at great expense, to keep the logging lobbyists at bay. By the end of 1993 the newly recruited Canadian commander of this fortress, Conrad Smith (codename 'Nemesis'), was ready to bombard the public with press releases and full-page newspaper advertisements containing the new National Forestry Development Guidelines: Each of these volleys, and most especially the last, drew cries of outrage from the self-appointed spokesmen of the landowner companies, as well as from the Forest Industries Association, and thus received a warm round of applause from the motley band of local NGOs with strong environmental sympathies. But the clapping soon stopped when Smith went on to declare that each logging company with a proven commitment to downstream processing would be granted sole access to an enormous 'timber supply area' in order to meet its long-term need for raw materials. This proposal touched the one raw nerve which could be guaranteed to unify the local advocates and critics of the logging industry, by challenging the hallowed right of all native Melanesians to decide what should or should not happen on their customary land.
While Smith and Neville ducked the hail of xenophobic arrows which resulted from this blunder, Paias Wingti found that he had been deserted by his deputy and coalition partner, Julius Chan, primarily because their government had lurched into a massive fiscal crisis. Having been elected to lead a new governing coalition at the end of August 1994, Chan's first move was to force a substantial devaluation of the national currency, while the public service was placed in a state of suspended animation until the money could be found to pay for anything beyond their salaries. A deathly silence fell upon the castle in the forest, hardly even broken when it was announced that the new Forests Minister would be the one member of parliament whose own constituency accounts for roughly half the logs currently leaving the country.2
Not so long ago, it was possible to argue that revenues from the mining and petroleum sector would provide a cushion on which the state could recline while planning and controlling the sustainable development of its renewable resources. The strength of this argument was certainly reduced by the forced closure of the Bougainville copper mine in 1989, but might still have been rescued by revenues from new mining and petroleum projects developed in the present decade if the state itself had not lost the capacity to plan and control its own expenditures. The Mineral Resources Stabilisation Fund collected revenues of less than K6 million in 1990, but this rose to K13.2 million in 1991, K82.7 million in 1992, K273.7 million in 1993 and K281.1 million in 1994 (see Table 1). The sudden access of new mineral wealth was due mainly to the profits of the Porgera gold mine and the Kutubu oil field, but fell to a government whose own mineral development policies were so thoroughly erratic as to virtually halt the preparation of two other major projects (the Lihir gold mine and the Gobe oil field) and cause mineral exploration expenditures to fall to their lowest level for more than a decade.
It is true that oil prices over the past two years have failed to meet the government's expectations, and might therefore provide some excuse for its fiscal crisis, but log export prices over the same period have reached record levels, and the government was quick to winch up its own share of the surplus. In 1993, when PNG logs fetched an average price of US$167 per cubic metre, and a total of 2.8 million cubic metres left the country, the Internal Revenue Commission collected about K72 million in log export taxes. In 1994, when the average price fell slightly to US$158 per cubic metre, and export volumes also fell somewhat, log export taxes accounted for K141 million (11%) of the government's total tax revenue (see Table 2). And yet, despite this extra windfall, added to the revenues from gold and oil, the government's expenditures have brought it to the verge of bankruptcy.
In 1995 the government cannot afford to spend more than K180 million from its mineral revenues, but it hopes that log exports will increase to 3.2 million cubic metres and yield another K163 million in export taxes. This will entail a total timber harvest of nearly 4 million cubic metres, which is already beyond the level of 'sustainability' defined by some of the experts working for the National Forest Authority. Even if no new timber permits are issued before the end of the millenium, those issued before the beginning of Tim Neville's reign as Forests Minister still allow for a harvest of 7.5 million cubic metres in 1995 and almost 6 million cubic metres in the year 2000. It is thought that logging equipment already operating in PNG has the technical capacity to harvest more than 6 million cubic metres a year. If the average cost of extracting and delivering a PNG log to its Japanese and Korean consumers is still only K50 per cubic metre, if those consumers are still prepared to pay a final price of more than K150 per cubic metre, and if local landowners are still prepared to permit the 'development' of their forests in return for benefits worth less than K15 per cubic metre, then short-term economic logic surely tells the state to sell as many logs as possible to pay its mountain of outstanding debts.

Table 1: PNG mineral exports and revenues 1990-98.

Mineral export values MRSF receipts
Year K million % of exports K million % of revenues
1990 757.5 66.3 5.6 0.7
1991 1005.3 71.2 13.2 1.6
1992 1371.5 72.9 82.7 8.9
1993 1858.7 73.2 273.7 24.3
1994 1840.8 67.2 281.1 21.9
1995 1801.2 61.6 223.7 16.2
1996 1769.0 61.2 279.3 18.8
1997 1674.9 58.4 245.5 16.3
1998 1930.8 60.2 185.2 12.5

Sources: PNG Central Bank 1994, PNG Department of Finance & Planning 1995.

Table 2: PNG forestry exports and revenues 1990-98.

Forestry export values Log export taxes
Year K million % of exports K million % of revenues
1990 79.6 7.0 11.4 1.5
1991 90.2 6.4 14.2 1.8
1992 148.2 7.9 24.5 2.6
1993 410.4 16.2 71.6 6.4
1994 484.7 17.7 141.0 11.0
1995 604.8 20.7 163.2 11.8
1996 593.6 20.6 184.8 12.4
1997 615.9 21.5 190.4 12.6
1998 641.5 20.0 196.0 13.2

Sources: Duncan 1994, PNG Central Bank 1994, PNG Department of Finance & Planning 1995, PNG Internal Revenue Commission (personal communication).

Note: All forestry export taxes are log export taxes and revenue figures are for all government revenues minus grants.

But if the state had the ability to follow any kind of economic logic, we might no longer recognise it as the state of PNG. The fragmentation of this state increasingly reflects a splintered pattern of development which even splits the solidarity of tribal groups within its barely constituted national society. The metaphorical construction of the castle in the forest reflects the fact that there are no real castles in this country. The real destruction of the forest will not change its course as the result of noisy battles fought between the conservationists and timber merchants in the central corridors of power. It will continue, certainly, but in an unpredictable, haphazard, messy way, just as it has done in the past, because the relevant decisions will be taken by a multitude of 'resource owners' for a wide variety of reasons which defy the application of a single plan or policy by central government.

The Paradox of Tribal Wisdom

In August 1994, the PNG Post-Courier quoted a 'village leader' from a remote part of Chimbu Province, which had only recently gained road access to the outside world, as saying that his people would 'lure a logging company into our area should the government is [sic] reluctant to do this for us'. The same man promptly qualified his undertaking (or demand) by adding that 'such a business venture is liable to destroy the environment, and therefore will be closely monitored by the government'. Two months later, the same newspaper published a letter posted from a remote part of West New Britain Province, which currently accounts for 53% of PNG's total log exports, in which the writer, 'Log Without End', felt he was obliged to:
expose a feeling that perhaps maybe all those forest owners like me who have been living among the evergreen forest the rest of our lives have about logging and critics of logging in our country. Where I come from, I view logging as stepping stone to development and prosperity for our population. And I sees (logging) as giving us sunshine. On the other hand critics of logging particularly non-government organisations are proven wrong because theirs is a one-sided view. They are giving us rain..... We, the resources owners by God given right have been living miserable lives, and have been under-privileged, under-developed and uncivilized for too long. We cannot watch this opportunity to improve our lives, stride past. If the government resources is insufficient to bring forth much-needed changes to our areas, economically and socially, what shall we do, remain uncivilized for more decades in the name of environment?..... Finally, I feel that the population in the logging areas deserve a change in their lives; this is the foundation of a civilized generation for our tribes, and therefore we cannot allow such critics [to] deprive our rights to development and prosperity..... Lastly, critics of logging should not venture blindly, because this is our birthright and heritage.
The turns of phrase themselves, which I have carefully preserved, betray the authenticity of 'grassroot' sentiments like these, which can indeed be heard in villages throughout the length and breadth of PNG, as if they were a distant echo of the Malaysian government's pronouncements at the Rio conference in 1992, albeit mediated, on occasion, by the blandishments of Rimbunan Hijau and its affiliates.
Yet this should not be taken to imply a simple uniformity of rural attitudes on matters of 'development and conservation'. Our friend 'Log Without End' was apparently responding to another letter written by a 'Grade 8 Green Class' situated in another part of West New Britain Province, which not only reviewed the various forms of environmental damage caused by logging operations, but also went on to describe the type of thinking which refuses to acknowledge it:
A very small number of people who claim to be landowners decide what should be done to and with their land in terms of logging agreement, etc. They allow aliens to walk right into their land and use whatever that are there at will while the rest of the people ... are being tamed with 'flattery' and flat lies. The keyword is royalty . In Pidgin in simple means: 'Yu Pasim Maus B'long Yu' [You Keep Your Mouth Shut]. When the minds of the people are flooded with 'royalty' they become blind and therefore can't realise that we now have more than enough problems. They become ignorant and stubborn..... The foreign (particularly Asian) logging companies that are currently hard at work are nothing more than pests and parasites which have really infested our surroundings. Now that idea is clear. Pests and parasites must be destroyed or they will destroy us.
And while the Chimbu village leader was threatening to lure these creatures into his own neck of the woods, another 'village elder' was conducting CUSO-sponsored workshops with Native Canadian bands in British Columbia, advertising his home community as a group of clans which have 'returned to their cultural roots, choosing not to be "enclosed" by Western materialism', and promising 'to explore the power of indigenous knowledge and the importance of including indigenous knowledge in the search for alternative models of development'.
The Canadian anthropologist who passed these tidings back to me was hoping to attend these workshops because they 'sounded far more exotic than anything I encountered in PNG'. Most anthropologists who have conducted fieldwork in this country would probably agree that communities which have collectively and consciously repudiated Western materialism are a seriously endangered species - if indeed they can be found at all beyond the populist imagination of progressive intellectuals. The local NGO which organised the tour of Canada describes itself as a 'model Melanesian community' whose activities reflect and promote a version of the 'Melanesian Way' which springs simultaneously from the goals and principles of the National Constitution, the teachings of Paulo Freire, the blessings of David Suzuki, and the funds donated by various international organisations with a vested interest in Third World literacy and awareness.
It is generally agreed by all interested parties that the aims of the National Forestry and Conservation Action Programme will not be achieved unless they command the understanding and support of customary landowners, firstly in those areas where the extraction of renewable resources represents an attractive commercial proposition, and secondly in those areas whose biological diversity provides another source of value to the international community. It is also generally agreed that customary landowners will not forgo the economic exploitation of their natural environment unless they have alternative, and equally productive, income-earning opportunities. But the large amounts of time and money which have been committed to this Programme in the last five years have left a host of more specific questions largely unresolved. If Melanesians ever lived in harmony with their environment, how can their ancient knowledge of 'sustainable development' retain its force when they have cast away so much of their traditional religion and technology? What factors determine the level at which customary landowners expect or demand to be paid or compensated for the commercial extraction of their natural resources by third parties? Are they really the 'dazed and disillusioned' dupes of foreign 'pests and parasites', or are they willing partners in a process which makes perfect economic sense to people who believe that they have tried and failed in all their other efforts to achieve a reasonable increase in their living standards? Which communities have the resources and the interest to take advantage of the markets which sustainable developers can find for eco-tourism, eco-timber or non-timber forest products? And is the rural population now dividing into sections which have different perspectives on the politics and economics of development and conservation - men and women, old people and young people, the more and the less educated, or the 'politicians' and the masses?
Why should such questions be so difficult to answer? The first reason can be found in that same variety of environmental conditions which has bestowed an estimated five per cent of the world's biodiversity on less than one per cent of its surface area, for there is a corresponding variety of traditional cultural formations which has been twisted into new configurations by the locally divergent impacts of colonial administration, cash and Christianity. The second reason is that there has been very little systematic comparative analysis of the material factors which explain or accompany local variation in what landowners think and do about questions of conservation and development - partly because the multiple dimensions of diversity discourage such an enterprise, but partly also because a scientific approach to questions of 'landowner awareness' wins no favours with educated Papua New Guineans who correctly perceive that these are necessarily questions of national identity as well, and therefore questions which demand a moral tale in which the heroes and the villains need to be identified in spiritual terms.
Social scientists and government officials find that their pragmatic, sceptical assessment of the wants and needs of ordinary villagers have little impact on those educated members of the national community whose main priority is to debate the moral virtues of a corporate bureaucracy, the rights and obligations which accompany their 'elite' status, or the sinister external forces which corrupt their souls and tempt them to depart from Paradise. But if the history of Melanesia shows that its indigenous inhabitants have been such ardent converts of successive Christian sects, and so persistent in the reinvention of their own traditions, might this not be reason to believe that they can only be converted to a new religion of 'sustainable development' if scientific or pragmatic understandings of their present state do not destroy their own capacity to make up stories for themselves. Likewise, the barefoot conservationists who ply the rhetoric of popular empowerment may be motivated to succeed in their endeavour only if they share the missionary's faith in beings who are not amenable to scientific study - in this case the 'true landowners' who really do possess the wisdom necessary to defeat the foreign devils and their national accomplices.
To which the sceptic may reply that anyone with much experience of doing 'landowner awareness' work in PNG will know that villagers are liable to profess complete ignorance of the subject under discussion, whatever it may be, until they have figured out what their visitors or guests would like to hear - and then they tell them that! One therefore wonders how the representatives of NGOs which are committed to the principle of 'listening to what the people say' (or what they really feel or know) contrive to overcome the silence of the village people who are listening to them. And if our New Age missionaries manage to elicit ancient forms of local knowledge which have long been buried by the overbearing power of organised 'development', one also wonders why they should not be returned into the earth as soon as experts or officials come again with top-down messages. But what one often hears, when listening to village people, is the countervailing economic wisdom which dictates that any form of talk, wherever it originates, has far less effectivity than fifty kina notes - and one suspects this point is well entrenched in the 'community relations' of the logging industry. On this account the paradox of tribal wisdom is that 'power' persistently evaporates from village conversations which describe an endless circle through the moral qualities of personal relationships, while money keeps on talking all the time.
In which case, it may not be the 'virtues' but the 'vices' of the tribal landlords which can limit the depletion of their natural resources. While individuals or communities may lapse into the 'handout mentality' which seeks 'development' in the collection of natural resource rents from foreign operators, the recent history of the PNG mining industry suggests that 'local gatekeepers sometimes contribute to the conservation of their resources by raising the entry fees to the point which deters all potential customers, either because their expectations of "development" begin to exceed what can feasibly be realised from some particular economic activity, or else because they are pricing themselves out of the market in order to achieve non-market objectives' (Filer 1994:200). The same egalitarian ethos which persuades the 'grassroots' to decry the corruption of all businessmen, politicians and foreigners may have the unintended effect of creating a level of political conflict over the distribution of 'handouts' which even stops the loggers in their tracks. Meanwhile, we are obliged to hope that education also makes a difference.


Barnett, T.E., 1992. 'Legal and Administrative Problems of Forestry in Papua New Guinea.' In S. Henningham & R.J. May (eds) Resources, Development and Politics in the Pacific Islands , pp.90-118. Bathurst: Crawford House Press.

De'Ath, C., 1980. The Throwaway People: Social Impact of the Gogol Timber Project, Madang Province . Boroko: Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research (Monograph 13).

Duncan, R.C., 1994. 'Melanesian Forestry Sector Study.' Unpublished report to the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau.

Filer, C., 1994. 'The Nature of the Human Threat to Papua New Guinea's Biodiversity Endowment'. In N.Sekhran & S.Miller (eds) Papua New Guinea Country Study on Biological Diversity , pp.189-201. Waigani (PNG): Department of Environment & Conservation and Africa Centre for Resources & Environment.

Lamb, D., 1990. Exploiting the Tropical Rain Forest: An Account of Pulpwood Logging in Papua New Guinea. Paris: UNESCO & Parthenon Publishing.

PNG Central Bank, 1994. 'Quarterly Economic Bulletin 3/94.'

PNG Department of Finance and Planning, 1995. 1995 Budget Papers .

PNG Post-Courier, 24/8/94, 13/10/94, 26/10/94.

Created by Oliver Kortendick, May 4th, 1996