The late Otto Malatana was laid to rest at his home in Lemakot on Thursday the 1st of July 2021.
Otto was one of the Pioneers of broadcasting in Papua New Guinea. He was one of the Indigenous broadcasters trained by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the ABC, now a corporation, to help inform and educate the masses through radio in Tok Pisin.
The ABC’s aim was to help indigenous peoples work towards improving their lifestyles. He joined the ABC in the 60’s, back in the days when PNG was under the colonial government of Australia.
Otto Malatana, along with other pioneers like Jon Koniel from Rabaul, Raka Saini from Central Province and Jericho Duigan from Milne Bay, played key roles in helping the ABC in informing and educating the masses in news, current affairs, world affairs, and social issues in Pidgin and in Motu.
He was a Chief translator/ broadcaster in the Pidgin and Motu section of the ABC studio complex at five mile in Port Moresby, now the headquarters of the NBC.
When the ABC packed up and left Papua New Guinea after self-government, otto Malatana was recruited among other pidgin translator/broadcasters to start a new PNG service, broadcasting from Radio Australia in Melbourne, continuing the work he had pioneered with the ABC in Port Moresby.
He later became the head of the National Broad casting office in Kavieng.
He also made it on the sporting arena when he became the first Papua New Guinean to bag the country’s first Bronze medal in Pole Vaulting. He and fellow New Irelander Edward Laboran made a name for New Ireland and Papua New Guinea during the first South Pacific Games in 1963, in Fiji.
Also not known to many was that Otto during his earlier years was a teacher at Vuvu High School in East New Britain Province.
Farewelling the late Otto Malatana and representing the New Ireland Government at the burial was Deputy Governor Sammy Missen, fellow pioneering broadcaster and 1st Secretary to the Governor Robin Brown, CEO for Legislative Assembly services Ao Ure and other Government officials.
Governor Sir Julius Chan conveyed his condolences to the family through a message read by Mr Brown, “ In this time of sorrow I trust that you will take comfort in the knowledge that your father Otto Malatana was a man of his time, breaching the understanding of our people between the rule of our Colonial masters and Independence of our Country,” said Sir J.
Otto died at the age of 82 in Kavieng, on the 19th of June. He is survived by his four children and 13 grandchildren. His daughter Annette Malatana is also an NBC broadcaster in New Ireland.