blog / The Launch of Senisim Pasin

Fri, 11 December, 2015

The Launch of Senisim Pasin

It seemed appropriate that on Wednesday 9 December, the eve of Human Rights Day, the PNG Tribal Foundation would choose to launch one of the most powerful documentaries ever to come from Papua New Guinea. “Senisim Pasin” provides a very personal and often confronting look into the lives of Papua New Guinean women, and also men, whose lives have been affected by gender-based violence.

Welcoming guests who included Lynda Babao Oneil, Hon. Gary Juffa MP, Dame Carol Kidu, and Roger Hau’ofa, was PNG Tribal Foundation's Director of Operations as well as producer and star of the documentary, Michelle Hau’ofa. She stated that the documentary had been three long years in the making and expressed her pride and gratitude to those who helped make the film a reality. She then welcomed her father Roger to lead the room in prayer.

Noticeably emotional, Michelle reminded audience members to remember the women, children, and men whose human rights are violated each and every day. She stated that, “statistics show, 7 out of 10 women will face violence in their lifetime. These statistics have faces and names. So how do we take our actions one step further? We know it’s happening but we need to engage all of us, all of the community – men, women and children – to make the difference.” She added, “We can’t be pointing fingers at anybody. We need to embrace everybody in the solution. Everyone has to play a part.”

Founder and President/CEO of Tribal Foundation, Gary Bustin is no stranger to Papua New Guinea. Gary was born in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, and has a family history in PNG that dates back to the 1940s. He founded PNG Tribal Foundation in 2009 and has developed close relationships with both local and international business leaders that have greatly assisted in the advancement of the vision and mission of PNG Tribal Foundation, and in turn the people of Papua New Guinea.

Greeting the audience in fluent Tok-Pisin, Gary first acknowledged Michelle saying, “You’ve just heard a Papua New Guinean woman who is a producer on one of the most significant films that has been made in this country.” He also thanked Roger Hau’ofa, for his hard work and support, naming him a Papua New Guinean treasure.

Giving audience members a brief description of the PNG Tribal Foundation, he said, “We call the organisation the Tribal Foundation because we work together as a tribe with different organisations to bring quality initiatives to Papua New Guinea’s health and education sectors.”

He added, “What we have here is a tool. And it’s not a tool for us, but it’s a tool for each of you, for all of us. It’s a tool that helps people start to think through this issue. There are lots of people you can talk to that might say it will never change. That’s not what we believe. We believe that it will change, and that it can change, and that we will change it together.”


The Film


“Senisim Pasin” follows the lives of several women and men, all of whom have been either a victim, or perpetrator of gender-based violence.


We meet empowered and resilient women such as Betty Higgins, a survivor of domestic violence who now runs Betty’s Lodge, a successful B&B at the base of Mt Wilhelm.


We also meet sorcery victim, Agusta, whose heart-wrenching tale of survival had nearly the entire audience in tears. These are women whose stories are often left unheard and unnoticed by society.


‘Senisim Pasin’ is part of a national campaign across PNG that will see up to 9000 screenings throughout the country. It has already been adopted as part of Papua New Guinea’s National Strategy for Responsible and Sustainable Development.


To view the Senisim Pasin trailer and join the fight against gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea, please visit

Images 1-7, 10 courtesy of Senisim Pasin, launching and making of the film. Images 1-4 ©madNess Photography
Images 8, 9 - screenshotsfrom EMTV, Tok Piksa, 10 November 2015


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