Indigenous Kokoda Adventures was created for a couple of reasons. The first, as a way to honour the lives and legacies of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who were instrumental in helping the Australian soldiers defend Kokoda and PNG from an attack from Japan in WWll during the Kokoda Campaign. Our forefathers actively participated as ‘carriers’ with Australian soldiers and other Allied Forces between Owers’ Corner and Kokoda. Some lived long, productive, well decorated lives and we, as their descendants, have a tremendous amount of experience, both industry-direct and anecdotal through their active participation along Kokoda for so many years.
The other reason we created Kokoda Indigenous Adventures was to provide a direct benefit for village-based projects such as maintenance and upgrading of school and libraries and also to improve the existing village infrastructure that will benefit the local communities. Because we are the descendants of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and we have been guides, historians and porters for other tour companies for many years, our depth of knowledge and experience about the Track is unsurpassed not only because of our direct experience doing this but also because this is our home.
We have lived along the Track for generations. Our intention is to maintain and support our communities through community projects and programmes such as the tours we are offering. Our goal is to empower local land-owners along the Kokoda Track and benefit our local guides by operating a business owned and managed by local people. One of our mandates is to also ensure that our guides and porters are well recognized for the critical role they play in Indigenous Kokoda Adventures and they are compensated for this with a competitive wage. We are confident that we have unsurpassed ability to provide a superior experience for all of our trekkers and visitors and guides.
Jesse Leta is the founder of Indigenous Kokoda Adventures and the IKA Foundation. Indigenous Kokoda Adventures and the IKA Foundation are both 100% wholly locally owned and managed.
Jesse’s vision to establish a locally led and owned tour operating company and the IKA Foundation is being realized and his dreams of supporting the local people of Kokoda have become a reality. Jesse is honoured to be helping his people reclaim their legacy while working with local companies and people who share this same vision.
Originally from southern Ontario, Deborah has lived in northern Ontario (Sudbury), northern Manitoba (Thompson) and northern BC, eventually setting in Vancouver where she resides with her family.
Working with Jesse and being the North American representative for Indigenous Kokoda Adventures has been, and continues to be, a new adventure in every respect. She is honoured and extremely proud to be on this journey and looks forward to watching the Indigenous people of Kokoda reclaim their heritage and legacy by standing tall and opening their arms to welcome the outside world to the beautiful place they call their home.
The Indigenous Kokoda Adventures (IKA) Advisory Board is comprised of a broad cross section of members from the external community, including leaders, visionaries, and also the public sector and private business community who understand the needs of the Kokoda Track and believe in the importance of local ownership of this company and the empowerment of the local people directly involved with IKA. We have ensured that our board members share IKA’s commitment to making a positive difference for the people, communities and villages along the Track as well as Papua New Guinea in general.
Dr. Mulung currently holds the position of Deputy Managing Director, PNG Science and Technology Secretariat and has been in this position since 2014. His role includes setting strategic planning and direction in policy development for research as well as leading in the government’s science, technology and innovation initiative in this development.
Vodave Batia Omi currently holds the position of Chief of Efogi village. This title was passed to him by his father, Omi Batia Aubi. Chief Omi has been the Chief of Efogi village for almost two decades. His strong cultural lineage provides the knowledge and wisdom necessary to guide the village with a firm but equal and just hand, never forgetting how hard his Kokoda forefathers worked to look after their families, villages and communities while also keeping his vision firmly on the future of Kokoda.
We are very happy to announce that Ms. Yalinu Poya is taking on the role as our official IKA Foundation Ambassador. Originally from Papua New Guinea, Ms. Poya is currently in the final stages of completing her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. Ms. Poya understands how difficult it is for most children along the Kokoda Track to obtain post primary education and knows it is critical that both boys and girls are fully supported in their educational journeys. We are honoured to have her on our team and we know she will be an amazing role model for not only the girls and boys of Kokoda but for all the children of Papua New Guinea.