In New Guinea missionaries are among the few white people who will remain with the scattered tribes when the country becomes an independent state.
As New Guinea gains independence from Australia, the country faces new problems. Radharc takes a look at the work of some of those missionaries hoping to make a difference.
The areas of Papua and New Guinea were previously administered by their neighbour Australia for over fifty years.
The missionaries have been present in New Guinea for over fifty years and plan to stay post independence.
In December 1973, they were granted internal self government with complete independence to follow.
One of the challenges of living in New Guinea is the transport network or lack thereof. Bishop Arkfeld travels his diocese by plane visiting communities and parishes which are facing rapid change as a result of the pending independence. Many of these communities are quite isolated and easier and quicker to access by air.
Lack of infrastructure and transport communications in the country is evident along Father Joe FitzGibbon's route as he travels by road from the town of Mount Hagen to his home passing over one hundred and four bridges and culverts along the way.
Parts of the country are so cut off that there are still some tribes that have avoided contact with the outside world.
When visitors travel to these more remote places, change begins to happen as the locals move from a more subsistence means of survival to one involving trade for financial gain. As the local people become more conscious of money, many of the missionaries have assumed roles as wholesale traders. Father Joe FitzGibbon has a established a wholesale store that helps to finance his mission.
This episode of 'Radharc' was broadcast on 20 February 1974.