We, the people of Bougainville, have been ‘trekking’ our lands since ancient times. While walking these tracks was primarily done to exchange goods, we have long respected and appreciated roaming within our unspoiled environment.
Americans, New Zealanders, Fijians, Japanese and Australians began walking our tracks during the middle of the 20th century, not for pleasure, but for reasons of war. Years later, once peace was restored, a handful of foreigners working at the Panguna Mine began hiking and exploring our area. However, their adventures were abruptly halted as conflict engulfed our island. Once more, our tracks bore witness to the horror and carnage of war.
As the 20th century drew to a close peace was finally restored to our land. In 2011, the United Nations and Bougainvillians marked the tenth anniversary of the Peace Agreement with a “Walk for Peace” throughout Bougainville with Rotokas Ecotourism. After trekking along the Rotokas Track, the foreign delegates were left stunned by the natural beauty and unique historical sites. It soon became clear that the area had potential to be a world class trekking attraction.
Once word got out about the Rotokas area, a number of foreign tour operators attempted to develop the areas tourism potential. However, a lack of consultation and understanding of local sensitivities meant they made little progress. Accordingly, Rotokas Ecotourism was formed by local people in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and New Zealand Volunteers Services Abroad. While partnering with outside entities we remain 100% Rotokas owned, operated and committed to benefiting our people and our environment.