The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Doug Tennent: Standing against injustice

*Pictured above on his return to New Zealand.

Caritas Catholic Volunteer Overseas, Doug Tennent was working with the Archdiocese of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea when he was deported by the PNG Government on 12 June, 2017.

As administrator of the archdiocese under the direction of the Rabaul Archbishop Francesco Panfilo, Doug’s work included advocating for local people from the remote Pomio district of East New Britain to retain their land through taking legal action against a large Malaysian multinational company. 

It is this ongoing work against injustice that was the catalyst for his removal from the country.    

“Doug’s work has had a significant impact on vulnerable and marginalised communities in the country.”

Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand

“The Chief Migration Officer admitted that I was being deported because of complaints made by the Malaysian multinational,” said Mr Tennent.

“I’ve been working [in PNG] since 1984, and it’s a good country. It really upsets me that people who are being helped by our work would allow themselves to be manipulated by a multinational Malaysian company. I‘m determined to get back there and continue the work.”

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director Julianne Hickey said in a statement that the organisation is proud of the work Mr Tennent is doing in PNG with the Catholic Volunteers Overseas programme.

“Doug’s work has had a significant impact on vulnerable and marginalised communities in the country, and he continues to make a real difference,” says Mrs Hickey.

“This is in line with Caritas’ own mission to work for a world free of poverty and injustice, including protecting the rights of indigenous peoples. We are supporting Doug to ensure he is able to return to Papua New Guinea and continue this important work."

Archbishop Panfilo of Rabaul has prepared a novena to be prayed in spiritual preparation for the mediation that he and Doug will be involved in during Holy Week. You can download it below to join them in prayer.

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Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust