Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 10-30-2010 by
Andrew Mack
Paul Igag
February 24 1964 - October 29 2010

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01-23-2011 9:14 PM -- By: M. Dee Hamilton,  From: Nashville Tn. USA  

 I wish that i had known you.

01-23-2011 8:31 PM -- By: Gloria F,  From: VA USA  

I too just watched Nature, Birds of the Gods. The beauty of these creatures and their decimation from hunting brought tears; as I watched the show I felt a sense of relief that at least they had people the caliber of this man to help look after them. A man who know how to persuade from within the culture.

So quite it was the sucker punch, to see the memorial to him after the show.

One who never knew him can only imagine the intellect, patience and sweet temperament he must have had.

01-23-2011 8:17 PM -- By: leonard carr,  From: essex,md 21221  

01-23-2011 2:04 PM -- By: Gretchen Treser,  From: Portland Or  

Me, my husband and our two little children just watched Nature: Birds of the Gods, and we were all deeply moved by the incredible work that went into this documentary. We were also shocked to see that Paul Igag had passed.

This note is to  thank him and all the incredible people involved in this very important work. Thank you for helping the animals by shining light and awareness on their lives and their environments. We are all connected, and in that thought, we are all grateful to him and all the people dedicating their lives to the conservation of our precious animals and our beloved planet


12-20-2010 1:45 AM -- By: Joice Taufa,  From: PNG  

I just read about Uncle Paul's passing. I am shocked and saddened by this. Condolences to his family and friends. I have many photographs and memories of the times spent at So'obo and the Lakekamu Basin working and training with Uncle Paul and other scientists. May He Rest In Peace...

12-16-2010 10:13 PM -- By: Michael Pennay,  From: Australia  

I am so shocked and sorry to read of the sad news of Paul's death.

I met Paul during surveys at Libano and Darai in 2003. Where we shared many laughs about many things including his invention of the term 'kaikaiologist' . Paul working day shift on the nets for birds and I was on night shift doing bats. He was such a warm, and open person who was happy to teach.

I salute you and your life Paul. Thank you kindly for your friendship



12-13-2010 6:30 PM -- By: Martin L. Kaonga,  From: Cambridge, United Kingdom  

I was saddened by the tragic loss of a reputable and inspirational ornithologist. This dark cloud cast my memories back to the 2009 scientic expedition in the Nakanai mountains where I worked with Paul.  As we set up mist nets and conducted point counts, Paul demostrated a clear sense of purpose and determination to push the forntiers of science and conservation. We shared some very refreshing and hilarious moments. Apart from doing his science well, Paul would leave you reeling with laughter. A man of the people and for the people, such he was. Death has robbed PNG and the international science community of a scientist. Paul, your contribution to science and welfare of others is an indelible mark that will live beyond your death. Your passing away is a reminder that we are all pilgrims on this earth. However, we know that a day is coming when we will no more. We will sorely miss you. 

12-06-2010 11:02 AM -- By: Denver,  From:  

I did not know Paul, but I came across his memorial and was so impressed by how he was loved by so many.  He must have been an exceptional person, not only through his accomplishments but also in his character ("Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5). He seemed to love life and have a great appreciation for God's creation.  

Some have expressed feelings of despair as they tried to reconcile the pain his death has brought to them.  I hope that by searching the scriptures you will learn what God's Word says about why we die, when we will see our dead loved ones again and the beautiful promise to bring them back to life on a cleansed new earth where death will be eliminated forever. - Revelation 21:4.  

I just wanted to share my thoughts and hope that you find a measure of relief from your loss.

11-30-2010 8:20 PM -- By: Toby Ross,  From:  

Truly shocked and saddened to hear this news. I have VERY fond memories of Paul and know that he will be sorley missed by everyone who was lucky enough to spend time with him. I remember so fondly his wise words, calm demeanor and joyous laugh! A huge loss to Papua New Guinea and the world of ornithology. My thoughts are with his family and his wider WCS and PNGIBR family. Rest in peace Paul.

11-29-2010 6:34 PM -- By: Nancy Sullivan,  From: PNG  

Im gutted. Just found out. This is horrible, unfair, godless, cruel. Why why why? Such a great talent, great personality, so young, so smart, so much to give.

11-10-2010 6:36 AM -- By: Max Kuduk,  From: Madang  

PNG has lost a professional biologist who has so much to contribute to the country

May his soul rest in peace

11-09-2010 5:15 PM -- By: Syawn,  From: Kokomo, Indiana  

I am so sorry for your loss.  I hope that you can find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your loss and in the Bibles words at Revelation 21:4 - "He will wipe out every tear from your eyes and death will be no more......"


Syawn Hopkins-Leilah's Mommy


11-07-2010 10:48 PM -- By: Miriam,  From:  

More update;

Paul’s life and his work was celebrated with powerpoint presentation and the BBC Natural History Documentray –Birds of Paradise.  This was shown to his immediate family members, friends, and collegues on Monday 1st November in Goroka. Everyone appreciated this very much.


Before the memorial church service, late Uncle Paul was taken on his last journey, that he would normally follow on his way to work on a week day. From Kabiufa, everyone got off the vehicle and walked up about 3km off the mainroad. His home is  at the base of the mountain ranges that link to Mt Gahavisuka.  Amoung  the pandanus trees lies  his home, isolated from the noise of highway traffic and his neighbours. He once mentioned he likes his home because, he wakes up to birds calling.


We had a church service on Thursday 4th November (3pm), at the St Mary's Catholic Church. At the end of the service, Banak and Enock gave Paul's euology. This was followed by viewing of the body. After the church service, the casket overnighted at the 'haus krai'.


On Friday 5th (5am) a convoy of vehicles left Goroka carrying families and IBR staff, and friends  to Madang. They arrived in Madang at 11am. Around 12 pm, RCF and WCS vehicles helped with carrying Uncle Paul on the last lag of his trip around Akogere then to IBR office and down to SDA Terminal. Immediate family members with pallbearers travelled on the SDA chartered flight that left Goroka at 2pm.  When the plane arrived in Madang, Uncle Paul was received by family, friends and colleagues at the airport.


On the evening of Saturday 6th November, IBR staff arranged powerpoint presentation and the BBC documentary to the Madang family as requested.


Condolence messages from everyone sent were read after the funeral service in Madang.


Late Uncle Paul was laid to rest yesterday afternoon (Sunday 7th November) at Panu Island, just off Kranget, Madang.




11-07-2010 8:37 PM -- By: Erin O'Neill,  From: New Zealand  

Will miss you Paul!

11-06-2010 7:10 PM -- By: Nancy Irwin,  From: University of York, UK  

What a great loss to all. I remember fondly Paul's laugh and spirit. His insistance to take me out during the daytime to see a bird or two in New Guinea! I told him I hadn't time- I was busy with my bats at night... but he insisted... and took me off to see the palm cockatoos... what a great day that was... Paul was someone that made you look at the bigger picture, enjoy the moment, and brought joy to all in contact with him... He will be sorely missed.

11-06-2010 4:42 AM -- By: Janet,  From: SHP  

RIP, Paul

You will surely be missed!

11-05-2010 11:11 AM -- By: Samoa Asigau,  From: Missouri, USA  

11-05-2010 11:09 AM -- By: ,  From:  

Thinking of you today Uncle Paul.

You're just a great man, wonderful soul and I admire you for that.

I take my hat of to you. Thank you for all that you've imparted.

I don't think we'll ever find another person like you!

Rest in God's Eternal Peace. Bamahuta!!!!

11-05-2010 4:57 AM -- By: Dr. Violet Rongap,  From: SHP  

Only in death do you realise the greatness of those whose paths you momentarily cross along this life... RIP

11-04-2010 9:17 PM -- By: Boga Figa,  From: Madang  

Matu, the grief is still too much for me. I have to pen it again. I see you as I go to bed each night since I heard of your having gone Home. I wake up each night and think of the family at Panu tubun.  I still hear you laugh, I can still see you with that soccer ball. I never got to see Tambu and the kids at home before leaving our shores, but I will be there with them for you when I get back.

God Papa i save olsem taim blong yu ikam pinis olsem na yu igo pas. ......So long Matu, ......So long, enjoy Beulah Land!. We will join you when the time comes.  Till we meet again...

11-04-2010 7:52 PM -- By: Susan Tomda,  From:  

"Farewell Uncle Paul (Raings)- Fly High as the Birds of the sky till we meet again on the Golden shore'

Safe trip back home -thinking of you and those loved ones who are travelling with U back home.

farewell -farewell-farewell     

11-04-2010 7:01 PM -- By: Isabell Sinclair-Irwin,  From: Dunedin, New Zealand  

What very, very sad news about Paul.  He did so much for his country and his people.  It is clear that Paul influenced so many  scientists in his short life.  The challenge for the next generation of young scientists is to carry on with his work.  I remember him fondly.  My heartfelt thoughts go to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues.  

11-04-2010 9:44 AM -- By: Deb Wright,  From:  

I know we are all going in and out of tears and shock and will be for a long time.  Paul, you have always been there; you were supposed to always be there…part of the picture.....the wise uncle who was always there to lift the day, so full of kindness and time for everyone.....it just doesn’t make sense.  Even back in the early days, on the first training courses and surveys, you would play peacemaker whenever people had issues with each other. You would calm the air and soon no one could remember what the problem had been. I can see you on the verandah, calm and serene, like an all-knowing Buddha. I can see your face, just seeing it calmed me; your eyes had some deep wisdom behind them; it was strange… seeing you I often did a double take because you were so unlike anyone else—so calm, so jovial, like you knew something the rest of us didn’t. I would get so stressed with all that needed to be done, so worried, and you would just look at me, and say “Deb, Deb, Deb” with a calm smile and a knowing look. And with just that, put it back into perspective for me. You knew that life is more than the worries we carry, that it is to be enjoyed and appreciated and not frittered away with anything less than pure joy. That is what you seemed to exude—pure joy. You embodied pure joy. Pure joy at being wherever you were, at being with whomever you were with (and making them feel so very special—that they mattered). Even when you were very concerned about something, like a conservation issue or a problem in the WMA, you would softly bring it up, we would all talk about it, and after a bit you would laugh and the heaviness dissolved into thin air and a joyous aura returned. It had been addressed; cared about; discussed to find solutions; and that was all that could be done; it was time to return to a better frame of mind as dwelling could do no more.  It remained important, but returning to life was also important. How did you do that? I can’t. You were so good to be around, to be reminded that these things we obsess about are either not monumental, or they may be, but we have done what we can, or have planned and are putting into action what we can. That we cannot do more than we are. That wasting our lives by fretting about e.g., the issues of conservation, will only drive us into a deep depression. We should take it seriously and discuss it, and do what we can, but we should not obsess and drive ourselves into an abyss so that we cannot even see and enjoy what it is we are trying to save.   Life is more than our worries, our concerns. It is the flight of a Palm Cockatoo, landing and singing out. It is wind in the leaves. It is being kind to someone. You knew this, you lived it, and your quiet ever knowing smile and calmness exuded it as a reminder to everyone around you. Just seeing your face now calms my soul. That all knowing calm look in your eyes. Oh Paul. I cannot believe you are gone. I cannot believe you will not be there on the verandah…

11-04-2010 1:51 AM -- By: Robin Nangu,  From: Wewak  

Goodbye Matu Paul,

It is with great sadness that I have leant of your passing away from your immediate family in Madang on the 29th Oct 2010. You are truly an inspiration for the PNG Scientific community and for those coming into this field in the future. Your legacy with live on through their work in the field of ornithology. Your have set the foundation and the standard in this area of study, may they continue your work.

I remember in 2003 upon your return from one of your field trips to Ambunti, Sepik River when you called into my house in Wewak and we did enjoy our favourite dish - rice with ox & palm. That was the last time I saw you.

The Lord giveth & the Lord taketh away...till we meet again on that golden shore.

11-04-2010 1:51 AM -- By: Diatpain Warakai,  From:  

I honestly don't know how I would have been able to put all those 140 nest boxes (honours project) up without U/Paul as my field supervisor.  He just makes fieldwork flow!  Yeah, and same as what everyone said before, his enthusiasm, humbleness, great interrelations, joyfulness is to be admired!

11-03-2010 8:03 PM -- By: Greg Greene,  From: Tucson, AZ USA  

Strangely, I had just caught up with Paul a few months ago after not having been in contact for a few years and while I regret not getting in touch with him sooner, I am really glad that it wasn't put off til later. 

Paul's legend definitely preceded him.  It wasn't until after 5 months during my stay in PNG that I would meet Paul, though during that time I heard more stories, and knew more about him than some of my family.  It was apparent minutes after first meeting him why he was so looked up to by everyone.  Paul will undoutedly continue to live on through all of the lives he touched. 

Best wishes to his family, and to all of his friends.



11-03-2010 1:17 AM -- By: Steve Murphy,  From: Cape Weymouth, Australia  

Paul and I met in 1999 and we became close because we were both studying palm cockatoos. We spent hours talking about PCs, and life in general. We also spent a lot of time in the field together, both in PNG at Crater and the Sepik, and also in Cape York. He was a first rate biologist with superb field skills. In my study site on Cape York, Paul built scaffolding out of saplings and vines to help me inspect nest trees that I had no other way of reaching. They were too tall for my ladders and we had no way of getting a rope over them.

Paul saw the positive side in everything, even when things were really pretty crappy. I recall walking with him on the way to Wara Sera when it started to pour with rain. We were all really tired. Paul rallied us all and said simply "Great - this will cool us while we walk". I now say this every time it rains on me. There are other little Igagii sayings that will stick with me, and some of my friends who also knew Paul, forever – “Full concentration required!” he would say to us when approaching a slippery log creek crossing. He said this because he knew how uncoordinated we were while walking around parts of CMWMA!

We had planned to spend Sept-Oct travelling together in PNG and Papua. It was to be a reunion of sorts because we hadn’t been in touch since 2003, but we had to postpone it. We last spoke on the phone all too briefly in August when I heard his voice and that laugh for the last time.

I’m writing this from my old study site on Cape York. Some of the nest I’ve been revisiting the last few days Paul and I discovered together way back in 1999. Some he named, like Mitoio - the Pawaian name for palm cockatoo. Some of the palm cockies that I’m seeing we no doubt watched together. It’s the perfect place to remember the times I spent with my genuine friend.

11-03-2010 12:10 AM -- By: Andy Mack,  From: Love Hollow, USA  

I was Paul's teacher at one time.  It is a terrible shock and somehow wrong to outlive one's students or one's children; doing so goes against the way things are supposed to happen.  But as I worked with Paul, as happened with so many of my former "students," I came to realize the roles were reversed. I taught him  how to net birds and to make specimens, a bit of statistics and some writing skills.  Trivial stuff in the grand scheme of things.  On the other hand, Paul taught me much more substantial things.  From Paul I learned humility and grace even under the most trying conditions.  I learned compassion and fairness.  I learned to treat all people with dignity.  I learned patience and calm.   I tried, but I never learned his laugh!   When Paul laughed, everyone laughed, they had to laugh no matter what the circumstances.  Paul's joy was not just infectious, it was a command:   "Enjoy this moment!"   These things came naturally to Paul and he shared his lessons with everyone.    Looking back, I think of our roles differently now.  Paul was the teacher, and I was just one of many students-- from his field assistants in Haia, to the ornithologists visiting from across the world.  No one could spend any time with Paul and not find themselves learning to be a better person.  But I don't think anyone learned his laugh.  That secret he takes with him and leaves us all wishing to hear it just one more time. 

11-02-2010 11:11 PM -- By: Michael Kigl,  From: Goroka  

Paul and I were best of friends. When we were together, there were plenty of jokes and laughter. There will never be another of those hilarious moments, but I will certainly treasure the times we spent together chewing our favourite nut, cracking a joke or two, and laughing our hearts away.

How was I suppose to know that the afternoon of 29th October would  be our last trip home together? The phone call I later got that fateful Friday evening was too hard to swallow. The news came as a total shock and left me lost for words. I still find it hard to come to terms with what had happened.

I still recollect vividly every conversation we had, things we did, and places we travelled through that day. As we were travelling through Kabiufa village Paul as usual introduced me to places and people along the way. I was all the ears and interrupted once in a while.

As we neared his house a car pulled out from an off the beaten track and went ahead of us. Paul said, "Did you remember the story I told you before of a man who owns coffee plantations and a high covenant house in the village? That's the driver in the front vehicle". Then he added, "Kaim, [a nickname we adopted from a character in one of Paul's many stories] it seems like you know all that I know of people, places, and events occurring around here. But you haven't told me of your people and home in Simbu? This is injustice". I said, "Kaim, it is easier for you to introduce me to people and places because I can them as we travel through. But how can I tell you of my home and people that you don't see? Don't worry, there will come a time and then justice will be served."

Sadly enough, I will never get to tell him my side of the story.

Kaims, I will cherish your friendship and thanks for knowing you.


11-02-2010 2:25 AM -- By: Dr Garrick Hitchcock,  From: Melbourne  

Paul, you will be missed, mate.


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