CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS

Royal Papua Yacht Club, Life Members

DADI TOKA

Dadi-Toka

Dadi Toka (Lalokau Tauna), was born prematurely on 12 March 1937 and grew up in Hanuabada. His great grandfather, Mahuru Gaudi, was one of the first Papua New Guineans to complete pastoral training with the London Missionary Society and he started the Hanuabada United Church, when he first arrived in Hanuabada in 1882, as a young pastor, from his Koitabu village of Pari. His father, Toka Gaudi, married a Motu-Koitabuan woman from Elevala and he was one of the first native labourers under the colonial Australian rule.

Being the only child of the marriage, Dadi’s parents would not allow him to attend secondary boarding school like other children of that time. His father wanted him close by to ensure he would marry and carry on the Toka name and Dadi married Geua Toua from the Gunina clan of Hanuabada, and together they had eight children.

Dadi was the first national in Port Moresby to play basketball and rugby league for Kone Tigers with everyone else on the teams being Europeans. He was also a caddy at the first golf course in Port Moresby i.e. Gabutu and progressed again through his sporting prowess to become a Life Member of the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club.

Dadi began work in 1953 at Government House as a teaboy / cleaner – the Administrator of the day was Sir Donald Cleland. He progressed from that position to Native Clerk and then Inquiries Clerk registering the movement of correspondence and making appointments for the official Secretary. His willingness to learn and natural inquisitiveness ensured he continued to progress through the ranks.

Dadi began the PSA Savings and Loans society by collecting a Dollar from all the local employees in 1969, encouraging them to save money. The organization is now located nationwide.

Dadi is now a Motu-Koitabu elder and was a founding member of the interim council of the Motu Koitabu Assembly, created in 1991. It was therefore a very proud moment for Dadi when his youngest son, Dadi Toka Jr, was elected to become President of the Assembly in 2018.

Dadi became a member of the Yacht Club in the early 1980’s and was instrumental in the development of the current clubhouse and marina facilities. With the State lease on the last marina facility not being renewed and the State allocated site at Gabutu not suitable, Sir Dadi conducted extensive and exhaustive negotiations with the Lands department, Lands Board, the politicians of the day and two governor generals! The result was that in January 1989 a 99 year lease was issued for the land on which the clubhouse is situated and the 13 hectare underwater lease, on which the marina is built. Without Sir Dadi’s intervention we would not have the current Clubhouse and marina.

Relations between Sir Dadi and the Club was not all smooth sailing as the original members of the committee that had worked with Dadi left and the Club began an expansion plan to try to purchase the land that Dadi had acquired for his own projects along the waterfront, in 1988. The negotiations failed when the members voted not to acquire the land.

Sir Dadi and his long-time friend and business partner, Bernard Chan, developed the site and are now proud owners of one of Port Moresby’s best waterfront addresses. The relationship with the club was repaired and Sir Dadi is now back as a regular visitor to the club, assisting with ongoing community matters and the occasional arrangements with Government House.

Sir Dadi Toka travelled to London to receive his knighthood from the Prince of Wales His Royal Highness Charles Philip Arthur George on 29 October 2010, for his services to the Motu Koita community, the city of Port Moresby and for his significant contribution to sport, particularly Rugby League.

In 2014, acknowledging Sir Dadi’s contributions to the Club, Life Membership was bestowed on him in 2014. We will always be grateful to Sir Dadi for his hard work and determination relocating our Club.

Thank you to Sir Dadi for all the information he provided for this profile.