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Lae's West Papua community joined in celebrating Papua New Guinea's 46th Independence at the PNG University of Technology yesterday

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John Lanta, a leader of the community and staff member of the university said their culture is slowly dying because they've been away from home for many years. 

"West Papuans who live abroad, especially in PNG are so thankful and honoured that we are being invited to special events, especially Independence Day for PNG. It's a big thing for us...it's touching because our people have been fighting for independence for 52 years and we are still waiting."

Mr. Lanta's parents fled from West Papua in 1967 and settled in Papua New Guinea in 1969. This is a story similar to that of many other West Papuans who have now made Papua New Guinea home. 

"Our parents told us about our customs, traditional stories, practices, so we try to keep that alive while we are in exile."

While congratulating Papua New Guinea on 46 years of independence, Mr Lanta said he hopes that one day the West Papuan dream of independence, becomes a reality.

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