Malcolm Lends a Helping Hand

By Catherine Groenestein - Stratford Press

16 February 2011

Malcolm and the TractorMOST people like chocolate eggs for Easter, but a small Papua New Guinea community called Dogura will be getting a tractor and, hopefully, pipes for a clean reliable water supply.

Eltham resident Malcolm Pease has just completed work on this Massey Ferguson 245 tractor, ready for its new life in Dogura. The 600 residents need it for carting goods and people up a steep hill from the wharf to their village, and around the very rough roads in the area.

Malcolm has designed and built steel and timber trays on each end of the machine, as the tractor will also be an ambulance, taking sick people to the little hospital from outlying areas, Malcolm says.

“Acute cases have to be taken down to the boat for a two-hour trip to the main hospital in Alatau – there are no helicopters there,” he says.

The second part of Malcolm’s mission is to help the community fix its broken down water supply. At present, water to the hospital is disconnected because the pipes are so old and broken.

Malcolm wants to load the tractor with enough rolls of water piping, taps and fittings to replace the water supply system.

The materials can be shipped to PNG with the tractor at no extra cost, and Malcolm is asking Central Taranaki residents to help with the project.

The money for renovating the tractor was supplied by Anglican Missions in Wellington, so Malcolm just needs to raise the cash to pay for the plumbing, and the village will get its desperately-needed water supply.

Malcolm and TractorHe went to Dogura a year ago and has been working on the project since then. Malcolm has spent the past 20 years repairing 16 such small reliable tractors for countries like Vanuatu and PNG, machines that make a huge difference to life in these subsistence communities.

He chooses simple machines that have as little to go wrong as possible, he says.

“I’m a Fergy enthusiast but I like to see them put to good use.”

This tractor came from a golf course, so it hadn’t done a lot of hard clutch work, he says.

 “The battery will last about three or four years but when it packs up, if they can’t afford a new one, they can push start it,” he says. “That’s how it works up there.”

Can you help?

Malcolm is looking for donations of cash towards the cost of the water pipe and fittings.

The Dogura community also needs mechanics tools and workshop equipment, woodworking tools, gardening tools (especially spades) and a two-furrow disc plough, Mf or similar.