NZ missionary kicked out of Papua New Guinea

6:23 am on 13 June 2017

A New Zealand Catholic missionary, providing legal advice to landowners, has been forced out of Papua New Guinea.

Douglas Tennent left PNG at the weekend after being told by immigration officials on Friday he was abusing the conditions of his religious worker visa.

But the Archbishop of Rabaul, Francesco Panfilo, says Mr Tennent was working for him on disposing of church and other lands, a housing project for low-income earners and helping those negatively affected by a huge palm oil project, run by multi national Rimbunan Hijau.

Archbishop Panfilo said Mr Tennent, who had previously taught law at the University of PNG, was brought into the Rabaul diocese as a lay missionary.

"We gave these tasks to carry out the work on the land. Now, as a religious worker, he cannot, for example, exercise his legal profession, and collect fees. And in fact, he receives board and lodging from us and a monthly allowance. He does not receive a salary."

Archbishop Panfilo said the claim by immigration that Mr Tennent had illegally involved himself in sensitive land issues was false.

Church steeple with seagull sitting on the cross.  Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Brad White