Torau is in the Rorovana area of Bougainville and is what is commonly known there as a community of traditional warriors and trail blazers.
Special guest at the function was Bougainville President John Momis who paid tribute to Sir Mel for his outstanding achievements in the region and on the national level.
Mr Momis said Sir Mel is well recognised for playing a key role in the establishment of the first provincial government in the then North Solomons and establishing the foundation of the system which is now functional throughout PNG.
“He was a very committed professional and a role model who worked for the good of the people instead of opting for the more grandiose and highly paid jobs on offer elsewhere,” Mr Momis said. “At that time the pay was not good, but Sir Mel and others chose to work first for the people through the provincial government.”
Sir Mel is the sixth Bougainvillean to be knighted by the Queen.
Others include PNG’s first knight in Sir Paul Lapun and former Member of the House of Assembly, Sir Dr Alexis Sarei who was the first premier of the North Solomons provincial government, Sir Peter Kurongku who was Catholic Archbishop of Port Moresby, Sir Donatus Mola, a former Member for North Bougainville, and former governor-general Sir Michael Ogio.
Mr Momis said Sir Mel has had a distinguished career in the corporate sector for many years and was a founding member of the Business Council of PNG of which he was president for six years.
Mr Momis said the knighthood bestowed on Sir Mel was well deserved, a proud achievement for Bougainville and for the nation.