Finding Mac: How Search for a Missing Student united friends, colleagues, and a city

Student from the University of Papua New Guinea organizing search party, 17 October 2020. PC Mary Terriette Aseari 

A student from the University of Papua New Guinea is reported missing by friends and family. Its reported on every major media outlet, including Post Courier and EMTV. A week goes by and still the student is not found. Rumors emerge on social media that he has been murdered, though it is dispelled. The students conduct one of the biggest search parties in the city. Among all the stress, anxiety and fear, it also brings out the best in humanity. This article was written by one of the students, Mary Terriette Aseari, a third year student at the University and a colleague of the student who had gone missing. She shares her experience in the search, that led to finding Mac.

Mary Terriette Aseari, Third year student, UPNG.

By Mary Terriette Aseari:

“Maclarence Akua, a 22 year old third-year student, a good friend and a course mate of mine at the University of Papua New Guinea had been missing for almost a week. Mac has a mixed parentage of East Sepik and Bougainville but grew up in Kimbe. A search party was organized by his family and friends and we were put into groups and stationed in different locations in the city to cover ground in search for him.  All these groups that went out to search for Maclarence were groups that he is actively involved with in school. The different groups were: Peer mentor’s and Clean Generation who covered Gerehu and Rainbow suburbs; West New Britain students who covered the Boroko area; School of Humanities and Social Science students who covered Three Mile (3 Mile) and Manu; Madang and East Sepik students who covered Gordon and Erima; and Lae and Bougainville students, including his family and friends who covered the 9 Mile area. The groups consisted of about 25-50 people each, and the search begin around 9:30 am. Our search was successful and Maclarence was found in the afternoon at Sogeri. Sogeri is an hours drive outside of the capital. Someone from Sogeri saw the posters, approached one of the groups and said Macleren he’d seen Maclaren. The students followed him to the village and met up with him.

The successful location of Maclarence raised countless negative comments on social media. Amidst all the negativity I would like to share with you all, three positive things that I have witnessed/experienced in the search for Maclarence:

  1. In all my 21 years of living in Port Moresby and calling myself a “pikinini POM” I have never been to the parts of Gerehu which I visited in our search for Maclarence. Walking from Gerehu stage 6 all the way to Gerehu stage 1, visiting every little street to put up posters and asking bystanders if they had seen Mac, had allowed me to see these parts of Gerehu and for that I am grateful.
  • I truly saw the kindness of humanity being displayed in our search for Maclarence. Mothers shed tears as we held up the posters to show them, some even said they would keep him in their prayers. Random boys on the street volunteered to escort us to help find our friend, bus drivers and boss crews willingly posted up the missing persons poster on their buses, tucker shop owners also posted up the missing persons poster in front of their shops. Even when we ran out of posters the people whom we approached took out their smart phones so that they could take a snap shot of the poster to show their families and friends in their efforts to help spread the word. Seeing this made me to appreciate humanity and really appreciate being a Papua New Guinean because I could see that displa passin blon helivim em e still stap strong yet.
  • The unity that I saw being displayed by the University of Papua New Guinea students and others that volunteered to search for Maclarence was heartwarming. People showed up in numbers and had with them personally printed posters of him. This search has made me to forge friendships with people I wasn’t even acquainted with in school. Through the sharing of water and snacks as we searched for our school mate some life long friendships were formed. And we have the search for Maclarence to thank for that.

Sometimes we have to look past the negativity that life throws at us to see and experience the beautiful things that life has to offer. In the words of marcandangel “Train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts”. Thank God our friend Maclarence Akua has been found.”


After Mac was found, there were some who criticized the young man for going out of the public eye without notifying his family. But there were many more who have come out to support him, saying we do not know what he’s going through or what his reasons are, and that he must be given the privacy he needs. On the part of his friends and colleagues, they are happy that he is found, and in good health. Apart from finding Mac, the next great thing was the experience of comradeship, and the humanity the nation and city has shown by coming together. We are so strong together. And this experience has shown just how much people really care, even about others not of their own blood. And that is what we should take away from this whole experience.

Mary Terriette Aseari  has originally written this piece as a ‘guest blogger’ for Academia Nomad. We thank her for sharing her experience.

Please share the blog, so we can spread the love and compassion our people have towards each other. God bless you all, and take care out there.

Published by Academia Nomad

Blogs on politics, economics and social issues in simple language.

3 thoughts on “Finding Mac: How Search for a Missing Student united friends, colleagues, and a city

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