Rose Violet Kekedo (1942-2005), public servant, private sector personnel officer and community leader. Kekedo was born on the island of Abau, Central District, and educated at Kokoda primary school, St Agnes (Dokina) boarding school, and Popondetta Intermediate School where she completed a teacher-training course at the age of 13. In 1956 she won a scholarship to a Catholic boarding school in Queensland where she completed her secondary education before undertaking a further teacher-training course at Port Moresby Teachers’ College. In the 1960s Kekedo gained a Diploma in School Administration and lectured at Port Moresby, Madang and Goroka Teachers’ Colleges before entering the University of Northern Colorado in the USA from which she graduated B.A. in 1972. In 1973 she became the Associate Deputy Principal, and in 1974 the Principal, of Port Moresby Teachers’ Collegethe first PNGan to hold these positions. In 1979 she was the first woman appointed to the Teaching Service Commission.
In 1980 Kekedo became the first woman to head a government department – the Department of Community and Family Services. From 1983 to 1990 she was head of the Department of Labour and Employment. While in the public service she served on several major Boards of Enquiry. When, in 1990, she accepted an invitation to join Steamships Pty Ltd as Controller of Personnel, she became the first PNGan woman to hold a senior management position in the private sector. Rose Kekedo has attended a number of international conferences. She has served on the Councils of the UPNG and UNITECH and been awarded honorary Doctorates by both institutions. She has been a longtime office bearer of the YWCA and the St. John Association for the Blind, and has served with a number of other community and sporting organizations. In 1979 she was awarded an MBE and in 1988 an OBE.