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The pig’s stomach: a tradition dishonoured


Mangi Moresby I

THIS LIKLIK STORI is told with respect to traditional kastom. I think it shows something important about the strength and persistence of local customs and the problems that can arise when they are not respected.

My brother-in-law recently graduated from PNG Defence Force training at Goldie. The recruits took part in strenuous training exercises and had to pass various tests and trials.

His platoon came first in several of these and the chief instructor, impressed with their performance, awarded them pride of place at the head of the passing out parade, where they were congratulated by the Brigadier-General in charge of proceedings.

This made the family very proud and happy, so they planned a big mumu in my brother's honour at the local settlement. Many people contributed to the feast. Three pigs were slaughtered (including Mangi Mosbi The First), many chickens donated and much kaukau, taro, bananas, greens and corn provided.

Traditionally the donor of a pig for such a celebration is honoured by being presented with the pig’s stuffed stomach. This may seem strange to western eyes, but should not be. The stomach is cleaned, washed, then stuffed with herbs, ground meat, breadcrumbs and spices, the ends tied with string. It is cooked separately. It is delicious and rather like a big sausage or, more properly, haggis.

At my brother’s mumu, the largest pig's stomach was prepared and cooked in this manner and was due to be presented to the pig’s donor, an uncle).

However the self-proclaimed leader of the community, who happened to be the local pastor, not a member of the family, muscled in and demanded that he be given the stomach as a mark of honour.

The women in charge of the division of food were intimidated by him and he was allowed to take it away. When the original donor's family found out about this, all hell broke loose. Honour had not been done, and tradition had been hijacked.

The community and family wisely did not resort to violence or attempts to recover the stomach, but instead decided to boycott the pastor's church. This has been very effective. To this day just a handful of people attend services which in the past had attracted hundreds.

A telling example of the power of community action, but also the importance of observing traditions and giving honour where it is due.

There is a lesson here for all of us.

PS, Mangi Mosbi The First performed his conjugal duties admirably before his noble sacrifice and 16 piglets have ensued.


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Trevor Freestone.

A mumu is a great way to cook food for a feast; but beware, before eating any pork cooked in the mumu make sure all the hair has been removed from the skin and that the pork has been thoroughly cooked. Failure to follow this simple suggestion could mean you end up with Pig Belle, a fatal form of food poisoning.

I learnt this lesson after losing one of my wonderful students. After this loss we were always wary of any student who complained of stomach ache after eating pig. You only have hours in which to get to hospital if you are to survive.


Too true, in PNG pig business is big business.

But seriously, smallholder and village pig production is significant, 27 times more than commercial production, one conservative estimate values it at K162 million kina.

Two focus articles on recent work were printed in The National Newspaper last year; 16 March pp20 and 28 September pp38, for anyone with keen interest.

Reginald Renagi

Already my mouth is watering at the very tasty highlands mumu 'pik' belly delicacy Peter Kranz describes here.

I have sampled this pork belly with several different ingredients.

If you have it, then you will want to share it with a mate washed down with a nice ice-cold 'amber liquid' (SP). It tastes so good.

It is like the stuffing in a poultry dish, but stuffed inside the pik belly (like doing a sausage).

I suggest to any Aussies or European visitors/guests to my 'still wild' country to try this culinary delight, if ever they get lucky to be invited to a friendly highlands' mumu event.

Trevor Freestone.

Maybe this is a solution to PNG's problems. Go back to the old days when pigs were the main form of currency.

Yes, do away with the kina. Lets see the corrupt try to buy units in Australia with pigs.

Peter Kranz

Robin - the returns need checking out. A piglet can be bought in Mosbi for around K200. An adult pig for up to K2,000, (eg current prices at Angra Piggeries, 2 mile).

Deduct the cost of food and care for the growing pigs for a couple of years, but you still have a pretty amazing rate of return.

Kakaruk-raising is similar, but with not such a high level of profit, although over a shorter time-period.

Robin Lillicrapp

P.K. I think your porcine production proposal may singlehandedly solve the dilemma discussed in another thread concerning the makeup of the PNG sovereign wealth fund.

The rate of return on your pork-bellies seems to far outweigh present investment expectations in industry and commerce.

Be careful who you tell though for if certain frustrated carbon cowboys get wind of this prospect for prosperity, it's likely a brand new piggy ponzi scheme heralded by the melodic phrases from Maj' Ian Thomas's "Tripela Lik Lik Pik" will echo across the nation.

Peter Kranz

Yes, there are Kranzsky sausages and they are named after my family. Enough jokes please...

Peter Kranz

Peter Warwick - whagai wei, pangra wa! There is already an aid project which allows you to adopt and donate a goat to a village in Africa (which has been subject to much misplaced hilarity in the western press), but I think the basic idea is sound.

However I think giving a piglet to a PNG village has a much higher rate of return, and is a better economic and development investment. I have tried something similar with chickens with my family, but it hasn't worked so far - as the chooks were too vulnerable and tasty at an early age.

So let's give it a go - "piglets for progress"!

I am serious. Look at the returns. Mangi Mosbi I and his girlfriends have delivered 16 piglets to my family. That's about a 200% return on a K200 investment.

Pretty bludi gud! Pigs for Progress - yay!

And yes you are right, there is a Kranzky sausage. It's rather tasty. I better shut up now.

Peter Warwick

Pigs for Progress! I like it ! Lets form the Pigs Party, and have a pig trotter led recovery.

For our imports, we could establish a pigs balls exchange rate. Something like 5PB for a USD.

PS, In a Madang supermarket the other day, there were Kranzie sausages for sale. Can this be right Peter?

Peter Kranz

On the piglets - two have been given to the owner of the sow which gave birth, the others have been distributed amongst the family with strict instructions to raise them to piglet-bearing age and allow them 'to be fruitful and multiply.'

I think this is a great way for people to help development in PNG - 'Piglets for Progress'. One piglet, cost around K200, can lead in a few years to 20 adult pigs worth maybe K10,000.

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