Pacific Islander slave labour on a Queensland sugar plantation (State Library of Queensland)
JOHANNA MARIE & STEPHANIE DOOLE
| ABC Wide Bay
BUNDABERG - The stone walls that stretch along Bundaberg's farms are a stark and lasting reminder of the history of slavery in the region, but the community has taken a step forward to begin the healing process.
In an Australian first, Bundaberg's mayor Jack Dempsey is issuing a formal apology to the region's South Sea Islander community for the practice of blackbirding.
Continue reading "Bundaberg issues historic blackbirding apology" »
Marie Reay wrote the the first, book on women’s lives in the PNG Highlands. It was not discovered for 50 years (Noel Butlin)
Wives and Wanderers in a New Guinea Highlands Society by Marie Olive Reay. Francesca Merlan (ed). ANU Press 2014. 268 pages. ISBN 97819250212155 (paperback). Link here for free download
Marie Reay (1922-2004) was an Australian anthropologist, best known for work in the New Guinea Highlands. The manuscript for Wives and Wanderers was discovered in 2011, seven years after her death and 50 years after she had made her last amendments to it. Editor Francesca Merlan did a fine job in bringing it to publication and providing a valuable and stimulating Introduction. Some edited extracts follow - KJ
CANBERRA - Wives and Wanderers presents vivid, ethnographically based narrative of the lives of women of the Wahgi Valley in the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Marie Reay explores the experiences of courting, attraction, love, marriage, and the combination of male dominance and barely restrained female resentment and rebelliousness.
Continue reading "The book that went missing for 50 years" »
SYDNEY - I run a media, training and consultancy company called IndigenousX. It is 100% Indigenous owned and staffed.
We work on local, regional, national, and international projects; we run training workshops on anti-racism, digital strategies, and media training.
Continue reading "Identity & parlance: This is who we are" »
Haus Tambaran, Palambei, Middle Sepik. Duncan Gavin argues that PNG’s Parliament House should not be called a Haus Tambaran
| Aunamelo Independent Blog
MADANG – Papua New Guinea’s parliament house is one of the world’s most fascinating examples of public architecture.
The building incorporates various structural features found in PNG but the design that dominates is the architectural style of Maprik in East Sepik Province.
Continue reading "N’gego – Melanesia’s house of governance" »
Westminster system spared Papua New Guinea nothing, not even the Speaker 's wig
CLEVELAND – It has taken me a long time to reach an understanding of what the problem was leading up to Papua New Guinea’s independence.
At the time, in the 1970s, the thought process was that the Westminster system works for us in Australia, this we can impose this obviously working system as a unifying force for a people and their many hundreds of cultures.
Continue reading "System we gave PNG just doesn’t work" »
LAE - How do we return Papua Niugini to a culture of Melanesian cooperation and how can the common people make those in power behave responsibly?
According to the evolutionary perspective, the birthplace of democracy was the tribe. Indeed, tribalism is sometimes referred to as ‘primitive democracy’.
Continue reading "Put politics last: Let’s stop reversing evolution" »
Road building, Pindiu, Morobe District, 1965 (Frank Haviland)
WARRADALE - In the late 1960s, as a young kiap based at Mt Hagen Sub-District Office, I was assigned to supervise work on a new feeder road.
It led off the Hagen-Togaba main road and heading north towards Bukapena in the Mul Council area, perhaps eight kilometres out of Hagen.
Part of the construction through a small hill had resulted in a cliff 10-15 metres high that had to be reduced to allow the road to be widened using the stock tools of the time - picks and long-handled spades.
Continue reading "Thoughts of then, now & cultural variance" »
CAIRNS – Michael Dom is right (Two questions long struggled with) in asking how can Papua New Guinea return to cooperation and how can the common people hold power to account and keep it responsible?
No one doubts the absolute necessity for a strong well-governed and administered political centre.
A modern nation state does not exist without it.
Continue reading "Needed: A compact between govt & people" »
Sweet potato farming in the Southern Highlands - communal sharing for mutual benefit is the Melanesian Way
LAE – Power, power, power. Yeah, sure.
In Papua New Guinea subsistence agriculture is a basic mode of living, resources are communally shared and political power is gained and maintained by the assurance of mutual benefit for all.
It can be challenging to understand that the infant national character (that which emerged through parliamentary democracy) doesn't know what to do about the vast wealth made available to it.
Continue reading "Two questions long struggled with" »
CAIRNS - Patrick Angrai’s article, Death of a Teacher, hit me hard too. Firstly sadness, then anger.
Death in childbirth, through lack of timely referral or resources, is so horribly common in rural settings and often goes unreported.
As Arthur Williams has said, how can this happen in such a resource rich country?
Continue reading "PNG must make people the centre of power" »
A glasmeri witch-finder repudiates her previous accusations against an alleged 'sorcerer'(Anton Lutz)
‘Sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea: The role of glasman/glasmeri as catalysts of accusation and violence’ by Miranda Forsyth, William Kipongi, Anton Lutz, Philip Gibbs, Fiona Hukula & Ibolya Losoncz, Issues Paper 36, National Research Institute of PNG. July 2021. Link here to the full research report
PORT MORESBY – A National Research Institute report says many incidents of sorcery-accusation violence in Papua New Guinea are triggered by glasman or, less commonly, female glasmeri.
A glasman or glasmeri (witch doctor) is a person skilled in interpreting and using supernatural forces, including the identification of people who are sorcerers.
Continue reading "Report calls for laws against witchdoctors" »
NOOSA - My romp through Tok Pisin the other day brought some amusing embellishments from readers.
I've packaged these into this brief piece, along with other information about how you might pursue an interest in this most eloquent language.
When Phil Fitzpatrick returned to Papua New Guinea in 1997, more than 20 years after he had finished his service as a kiap (patrol officer), he worked in oil and gas exploration and, later, in social mapping.
Continue reading "Further adventures in Tok Pisin" »
Public announcement. Don't pick the flowers. [Don't] dump rubbish everywhere. This is a school!
Read, think, speak and write English
NOOSA – One of the great pleasures of entering Melanesia’s linguistic gateway is to discover the realm of Tok Pisin, with its animated rhythms, vibrant style, and idioms as creative and colourful as a political promise.
Melanesian Pidgin emerged in the south-west Pacific during the late second half of the 19th century on copra and sugarcane plantations to which labour was imported from Melanesia, Malaysia and China.
Continue reading "You’re 'katim lewa' & I’m 'ai gumi'" »
An unmaintained road in Lae PNG's second largest city
YUNGABURRA - The Collins English dictionary defines the word ‘maintain’ as the ‘to keep in proper or good condition’.
And, of course, it is a standard procedure for a successful business to always allocate funds in its budget for repair and maintenance.
Potholes must be filled before they become enormous craters; engine oil must be changed according to the manufacturer’s schedule; tyres must be replaced when worn out. And so a very long list goes on.
Continue reading "750 languages but no word for maintenance" »
FR GARRETT ROCHE
DUBLIN – Some people who read the article on Fr Clement Papa and his family may be wondering how it happens that six brothers came to have six different surnames.
Anthony Kunump, Thomas Webster, Paulus Ripa, Joseph Palimi, Jeffrey Pup, Clement Papa - all with different surnames and all sons of the same father, Pius Pi Kumbamung.
Continue reading "There’s a lot in a name in highlands Melpa" »
The late Sir Buri Kidu, with his wife Dame Carol Kidu, is considered to have exemplified the Melanesian gentleman - ""Quiet, but confident with his profession / An honest expression and eyes that don’t lie"
LAE – It is my observation that true Papua New Guinean gentlemen respond with quiet confidence, not in brash retaliation.
In 2016, writing to encourage creative and intellectual contributions to the theme of 'The Perfect PNG Gentleman', I wrote:
The article was inspired by the prose poem 'Perfect Gentleman' by Dolorose Atai Wo'otong, which is good to reflect upon in the current situation relating to the University of Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "Regarding the perfect Melanesian gentleman" »
| First published in PNG Attitude, March 2011
PORT MORESBY - Apart from the ‘f’ word, what is the most common explicit used by Papua New Guineans? It is the Pidgin ‘k’ word that refers to the vagina.
Heterosexual intercourse is described in Pidgin as kilim pik [kill a pig] or pasim sua [dress a wound].
It is an everyday experience to hear these descriptive terms on the streets of this nation.
Continue reading "Violence: Driven by men with fragile egos" »
The modern bride price system, corrupted by foreign influence and culture, has made the man the centre of attention
MADANG - Bride price is a notable Melanesian tradition passed from one generation to another; it is a form of payment or dowry to the bride’s family by the groom.
Traditionally, bride price was a gesture of appreciation towards the parents and relatives of the family who had raised a woman with traditional moral values.
Continue reading "Bride price today: abuse & exploitation" »
The Jimi people gather for a road opening in 1970. There will be many speeches. They will be long (Tom Webster)
TUMBY BAY - Older Papua New Guineans will recall the role of oratory or speech-making by clan and tribal leaders.
Many kiaps and other field staff will also remember those times when hundreds of people gathered to hear the words of these important people, not least because they were expected to take part and contribute.
Continue reading "The long tradition of orators & wordsmiths" »
DIANE HIRIMA & MINETTA KAKARERE
Academia Nomad | Edited
Michael Somare: Sana, An Autobiography
PORT MORESBY - Sana was first published in 1975, the year of Papua New Guinea’s independence. It traces Sir Michael Somare life from childhood to politics and his leading PNG to nationhood.
Sana (peacemaker) is a metaphor for a life lived both in upholding and fulfilling traditional obligations and enabling the transformation to modernity.
Continue reading "Sana: The making of a great man" »
Lucy Maino - An innocent victim of deep-seated misogyny or offended Christianity? Or perhaps both
AVDOH D MEKI
PORT MORESBY - Lucy Maino is best known as a Papua New Guinean footballer and recently Miss Pacific and PNG 2019-20.
Because of Covid, her tenure was extended into 2021 but she was released from duties by the MPIP governing body earlier this month after a video she posted on TikTok triggered a social media storm.
Continue reading "The unfortunate Lucy Maino controversy" »
Peace-making in Oro culture (Photo from 'The Man Who Would Not Die')
| Ples Singsing
PORT MORESBY – Early in the evening of Saturday30 January at around 7:30, my family hosted small peace-making ceremony here in Port Moresby.
Leading into the new year, there had been some misunderstanding amongst my older siblings’ daughters that resulted in dispute and disharmony between several family members.
Continue reading "Oro harmony: Say sori before the sun sets" »
Sil Bolkin - "The names I chose for my children are saintly names from Simbu" (Simbu Children Foundation)
KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
PORT MORESBY - Duncan Gabi must be thanked for raising the issue of 'decolonising the mind'.
I am a practicing Roman Catholic but all my eight children have traditional Simbu and Aroma Coast names.
When I took my first two children to the priest to enrol for baptism, the priest asked for their names.
Continue reading "You will not colonise my children’s names" »
Segment of screenprint, 'The life and death of Imbakey Okuk' by Mathias Kauage (1987)
KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
PORT MORESBY - At the dawn of time, all humans were born to toil the earth for sustenance until they grew grey hairs and died of old age.
But this is not always the case.
Some few dudes and lasses are born into a dome of privilege and have never have sweat on their brows before old age strikes and they dutifully depart.
Continue reading "Cash-craving relatives shun death traditions" »
| Aunamelo | Edited
PORT MORESBY - While many people think decolonisation means just breaking away from colonisers and getting political independence, there’s more to it than the average mind can ever comprehend.
I am not going to write on political or economic decolonisation but on cultural decolonisation which I believe is the first step to take in the decolonisation process.
Continue reading "Decolonisation & the changing of our names" »
Michael Dom - "People think English is the only language ‘good enough’ to demonstrate their capacity to write creatively. This is a silly notion that needs to change in order for PNG to really have a thriving creative writing culture"
NOOSA – Michael Dom, an established and most readable poet, has in recent years occasionally delved into the intricacies of translating his poetry between English, Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu.
Translation of this kind is a high art because it goes beyond the literal into often complex metaphors that do not translate readily from one language to another.
Continue reading "Tok Pisin’s emergence as a literary language" »
Bilum-weaving at the Palmerston North - part of the Melanesian worldview (Laurens Ikinia)
| Asia Pacific Report | Extracts
AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinean academics and community leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand tackle their concerns about climate change and mental health issue in the Pacific through a traditional and famous craft – weaving bilums.
Late last year, a Papua New Guinea cultural language week was held by the PNG Community Trust in Manawatu region at Rangiora Community Hall in Palmerston North.
Continue reading "How the bilum reached Rangiora" »
Jordan Dean says PNG should honour Sir Michael Somare with a monument and memorial park
SYRACUSE, USA - Winter in upstate New York can sometimes be unforgiving. Last month, the temperatures dropped to minus 25 degree Celsius in February and I had to double sweaters.
My apartment heater has been on since November. Thank God, there have been no power outages.
Apart from the beautiful eighteenth century architecture, the thing I love about Syracuse are the statues and monuments.
Continue reading "A monument to the Grand Chief" »
Sunset over the mighty Sepik
GOROKA - The mighty Sepik River has existed since the dawn of time, twisting and turning, forming a wide belt of active meanders and fish-populated great lakes.
This great river, its banks adorned with lianas, sago palms, and pandanus, deposits vast amounts of fresh water into the ocean.
Continue reading "Sukundimi: Guardian of the mighty Sepik" »
KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
PORT MORESBY – While Papua New Guinea has a couple of matrilineal societies, the majority of our many cultures are patrilineal, meaning the heirs to the land are male.
If a woman gives birth to sons, she is respected by her husband’s family, although this does not mean she is always safe.
Continue reading "Parking your wife, or 'marit antap long marit’" »
JAMES MARAPE MP
Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape recently visited Kainantu and, upon his arrival, walked along a prepared pathway of bilums, the woven string bags that are utilitarian, symbolic of the strength of women and culturally very meaningful. The prime minister’s action generated significant public rebuke, which he sought to address in this response - KJ
Continue reading "I walked on bilums. I’m sorry" »
Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson - "Respect is taught and driven home in every aspect of our lives"
LAGIPOIVA CHERELLE JACKSON
SAMOA - When the editor of the Lowy Institute’s, The Interpreter, called leaders of the Pacific Islands ‘toddlers’ and referred to the stance by Micronesian Leaders as ‘tantrums’, it could have easily been yet another condescending article by an Australian journalist who thought he knew better than all of us put together.
But this time, it was different.
Continue reading "Why that Lowy incident will be remembered" »
Bousimae, the Binandere chief
| My Land, My Country
LAE - Papua New Guinea is a collection of nations, each with its own rich history.
Much of that history has been lost and much needs to be told.
The stories need to be told not in the context of the 200 years of colonialism, but from the perspective of our elders and based on 60,000 years of unwritten precolonial history.
Continue reading "Bousimae, the chief who resisted colonisation" »
Edited by Keith Jackson
“To all my children across our beautiful and blessed country, have hope and faith that you too can make it in life and make use of your time and talents by working hard wherever God has placed you in our diverse and blessed land of PNG” – James Marape, ‘Advice for young people: You’re here for a purpose’
DANIEL KUMBON – THE HEARTBEAT OF PNG
WABAG - You know prime minister, your words are gold for children of this country. Your direct message can impact their lives at an early age.
Your words can get them off Facebook and get them into a library full of books.
Continue reading "Mr Marape & the tenacity of PNG writers" »
Simulation of an Enga mourning ritual (Daniel Kumbon)
SEATTLE, USA – Over the years, the haus krai [mourning rituals] concept has evolved and changed its spiritual framing.
Growing up in Enga, my first childhood experience of death was the loss of my second mother.
She had been confined in bed for several days from an illness. We had no access to medical assistance and she was unresponsive to the rituals administered.
Continue reading "The beauty of the haus krai" »
Wife of deceased sits atop his body at Wapenamanda mourning , late 1960s (Barry Taverner)
WABAG – One of the many rare photographs in my new book, 'Victory Song of Pingeta's Daughter', is an image of an elderly woman sitting on the wrapped body of a warrior killed in tribal war that has been hung on a pole.
Below the body and her, other women mourn. How she climbed on to the pole, I do not know.
Continue reading "PNG’s mercenary funerary rituals" »
The historic first meeting between U-Vistract's Noah Musingku and Bougainville's President Toroama (Anthony Kaybing)
NOOSA – The Bougainville government continues to make headway in unifying his people as it prepares for consultations with the Papua New Government on independence for the autonomous province.
And on Friday it was with unity in mind that Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama met with U-Vistract leader Noah Musingku.
Continue reading "Toroama reaches out to ‘King’ Noah" »
| Aunamelo Blog | Edited
MADANG – When dating, a couple may not have expectations of marriage but, when courting, there is an intention to marry.
Sir Ignatius Kilage’s book, My Mother Calls Me Yaltep, paints vivid pictures of how courting was done in the past.
Continue reading "Courtship past & present: we lost something" »
The Korogu haus tambaran
| My Land, My Country | Edited
MADANG - On Wednesday 16 December, 2020, the Save the Sepik team of volunteers departed Wewak to begin a one-week patrol to the upper Sepik river to talk to the people about Frieda mine.
We arrived at Pagwi waterfront at about 3pm and from there took a 20 meter dugout motor canoe and headed down river towards Korogu, a village built on the banks of the Sepik.
Continue reading "The day the crocodile god walked" »
ADELAIDE - Michael Dom’s excellent essay, Tok Pisin, Tok Motu na Tok Ples, will hopefully be widely read in Papua New Guinea.
I do not feel qualified to address some of the specifics in the essay but would like to offer some general observations about the development of languages over the course of human history.
Continue reading "Why Tok Ples is probably doomed" »
TUMBY BAY – In his essay, Tok Pisin, Tok Motu na Tok Ples, Michael Dom starts with the question, “If Tok Pisin is the language expression of our lifestyle and our intermingled cultures” then what does this language say about us as a people?”
Later in the essay, he writes: "We are educating the native languages out of our societies and along with them entire visualisations and expressions of the human experience.
Continue reading "The importance of language in culture" »
ADELAIDE - I find it curious that culture and its impact on how a nation is governed or how it impacts upon the economy or life generally is an apparently taboo subject.
It seems to be too delicate a topic to discuss even for our routinely indelicate political class.
Continue reading "The omnipresence (& denial) of culture" »
| Full references at end of essay
LAE - If Tok Pisin is the language expression of our lifestyle and our intermingled cultures” (1) then what does this language say about us as a people?
As first-language English-speaking Papua Niuginians, my siblings and I were introduced to Tok Pisin during our late primary and secondary school years.
Continue reading "Tok Pisin, Tok Motu na Tok Ples" »
| Sipikriva Girl Blog
BRAUN - One of the last frontiers unconquered. Even the attitudes and the ‘bad’ cultures are unconquered.
We have out here, a culture of time-wasting, bad, almost disrespectful attitudes among the whole population.
Continue reading "A cultural setback" »
CANBERRA - The original sovereign nation of tribes, clans and families across Oceania are at a crossroads.
Many old people are dying without transferring their languages and knowledge of the ancient spiritual world to the younger generations.
Continue reading "Oceania’s past & future depends on us now" »
TUMBY BAY - The republishing of Bomai Witne’s 2014 article on how difficult it is for many Papua New Guineans to distinguish how much their cultural perceptions belong to tradition on the one hand and colonialism on the other prompts my further exploration.
It seems that the link with the past for many people, particularly children, in modern day Papua New Guinea is growing more and more tenuous as the years go by.
Continue reading "The scandal of PNG's massive cultural loss" »
Emma Wakpi - "There are kinks in the cultures and ways of my people and I continue to struggle against them. But for the most part I am at peace"
| Published in PNG Attitude, 25 December 2012
MY DEAREST MOTHERLAND - I am writing this letter on the eve of Christmas to let you know how much I love and appreciate you.
This time of the year reminds us of what we should be thankful for and of what love is really all about.
Often times we argue so much about what is wrong and right and how it’s supposed to be done nowadays.
Continue reading "Merry Christmas PNG, with love from Emma" »
| Published in PNG Attitude, 22 December 2017
TUMBY BAY - With Christmas nearly upon us, I have a couple of questions.
But let’s start with some suppositions.
If you are a believer, the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. Sent here by God to save mankind from itself.
Continue reading "The ‘tru’ meaning of Christmas" »
Bomai Witne - "It is a challenging time to assess whether and how we want to keep a link with our tribal heritage. Some of us are struggling"
BOMAI D WITNE
| Published in PNG Attitude, 24 December 2014
GOROKA – What did I inherit from my tribal and national ancestors who migrated here some 50,000 years ago and what did I inherit from colonialism?
I have to find answers to these questions and the answers are hard to find.
I was born in Imil-Tomale, a remote hamlet, under the shade of pandanus trees and clothed with soft and tender leaves.
Continue reading "Heritage, culture, Christianity & change" »
Reef and atoll off Sialum typical of where 'Christmas' worm catchers ply their trade
| Published in PNG Attitude, 25 December 2011
CLEVELAND, QLD - Sialum patrol post was situated on the north-eastern tip of the Huon Peninsula about 60 miles north of Finschhafen, the sub district headquarters.
I say ‘about 60 miles’ because Rudi, the Lutheran missionary at Kalasa, and Hans, the Lutheran agricultural extension officer always argued about how far it was.
Continue reading "The worm catchers of Sialum" »