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 Post subject: the Hewa......
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 12:04 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:45 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Perth, W.A.
Did any of you blokes ever patrol through the Hewa tribal area, I wentb through there in 1985 and it was still incredibly ''primitive". Love to here some comment.

lukim yu, David Eaton.

Did any of you blokes ever patrol the Hewa tribal area, north of paiela? I went through there in 1985 and it was really interesting. I would be interested in hearing any of your storis.

Lukim yu, David Eaton.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 4:07 pm 
Hi Dave,

I was Oic Lake Kopiago in 1975.

I patrolled part of the South and all of the North Hewa in early 1975 for 70 days utilizing several airdrops, and again for a month, later in the year.

I think that I can justly claim to have carried out the last 'initial contact' patrol in PNG, ( if one disregards the 'rediscoveries' made in the Madang Province in the 1980's ) having enlisted 130 'initial contacts' from north of the Lagaip River into the census books.

The objective of the patrols was to complete a full census, compile an area study, carry out a local government survey and to investigate the murder of the only Village Official for the area, Luluai Parata, who was killed in 1973. I ended up investigating 7 murders and processing a consignment of 20 through the National Court for their six months 'course' in the outside world. The murders were all 'witch killings' and were later the subject of an Anthropologist's thesis.

John Kabisch had led a patrol to Wanakipi in mid 1974 and was attacked.
Laurie Bragge followed up and arrested a number of men for murder in late 1974, as a result of which I was lucky enough to be provided with the resources to thoroughly examine the place in 1975.

I established the Wanakipi Health Sub Centre, together with a temporary Police Post in 1975, and when I flew over the area not long ago noted that one of the Missions has now built an airstrip there, and two others in the North Hewa.

Kiaps who visited the Hewa before me, apart from Black and Taylor, that I know of, include, Bob Hallahan, Chris Makin, John Kabsich, and Laurie Bragge, though I think that Des Clancy and Jim Sinclair transited too.

I was able to purchase several stone axes that were still in daily use and made a lot of friends for 'Gavman' by ensuring that practically every adult male that I censused earned a new steel axe or a bushknife. There was still very little steel in the area in 1975. Salt purchased all the fresh food that my 60 troops required.

'Fascinating place and very impressive people.

Kind Regards,

Peter Turner BEM JP

PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 9:33 pm
Posts: 659
Location: Cardiff Wales
DOSS: 24 Aug 1970
Since July 2009 Tari has become the designated Capital of the new very rich Hela Province destined to commence in 2012 that was carved out of the western side of the SHP. I assume Hela is either the modern spelling for Hewa or perhaps an indigenous reversion to a more correct spelling.
I only spent a few years at Tari in mid 1980s but smiled when I read the ‘empty police station’ story in Jan 6 National. It wasn’t always so.

I only spent a few years at Tari in mid 1980s. Aruru Matibae, MP for Koroba Kopiago, had bought out Pasuwe Ltd’s large store there and I was its initial manager. Ironically some years before as Area Manager for the Lower Fly division of the Mission company I had been sent there under the former regime to make an audit of the store after the Pasuwe manager had been forced to follow his wife back home because of her medical emergency evacuation. Don’t know if he took his huge pet python, whose home was the store rafters. It had been one of his triple security team along with two tough Enga men who did an excellent job of protecting my family from any ruffians.
In 1984, Tari had three ‘town’ stores all adjoining one another. I manged Inu Morobi Ltd that was in the middle of the trio. To the south Huli Traders, owned by ex-MP Matiabe Yuwi was the biggest, when I arrived and on the northern side was then sitting MP’s Harulai Mai’s much smaller store. Supporters of each of these three politicians would not be seen dead in the store of another even if their normal shop had run out of something he wanted to buy. Imagine they’d send in a kid to the opposition if desperate for something. Not too far away was a fourth store situated on the Hagen road and recently opened by Huli Motors a branch of a Lae company. Its first manager was the New Zealander John Hammond from Upper Hutt, where in another life I was supposed to have taught him commerce IF I hadn’t taken the Bruce Rock option.
Anyway after being cloistered in generally peaceful New Ireland Tari was a bit of a culture shock not only for me but also my Lavongai wife too. There was a genearl feeling of the small scruffy town being ‘cowboyish’ with occasional bouts of terrorism as clan fights erupted often after drunken brawls, or perhaps because of pigs, land, women or a combination of all four.
Inu Morobi had a very long counter with atleast five tills and sold almost everything one needed: safety-pins, shirts, sarrifs.
The tiny office which I shared with Aruru had two doors one opening directly onto the counter area at its northern end where I also had a hatch for TalAir and/or AirNuigini ticketing. This part of the shop sold my hardware range and one day I had gone for something in my adjoining home which I could access from the other door in the office. I heard a commotion, rushed out and saw John, my hardware worker, vaulting the counter and running out through the one of the door into the street. He soon returned, without the culprit who apparently had tried to steal one of my large padlocks from its display behind John by using a long stick. Satisfactorily as a future deterrent while leaping over the counter John had atleast made contact with young raskol’s nose.
I thought no more of it until when returning from attending to one of Okuk’s Dash-7 John told me that the young lad had returned while I was out and demanded K40 ‘blood money’ or compensation for his bloody nose. I told my worker that if the kid returned he should say, “My boss wants to see you” and direct him into my office. Must have read my devious mind because he never did come back for his compensation.
Another time I gave chase myself to another yobbo who had been confronted outside our front doors by Steve Batia, a Tolai friend and then manager of our competitor Huli Traders. Steve had seen the young man wearing a special ranch boot which had been stolen from his home the day before. I heard the usual Tari commotion and saw a gathering crowd that occurrs whenever any scene began to develop even over the most trivial things. I went out and stood listening to my friend and the thief arguing. The police had arrived and arrested the teenager. They didn’t cuff him and suddenly he took off with me in hot pursuit, followed by a cheering horde of spectators like a scene from John Wayne’s fight in The Quiet Man, past the market and then towards the edge of the forest beyond the Tari Club. Lucky for me I got shortwinded and had to let him go, boots and all.
When I returned to relative civilisation outside my store Steve told me how he heard from one of his Huli staff that the mob were not cheering me on but telling the suspect to get me into the trees where they could kill me. I made it my policy never to give in to boisterous Huli and I think they appreciated that I too was prepared to stand my ground and fight, if necessary; which it never was, thank God.
One day I was in my office with the Rev Garry Moran, pastor in charge at UC Hoyabia, when the phone went. The OIC at the police station wanted me to report there to answer a complaint from a well known drunkard of a public servant who had accused me of defamation in calling the man a drunk, thief, wife beater and incestuous too. Did so because: he had fraudulently issued a bad cheque to Inu Morobi, his wife had come weeping one Saturday, to my wife’s tender arms, showing her bruises and a black eye, while his public drunkeness was public knowledge and he had or was still sleeping with his wife’s sister.
I told the Sergeant that yes I had said all those things and was happy to substantiate them in court if so required. He told me I must come to the police station to confront the guy. I asked why and he started to get annoyed with me. You must come at once! He put the phone down.
I declined his advice and within ten minutes four policemen arrived at my office, one of them an Inspector. I was told I had to accompany them to the police station to make a statement. I replied it was far easier for me to make a statement here and offered to do so at once.
No I was told I had to go to the station; otherwise I would be arrested! My pig-headness was tempered by Garry my UC friend who advsied me to go with the coppers and he would accompany me. So two expats and four heavies walked the rutted track to the office where I was made to sit down and hear the complainant’s annoyance at the words I had spoken about him. Asked if I had anything to say I declined apart from saying I’d be happy to repeat them in court if necessary.
Stalemate went on for several minutes until I realised time was passing and TalAir’s ‘Pay Run’ was due shortly so I quickly told the Inspector why I believed my description of the man was accurate and repeated I would be happy to describe in detail the evidence supporting my words. That was the end of my visit to Tari police station. The irrate pub-servant never proceeded with his complaint.
A surprising night-time visit by the police to Inu Morobi came late one evening in the deep dark gloom of a Tari night - no street lamps. I careful opened the door on a chain, imagining an axe easily smashing the 3mm links, to see several uniformed policemen and some harrasssed looking citizens. It turned out they were supporters of some candidates in the on going election who were afraid of the ballot boxes being destroyed as they were locked in what they considered were the vulnerable Council Offices.
Bemused I asked “What can I do to help?” They described how they, with the police as witnesses, were going to break and enter the offices and the take all of the ballot boxes to safety in Mendi; there to await counting. They continued that I was involved only because I MUST (Huli directness) supply two heavy locks to replace those they were about to cut open with bolt cutters. ‘No gut mipela gat Kot long bagarapim samting bilong kaunsil!” I was now in for the late night sale and so as co-conspirator sold them, for cash mind you, two locks and eventually closed the door on yet another Tari experience. In a later elections they did burn down, once or twice I think, some govt. building where they thought ballot boxes were stored.
There is more but inap pastaim: no gut yu tok mi mauswara man!

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:30 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 5:44 pm
Posts: 354
DOSS: 10 Feb 1971
Hi Arthur,

‘Cold enough for you over there?

I too have a fair amount of nostalgia for the Huli’s. I was at Koroba (Noel Cavanagh – ADC) 1971-72, Komo (Noel Wright – ADC Tari) 1973-74 and Lake Kopiago (Laurie Bragge – ADC Koroba) 1975.

Lake Kopiago consists largely of Duna people. Close cousins of the Huli’s but not quite as demonstrative.

My first solo patrol at Koroba (after a weeks patrol into the Paru (Hidden) Valley, one of the two northward roads leading to Lake Kopiago, and a few days into the Lavani Valley (Shangrilah), with Noel, was over the hill from Koroba to the Mogoro-Fugwa census division, where the Wesleyan Mission had a station.

My job was to measure up completed roadwork on the Fugwa loop road and make payments for completed work. Fugwa was one big swamp until Laurie Bragge drained it in 1976 and it is now some of the richest farmland in the Southern Highlands. Mind you, the downside was that the drainage ditch became a torrent which ate quite a bit of the Mission’s airstrip, before the spate abated.

Well the five Fugwa village census units had each been allocated a section of road to shape, put in drains (usually humongous ditches) and surface about 2.5 – 3.0 metres on the top with crushed coronous material (limestone). I think the pay was K100 for 100 yards of completed road. The funds came from what was called the Rural Improvement Program (RIP) in those days. Noel had provided me with several large heavy bags of “mark - mark” or “shilingi” for this purpose.

After arriving one fine afternoon I set up camp at the first village on the loop road, bought some lovely fresh vegetables and that rarity, English potatoes, and had a halting yarn with the Councillor and his Committees (in my very halting and malformed pidgin) and then asked my “tanimtok” to send out the message for the roadworkers to bung on the morrow. Well I rose from my bedsail at about 0600 to be greeted by a low susurration of movement and murmurings. ‘Peeking out through the Rest House doorway I noted that there were more people surrounding the Rest House than the South Wales Borderers had to deal with at Rorke’s Drift.

After hurried ablutions, I set off with the Councilor and his three Committees and about 1500 Zulu’s to inspect the road works. This having been done and a measurement agreed upon, we returned to the Rest house, where I set up the folding patrol table and measured out the “shilingi” into rolls of $4.00 for the amount of money due for the amount of work completed.

When this was completed, I sat back in my folding patrol chair and invited the Councilor to take the funds and, with his Committee’s dole it out to whomever had worked on the road.

The Councilor looked at the relatively small amount on the table, $500 - $600 if I remember correctly, surveyed the army standing expectantly around and politely declined. After some discussion, I agreed to divide the money up into so many “haus-lain”. This I did, which meant unrolling much of the coins and stacking the money into a myriad of small piles of moolah.

When this was done, the mob were getting a little restive and it was clear that the funds offered did not come up to the expectation of Councilor Cetewayo’s mob. Murmurings turned into quite voluble protests, which then became greatly agitated screaming and shouting.

My single Policeman, an elderly Sepik man with a .303 rifle and no ammunition chose to disassociate himself from the transaction and remained apart from the scene, gazing serenely into the distance, no doubt thinking “Well manki, how are you going to handle this one?”

My interpreter, Hetawi, who still loyally serves “Gavman” at Koroba District Office argued with the Councilor and his impi to no avail.

I sat motionless in my chair, imitating the Sepik kopral. The screaming, hooting, howling, racing up and down twanging bowstrings and swishing the air with long handled tomahawks and bush knives continued for quite while but eventually abated to the point where everyone sat down quietly while I had further discussions with the Councilor. To no avail. Yes, he agreed the contract had been for “wok mak” not on a per person employed basis. Yes he had made that agreement with “No. 1”, but what could he do, there were so many people and so little mani. Putting on my most sympathetic demeanor to mask the cold sweat that was pouring down my spine, I spoke at length on the necessity, in Nation building, to make sacrifices, sometimes accepting a pittance for the amount of labour involved, but pointing out that the Councilor and his Local Council had set a head tax that had to paid and where were they going to get the money to pay the tax if they didn’t accept what was on offer.

Councilors’ turn to have the cold sweat running down his spine. More discussion, ‘louder discussion; back to the screaming and yelling and hooting and hollering and rushing up and down.

It’s getting close to lunchtime and the old patience is wearing thin. Confronted by a wall of aggressive, screaming, angry warriors, something snapped and I booted the folding table into the air, with the mak-mak scattering all over the place.

Total shocked silence, as I walked back into the rest house and pulled the makeshift door into place.

Well, now you’ve done it, I thought. Good work Kiap. Noel will no doubt be furious that I couldn’t even make some road payments without stuffing up. What are you going to do now? What any Jack Hides would have done. I lay down on my bed sail and read my paperback for a while, before nodding off.

I was awoken by a tap tap on the doorpost and Corporal Iagumani called softly “Kiap, oli laik lukim yu.”

Ok, now go and no doubt have another screaming match! I walked outside to find the patrol table set up again, and the mak-mak lying in neat rows, just as it was until I had launched the lot into orbit.

“Late now, oli laik go long haus” said the Councillor. “Yu ken sikalim nau.” Which I did, quick smart and within minutes the place was deserted.

As I returned to the rest house, the old Corporal confided to me, “Masta, oli laik traim yu tasol”

By the way Art, Hewa has nothing to do with Huri, Huli or Hela. The Hewa people inhabit both shores of the Lagaip River north of Lake Kopiago.

Gavman used to call Hela's Huri’s, the missions adopted the more correct pronunciation of Huli, but the “elite’s” have decided that it is now going to be Hela.

Shades of Popongo-ta (Place of the Popongo (Rosewood) Tree) turning into the gibberish Popondetta.

As the Huli’s re-invent themselves in order to justify their claims to owning all the land and subjugated peoples from sea to shining sea, they have “re-discovered” a lost heritage in which the Huli’s are only a part of the Pan-Hela nation. Thus, we are now all Hela’s.

It is also interesting to note that there now exist “tuguba-this” and “tuguba-that Landowner groups in the various lease areas. “Tuguba”, in Huli, means “lowland cannibal savage” and was what the Huli’s called all the people in the lowlands to the west and south (‘still do as far as I know!).

They are great travelers however and no doubt have a wife in every Port. Whilst doing a small field job for Garamut Explorations in the Bosavi area, a while back, I found that most of the Onabasalu, Orogo and Etoro census divisions of the Mt. Bosavi area, south of Komo, had been heavily intermarried by Huli’s. So I guess Pebe and a few others sent their son’s off to “take over” the “Tuguba’s”, who seemed to be happy enough with their “protectors”.

They are a tough, boisterous and aggressive mob, but loyal.

In many a tight situation, confronting a howling mob, as a Reserve Copper in Port Moresby over the past 20 years or so, I found that the use of a few choice Huli swearwords resulted in Huli’s coming out of the woodwork to protect me, their “honiebi hamone”, redskin brother.

‘Love ‘em.

God Bless.

Peter T.

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