Papua New Guinea
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Manus villages establish new trading partners

Two communities in Manus Province had a barter exchange ceremony on Independence Day to establish relationships and to maintain their culture.

Ahus islanders in the Lelemadih and Bupichupeu Rural Local Level Government (LLG) and N’drehet villages in Pomutu, Kurti and Andra Rural LLG exchanged gifts like axes, bush knives, food (rice, smoked fish, sago) and canoes.

Ahus Islanders traded axes, bush knives, rice and smoked fish to N’drehet villagers and N’drehet villagers gave sago and 56 canoes to the Ahus Islanders in return.

N’drehet village is on the main Manus Island and is about 20 nautical miles away from Ahus Island. A couple of days of paddling the N’drehet villagers finally arrived and were welcomed to the beat of the garamut and the famous Manus traditional dancing.

Organizing committee chairman, Charlie Kipit stated that it took six weeks for people to prepare their gifts. 

The islanders went fishing to sell at Lorengau market to get money to buy gifts. And N’drehet villagers went into the bush to chop Mon trees to make canoes and to make sago.

Ahus Island Councilor, Michael Chongohan, said the barter ceremony was a way of living the dreams of the forefathers of PNG.

“Our PNG leaders like late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and late Paliau Maloat back then dreamt of PNG owning our resources and making decisions to equally share our resources.

“That’s why we got independence on the 16th of September 1975, so that we can safely confirm our ownership of our own resources.  That was the dream of our fathers. We got gold copper, timber and tuna in our seas. They got independence now enabling us to develop our own resources. You (N’drehet) gifted us with canoes and we gave you fish. That’s the dream of our fathers. That is us owning our own resources and making good decisions to develop it”, stated Chongohan.