Papua New Guinea
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Trailblazer In Cultural Preservation

The Enga Cultural Centre and Take Anda Museum Director, Akii Tumu, believes that leadership and effective communication have provided a solid foundation for Enga’s successful programs.

Enga’s Take Anda Museum is a treasure trove located in the heart of Wabag Town.

It started as a bush material structure in the early 1970s under the leadership of Dr Paul Brenan, who was a Gut Nius Lutheran Church linguist.

Today, the modern facility preserves and protects the stories and cultures of Engans.

“The forefathers of this country were not mistaken. We have 800 groups in this country; that makes us that many more times interesting to the rest of the world,” said Tumu.

“We cannot become a complete hybrid society as always; we have to remain different.”

Tumu said the Enga Cultural Centre was one of many cultural centres that were established around the country by the new government in 1975. Enga, however, has the only surviving facility.

“This is due to the kind of support that we have been able to enjoy with successive provincial governments and now, with a lot of improvements with the leadership of Governor (Sir Peter) Ipatas.”

The Take Anda Museum started as a major research project between Tumu and a female American anthropologist, Polly Wiessner.

“She came down here to the centre and floated the idea, and asked me if I was willing to work with her in conducting research to document the oral history of two of the major surrounding tribes.

“After about 2-and-a-half years, we decided that we might as well do the entire province. So the whole project took us 11 years; ’85 to 1996 – that’s when we completed documenting the oral history of the entire province.”

The thick oral history book served as the basis for the establishment of the Take Anda Museum, with Tumu saying young Engans would rather visit the museum than read the reference book.