Cultural Context, Pangia District

My assigned patrol report was stationed at Pangia, in the district of the Southern Highlands, during the years of 1970-1971. My assigned patrol report was volume number 10, consisting of 8 reports. The area(s) patrolled within Pangia were: Pangia Sub-district, Wiru, Eastern Part Pangia Sub-District, all major villages within the Pangia sub-district, Wiru C.D., and Part Kagua C.D.. Six out of eight reports in this volume were by different patrol officers, so it was very interesting to see how their experiences, writing, and views differed from each others’. In regards to the cultural context, Pangia District in the Southern Highlands Province is south of Mount Ialibu, and follows the mountain all the way down to the Iaro River, bordering Kagua and Erave (Stewart). According to the Stewart & Strathern Archives, in 1967, Pangia district included a “government office, a school, some dwellings, a store, a health center, an airstrip, a jail, and the headquarters of the Lutheran and Cathlolic missions” (Stewart). According to the original patrol report, the population consisted of 18, 071 indigenous people.  The language spoken was Wiru, a smaller language of the larger Enga language (Stewart).  According to the patrol reports, agricultural and cultivation changes came from the north, from Ialibu.  The social structure of the Wiru people differ from others such as the Duna.  According to Stewart, the Wiru people were collected and sent to live together by the colonial administration in 1967, just a few years before these patrol reports that I have been assigned were completed.  The Wiru people originally aggregated in “small places” and were affiliated with “big places” in which they had common rituals such as “sacrifices, dances and general pig kills” (Stewart).  I am excited to continue looking through these patrol reports in volume number 10 in order to see what information they hold.

Patrol Report: Southern Highlands District, Pangia, 1970 – 1971


Stewart, P. J., & Strathern, A. J. (n.d.). Pangia. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rachel Hicks says:

    Hi Shefali,
    Glad you found another archive with some helpful information on Pangia. You mention that some changes came from the north. What type of changes? Were these introduced by kiaps or other local groups? You mention there are different social structures. How were they different? This is a good start to the cultural context. As you work through the patrol reports, come back to this post and add other details that provide context for the social issues you see in your volume.

  2. Nice job finding information on the Pamela J. Stewart & Andrew J. Strathern Archives at the University of Pittsburgh, Shefali. It would be good to follow that trail and look up some of the things written by them. A quick search in the library catalog for the authors names shows that we have some of their photographs and audiorecordings here in Special Collections & Archives, and brings up this book by Strathern:,+pamela/astewart+pamela/1%2C6%2C63%2CE/2exact&FF=astewart+pamela+j&1%2C49%2C

    You can also do keyword searches for Pangia and Wiru:

    Using these names and keywords to search in article databases like Jstor will also lead you to more information and perhaps some articles you can easily download online.

    We also happen to have a collection of dissertations on the Highlands in the Digital Collections website, see the search results for Pangia within that collection:

    As Rachel pointed out, further research into academic sources might provide more context on changes in the area.

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