Aboustness Statement Kyeongbin Kim

The patrol report volume no.12 from 1961 to 1962 on the region of West New Britain of Papua New Guinea is composed of 8 different reports. Six different patrol officers including C. Booth, B. Besaspearis, and B. Batterham participated in writing the reports. The format of the reports was daily diary where the information regarding the region of interest was listed in chronological order. For example, on Tuesday 4th July, officer Booth patrolled the area of Witu Census Division and recorded that “Departed Meto 08.00 after dentist completed native dental work – arrived Langu Plantation 10.30.” The primary purpose of reports was to organize the census of non-indigenous people in West New Britain. Therefore, officers acknowledged that they did not give a great deal of attention towards indigenous people in West New Britain of Papua New Guinea throughout these reports. However, reports describe the lives of indigenous people in the area which helps improve our understanding on how patrol officers and people from the outside of Papua New Guinea interacted with New Guineans. Also, the reports tell us about the New Guinean culture in detail. For example, the officer Wetzel patrolled Central New Britain and discovered that the practice of binding children’s heads in order to change the shape of their heads that corresponds to the aesthetic standard of people in the region at that time. In our collection, the main content is the daily recordings from patrols. In addition, this particular volume included maps that labeled the indigenous names of the regions and the location of missionaries. Furthermore, officers wrote general comments on economic development of the region and census and tax collection.

Despite of its usefulness in researching the interaction between Kiaps and New Guineans and introducing general picture of lives of people in West New Britain of Papua New Guinea, the patrol report still involved the inevitable limitation because it involved one-sided description of events rather than from both indigenous people and patrol officers. For instance, the report by officer Booth indicated that indigenous people were really pleased to see patrol officers and greeted them with joy. And often, reports indicated that kiaps and others from the outside world actually helped the indigenous people like health examination and dental care. However, in other sources that involve interviews of New Guineans or other forms of direct explanation from indigenous people, we can find other aspects of kiaps and sometimes unfair treatments towards indigenous people.

In the process of working on the aboutness statement, the chronological order of the reports made it easy to follow the events listed throughout the reports. The consistent terms throughout reports from different officers also helped me understand the events and culture of Papua New Guinea easily. However, it was hard to keep track on the location of patrol because in some reports officers reported the events outside of West New Britain such as Central New Britain. Thus, in order to focus on West New Britain as assigned, I will need to distinguish events from other regions than West New Britain.

Patrol Report: West New Britain District, Talasea, 1961 – 1962

1 Comment


  1. Hi Kyeongbin, great job analyzing and explaining what happened in your reports. In addition, can you write a concise aboutness statement of 2-4 sentences that say what it is about without your interpretation? To do this, the quotations would become part of an analysis and the aboutness would just be what it is about as objectively as possible.

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