Throughout the close observation of patrol reports of West New Britain district from 1961 to 1962, I could understand how the indigenous people in West New Britain interacted with kiaps. Even though five different officers contributed to this volume, there were some points shared between these reports. I attempted to investigate these points by setting them up as the themes of the volume. Also, in order to represent the themes more effectively, I tried to find the key terms that appeared repeatedly throughout the volume.
The key terms of my choice were medical service, medical inspections, copra, cocoa, coconut, potato, coffee, census, canoe, taro, banana, Catholic Mission Schools, Nakanai, Witus, Bariai, Kaliai, bank, savings account, water tank and saga. In this volume, every report talks about the health status of indigenous people and medical services provided to them. Officer Colin Booth explained that malaria was one of the largest threats in this region and mentioned about current number of hospitals and construction of new hospital. Another important aspect of this volume is its emphasis on the economic growth potential in West New Britain. At the very center of economic growth, there was the plantation and production of cash crops. Most abundant cash crops were copra and cocoa. The regular production of copra and cocoa initiated after Australian people entered the land. In particular, copra was mentioned in every report involved in this volume, which proves that copra was one of the most essential aspects of life for indigenous people in 1960s. On the other hand, taro and banana were their primary sources of food. In 1930s, Todd, J.A. reported that indigenous people preferred their species of banana rather than European species (Todd). This shows that people in West New Britain had banana before outsiders came into the scene. Catholic Mission schools, savings account, water tanks are another evidence of European and Australian influences on the lives of indigenous people in West New Britain. In the process of identifying key terms in patrol reports, my personal bias based on my anti-colonial position interrupted me to analyze the primary sources in a balanced way. In the book In Colonial New Guinea: Anthropological Perspectives, Brown insists that every colonial case is different (McPherson, 26). This bias caused me to pay too much attention towards categorizing key terms into pre-colonial and post-colonial group.
The knowledge is conveyed through numerous forms. For example, in this course, we have studied about Papua New Guinea and its interaction with outsiders through books, journals, research papers, microfilms, maps and so on. As the technology develops, there will be more and more forms that deliver the knowledge in the future. Some might think that the only important thing is knowledge itself and means of delivering the knowledge doesn’t really matter. However, I believe the media that convey the knowledge are as significant as the knowledge itself. For instance, Heide Weishaar argues that the representation of NCD (non-communicable disease) on media can influence the success of framing public health messages through his research paper Why Media Representations of Corporations Matter for Public Health Policy: A Scoping Review. He says that mass media such as radio, television, and Internet make crucial impact on public and political debates (Weishaar). Thus, in order to control the knowledge, one need to thoroughly study which media would mostly effectively deliver the desired knowledge. In other words, people who control the media control knowledge. In this context, libraries are not simple institution with just bunch of books anymore. They are now interactive and comprehensive institution where numerous forms of media are available to deliver the knowledge that was once available only on books and photographs. Digital forms have become major container of the knowledge. Jane Zhang, in the journal Archival Representation in the Digital Age, reminded us that archives and other collections of knowledge have been transferred to digital forms (Zhang, 45-46).
My perspectives towards kiaps and indigenous people in West New Britain slowly changed over the course as I analyzed the patrol reports in detail. The patrol reports triggered my interest in colonialism and decolonialism and helped balance my bias so that I could analyze the primary sources and secondary sources in a more objective way. Also, I found how hard it would be to find consistent and acceptable terms from the primary source. During the practicum hours analyzing the patrol reports, I have practiced to transform the terms used in the primary source to my spreadsheet in a way that not only precisely conveys the meaning but also makes it understandable to people who are not familiar with reports and colonialism in Papua New Guinea.
As I mentioned in the beginning of course through the biography blog in the first week, I am really interested in comparing the different cultures of Papua New Guinea and Saipan. Both of them were involved in World War II and occupied by outsiders during the war. Therefore, New Guineans in Papua New Guinea and Chamorro in Saipan share similarities. For example, outsiders in West New Britain of Papua New Guinea set up the plantations such as Mantavulu plantation and Megigi plantation in West Nakanai region to produce copra and cocoa. Likewise, Japanese people developed large sugar cane plantation in Saipan and also built sugar refineries. Also, both Papua New Guinea and Saipan were ferocious battlefields during the World War II. In the patrol report by Officer Behr, he reported about the unexploded bomb, which was the remnant of the heavy fighting in this region during the World War II. In Saipan, one of the most famous tourist attraction spot is Banzai Cliff where over 1,000 Japanese soldiers committed suicide by jumping from the cliff near the end of the war. However, they also show differences. The economy of Saipan and other islands that belong to Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) greatly depends on tourism. Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) announced that 501,489 tourists visited Saipan in 2016 (Marianas). On the other hand, only 56,744 tourists visited Papua New Guinea in 2016 (Papua). Considering the fact that Papua New Guinea has much larger area, Saipan has much more active tourism environment. This reveals that Papua New Guinea and Saipan put different weight on tourism. I would like to research further on what strategies they used to develop their economy after the colonization period. Furthermore, I am interested in diverse languages present in Papua New Guinea.
Patrol Report: West New Britain District, Talasea, 1961 – 1962
McPherson, Naomi M. In Colonial New Guinea: Anthropological Perspectives. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001.
Todd, J. A. (1934, December). Report on Research Work in South-West New Britain, Territory of New Guinea. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/40327829.pdf?refreqid=excelsior:89eacf6ac846b3475f541054baa686c6
Weishaar, Heide, et al. Advances in Pediatrics., Why Media Representations of Corporations Matter for Public Health Policy: A Scoping Review. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5006262/.
Zhang, Jane. “Archival Representation in the Digital Age.” Journal of Archival Organization, vol. 10, no. 1, 2012, pp. 45–68., doi:10.1080/15332748.2012.677671.
Marianas Visitor Authority. Marianas Visitor 2016 Authority Annual Report. mymarianas.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2016-MVA-Annual-Report-FINAL.pdf.
Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority. https://www.reservegroup.biz, powered by evoSuite https://www.evoSuite.com content management system and customers relationship management system. Papua New Guinea / PNG Official Tourism Website, www.tpa.papuanewguinea.travel/annual-visitor-arrivals-statistics.