“The beauty of nature, the beauty of our culture, our identity and pride – melanesian way”




Every Papua New Guinea community has a traditional culture which is usually very unique to each other. We have about 840 different languages and our traditional cultures are almost the same number. These traditional cultures are part of our Melanesian way of life style that our ancestors have been living with for many years ago. In the wake of modernization, we have heard comments that our cultures and traditions are old-fashioned; they hold back progress in nation building and that we should completely forget about them and adopt new ways of life. Some say they are ‘dirty’ and ‘primitive’.

But many of us do not agree with all these comments because some of us are living examples of what our cultures and traditions did for us when we were young. They helped us develop and mould our attitudes and characters to be productive, useful, purposely and to lead progressive lives. Many of us reject immoral living and corruption, laziness and conning. Hunger for wealth, power and glory are unknown in our cultural and traditional ways of life. “I wish it would possible for every child to spend its first 10 years close to the soil, tracing the cultures and traditions. If I had had children of my own I would, at any convenience to myself, have moved to the country – in the village just enough to grasp the atmosphere of the practices of the cultures and traditions, and not alone for considerations of their physical health.”

I would have them brought up in the village so that for the rest of their lives they should have had a mental background of the fields and trees and wide clear blue skies and the smell of the earth and the riches of cultures and traditions. Upon this basic culture all that they might later acquire would, I know, have grown more readily and more richly than it grows in the town child. The town child has no roots. He has quick brains, sharp moments, keen understanding of men; but he is an unfinished product.

“To have no cultural and traditional country background to your memories is equal to having no education.”

         Papua New Guinea’s rich traditional cultures and indigenous systems may be lost if not regularly and with passionate practiced, properly recorded and preserved, and proudly and widely promoted. The young generation today needs to practice the rich cultures of the country so that they are preserved for the future generations. Our traditions and cultures will be lost if they are not passed on. Papua New Guinea has very unique cultures and ways of life, but these were at high risk with western influence. The blending of one culture with another also had the potential of killing off cultures. The challenge is to preserve our cultures by practicing and making them part of our lives. We must make an effort to sustain our cultures and not to depend on others.

In the Asian countries like South Korea, China and Japan people treasure their cultures and traditional values very much that they still keep them although traveling through the midst of transition from buffalo agriculture to highly computerized agro-technology.            

We have been colonized and influenced by British forces through Australia mandate and now we are trying our best to be like the Australians of the British ways but we will never in the whole world become one because that’s not our way. We are not Australians or British for that matter. We are Melanesians and we remain Melanesians and die as Melanesians. Our children will live as Melanesians and the generations live on with our own identify – The Melanesian Way.

                 It is only when you don’t see a trace of a Melanesian culture anywhere anymore, which we stop to exist. So if we do not feed our children with our Melanesian cultures and traditions, teach them our languages, our dances, our folklore and songs, our fashion, indeed the totality of our Melanesian life style, our future will lose its identity and we may begin to wonder if we are Australians, Indonesians or just a nation of shadows blending into shapes and dark patches.

The state of recording and preservation of Papua New Guinea’s rich and diverse cultural heritage is shocking and ‘absolutely shameful’. Funds and interests have been dwindled over the last 30 years. Aid donors and development partners must learn that the maintenance of traditional cultures and indigenous knowledge and systems surely represents Papua New Guinea’s unique contributions to the world. It is just as essential as building road or health centers. And that is more important than many other activities that seem to be trapped financially.         

Our culture is important to the future of our children and to our nation, because culture ensures a history, a past, present and certainly a future. “It is therefore important, and absolutely necessary, to hand down such an important birthright and inheritance to an informed and prepared generation. The future of this nation lies in the hands of our children. They are our future! And they must carry our identity – The Melanesian Way.

Culture should not be interpreted merely as a return to the customs of the past. It embodies the attitude of a people to the future of their traditional values faced with the demands of modern technology, which is an essential factory of development and progress. “A cultural policy is very important in order to incorporate such an essential part of our history into our general national development process, because culture, as a force, has both its own economic and political consequences in the life of any nation. The simple meaning to the importance of culture is that without culture, a national is as good as extinct, erased from the surface of the earth, blotted out and, an existence without dignity or recognition. The only way to wipe out a people from the face of the earth is to take away their culture.


“When we talk of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and national identify as the core of our national development, we refer to culture as the fountain spring of all policies whether educational, social, political, medical or economical. Our strategies of national development would therefore depend on the understanding of the culture, the adaptation of its elements for political, educational and economic development as well as its strengths for social integration and development.

  Having seen the importance of reviving, preserving, promoting and protecting our traditional cultures in each our communities in Papua New Guinea, we have formed an organization known as The Melanesian Way Inc. Papua New Guinea (TMW) 

This organization is currently registered with the Investment Promotion Authority (Reg. 5-3063) under Papua New Guinea Associations Incorporation Act in June 2007 and is participating in the communities involving young people and school children to preserve, revive, promote and protect our traditional cultures. The primary objectives are to revive cultures through workshops and preserve through literature (writing) and documentation through filming and recording. In order to actively revive, preserve, promote and protect our traditional cultures we are now inviting interested people in Papua New Guinea to become members and support us in our attempts. We need you to join us hand-in-hand to revive our dying culture and preserve for our children in the future. You can join us now for an appropriately cultured Papua New Guinea tomorrow:


Members of the organization are to write and furnish with information about their own traditional cultures to be promoted, preserved, revived and protected. Members can participate in seminars, conferences, workshops and general meetings of the organization.    

We are also inviting interested individuals and groups to support us and be partners. We welcome donations from individuals, groups, and business houses. Governments and donor agencies can help us with cash or kind. We appreciate and thank you for your contributions in advance. 


Our contact details are;


cellphone: (675) 72472829



2 responses

13 10 2008

People are often afraid of that which they dont understand. This comment reaches out to all ways, cultures, people’s, lifestyles, sexes. Tradition and culture is all too quickly dismissed in our current world and I say, hang on to what you are so lucky to be able to still have. Family and home seem almost forgotten in the era we live in, dont get me wrong there are some wonderful advances and amazing 21st century creations that I adore, but we have lost so much in the transition, that could so very easily be not only kept but savoured for its ancient power and knowledge.

My husband has been lucky enough to find a new job in Port Moresby and we will arrive early December this year. I am a photographer and am thrilled by the fact that I may get the absolute priviledge of seeing culture, people, wildlife, great river systems, and a (still) mythical land that we Australians have the pleasure of calling ‘neighbour’.

Thank you for you wonderful opening words. I read each one with renewed hope that Port Moresby is not what your beautiful country is, was, or truly wants to be, in particular I totally agree with your wonderful comment about ‘The town child has no roots. He has quick brains, sharp moments, keen understanding of men; but he is an unfinished product’.

Having lived in a city as a child and moved to the country with our son in my late twenties, I realised that there is an entirely different perspective on life that needs to be explored. That is of the country, it deep traditions and wonderful together atmosphere. This seems to be the case in Papua New Guinea, the country is like Australia, steeped in tradition and families and the cities are, unfortunately full of lost adults and children.

I am not afraid to live in Moresby just apprehensive that the life there will jade my beautiful perspective of the rest of your incredible country before I have had a chance to explore and immerse myself into what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest adventures of our lives.

18 11 2009

Hi, Thanks for your comments. We welcome further comments should you have any.


tmwpng team

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