by Jo Tumbe Mangi

In contrast to Glasse’s findings (1968:20) many of the old men I interviewed were able to trace their genealogy as far back as the founding ancestor, Huli. The origin myth presented here is a version agreed upon by a group of 15 old men under the guidance of Mr. Mekeria Peyabe (an interpreter at the Tari station) who were trying to set up a cultural center in Tari. This was confirmed by five other older men cultural centre in Tari. This was confirmed by five other old men, two from Koroba and three from Komo, with only slight variations.

Tatakaliwape 1 is the god or the maker of all things. He is in the sky. Tatakaliwape begot Kulu and Tubitubi who are spirits along with the sun, Ni and the moon, eke, and the stars, yakundi. They all live up in the sky.

After that Tatakaliwape made the first man, Tene, and the first woman, Ana. Their first son was Tarali whose son was Pokoma. Pokoma had four children, Keteremapi, Mugali, Tapuli, and Mindipi. Keteremapi was white whilst the rest were black. While the rest of the brothers stayed at Amblirikamapu, Mindipi left and came to Porimapu.

[Amblirikamapu is somewhere to the southwest of Huli territory. Porimapu is somewhere in the Duguba area – to the south. Mindipi had three sons, Hela, Wane, and Hiwa. Wane and Hiwa moved east and west respectively. From Wane are descended the people who now live in the Lake Kutubu area. The descendants of Hiwa live west of us – Oksapmin area. Hela stayed at Porimapu and had four sons, Huli, Duna, Duguba, and Obena. Our ancestor, Huli, came and settled at Pepenete [where the Dauli Teachers is Duna now is) went and settled at Kelote [near Pureni]. Duguba set himself up at Pepeanda, and Obena went to Tondaka. [between Kandep and Magarima] . These areas are our respective ‘headquarters’.

This is the story of our beginning and that of our brothers that live around us today.”

(This extract is from a thesis by Jo Tumbe Mangi, Yole: A Study of Traditional Huli Trade. in full requirement for the degree of Masters of Arts in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology: University of Papua New Guinea. 1988. pp. 20-21).

(Photo courtesy of Ursula Wall)

  1. The Huli god Datagaliwabe []