by Tarali Tarlzen Hibuya

Tarali Tarlzen
Tarali Tarlzen Hibuya

Who are the first occupiers of Wenani territory? Is it Haliali or Wenani?

This is a profound myth of how Haliali or Hali Halene tribe was born by his mother,  after crossing Tagali river on a man’s penis. This legend is told and retold by many generations. However, since our culture is fading away, I’d like to publish it here for a record.

During the ancient days, in the land later became men’s land known as Huli or Hela, in Papua New Guinea, there lived two brothers, who were the sons of forest spirit or god known as Aya Ira. Aya Ira’s sons can change their forms. They can be in human form, cuscus form, cassowary form or as small as a frog and they were cannibals.

These two brothers,  legendarily the first born was known as Tukale whilst Tapale being the second. They were living alongside the banks of agitated Tagari river in Tukupa land not far from Hewai Fall, in a small desolation called Hakuanali.

Whilst living therein, Tukale gave birth to the three (3) generational tribes known in Huli today as : Hupi TikuaTamburuma, and Pai Haguane. The historical processes whereby these tribes were born can be other good write-ups of its/their own, thus will not be elaborated here.

The story of how Hali Halene or Haliali tribe was born as a result of actions by Tukale, starts with conflicts between the brothers, Tukale and Tapale.

And one day, leaving Tukale along with his offsprings, Tapale went to a place known as Hayawi in Hayapuga, where there is a huge tree known in Huli as poli  to ignite or pick a fire amber (In Huli, Hayawi polite ira heto pene). When Tapale, reached Hayawi, he saw a Porowale’s daughter fetching water at Hayawi creek. Tapale killed her and ate her.

When Tapale returned from his outings to ignite the fire amber, Tukale already knew that his junior brother ate someone, from the look of blood stains on his brother’s teeths and fingernails. They’ve agreed not to kill or cannibalise within their territory defined by the river Tagari banks. Thereafter, Tukale  strangled his second brother and threw him into the river and washed away by Hewai fall.

After killing his own brother, he left his sons in Hakuanali, changed his form into frog to swim across the river, reached the other side, transformed into cuscus and travelled via tree branch to branch and reached a village known as Homa Andaga inPureni.

Tukale hungrily killed and ate a daughter belonging to Homa Tuai who was feeding her father’s pigs, on his arrival.

Tukale continued his journey by transforming into all kinds of forms. He reached a place chanted in Huli Myth as Kele KayaweTuriyaTapuma in Hela Tuna lands, drilled himself into a stone and secretly resided in it overlooking the valleys .

Whilst hiding in there, he killed and ate as many as he could in the valleys. Finally, the inhabitants of the area found out the cause of disappearance of their relatives and was ploying to kill him. Quickly, Tukale changed his form into frog, jumped onto a tree branch and was hiding there. Unfortunately, the tree branch broke off in the night and fell into the river.

Whilst Tukale  was afloating above the banks of the river on the branch, two witch sisters of Tuna came who were walking upstream along the banks. Their mythical names were Ibime (in Huli means ” to come forever“) and Taipime (In Huli means, go back forever). The two sisters took the branch of the tree afloat on the water  without noticing Tukale perching on it in the form of frog camouflagely. They placed the branch beside their pig known as Nogo Para Tambuka (In Huli, means Golden Brownish Pig) and slept. Tukale quickly took hold of the moment and took over Tambuka as it’s vessel and control all its senses. Tukale in the form of Tambuka ate up all the Tambuka’s own seven piglets.

Using Tambuka as vessel, Tukale travelled out of the hut whilst its owner (two sisters) were snoring away. When the sisters woke up, they realised their pig is gone so they went out on searching, tracing the foot trails. The trail led further than their area so, so as their names mythically orates,  Ipime decided to continue following the foot prints whilst Taipime went back.

Tambuka controlled by Tukale reached Kelote, Takapua clan territory which is currently in South Koroba. The lake in Kelote which is widely known as Iba Tambuka is named after this pig, because Tukale made it to plung into the pig whilst itself transformed into frog again and slept beneath the taro leaf near a shelter where ancestral man named Ulape rest.

Going back to the story of one of the owners of the pig, Ipime followed all the way  tracing her pig’s foot print and stopped at the shores of what is currently known as Lake Tambuka, at which she was found by only mythical man Ulape living in there.

Ulape decided to make feast for his only one in a life time guest who is female in gender. He asked her to uproot the Taro nearby on which Tukale was hidding in frog form. Whilst Ibime was stretching her hands to pull the taro, her vulnerable breast fell down which tempted Tukale to jump out  of the taro leaf and suck it. Ulape, whose eyes too were also focsing on those breast saw the frog jumping on it. Ulape caught it and smashed its head on the rocks, ultimately legendary Tukale ended his life in the hands of Yalirima Ulape.

Ulape had sexual intercourse with Ipime after killing Tukale (frog) and she became his wife. Ibime never went back. Ulape and Ibime gave birth to a girl named Hunuya. The trio lived until Hunuya  got married to another man (unknown) and decided to cross the agitated Tagali river to live in swampy green valley on the other side. Hunuya during her pregnancy, as she with her husband were looking for ways to cross the river, the mythical man known as Tokopira appeared and offered help by extending its penis which in myths is believed to be long and large enough for the pregnant wife to cross over (In Huli, we say, Tokopira handa wi toko wini). When it’s time for her husband to cross, Tokopira relinquished his penis. Hunuya’s husband never crossed. He went back and overnight with Aja Poli at Kelote where he was told to ignite a torch for Payapaya’s body to be shared and he was given an ear (Halene) to eat.

Hunuya gave birth to Haliali at the shores of Tagali. At Wenani Clan there is small portion of forest known as Halianda and there is a mythical pond known as iba Halianda .

So the the territory therein was occupied by Tokopira who is the ancestor to Wenani and Topani Clan (as called today). Haliali were never the first settlers.

(Photo courtesy of Jimmy Nelson)