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Whether it is "Redefining literary techniques and devices", "Justifying Papua New Guinea Literature", or "Translating the Bible into Anuki", these offer valuable reading for the paperless student of literature, and indeed the best sort of literary entertainment you can get out of Papua New Guinea. Check them out either on Soaba's Storyboard or The Anuki Country Press.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The Kaiwatara mines

The Kaiwatara mine lies deep in the isolated regions of the Great Anuki Country.
Once two partners, and it is not certain if the partners were brothers, set up that mine and built it up to carry on with the drilling exercises when an argument erupted between the two of them. A kind of duel at high noon almost eventuated between the two as they were Americans and folklore further explains that that was the cause of the mine's closure.

All this took place during the roaring 20s (1920s) and many people including villagers from storyboard's village, Ribua, went down to work at the Kaiwatara mines.
Other explanations of the mine's closure owe to the negative impact the mining industry would have had on the native population of that region. There were fears that certain fabrics of society which kept the whole of the Anuki Country together would with the young be lost to the temptations of luxury brought in by the West and the women losing their value as wives, mothers and daughters of the famous Warakouta aristocrats, the rulers of the Great Anuki Country. Thereupon, and according to folklore, a spell of ibumutu was cast upon the mining company and it subsequently wound up into a sudden and mysterious closure.
Two decades later WWII broke out, but by then the Kaiwatara mine would become a myth and legend in the annals of Anuki folklore. The second world war never reached that part of the country (world).
The Kaiwatara mine is mentioned in Russell Soaba's book of poems,Kwamra, and it is also mentioned in the last chapter of Bishop David Hand's wonderful book, MODAWA: Papua New Guinea and Me 1946-2002.
Keep an eye out for a full story of the Kaiwatara mines in the forthcoming Weekender column of the National newspaper, Soaba's Storyboard.
Photos by Vincent Kewibu, Archeology Department, University of Papua New Guinea.

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