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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.

Monday, 28 October 2013


So who gave Samarai Island the name “Dinner Island”?

 Was it Captain James Cook? Captain John Moresby? Or Captain Luis Vaez de Torres?

Captain Luis Vaez de Torres might have as he would have been among the first European explorers to sail past that island in the seventeenth century. Captain James Cook would not have had as there are no records available of his venturing anywhere near the islands of New Guinea in his time as explorer. That leaves Captain John Moresby the key figure in the speculations that he probably was the name giver.

A brief quiz was conducted through a Facebook group Alotau, Milne Bay Province with the following poser:

How well do you know your province and your history? Assuming this were a million dollar question, what would your answer be to this:

Who gave Samarai the name Dinner Island?

Was it Captain James Cook in 1779 (a)? Captain John Moresby in 1873 (b)? Or Captain Luis Vaez de Torres in 1606 (c)?
Just type a, b or c.

26 people participated in this quiz. 10 said A. 12 said B. 2 said C. 1 said “none of the above” and  1 probability.

Those who chose A were noted to be keen observers, often with a light-hearted sense of humor and most important of all, overwhelming love for their home province. They’d embraced the quiz as a worthy gesture of community service to their province. Said one of the participants in this segment of the quiz: “I love history… It’s better to learn from each other about the history of our province…” These probably depended too much on popular opinion and fable as much as oral history and further assumed that Captain Cook rhymed with Dinner Island.

Those who chose B were noted to be careful observers, somewhat scholarly types who were sure of the answer they gave. Some insisted they were right, courtesy of Google and the encyclopedias.

Those who chose C were noted to be more than keen observers but that their speculations depended on creativity such as when history gives one the opportunity to let the human imagination get carried away. They would make great historical novelists.

So eventually, and speaking officially, that is, the answer anticipated was B. It was Captain John Moresby who was recorded to have named the island “Dinner Island” in 1873.

The rest was left to speculation and the eye of that keen observer who says, “I am rather interested in what is not there.”


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