Item details
Item ID
Title Interviews with ToPenias Taralulu and Dokta Taule, Matupit, Rabaul
Description Tape#1: History of Music in Matupit and Clearing of Rabaul Airport

Side A: Penias Taralulu, Kikila Matupit on 24th August 1993
Penias was born in 1918 and grew up knowing Ephraim Tami being a pioneer of music after being taught by Waterhouse at Methodist Mission. He was never part of Tami's choir as he was attending Malaguna Technical School training to be a carpenter.
Ephraim Tami started the Matupit Island Mixed Choir (male/female) around 1926 just before the SDA Mission arrived in Matupit and New Britain in 1929. His assistant choir master/conductor was Romulus ToMatition who was also in the main choir. The choir would perform for tourists visiting Rabaul and also festivals for Empire Day and Kings Birthday. The choir sang mainly Kuanua songs and some English songs like "My beautiful Island, my homeland".
The Matupit Island Choir later split with two separate choir masters of two sections of Matupit around 1936.
Ephraim Tami led the Rarup, Matupit Choir and Romulus ToMatition led the Kikila, Matupit Choir.
Penias joined the Kikila Choir in 1939 under Romulus ToMatition and they won some choral festivals during that time so they were competitive with Ephraim Tami's Rarup Choir.

Side B: Dokta Taule, Malay Town, Rabaul, 25th August 1993
Dokta explained music of Ephraim Tami in his composing of songs mainly Kuanua and translations from English where he taught songs to the choir. An example of a composed Kuanua song is "Kada bona bung na nilagar" or its our a good day for happiness or be made happy. His conducting techniques of 3, 4, 6 parts were effective in producing the voices and even actions of the choir.
Ephraim's outstanding music ability even was compared from the singing to the brass band music.
Ephraim has a relative in ToDepit who led traditional music through "Vutung malagene" His ability was through traditional sources of power in "kodakodop" or "buai na pepe". ToDepit also taught and conducted Catholic church song in Tolai or Kuanua tune as a traditional church song.
Dokta also explained how the Japanese tricked the Matupit people in particular the young strong men to clear and construct with manual labour the "Rakunai" or Rabaul airport. The Japanese also taken people from nearby villages namely Talvat, Baai, Nodup and Matalau on the manual work of building the airport with no equipment or machinery put just picks, shovels, wheelbarrows and manual tools.
(Steven Gagau, May 2019)
Origination date 1993-08-24
Origination date free form
Archive link
Michael Webb
Countries To view related information on a country, click its name
Language as given
Subject language(s) To view related information on a language, click its name
Content language(s) To view related information on a language, click its name
Region / village Matupit, Rabaul, East New Britain Province
Originating university University of Sydney
Operator Jodie Kell
Data Categories historical reconstruction
primary text
Data Types Sound
Discourse type interactive_discourse
Roles Steven Gagau : data_inputter
Michael Webb : interviewer
ToPenias Taralulu : speaker
Dokta Taule : speaker
DOI 10.26278/Z4BS-C260
Cite as Michael Webb (collector), Steven Gagau (data_inputter), Michael Webb (interviewer), ToPenias Taralulu (speaker), Dokta Taule (speaker), 1993. Interviews with ToPenias Taralulu and Dokta Taule, Matupit, Rabaul. MPEG/VND.WAV. MW6-076 at
Content Files (4)
Filename Type File size Duration File access
MW6-076-A.mp3 audio/mpeg 21.6 MB 00:23:36.670
MW6-076-A.wav audio/vnd.wav 778 MB 00:23:36.660
MW6-076-B.mp3 audio/mpeg 20.4 MB 00:22:19.480
MW6-076-B.wav audio/vnd.wav 736 MB 00:22:19.460
4 files -- 1.52 GB -- --

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Collection Information
Collection ID MW6
Collection title Music in Rabaul, Gazelle Peninsula, ENBP and New Guinea Islands Region (ca. 1950s - 1990s)
Description Recordings of a wide range of music in Rabaul 1950s-1990s covering areas of the Gazelle Peninsula of East New Britain Province and the New Guinea Islands Region. This collection was the PhD research work by Dr Michael Webb focused on music of Melanesia in the Pacific. This collection was located as a result of PARADISEC's 'Lost and Found' project and digitisation was funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language.

Note: This video recording on Item MW6-012 labelled Queens Birthday Singsing, Rabaul in 1993 was unable to be digitised due to poor quality of tape so deleted from collection.
(Steven Gagau)
Countries To view related information on a country, click its name
Languages To view related information on a language, click its name
Access Information
Edit access Jodie Kell
Steven Gagau
Michael Webb
View/Download access
Data access conditions Open (subject to agreeing to PDSC access conditions)
Data access narrative

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