Item details
Item ID
Title Tolai Texts (Rakunai) Part 1,Historical texts 1-13, Part 2 texts 14-22
Description collected by Ulrike Mosel
The following summaries and detailed contents provided by Steven Gagau, Kuanua speaker, June 2017:

All stories from the Rakunai area and includes specific places in the area or neighbouring/surrounding places, and far distant places within the Gazelle Peninsula, East New Britain, PNG.

Most of the story telling is about the Japanese occupation and also about Peace time after the war and celebrations.

Side A summary:
Speaker | Part# | Title ("Kuanua" then English)
ToVur – Part 1 Historical Text speaking on “A bobotoi” or The Dark Ages.
Tiop –Part 2 “ToKadik and ToPore” on tribal warfare.
Tovema – Part 3 “A moto kar” or Introduction of Motor vehicles
Tololo and ToIakop – Part 4 & 5 “A kaia” or the Volcano
ToEmil – Part 6 Atrocity of the Japanese
ToVur – Part 7 “A papalum kai ra umana Iapan” or The Work of the Japanese
Ludwina Tarai – Part 8 “Tamagu” or My Father
IaMur – Part 9 Attrocity of the Japanese
IaMalana – Part 10 “Tobok” Punishment for Stealing Chicken
ToBeilak – Part 11 “Tamadirdir” or Hornets
ToVur – Part 12 “A tavulapalut” or the Airport/Airstrip/Airfield
IaElena – Part 13 “ Aumana Bek na Raita” or Bags of Rice.

Side A detailed contents:
Part#1 ToVur – In the dark ages before civilization or colonization, our ancestors were cannibals and nomadic using tree barks and bush leaves to cover themselves and moved from place to place for shelter. When missionaries of christian religious faith “lotu” and government administration “matanitu” arrived to our places, people changed their ways towards more civilized living and practices “A kapa” or There is Light. Our native people then appreciated “white people” colonizers for clothing, settlement to villages for accommodation and shelter, go to church for worship, education, medical services and roads and sea transport.
Part#2 Tiop – In the dark ages, inter-tribal warfare was common and how they subtly lure particularly the chief and their warriors was openly done through invitation for meet and greet at certain locations to partake in food and sharing of bettlenut chewing as signs of friendship and welcome. This was a case where despite inter-tribal groups know each other can be easily betrayed at any given situation. This was the story of ToPidik and ToPore who were close friends of neigbhouring areas where chief ToPore was deceived and attacked by ToPidik and his warriors and killed and his warriors fled. ToPore’s body was cut up and distributed his body parts amongst other warring chiefs as a sign of victory and body eaten during time of cannibalism. ToPidik later invited missionaries to Rakunai to build a church for worship and turn away from the dark ages.
Part#3 Tovema – When the Europeans (Germans) arrived in Rabaul there were no motor vehicles. They only used horses and carts, bicycles and motorbikes except for one tree wheel motor vehicle used by a Bishop who travelled around to villages doing mission work. Later the Australians arrived and there were few more motor vehicles and during the war (WW2) the Japanese arrived. They introduced many motor vehicles and the local people learned to drive and started owning their own motor vehicles.
Part#4 Tololo – The volcanic eruptions (1937) of Vulcan “Karavia” was after a week long series of earthquakes “guria”. The volcano “A kaia” erupted with dark black clouds and ashes thrown out all night to all nearby villages where they all escaped inland. They stayed away for at least 5 months up to 3 years from their villages then returned till this day.
Part#5 ToIakop – In addition of Tololo in Part#4 more of same information
Part #6 ToEmil – Atrocities by the Japanese in villages was frequent on local native people. If they see that there is a punishment required and when the call “Number 10” it means they will cut the throat and kill a victim on whatever as trivial it may be. They can tie up a person after tortured or cutting off limbs to a coconut tree as long as 2 weeks to suffer then kill the person then roughly bury the bodies in shallow dug out pits.
Part#7 ToVur – The Japanese were hardworking in making food gardens for their subsistence but at the same were thieves stealing from local people’s gardens and other domesticated animals like pigs, chickens for their protein. This angered local people and tried chasing them but in fear that as soldiers they can retaliate and kill them. So secretly the local people also stole from the Japanese mainly tinned foods, rice packs, clothing but were cautious not to be caught. Towards the end they started making peace and help each others out with the food gardens.
Part#8 Ludwina Tarai – Story told of her Father during WW2 who had confrontations with the Japanese which started from them stealing his family’s garden food. Despite him stopping them not to continue, they still continued harvesting then one day, he caught two of hem and had a fight injuring both who escaped. They return in numbers looking to murder his father who now was on the run in hiding from them. Since they could not locate him and his wife, they took young girls from the village captives at their camp sites. He then resorted to witchcraft to defend himself and quench their anger to kill him. He presented himself and the Japanese could not help it but released him and not taken in for punishment. They also released the captured girls. After the war when there was peacetime and the Japanese had surrendered to return, there were sick people in an hospital nearby, so the arrogant father went in on a rampage again hurting them as a sign of frustrations of the years of their mistreatment to the people. There was nothing much the Japanese could do then and all returned home to Japan. This is just an example of many situations with the Japanese.
Part#9 IaMur – Atrocities by Japanese during WW2 for no justifiable reason in punishing the natives. They would round them to their gather especially the men falsely blaming them for wrongdoings then usually cut their throats. This made people on the run into jungles for hiding for extended periods of time from their villages and gardens where they could feed themselves so their livelihood was very disruptive during the wartime. Mistreatments by Japanese only added to more suffering not just the facing the fighting and destruction of bombs and gunfire during the war.
Part#10 IaMalana – Story of ToBok who was punished for stealing chickens from the Japanese poultry sheds. He was brutally punished and imprisoned at campsite and released after the villages gave five (5) chickens back to them.
Part#11 ToBeilak – Story of hornets attacking a Japanese man during work parade involving cutting down coconut trees to use the trunks for fencing and posts for sheds. He was hospitalized with suffering from bodily bruising and pains. The hornets had their nests in the coconut palm leaves and dispersed to attack after being cut down.
Part#12 ToVur – Story of the forced labour on natives to build the wartime airfield at ToBera towards the South Coast of the Gazelle Peninsula for Japanese army and fighters during WW2. There was constant rounding of local people in numbers on and off for shift work durations. During the course of the building of the airfield, there were a lot of cases of atrocities committed and killings of natives. All the work eventually was a waste of time and effort as it was bombed and all the Japanese fighter and cargo planes departed and deserted the airfield. The sacrifices of the local people and loss of lives did not seem justifiable building this airfield and later the people later realized that the war was over.
Part#13 IaElena. Story of ToMamia stealing bags of rice. He received cruel punishment as with other similar cases of stealing from the Japanese during wartime.

Side B summary:
Speaker | Part# | Title ("Kuanua" then English)
Tarere Part 14 – “Turmilat” as Japanese captive
ToIakop Part 15 – “Tavir” or a Play in the memory of ToRot (Catholic Catechist)
Augustino ToDui Part 16 – “A taim na war” or Wartime
Alois Tokava Part 17 – “A papalum na rot” or Road building.
Kasimel ToKau Part 18 – “A nat na tinata ure ra Iapan” or Little Story of the Japanese
ToVur Part 19 – “A paplum na rot” or Road building
John ToPalang Part 20 – “ Tikana Te America” or An American
ToVur Part 21 – “A Malmal” or Peace time.
ToVur – Part 22 “ A Independen” or the Independence

Side B detailed contents:
Part# 14 Tarere – Story of Turmilat who was taken captive by Japanese for confronting and fighting with a soldier upon assaulting him and women in village. Turmilat had escape after the incident and as punishment all women and children were tied up against trees and posts in the village till he returned. He saw what happened to the people so gave himself in and they planned to shoot him dead however the elders pleaded and he was released in exchange of garden foods and 100 live chickens.
Part#15 ToIakop – ToRot was a native catholic catechist killed by the Japanese because they disapproved of his work within the Church amongst the people and his Christian faith. He was doing this secretly after being warned not to so ended up being killed. The Rakunai people after the war then created and perform a role-plays of ToRot and how he carried out his work with Japanese soldiers harassment and eventual killing. They wanted to demonstrate what he stood for in his Christian faith at two main mission locations at Tapo and Kabaira.
Part#16 ToDui – During the wartime it was difficult for the natives to feed themselves as they were restricted for movements and could not really make food gardens to harvest so due to hunger so the men resorted to stealing from Japanese food gardens. ToDui tells his own story when he was caught and tied up waiting to be judged. He somehow managed to escape still with his hand tied together. A group of women he met along the way on a riverside untied the rope and kept this incident to themselves in fear of being arrested.
Part#17 ToKava – During the wartime, the Japanese used the natives all around the villages as forced labour and treated as slaves to build the road at Tavuiliu to the beach front. They used cane whips on the labourers either to get them to work hard of punishments and were bleeding while working. The lunch break was brief and did not eat much food and no resting. While working there were air strikes by the Allied Forces on the Japanese ships at Rabaul harbour and most were bombed and sunk as witnessed by the native labourers. Not long after the Japanese surrendered to Allied Forces and the road building stopped and the natives returned to their villages.
Part#18 ToKau – The natives were gathered to build the “Vuruga” road or Burma road. They completed the road and big celebrations and the intersection of Kokopo road but by that time the Allied Forces were advancing to take over Rabaul and the Gazelle Peninsula. The Japanese then instructed the natives all over the villages to massive holes as graves for mass killings to occur on each village. They had started in the Baining area and moving towards the coast. They began mobilizing the natives in truckloads but was disrupted by leaflets dropped by Allied Forces planes all over the villages informing the end of the wartime with the invasion and surrender of the Japanese. The leaflets were drawings and photographs of “Tubuans” or traditional dancers of Tolai secret society as a symbol of celebrations of a victory to come. The Allied Forces were already on the ground taking over Rabaul town and key locations and with the knowledge of mass massacre to happen on the natives, they moved in and captured the Japanese to stop the plan of killing the people. If the Allied Forces had not stepped in, the people of the Gazelle Peninsula would have been wiped out but thanks to the end of the war and the people was safe and free to live again.
Part#19 ToVur – The Japanese surveyed the “Vuruga” road or Burma road connecting the coast to inland access. Natives from all over the villages were mobilized forced to be labourers to manually build the road using spades, shovels and wheelbarrows. Coconut trunks were used for building bridges and dug out soil to backfill and level surfaces. The Japanese had a native police force mainly from the New Guinea mainland people. They were used to support the Japanese in supervising what they wanted to do and were also brutally treating the natives of the villages so there was mistreatment of the local people by oppressors of the wartime. There was uprising and rebellion by the natives and there were casualties on both sides. When the road was completed they move on to the next road to be built at Tavui. People suffered from hunger and resorted to stealing from Japanese gardens as they could not make gardens of their own to grow food due to full time working on the road building. Peace time was coming now then the natives were release from these labourers work when the Australians took over.
Part#20 ToPalang – Story of an American pilot shot down in his fighter plane into the seas of Vunairima on the North Coast of the Gazelle Peninsula. He was captured by the Japanese and interrogated and imprisoned in a cave. They send out the natives to harvest their gardens for food and chicken and pigs from the villages for a feast. While they were partying with food and alcohol, a Japanese soldier came to check for the American and then he had removed the handcuffs then strangled the solider and took his rifle and escaped to the bushes. Upon a search for him, he was located and taken back to the campsite where he was made to stand on the roof of the building and surrounded by the Japanese who had their weapons in guns and pistols and was shot at. He could not fall and died standing so they sent up the natives to bring him down and told them to dig a hole as his grave in the bushes under their supervision. The natives did the burial in the bushes and are remembered as his grave nowadays.
Part#21 ToVur – As the war was nearing the end, the Allied Forces dropped leaflets from planes all over the villages informing the people living on the Gazelle Peninsula that peace will be coming and the Japanese will surrender and return back to their country. The leaflets were drawings and photographs of “Tubuans” and “Dukduks”or traditional dancers of Tolai secret society as a symbol of celebrations of a victory to come. The Japanese did not let the natives know about this so people were confused about the leaflets dropped. Eventually the people we made aware and the significance to the end of the war was marked by the traditional Tolai celebrations with the Tubuans and Dukduks dancing as a cut off the old era of war to new era of peace.
Part#22 ToVur – The Independences celebrations in Rabaul town was well attended by all the villages in the Gazelle Peninsula with overcrowding of people, studnets of all schools, government officials, churches and businesses with lots of food, traditional “singsings” or dances and other organized speeches and program of activities. This is just an account of the event.

Origination date 1976-01-01
Origination date free form 1976 (inferred from tape naming system)
Archive link
Tom Dutton
Countries To view related information on a country, click its name
Language as given Tolai (Rakunai)
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
Dialect Rakunai
Region / village Rakunai, Gazelle Peninsula, East New Britain Province
Originating university Australian National University
Operator Frank Davey
Data Categories primary text
Data Types Sound
Discourse type narrative
Roles Tom Dutton : recorder
Ulrike Mosel : recorder
Various : speaker
DOI 10.4225/72/56FD40217B5D6
Cite as Tom Dutton (collector), Tom Dutton (recorder), Ulrike Mosel (recorder), Various (speaker), 1976. Tolai Texts (Rakunai) Part 1,Historical texts 1-13, Part 2 texts 14-22. MPEG/VND.WAV. TD1-P02776 at
Content Files (4)
Filename Type File size Duration File access
TD1-P02776-A.mp3 audio/mpeg 39.5 MB 00:43:08.159
TD1-P02776-A.wav audio/vnd.wav 1.39 GB 00:43:14.70
TD1-P02776-B.mp3 audio/mpeg 36.2 MB 00:39:32.519
TD1-P02776-B.wav audio/vnd.wav 1.28 GB 00:39:37.940
4 files -- 2.74 GB -- --

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Collection Information
Collection ID TD1
Collection title Papua New Guinean Languages
Description A collection of audio recordings from a number of languages of Papua New Guinea and Australia. Includes Tok Pisin, Motu, Hiri Motu, Toaripi, Opao, Orokolo, Kanju, Kaipi, Boera, Maipua, Purari (Koriki), Fore, Orokaiva, Notu (Ewage-Notu), Grass Koiari, Nara (Lala), Wahgi, Raepa Tati (Kaki Ae), Ouma, Mailu, Managalasi, Koita, Aomie, Barai, Rabuka, Rumu, Kibiri, Mountain Koiali, Koitabu, Mekeo, Suau, Toura, Abadi, Barai, Maria, Kuanua, Sinaugoro, Uare, Aomie, Ese, Baruga, Maisin, Umanakaina, Kanasi, Dawawa, Doga, Abau, Domu, Daga, Yareba, Magori, Tauade and Yele. Some language more that one dialect is present. Text types include stories, songs, basic elicitation, comparative work, radio recordings, language lessons, discussion. Also includes a lecture by K. L. Pike, recordings from ABC radio, recordings of Black American English (Tim Shopen), One recording of Bislama (Vanuatu), a recording of the 1977 Australian Museum conference, bird calls and data on Queensland pidgin, a recording in Kaandju (Australia), as well as data on Torres Strait English for the Queensland Speech Survey.
Countries To view related information on a country, click its name
Languages To view related information on a language, click its name
Access Information
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View/Download access Joshua Bell
Rolf Bardeli
Data access conditions Open (subject to agreeing to PDSC access conditions)
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