Item details
Item ID
Title Tolai Texts cont'd 23-53
Description Tolai Texts cont'd 23-53

Side A summary:
Speaker | Part# | Title ("Kuanua" then English)
ToVarto Part 23 “Tikana Magit” or A Crime
ToVur Part 24 “A wok tara titima” or The Work on the Steamer
ToVur Part 25 “A Baining” or The Bainings
IaMalana Part 26 “IaLuita” or Louisa
ToVur Part 27 “A Umana Lapun” or The Old Men
IaMalana Part 28 “A Malamalalunga” or A Trick
IaBanam Part 29 “A Tabaran” or A Ghost
ToVur Part 30 “A Me Tutana” or The He (Male) Goat
ToVur Part 31 “A Hot kai Pater” or The Priest’s Horse
Kreitan Part 32 “A kaukau, a boroi, kakaruk” or Sweet Potatoes, Pig and Chicken
ToVur Part 33 “A Niriwoi na Boroi” or Pig Hunting
ToVur Part 34 “A Boroi” The Pig
ToVur Part 35 “A Nian” or The Food
ToVur Part 36 “A Papait Na Pal” or House Building

Side A detailed contents:
Part#23 - ToVarto witnessed a crime of a person buried alive when he was still a young boy. This happened in the not too distant past even after missionaries and government have been in the presence of the native people. The dying person “ToKalama” was very sick and had tropical ulcers and was in the process of being taken to another village, Pilapila to be cured by traditional medicine man. A number of local men from Rakunai village stopped them to keep the sick man with another intention not to save his life but to dispose him by murdering him.ToVarto happened to be with his father passing through the location where this all happened and the culprits did not realise that the young boy has seen this incident. They dug a hole in the middle of a garden hut and buried him alive. ToVarto was warned in the presence of his father that if he told the priest or village elders he would be dealt with in this same manner. He keep his silence till now the story is told after all the culprits has passed on.
Part#24 ToVur explains that when coconut plantation managers wanted to buy copra bags for export they would hire local labour to go onboard heir company steamer cargo ships to go around ports in the New Guinea mainland and coastal provinces. In this instance the local labour was from Gazelle Peninsula area who went to Madang of the steamer ship to load and unload bags of copra and brought back to Rabaul to the warehouse storage for the plantation. The locals were very well looked after with food and rations during the hiring period of 4 days then were paid well for their labour upon return in Rabaul. They were all satisfied with food supplies particularly the large biscuit crackers and cash given as they went back to their villages.
Part#25 ToVur tells of his posting to the Baining people to help Catholic mission work. He was sent by the priest at Rakunai, Fr Lauper to work with Fr Dargat at the North Bainings. Travel was by boat from Kabaira to Vunamarita on north coast then walking inland over mountains, valleys past running rivers in rough terrain to isolated villages. He worked amongst the Baining people then was assigned a catechist role in another remote village where he set up a new mission station with a church building (bush materials). After 2 years, he had enough of being far away from home so did not officially tell Fr Dargat but escaped and met with some people from Kabakada travelling back so so he went with them. He later continued to his Rakaunai village.
Part#26 IaMalana tells of the appearance of a woman who had passed away whilst they were sleeping. IaMalana and IaKatarin had come back from church bible study and returned to IaMalana’s home where they prayed for the night sleep and rested. The traditional hut was on the ground level where keeping arm was by the fire side and keep wood burning. Late that night the fire had died out so IaKatarin woke IaMalana up for firewood. She went out to get the firewood stored outside and by the time she came back, the deceased woman, IaLuita was already sitting at the doorway near the foot of IaMalana. IaKatarin woke IaMalana up to tell her of IaLuita in the hut. IaLuita then started complaining to the two of them that they did not love her when she was alive. They both responded by saying they did love her when alive and also said prayers about her even that evening. IaLuita just sat there till the early hours of the morning so both the women could not sleep and suffered with perspiration so immediately when she left a day break, they immediately had a wash from filled up buckets.
Part#27 ToVur tells a story of old men who were tricked and frightened that there were explosions during the time of volcanic eruptions. Four men including ToVur went to a place called Vunakaur and by the night they decided to rest at a local school. That night at this school were some old men who had sought shelter at the classroom. There were sleeping on desks and sitting forms. The three men decided to play a trick on these old men by hitting together stones to sound if there were explosions of the volcano erupting. As they clapped the stones, they yelled “Kombiu” volcano is erupting. They did this twice which scared the old men who woke up hastily afraid that the eruptions was really happening. In their state of panic, they were jumping from where they were sleeping falling over each other, bumping each other, the desks and forms also falling all over and amongst the chaos the old men were getting hurt or wounded. They began yelling and some crying out aloud. ToVur and his friends then ran off in fear of being caught by people in the village people finding out of what they were doing to these old men. They went far away and disappeared into the bushes that night and stayed till day break then went to a nearby village. The village elders later were looking for those responsible for frightening the old men but never found out who in the end.
Part#28 IaMalana tells of a boy, ToBuruder who was given the task of cleaning the family’s cat’s excreta inside the house. One day when the parents left the house to go to Rabaul town, he decided to put an end to the cat’s throwing of its waste giving him the work of cleaning up. He got some bitumen coal substance and mixed with breadfrit sap (sticky) with coconut husks fibres and stuck it up the cat’s anus and covered it with cat’s fur on more breadfruit sap to seal of its anus so it is not noticed. His brother ToWaninara witnessed all this but did not make it known to ToBuruder of what he did. Some time had gone by and the cat became very sick from not eating or excreting and kept losing weight till it died. After much later, ToWaninara to the parents the story of what ToBuruder had done to the cat. Instead of them getting angry, they laughed at him and took the funny side of what had happened so ToBuruder got away from killing the family cat.
Part#29 IaBanam tells of seeing a ghost along the way after returning on an errand for his father. She had picked up clothes for the Christmas occasion when she saw a women on the trackside naked. She immediately thought it was not a normal person but a ghost. She was brave enough to walk past her but could not look backwards and afraid it may do something to her. She ran hastily straight to their house calling the parents to open the door. Thankfully the ghost did not do anything and told the parents her experience.
Part#30 ToVur tells of a male goat slaughtered wrongly for a meal. During a meeting where the Catechists and Priests of a Parish got together, ToBailat was told by the Priest to slaught a goat so it can be prepared for the meal to feed the meeting participants. ToBailat picked the wrong goat instead of a female one he slaughter the male goat meant for breeding. The Priest was furious with what had happened but ToBailat later apologized and told the Priest that his instructions was not clear as to which goat to slaughter. In the end they enjoyed the goat meal and the Priest had settled down about the loss of the male goat.
Part#31 ToVur and ToNoel were domestic servants helping the Priest Fr Lauper in his home. ToVur was did the housekeeping and catering and ToNoel looked after the animals and poultry including a horse that the priest uses to ride on his visits. ToNoel had an attitude that after food leftovers are brought back to the kitchen he would eat them all then just take off when satisfied leaving ToVur to continue his cleaning duties. ToVur was getting frustrated with this so one day he wanted to teach ToNoel a big lesson. He went to the horse shed and fence and chased it out so it ran freely out into the village.When the priest discovered that the horse was missing he angrily called out for ToNoel to look for the horse and return it to its shed and fence. ToNoel in turned looked for ToVur and complained what had happened of the horse running away but ToVur stood his ground that he was not aware of the situation. In the end ToNoel located the horse and returned it to the satisfaction of ToVur that he made him work for the troubles continuously had caused him.
Part#32 Kreiten tells generally of food preparations and cooking of sweet potatoes, pork and chickens. These are universal in boiling, frying with additives in green vegetables and ingredients to make meals tasty.
Part#33 ToVur tells of how to hunt wild pigs. There are hunters, trained hunting dogs and mainly throwing spears aimed at the wild pigs for catching them. Early in the morning the hunters and dogs go out to the bushes and jungle in search for the wild pigs by spotting their tracks. These tracks are followed and the dogs will be leading the way and eventually locate the pigs. Then the chasing begins mainly the dogs in pursuit barking at the pigs and the hunters running behind with the spears at the same time encouraging the dogs by call signs. The chasing can go on for a while until such time when the pig are in close range when the dogs can either spring onto the pig or the hunter spears the pig. The pig is then captured with the pair of legs tied and snout tied. The captured pig then is carried with a a bush pole to the preparation area where it is slaughtered, burnt of the furs and cleaned out with water. Then it is cut up removing the intestines and into pork meat pieces and meant to to allocated to people in the village for payment with traditional shell money in unit price of 1 fathom measured from left hand fingertip to right hand fingertip. That is arms length across the chest of stringed sea shells fitted onto dried cane vine strips used by the Tolai people for exchange of goods. The purpose of pig hunting is to share protein with the people at a price of the shell money for the wealth accumulation to support the person responsible for the pig hunt. For the hunters hired to assist with this, they are rewarded with pieces of pork as well as paid in similar way of shell money.
Part#34 ToVur tells how domesticated pigs in fences are prepared and slaughtered. The pig is captured by wrestling it down. Some pigs that become difficult the forehead is normally struck with heavy material then wrestled down and slaughtered. The legs and snout are tied together and carried to preparation place where it is burnt of the furs, cleaned up with water ready to cut up removing the intestines and also into pork meat pieces. The pork pieces can be distributed to people for shell money or shared for consumption only. Cooking can be frying the pork meat, boiling with coconut milk and vegetables and greens or baking in stone ovens wrapped with banana leaves. The pig’s blood is also used by mixing with fern keaves or a special edible leaf “known in Kuanua as Walangur” and baked in hot stone oven in wrapped banana leaves.
Part#35 ToVur tells how a particular type of meal preparation is done without using cooking pots. The protein and green vegetables are cooked with hot stones. The bed of firewood is lit up to heat up up stones to be used for cooking the food. Banana leaves are set up in coconut husks the shape of a pot where the prepared food is placed in. The hot stones are placed at the base of the banana leaves then protein and peeled sweet potatoes or bananas or taro is are placed on top with protein like chicken pieces or pork or beef meat pieces then coconut milk is added for steam cooking then green vegetables and ingredients are placed on top with more hot stones and more coconut milk then wrapped up so the hot stones will now steam cook the food. Cooking will be estimated to be around 45 to 50 minutes then served to family and visitors invited or visiting the home. After the meal then cleaning up will be done of the used banana leaves thrown away and cooking stones put back in the storage area for future cooking of meals. After meal relaxation is usually chewing of bettlenut with green mustard and coral lime and has been a traditional practice used.
Part#36 ToVur tells of how the ancestors built traditional bush material houses with ropes, thatched roofs and bamboo walls when there was no hardware building materials like nails or roofing iron. The houses were mainly built on ground level with wooden materials from cut down trees with relevant sizes to suit building of the house. The tying together of the wood and supports like wall and roof frames were with bamboo strips and dried cane ropes and other types of bush ropes dried to make them durable and with strength for the joints or fixing together the building parts. The thatched roof is secured onto bamboo strips that are tied onto wooden rafting all secured with ropes. The people normally will help out in a communal spirit to the owner as it will come their turn and help will also be given as was the practice. After the house is complete then feast is prepared and payment of traditional shell money to the helpers as an appreciation for completing the house.

Side B summary:
Speaker | Part# | Title ("Kuanua" then English)
Kreiten Part 37 “A papait na pal” or House Building
ToIakop Part 38 “ A papait na kubagu” or building my house.
ToVur Part 39 “A kunukul na kar” or Purchasing of motor vehicles.
To Vur Part 40 “Nabung” or “Yesterday” - what I did.
Tarere Part 41 “Nabung” or “Yesterday” what I did.
ToVur & ToWema Part 42 “ A Sande” or “Sunday”
ToVur Part 43 “A Kivung” or “Meeting” parent-teacher.
IaKitongo Part 44 “Kaigu kini ma kaingu mana bul” or “My Family”
IaMauta Part 45 “A Minat” or “Death”
ToVur Part 46 “ToKarvuvu” or “Bad Attitude person”
IaBanam Part 47 “ToKabinana ma ToKarvuvu” - weeding the garden
ToIakop Part 48 “Ginigil ma Kalangar” - creating the birds
Kreiten Part 49 “Pap ma Puti” or “Dog and Cat”
Kreiten Part 50 “A kakaruk ma a fox” or “Hen and Fox”
Male Unknown Part#51 “ A Gai” or “Moon” - catching it?
Kreiten Part 52 “Biavi - dave u vana kan iau?” or “Poor friend - why did you leave me?”
Toan Part 53 “Talaigu a biavi” or “My poor friend”

Side B detailed contents:
Part#37 Kretan – She tells of how to build a simple village house with combination of bush materials and modern hardware materials. Typical modern materials are sawn timber, corrugated iron roofing, nails, flat galvanized iron sheets for windows and doors hinges and locks. House posts are from hardened wood that are specifically sourced for foundations that houses are built on top. The floor bearers and joists, wall and roof frames and structures are either bush wooden materials cut down from trees or sawn timber. The process of house building is typical starting with digging holes for the posts and securing then getting the levels right to put place the floor bearers and joists. Then erecting the wall frames to secure the roof and area for the house with rooms divided. Then setting the roof with the frames depending on the type (gable or skillion). Then the roofing iron are nailed to the rafters normally with no sisalation. Work continues on flooring by nailing down either bush material of stripped bamboo or rough sawn timber floors.The work continues with the walling mainly cardboard box sheets as internal walling then bush materials woven bamboo external walls or fibro walls on sawn timber frames. Then the windows which are not usually glass louvers but made of timber frame and flat galvanised iron sheet nailed on then secured with hinges for opening and closing by wooden stick pushing out and taking off. Lastly the main door and other room doors made from timber frames and flat galvanised iron sheets nailed on followed by hinges secured to the door jams. then the door handles and locks. Then a house warming get-together feast is usually done hosted by the owner for family to move in and occupy the house.
Part#38 ToIakop - Similar account of building a house but this is a replacement house where the house posts, flooring,walling and roofing structure and frames are completed first. Then re-use of roofing iron on existing house and use as much materials as possible such as nails, windows, doors transferred across. new wallings and new floor will be put in.
Part#39 ToVur - Local people who wants to own a motor vehicle approach the Motor Vehicle companies and discuss the the prices and what they have in savings. Then they obtain a loan from the banks to purchase the selected vehicle. They use the vehicle for personal use or for public use to carry passengers ad cargo mainly garden food items for sale at the local markets as a business. If they can not repay back the loan from the bank, the vehicle is taken back and tendered by the bank to recover their money. Otherwise if they are meeting all their repayments then it will eventually be their own vehicle as they will not owe the bank and any money from the loan. Many people in the villages were able to purchase motor vehicles.
Part#40 ToVur - What he did yesterday? He stayed home whole day just resting and relaxing. He cooked a big meal for morning and lunch and served himself to the food. After lunch, he just did bits and pieces around the house, had a shower then relaxed in the afternoon. The children dropped by to visit me at my home after school. We chatted till late afternoon before they all left me.
Part#41 Tarere - What he did yesterday? He had earlier organised some women in the village to help me clean up around my cocoa plot. Early morning after all had their breakfast I picked them up on the way to the coca plot and had the whole day cutting grass and clearing the weeds, pruning the cocoa trees. Towards the end of the day, the women prepare a meal called “aigir” from garden foods next to the cocoa plot. The food preparation do not need cooking pots but just banana leaves and hot stones steaming the taro, cassava and greens so all ate together. The women were then paid for their work at 3 Kina (K3.00) each before they all returned to their homes in the village.
Part#42 ToVur & ToWema - A conversation between ToVur and ToWema on what each did on the Sunday. They both went to church worship then each went for different committee meetings. They each returned home after their meetings and ToVur missed another one in the afternoon as he was tired and hungry so did not attend. They parted their own ways after their chat.
Part#43 ToVur - A parents/teachers meeting of the local village school was held after church service on Sunday. The teachers expressed their concerns of the high absenteeism of the children attending the school. The parents shared the same concerns as they prepare their children to go to school but blamed them for disappearing along the way and playing and pretending to return home from school. This was a serious matter for the parents to discipline their children to attend school and made their commitment to the teachers to improve on the attendance for their future benefit with the education.
Part#44 IaKitongo - This mother supports a family of seven (7) children. The first 2 children are working and attending school away from home. The rest of the 5 children stay with her at home and attend the local primary school. Her day starts with cleaning in and around the house and sweeping away leaves to keep the outside area of the home neat and tidy. She then prepares the children to go to school with breakfast meal and school lunches wrapped in banana leaves. After the children all leave for school, she does the family laundry and dry the clothes then washes and cleans the kitchen pots, plates, spoons and puts them away. She then goes to the food garden to plant crops, maintains and harvests where required. She then returns home to prepare for the family’s evening meal when everyone returns home. The family sits together to have their dinner and after the meal they have time of prayer and devotion before everyone goes to sleep.
Part#45 IaMauta - When someone dies in the village, immediate arrangements are made for the coffin, new clothes to dress the dead and then for church service for funeral. The body does not stay long to avoid exposing the deteriorating to body. The level of feasting for the dead after funeral depends on the status of the person in the community. The prominent ones have more recognition in the wealth by shell money to be distributed among the people. The ordinary ones do not usually have much feasting carried out.
Part#46 ToVur - ToKarvuvu’s irresponsible actions has lead to the parrots and birds eating garden foods. Legend has it that two brothers set out to make food gardens. The wise one ToKabinana always did the right things but Tokavuvu always did the wrong things like peeing on the crops and instead of chasing the parrots away he would catch them and put them on banana trees, sugar cane plants, corn were always destroyed by birds come harvest time. That is why today, harvests from food gardens are affected because of ToKarvuvu’s actions. This name has now the meaning of bad attitude or being irresponsible or greedy in nature.
Part#47 IaBanam - Same story line with the two brothers ToKabinana and ToKarvuvu. Despite all good intentions to weed and maintain food gardens, ToKarvuvu went out peeing the food gardens which affects people for good harvests and consumption.
Part#48 ToIakop - Same story line of the two brothers ToKabinana and ToKarvuvu.The wise oneToKabinana created 2 birds in a Ginigil and Kalangar. ToKarvuvu was instructed to place on trees but instead he placed the Ginigil on the tree and Kalangar on the banana tree. When the Kalangar was hungry he started eating the ripe bananas. Till this day the Kalangar (parrots) feeds off the banana trees and affects harvesting of bananas thereafter as it was introduced in the first place.
Part#49 Kreiten - Story of why the dog and the cat are not friends till this day. It was all because of planting of a banana sucker to grow. The sucker was cut in half with the top half for the cat and the bottom half with the roots for the dog. They both planted their halves in their private gardens away from each. They kept monitoring the growth but the cat was lying all along that her half was growing but in fact dead as could not grow without roots. When the dog’s banana fruit were ready and ripe, he told the cat to help him get the ripe bananas so they both went to harvest. The cat climbed up and started eating the ripe bananas throwing the skins to the dog. The dog was not impressed so with anger he went home and waited for the cat to get back. When the cat arrived the dog started chasing her around and till this day they are not friends with each other.
Part#50 Kreiten - Story of the hen who was approached by a fox. The hen being scared flew up to the roof of the house and waited for help. The fox was saying to the hen that they were friends and not going to hurt the hen. The owner of the hen arrived and saw it on the roof and asked why it was up there. The hen talk its owner that there was the fox at the base of the house and told him to chase away which he did. The hen then was sarcastic calling out to the fox, why he was running away since they were friends!
Part#51 Male Unknown - Story of trying to trap the moon rising over the mountain. The people keep watching the moon and decided they trap it by tying together long bamboos extending it at the tip to making it longer tso they can hook the moon. Obviously it was a failure so the elder concluded telling his people that the moon was a spirit that comes and go over this mountain.
Part#52 Kreiten - a love song of a woman whose husband has left her (song was destroyed but narrated as)….my poor friend why did you leave me when you were gone to a far away foreign place. There are talks that has come about that you have married another woman. My love for you remains till I die.
Part#53 Toan - Same love song narrated again as Part#52.

'summaries' and 'detailed contents' here are provided by Steven Gagau, Kuanua speaker, June 2017.

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
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 Rakunai
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
DOI 10.4225/72/56FD403260E8E
Cite as Tom Dutton (collector), Tom Dutton (recorder), Ulrike Mosel (recorder), 1976. Tolai Texts cont'd 23-53. MPEG/VND.WAV. TD1-P02876 at
Content Files (4)
Filename Type File size Duration File access
TD1-P02876-A.mp3 audio/mpeg 41 MB 00:44:46.889
TD1-P02876-A.wav audio/vnd.wav 1.44 GB 00:44:53.19
TD1-P02876-B.mp3 audio/mpeg 26.3 MB 00:28:42.109
TD1-P02876-B.wav audio/vnd.wav 948 MB 00:28:46.19
4 files -- 2.44 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)
Data access narrative

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