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Goroka

Goroka
The indigenous population of the world’s second largest island is one of the most heterogeneous in the world. The harsh terrain and historic inter-tribal warfare has lead to village isolation and the proliferation of distinct languages. A number of different tribes are scattered across the highland plateau.
“Knowledge is only rumour until it is in the muscle”
Life is simple in the highland villages. The residents have plenty of good food, close-knit families and a great respect for the wonders of nature. They survive by hunting, gathering plants and growing crops. Tribal warfare is common and men go through great effort to impress the enemy with make-up and ornaments.
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Goroka

2010

Goroka is the capital of the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. Though only discovered in the beginning of the 20th century it is now host of a major tourist attraction, the Goroka show.  The renowned Goroka Show is a three-day event that takes place annually around the time of the country's Independence Day (September 16). Dating back to 1957, it is the oldest tribal gathering in Papua New Guinea.  Over 100 tribes from the region show their music, dance and culture.
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"I have spent many years in conflict areas, but in Papua New Guinea I was particularly nervous."

- Jimmy Nelson

Misty mount Jalibu

2010

As divers as the nature of Papua New Guinea is, as divers are its inhabitants. The tribes have an extraordinary and rich oral tradition, including myths, folk tales, magical sayings and charms. Their material culture is limited to the indispensable things of daily life. However, they do cherish the modest luxury of body ornaments. 
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- Jimmy Nelson

Ponowi Village, Jalibu Mountains, Western Highlands


2010

Hornbills are a family of birds. Hornbills are found in Africa, Asia and Pacific Northwest. The bill, much to those of the unrelated toucans reminiscent, in many species is brightly colored. Their impressive size and colour have helped make them a part of local tribal cultures and rituals.

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- Jimmy Nelson

Friend or Foe

2010

Eastern Highlanders are considered the friendliest people of the highlands with fewer tribal fights than other provinces. Territorial conflicts arise not only with other tribes. Also western colonialism, mining and the advancing developing world threatens their culture.

The territory of villages and tribes - the land they lived on and that provided them with food and shelter for thousands of years - is something the highlanders have always defended with their lives. A threat from any foreigner will make them feel forced to fight back.
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Bird of Paradise

2010

The tribes from the highlands supply the tribes from the valley with decorative bird feathers, tree kangaroo and cuscus pelts and fine rare woods that have long since disappeared from the valley. The valley people tend to decorate their bodies more than highlanders.
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- Jimmy Nelson

Goroka Show

2010

The staging of the Goroka Show started back in 1957 at the Independence Park opposite the Goroka Main Market. It was first introduced and organized by Australian Kiaps (patrol officers). Kiaps from each district built round houses typical of their districts and proudly displayed their cultures. The kiaps brought in singsing groups from their area. It began as an entertainment weekend for everybody in the Province, but it was also a competition to see which was the best organized and administered district.
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Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Kui East Wigmen, Mount Hagen

2010

Mount Hagen in the western highlands also hosts a large scale cultural event. Various regional, provincial, even national tribal dance groups gather to celebrate their cultural heritage in the form of sing-sing. Its near the Baiyer District which hosts the biggest collection of birds and wildlife in Papua New Guinea, the Baiyer River Bird Sanctuary.  Traditional culture and beliefs remain strong in Mount Hagen and its surroundings.
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- Jimmy Nelson

Lufa boys

2010

Lufa is a town in the Eastern highlands at the foot of Mount Michel with a population under 1000. Their tradition and culture has over decades strongly been influenced by western society from evangelist missionaries to facebook, but traditions and customs remain strong.
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See and be seen

2010

The annually Goroka Show is a display of the traditional dress, dance and music from the divers tribes Papua New Guinea inhabits. The biggest and most well-known tribes are the Huli Wigmen and Asaro Mudmen. Tribes smaller in population and lower in rank, but no less creative in body decorations are: Kunana Su Wigmen, Kikuwya Wigmen, Wara Sua Group, Lufar Wigmen, Gahuku wigmen, Finchafen Group, Sobi Lau Waimo Group, Aipos Group, Wombun Group, Kamanibit Group, Arua Group

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Mirakel Lady

2010

The highlanders universe is filled with all kinds of spirits, some more personal in character than others. Particular reverence is paid to ancestral spirits. In times of trouble, domesticated pigs are sacrificed to the spirits of the ancestors. 
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- Jimmy Nelson

Goroka, Eastern Highlands


2010

Many tribes of Papua New Guinea in the isolated mountainous interior have little contact with one another, let alone with the outside world, and live within a non-monetarised economy dependent on subsistence agriculture.
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- Jimmy Nelson

Goroka, Eastern Highlands


2010

Indigenous tribes in Papua New Guinea are generally contacted in the sense that local authorities know they are there, but many remain pre-literate and out of reach of modern medicine and technology, and at the national or international level, the names of tribes and information about them may be extremely hard to obtain.
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Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Gogine Boy

2010

A lot of Goroka, families have now taken to supplementing their family's income by engaging in small agricultural and livestock businesses. The introduction of vanilla, wheat and rice has had a huge impact on agricultural enthusiasts throughout the Province. Rice and wheat is being grown for own consumption and/or selling while the vanilla is sold to the international market. Pigs, rabbits and especially chickens are readily farmed while fresh vegetables are still grown for the local and national markets.

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Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Gogine Boys

2010