New Hanover Culture

New Hanover has been an inhabited island for over 4000 years. It is has a rich tapestry of traditions that spread throughout New Hanover and New Ireland. At Canopy Watch, we were fortunate to attend the traditional chiefdom ceremony of John Aini, linking the three most important cultural traditions of the Islands Maimai, Passingan, and Tumbuan. This linking of cultures had not happened for over 80 years and seemed like an essential step in the face of the cultural crisis set in motion by the Special Agricultural Business Leases. This involved ceremony lasted over three days and is based on a tribute and sharing with over 90 pigs brought to the feast that was distributed back to the community as is custom. In the same way as ownership of resources is shared at this ceremony, land as a resource is shared. The relationship or understanding of property is a different concept in Papua New Guinea. The stripping away of this customarily understood land title had caught the community by often complete surprise.