Chapter 15: Some Wautogik Women - Part 2

Monica Barɨsumon

Monica Barɨsumon’s mother came from Kubəren in Woginara. She married Pɨlimbi, also known as Moutu, and bore Cecilia, James, Philip, and Andrew. Andrew Moutu holds a PhD in anthropology from Cambridge University. Barɨsumon was a strong leader in the village Catholic church. She was in the second generation of women who went off to Rabaul with their husbands to work as domestic aids to their Australian colonizers. She is remembered as an honest, hard-working, and generous soul.


Lakanas is the first wife of Moses Yauieb. She was the mother of Andrew Yauieb, his three brothers, and his sister Yembumale. Like glue, she stuck to her husband as they moved around to Wewak, Lumi, Madang, and Rabaul. Patiently and without complaint she coped with Moses Yauieb’s business and gambling fortunes and misfortunes. When Moses Yauieb died in Rabaul, she did what was needed, often despite poverty, in order to raise her children. She was a woman with a humble heart, a proud bearing, and remarkable resilience.


Dasuru was another remarkable Wautogig woman. Her husband was Nanguya, a star of the Pacific War who rose to Sergeant Major, the highest rank achievable by natives at the time. Dasuru married Nanguya after the war.1 Like Lakanas, she remained loyal to her husband until he died. After that she remained a widow. She was shy and placid, yet most generous with her food, money, and clothes. She was the mother of Joseph Weisɨmaɲ Nanguya, Tony Nanguya, and their sisters.


Hɨrɨgien was a woman of Bogumatai. She was one of three sisters of Cuhon, along with Ailuol and Aran. Cuhon bore Alphonse Nogoru, the first Catholic priest of the West Coast Boikin-Dagua region. Hɨrɨgien married Peter Robui, my clan brother. Hɨrɨgien’s last brother, Arnold Aran, married my sister, Apolonia Narokobi Jinabau, in an arranged marriage.2

Following the death of her husband, Peter Robui, Hɨrɨgien continued to live in Wautogig with her two sons and grandchildren. She was quite an unassuming person. Apolonia likewise continued to live in Bogumatai following her husband’s death in 1968. Apolonia died in 2004, and Hɨrɨgien in 2005.


Teimun was from Baram, the Walanduom clan with which Wautogig first developed the yaimbon hula institution for socio-economic interdependence. She is from a place called Womagap.3 She married Yehaipim, the undisputed head of the Baimrɨbɨs clan that originated from Kwangen.

Teimun was the first of Yehaipim’s three wives. She died in 2004. She never spoke Bukip even though she understood it perfectly. She was a shy person, never heard in public. Yet she was outstanding in the way she educated her children. Her children are fully Arapesh, but they all speak the Sausa or Boikin language perfectly.

Rather than bringing about misunderstandings through language differences, Boikin-speaking women like Teimun provide a vital link for unity and friendship. In her own life, Teimun played a significant role in maintaining Boikin or Sausa language in Wautogig. She also helped support Boikin culture. She also remained loyal to the Yehaipim family in Wautogig even after Yehaipim’s death.


Tangwico, mother of Dr. Bablis, played a similar role with one significant difference. Tangwico is the sister of Sengiɲaka of Kwangen, originally of Waniombo, near Walanduom village. Tangwico had complete command of the Arapesh or Bukip language. She spoke it as a native.

She married Felix Natukur, half-brother of Moses Yauieb and Maria Mukoi.4 Because Tangwico spoke Bukip to her children they also spoke Bukip and not Sausa, unlike Teimun’s children. Teimun’s children spoke both Bukip and Sausa because although they lived in Wautogig their mother spoke to them in Sausa.

Tangwico’s marriage to Felix Natukur was an exchange. It was similar to Hɨrɨgien’s marriage to Robui. Tangwico went up to Wautogig to marry Felix, while Məinəbau, the sister of Matthew Rahiria and a niece of Felix Natopol, went down to Kwangen and married Sengiɲaka. Məinəbau and Sengiɲaka bore Dominic Sengi (the name is an abbreviation of Sengiɲaka) along with his line of brothers and sisters.

Tangwico was a deeply spiritual woman. She was a loyal mother, generous and loving. She was the mother of Bablis Felix, the second doctoral degree holder from Wautogig. One of Tangwico’s daughters, Michaela, became a Notre Dame sister.5 She taught at Notre Dame School in Western Highlands, as Sister Mary Michaela. Michaela has since left the convent.6


Jinabau holds a prominent place in Wautogig history alongside Swagien, the village’s ancestor mother. Jinabau was the first wife of Chief Nɨmbəmiə. His other wives were Winam of Kubəren in Woginara, Pasumon of Jougum in Woginara, Umanepen of Gluiaim in Bogumatai, and Urahi of Jabaim in Wautogig.

Jinabau invited Umanepen to marry her husband, Nɨmbəmiə, following the death of Umanepen’s husband, Pariwen. She did not want Pariwen’s children to disperse or join other clans. So it was through Jinabau that my great-grandfather’s wife and children became attached to the Abahinem clan.


Teiliəs is another Wautogig woman who stands out. When I was going to school at Brandi in 1956, Teiliəs and her husband, Otto Sengu, were working for the Wewak Hotel. Mr. and Mrs. Halten were then in charge. Teiliəs was a cook while Otto Seingu was a laundry man. In those days, we had no money and wore little laplap cloths over our loins with nothing over our chests. Teiliəs helped us with clothes and food when we visited her and her husband in Wewak on the weekends. This was the time when Rahiria, Matthew’s father, was also a laundry hand at Wewak Hotel. Moses Yauieb was working for Mr. Corrigan as his recruitment officer. Peter Kwainger, Teiliəs’s elder brother, was working as the hotel’s carpenter at the time.

Kokore Sallun

Kokore Sallun, mother of the schoolteacher Joseph Sallun, was an outstanding figure from the time shortly after the war. After giving birth to Joseph, she had many stillbirths. Then my mother gave her some herbal medicine and she gave birth to a girl, Rosa. Kokore came from a small village in Bogia, Madang. Sallun’s father snatched her from there when she was a young girl. He married her and brought her to Wewak, where she bore Joseph. Kokore is among the first of women from distant places to marry into Wautogig and become a part of our village. She never returned home to her village for the rest of her life. When she died she was buried in Wautogig.

Teibunar Nindim

Teibunar Nindim, wife of John Nindim, stood behind Nindim while he worked to establish cash cropping, education, and local government. She hailed from Kubəren. She was sent over to marry a Wautogig man to create peace after the Worihun-Godiəmug War between Kubəren and Kotai.7


1 There is more to say about Lakanas's early life. She worked for the police before the war. Listen.

2 Jinabau is a place name. Listen.

3 Jacob, Tony, Sallun, and Agnes dispute that Teimun was from Womagap. She was from Walanduom. Her mother was from Womagap. Listen.

4 Tony Nindim explains how the name Natukur got transformed to Natopol when Felix went to work for whitemen who didn't hear it correctly and began spelling it that way. Listen.

5 What is a Notre Dame sister? Listen.

6 Michaela became a teacher when she left the convent. Listen.

7 The Worihun-Godiəmug war was a 'tribal fight' over land between two kandere across the Cemaun-Rohwim divide. Jacob places it around the year 1920, before WWII, before the time of government, before the time of Margaret Mead. When he speaks of ‘our’ position he is identifying with Kotai. Listen.

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