Ngavalus - Money


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Kina is the currency used in the mainstream economy of Papua New Guinea. However, Ngavalus also uses a traditional form of currency called mis. Mis is primarily used within the community for various transactions or in local custom. The two primary uses of mis are in the purchase of community land and in ceremonies requiring a transaction of some kind. Similar to the Tolai tradition with Tambu discussed in the Money description in the East New Britain section of this document, children begin acquiring mis at birth and continue to accumulate it at milestones throughout their lives. As mentioned in the Custom and Culture section, funerals are relatively expensive, so members of the community contribute mis to help cover the funeral expenses.

Physical currency, whether it is kina or mis, is not the only item of value used in ceremonial transactions. Again using the example of the funeral, community individuals will sometimes provide the food, coffin, labor, etc. needed to prepare for the ceremony. When another family in the community must arrange a funeral, they know they will receive the same contribution from each family they provided for.

Because Ngavalus has an abundance of fish and lobster, fishermen often catch enough to provide for the community with enough to sell and export to other parts of PNG or in the Kavieng markets. On average, lobsters can be sold for 40 Kina (around US$17) per kilo. New Ireland also has an abundance of coconuts, which are gathered daily and sold them to copra companies for 80 Toea per kilo. Cultivation of oil palms has become another way for people in New Ireland to earn an income. All of the fruits from the oil palms are sold to the local palm oil manufacturer, New Britain Palm Oil Limited, which is a London-based company with a manufacturing facility in West New Britain, PNG.

Date Entered: August 2011