Traditional Items


The vodka salutation is a symbolic gesture of friendship between strangers or friends. It is a significant tradition which is done at every first meeting and not participating in the gesture has traditionally been considered disrespectful. Over time, a social conundrum has emerged. It has always been considered honorable to present the first serving of vodka to the guest of honor. The host is expected to pour the serving and hand it to the guest and the guest is obliged to take this gesture of kindness.


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Short slings, about 30 centimeters long, were traditionally used for warfare and provided the user with more accuracy. The short length enables the thrower to get shots off more quickly as less of a wind up is required. On the other hand, longer slings, around 60 centimeters in length, were commonly used for hunting and distance shooting. This required the thrower to swing it around his or her head multiple times to gain momentum before releasing it on the upswing.


The practice of salt processing within the Komgi community begins with water collection in Lassul Bay, a body of water in the Qaqet region of East New Britain. Traditionally, water was collected in sections of bamboo, but now plastic containers are more commonly used to transport water up to Komgi. Currently, access to packaged salt has reduced the usage of traditional salt making techniques.


Sago is a starch extracted from the pith (mumut) of sago palm trees. This starch is a major staple food for the people in New Ireland. A sago palm can be harvested from its 6th year up to the 15th, and generally the older the tree, the more saksak it will produce. The tree is split length wise and the mumut is removed using a tool called the Sapal. The mumut looks like a fine mulch. The saksak is then extracted by kneading and washing the mumut in traditional troughs.


As a result of access to cities and Western perceived modesty influences introduced by the Catholic Church, Qaqet communities predominantly wear modern clothing styles. Currently the traditional dress for men in Qaqet communities is only used for ceremonies and special occasions. This form of dress is made from Qaqet traditional cloth and rope made from wild cocoa bark.


When other resources are unavailable, this technique provides a way to start fires for warmth, cooking, and various other purposes. Because of access to lighters and other materials, this technique is not commonly used, but the knowledge is still maintained. This method only requires two materials: a log that is well dried and a bush knife. A sharpened piece of wood cut from the log is used to create friction against the log thus starting the fire. Most often, a specific type of wood is used called Aremacha (wild cocoa), which ignites more rapidly than others.


This particular comb is made by carving a piece of bamboo with a knife. The whole process takes about three-four hours to complete a single comb. As a result of this as well as increased access to modern hygiene materials, the use of the bamboo comb is not a common practice.