The following contribution was kindly compiled and written by Ms Reita Vuila Onea, Chairperson of the Mada’a Language Group:

Cloudy Bay is about 250 kilometers southeast of Port Moresby the Capital of PNG. Potentially the Cloudy Bay people are blessed with priceless resources of forest, oil, iron and gold mining (which are currently under prospecting). The inhabitants live in their own preferred geography ranging from the foot of the mighty Owen Stanley Range and sprawling down to the pristine mangrove coastline encompassing intact traditional lifestyle over 100 000 ha approximately.

The initial interest for a logging prospect was lodged with the current member for Abau District, Honorable Dr. Puka Temu, during his first campaign visit in 2002 to the inland villages. During that particular campaign he was deeply moved and even broke down in tears, after walking from RR jetty to Doma village, only to realize the insignificant and mediocre services that were perhaps available in few coastal villages but literally nothing in the remote inland part of this area.

Then the DPM promised that if he was elected and in the government he will deliver a logging project to help develop and bring basic services to the inland villages based on their request and also on the wealth of their forest landscape in that particular area.

November 22nd 2004 a general meeting was called by a nominee from the Member’s office after he was elected. That meeting gave birth to the present six language groupings and their respective representatives which are to represent the people during negotiations of the forestry project and the life of the project to proceed thereafter.

Around that time there were 62 confirmed ILG Certificate holders which sprang out from these language groups. From NFS point of view it was too much of a task to handle each individual ILG holders so all the stakeholders agreed that the six language group representatives was the convenient way to go. And since then this idea has been followed, unfortunately the ILG groups are increasingly growing due to unprecedented land disputes.

In March 31st 2006 signified a memorial occasion where the ceremonial signing of the logging permit occurred at Abau Island and was attended by the current Prime Minister, Member for Abau, NDS and NFS reps and other stakeholders with their respective dignitaries. The six language group representatives were also present to sign the agreement on behalf of their people.

In regard to the language groups, the northern part of the coastal villages speaks the Monomo dialect and they are represented by James Goli of Anave. The Monomo villages are Duramu, Gadoguina, Gebea, Anave, and Si’ini.

The southern part consists of villages of Boru, Magaubo, Labu and Darava No. 1, they speak the Magi language and share their land boundaries’ with the Mada’a and the Daga people, and they are represented by Lea Veuveu from Labu.

The rear villages of the coast line comprising of Bonoabo, Apaeva, Segiri and Bam, they speak the Nemea language and they are represented by Mordecai Baine from Apaeva.

Bonua and Bo’o both are very remote at the southern end of the FMA with no government basic infrastructure services speak the Daga language. They are represented by Alfred Gene of Bonua.

The Aidaku people speak the Aka language they share land boundaries with the Daga and the Mada’a people and are along the fringes of the Owen Stanley Range; they are represented by Kennedy Purua of Doma. The Doma and Bau’u villages make up the Aidaku tribe.

The Mada’a people speak the Siage language, and own majority of the land mass in the FMA and share their traditional land boundaries with the Aidaku, Daga, and the Magi. The Mada’a tribe consist of Oio and Darava No. 2 villages, and they represented by Reita Vuila Onea from Oio.

Out of the six different language groups, half of them namely Nemea, Monomo and Mada’a are related and can be spoken throughout but Aidaku, Daga and Magi are pretty much different and only a handful of us can understand or/and can speak. Otherwise majority of these languages as studies have found have originated over time from the main Mailuan language from the Amazon Bay.

By Reita Vuila Onea
Mada’a Chairperson
July 10, 2009.