Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Huli of Tari Valley

The Huli have lived in Tari valley in the Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea for a at least a couple of thousand years. They remained isolated and "undiscovered" until the 1930's when an Australian patrol stumbled into the valley. Life had not changed much until the 1980's.

An airstrip now links Tari to Port Moresby, and a gravel highway connects the valley to Mt. Hagen and the north coast. In addition, coke, ramen noodles, tinned corned beef and sardines, lotto have been incorporated into the local life.

The Huli wigmen are iconic representatives of the people of the valley. They are a congregation of men, who remain celibate until they give up their vocation to marry. Sounds familiar, if you happen to be Catholic priest.

Most local folks have given up their traditional life, and tend to be out and about in the village, much like we would in a mall. The photos were taken in a school for wigmen and a typical Huli family compound that are preserved for posterity and tourists, like me.

Visit my review of Tari in Trip Advisor, National Geographic Moments.