Last night (3rd March) the Oro community presented a set of gifts to the family of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. Each gift has significance and is only given to people of very high importance.
There are several languages in the Oro Province. The names of the gifts presented here are in the Binandere language. Other languages will have different names for them.
Here is the list of gifts and what they mean:
- Kaingo – The woman’s tapa cloth. It is worn as a wraparound. This placed on the floor for VERY important people. This gift also signifies the importance placed on the role of the Chief’s wife.
- Gongo – The man’s tapa. This is the long cloth worn by men. Only the best is given to those who are entrusted with immense responsibility.
- Tasingya’n – Pinapple club. Like many cultures, the Binandere placed high value on weapons they carried. The club presented to Sir Michael is for war, defence and diplomacy. A Chief always has this weapon slung over his shoulder when he negotiates peace.
- Bundua – Disc shaped club. Apart from the Tasingy’n, the Pundua is also one of the primary weapons of a Binandere warrior for close combat. It represents the ability to fight and survive in battle.
- Ou – The claypot. Oro culture held woman in high regard. While it is regarded in modern definitions as a patrilineal society, woman are central to the nation. They are mothers, teachers, leaders, companions and keepers of wisdom. The Ou presented at Sir Michael’s haus krai was for Lady Veronica in her role as wife of the Grand Chief. It is for her role in caring for and feeding her family, her tribe and her country and for supporting her husband.
- Kaita – The Man’s bilum. This is carried by the chief. A chief carries his family, his clan, his tribe and his country. The woman’s bilum is called Asi. It has a separate role and significance.
- Pu Ji – Pig tusk necklace. In traditional attire, the Pu Ji – literally meaning Pig’s teeth – is central to a warrior’s ceremonial dressing. It signifies importance and his value as leader of his people. Tusks of large size are difficult to obtain. They are rare. Only the oldest of pigs bear very long tasks.
- Benemo Mendo – Hornbill beak headdress. This is the most valuable gift in the Oro society. It is a headdress worn ONLY by the Chief. It is offensive for anyone else to wear or belittle the headdress. The presentation of the Bememo mendo signifies the very high regard the Oro people have for Sir Michael Somare.