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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Social Mapping and Baseline Study for Mur and Sel villages in Rai Coast district, Madang province, Papua New Guinea

By Leeray Letani Robin, Pita Gabu, Cabrinie Gatagot and Wenceslaus Magun

Date: 21st June 2009

Community Location

Part A – Mur Village – Ward 5, Saidor Local Level Government

Part B – Sel Village – Ward 3, Saidor Local Level Government


1. Introduction
2. Activity

2. a – Mur community Report and Recommendation
2. b – Sel community Report and Recommendation


Mur and Sel villages are about three to four hours by speed boat and are situated in East of Madang town in the Rai Coast District of Madang Province in Papua New Guinea.

Our team comprised of Peter Gabu, Cabrinie Gatagot and Leeray Robin. This was the first team’s visit into the two communities and team was asked to do Social Mapping and Baseline study for the leatherback turtles nesting beach project. The team understood that this community entry was the phase one of their overall strategy to achieve Makata’s project objective which is to establish locally managed marine protected area using conservation deeds.

The purpose of this trip was mainly to establish a relationship with the community, gain and maintain trust between each other and gather useful information about the community. The team was therefore conscious of their role as facilitators in ensuring that this first step is conducted diligently.

All the information collected in the two communities we visited, Mur and Sel were from the formal and informal meetings with the leaders and members of the communities by listening and questioning through story telling. The team did not carry out any interview and collect personnel information because they felt that this might raise expectations in the community.


Rai Coast District is politically volatile and administratively challenging and exciting.

It consists of four (4) Local Level Government’s (LLG), ninety- six (96) wards and one hundred and ninety four (194) - census units. Respectively, the LLG’s are, Saidor, Astrolabe Bay, Naho-Rawa and recently proposed Nayudo.

The government provides basic services in education, health, law and order, transport and infrastructure and economic. The network of the services can be determined by assessing the number of government facilities and establishments in the communities that is, wards or LLG of the districts.

Rai Coast represents about 15% of the total population in the province. The estimated population of the district is about 56,300. The total Land Area for the district is 6,573 square kilometres (Km2). This distribution according to LLG area are as follows; Saidor LLG 2,979Km2, Astrolabe Bay with 1,710 Km2, Naho-Rawa with 1,220Km2 and proposed Nayudo with 664 Km2.

People on the Rai Coast require around four hours’ travel to reach Madang town, while those in the Finisterre range require up to eight hours’ travel. During the wet season, travel times from the Rai Coast to Madang rise significantly because of flooded unbridged rivers. Long Island is 70 km from Saidor and 130 km from Madang. It is the most remote part of the District as small boat travel is expensive and dangerous from December to March. People on Finisterre range are very remote and must walk to roads on the Rai Coast and in the Ramu Valley.

Access To Services

The lack of accessibility to government centres is exhibited in its poor infrastructure development. The district headquarter is located in Saidor and is accessible by air and sea from its three Local Level Government Centres namely Tauta for Nahu-Rawa; Ileg for Astrolabe Bay and Teptep for Nayudo. Saidor is in Rai Coast LLG and is the District Headquarter.

There is limited communication between the Local Level Governments and the District Headquarter because the road system, which links all its LLGs, is not in a good condition. Extension Officers from Tauta in Nahu-Rawa, travel by road to Walium, in Usino-Bundi District, then to Madang before arriving at Saidor in Rai Coast, either by air or sea. Therefore, due to these difficulties, the three modes of transport will have to be used.

The Madang/Saidor road, despite being a national road has been neglected over the past fifteen to twenty years. The road requires major upgrading, construction and sealing. Many major bridges have to be constructed over more than sixty-two (62) rivers before the road can provide any useful service to the people of Rai Coast District.

Patrol Schedule

Mur Village

Tuesday 2nd June 2009 – Team left Madang town and arrived in Mur village on a speed boat
Wednesday 3rd June – Team conducted village assessment and collected information
Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th – Team conducted one on one assessments and data collection
Monday 8th June – Team met with the rest of the community, thanked them and left in the afternoon for Sel Community

Sel Village

Monday 8th June – Team left Mur and walked to Sel village
Tuesday 9th to Wednesday 10th June – Team did community assessment one on one
Thursday 11th June – Team met with the leaders to gauge their views
Friday 12th of June – Team met with the rest of the communities to gauge their views
Saturday 13th to Sunday 14th June – Team conducted one on one community assessment
Monday 15th June – Team left Sel village and traveled on a speed boat to Madang town.

Debrief - Summary

The team met with Wenceslaus Magun on Tuesday June 23 for debriefing. The team indicated that leatherback turtles had in May and June nested along Mur beaches. (See Photo of a recent nesting site attached). Mur folklore indicates that one of their clans originated from the leatherback turtles (Attached see Tilom’s Story). This particular clan had traditional been leatherback callers. They would kill leatherbacks and exchange their meat for other food stuff with inland villages. There were no nesting sites in Sel as the tidal waves had destroyed their nesting beaches. Traditionally, Sel villages harvested leatherback turtles eggs. They did not kill leatherbacks as they did not like its fowl smell. Mur and Sel villagers informed the team that they were waiting anxiously for this project to start following a reconnaissance and awareness visit conducted by Howard from Bismarck Ramu Group and Wenceslaus in 2007. The team recommended that a follow-up patrol is needed to collect all other necessary information as well as to conduct a leadership training. The team also agreed that they will do this follow-up patrol in August 2009. In the meantime, Gabu and Cabrinie have agreed to conduct further research on related social mapping issues using relevant sources with the provincial, district resources and universities and all other available sources in Madang.

2a – Mur Community

The team met with the community leaders on Thursday 4th of June 2009. The meeting started at 4:30pm and ended at 5:30pm. In this meeting, the team introduced themselves, Mas Kagin Tapani (Makata) Association’s objectives and explained about the purpose of their visit. The team sought permission to stay and work with them. The four leaders they met with agreed and supported Makata’s objective. The Ward Member, Mr. Albert Dawiyai granted the team permission to work with his community. The leaders asked the team to meet again with the rest of the community on Monday to brief them again of what they had just discussed with the leaders.

Data Collected from Friday 5th June to Sunday 6th June

Ward 5 is made up of six communities: Mur, Somek, Kasu, Yasel and Nom plantation, with a total population of 1,334 people.

Mur is made up of one big village and several hamlets. They have seven major clans. Here are the clans and the number of people in each clan.

Clans and Population

1. Marasok – M = 136 –F= 109 – Total = 245
2. Maigomba - M = 72 – F=50 – Total = 122
3. Yakot - M = 69 – F= 42 – Total = 111
4. Kamdau - M = 72 – F = 26 – Total = 98
5. Sokila - M = 58 – F = 22 – Total = 80
6. Mur - M = 115 – F = 64 = Total = 179
7. Dawang - M = 112 – F = 56 = Total = 168

The population is: Male 634; Female 369; Total = 1003
(NB: The team needs to identify clans that own the beach were the turtles come to nest in the next patrol).


Apart from the main language of the community there are three other different languages spoken by the clans. One is slowly dying out. (NB: The team needs to collect the names of the languages in the next patrol).

Government Leaders

Ward Councilor: Albert Dawiyai
Committee: Balthy Mator
Village Recorder: Kaimalang Dabaliga
Magistrate: Tom Ambalis
Village Court Clerk: Mandor Kwang
Peace Officer: Alfred Ningau
Ward Development Committee: Caspar Matela
Land Mediator: Noki Fola

Church Leaders

Lutheran: Bill Dabaliga
Catholic: Caspar Matela
Lutheran Mama Group: Lini Tilom

Basic Services

The nearest health center, primary school and other government service is at Saidor, the district headquarters, some two hours walk away from Mur. The only service in the community is the elementary school.

Health Center

Saidor Health Center


Saidor Primary School; Parui Primary School; and Kavi Elementary School


Nom plantation is a few minutes walk from Mur and is runned by Benny Leahy. There is a retail store and a wholesale there where people get their store goods. The company also buys copra and wet bean cocoa from the people.

Partner Institutions

Apart from the health clinic team and the Catholic priest’s visits, Volunteer Service Organisation (VSO) under its Tokaut AIDS Programme is supporting the Kunai Paia Theater group from the area to carry out awareness of HIV/AIDS.

The Healthy Island concept is introduced in the area by World Vision/Divine Word University.
The Lutheran Development Service (LDS) is also working in the area on water supply and micro finance.

Primary Means of Transport

The nearest airstrip is at Saidor but most people cannot afford to meet the airfares. The most possible transport is by boat and dinghy. Their most frequent mode of transport is by walking.

Source of Income

The main source of income is cocoa and copra. Another source of income is by selling local crops at the market, like bettle nut (buai), mastard (daka), lime (kambang), peanut, greens, garden produce, fish etc at the local markets. Mr. Tilom Dabaliga also produces and sells organic stock feed, a skill he learnt from the agriculture officers based at Rai Coast District.

Other Information


(NB: The Team needs to collect the folklore on leatherback turtle and how it relates to Dawang clan in Mur village.

Mens House:

Mur villagers had Mens Houses in the past. They still have sacred sites.

They don’t sell turtle meat and eggs. Traditionally they killed turtles mainly to trade with the inland people for taro. Even today they still don’t sell them. They use it for their own consumption.

Mur villagers still practice traditional methodologies of achieving conservation outcomes. (NB: The Team needs to identify them in the next patrol)

On Monday 8th of June 2009, the team met with the community. A total of 35 people attended the meeting of which 15 were women. Mr. Gabu led the discussion by introducing the team, Makata’s objectives and further explained that this visit was a follow-up of the awareness done by Wence and Howard back in 2007. Mr. Robin stressed the purpose of their visit and told them that they were there to know more about their community and that they wanted to hear from them a lot. The team also explained that this visit was very important as it will prepare them and prepare the team for the training workshop in the next patrol should there be any. Cabrinie added by asking two key survey questions: What they were happy about and What they fear about most at this time.

Happiness, Fear and Worry

What they are happy about is that their land and sea which provides everything they need. They are also happy about their customs and culture and their life in the village.

What they fear is their land. They don’t want the government to take their land rights away from them. They feel that they are part of their land and fear of losing that connection.

What they are worried about is the destructions that the mining companies will cause on the environment and the population of their resources both on land and sea.

The meeting started at 11:30am and finished at 1:00pm.

Community Assessment

Mur villagers and their leaders are very co-operative. The community is well organized and highly motivated to work with Makata in conserving their marine resources.

Team Assessment

Despite the time period being too short, the team managed to collect most of the necessary information needed. Teamwork is very good.


Mur villages have welcomed Makata to continue its work with them. They are happy with the objectives of Makata.


After the assessment, the team recommended that Makata will continue with Phase Two of the process which is Community Development Training – Part One: PNG Pre-History Timeline in the next visit.


2a – Sel Community

Sel river one of many clear, clean, crystal and rapid streams. A good source for hydro power. Photo: Leeray Robin

The team met with the leaders on Thursday 11th June 2009, from 11.30am -3.30pm at the main meeting area. Sixteen Community leaders attended the meeting including the ward member Eddie Tasi.

After each team member introduced themselves, they took turn to introduce Makata and its objective. They further explained their reason for being in the community.

The leaders seemed satisfied with the introduction and explanation and allowed the team to stay and work with them. The team told them that they were going to stay for a week and gave an open invitation to anyone including the leaders to go and talk to them anytime whilst they were there.

The leaders arranged another meeting with the community on Friday 12th June 2009. This meeting started at 1.00pm and ended at 4.30pm with a total of 27 people of whom six were female. Every thing from the introduction down was the same as what they did in the first meeting they had held with the leaders.


Ward 3 is made up to three villages; Seure, Sel and Baru. The total population is 1009.
Sel is made up of one main village and several hamletls. The total number of people is 506.

They have five major clans and they are:
a) Dagarup – Sub Clan: 1) Pengum; 2) Katibui; 3) Murubel; 4) Gung Gung Sa
b) Satmang,
c) Manbol,
d) Erek and
e) Deganang

Erek, Dagarup and Satmang clans own the land along the sea shore

Ereck’s Clan Leader – Mathew Abata
Dagarub Sub Clan Leaders (Pengum) – Dages Erro and (Katibui) – Parima Erro)

Government Leaders:

Ward member : Eddie Tasi
Committee: Sakaria Siga
Recorder: Farimak Siga
Ward Dev.Committee : Lutu Yatiyaring
Magistrate: Andipas Jolly
Land Mediator : Siga (Deceased)

Church Leaders:

Lutheran Church: Sake Dabung
Seventh Day Adventist: Luke Lingut
Christ for the Nation: Yaren Levi

Existing Groups

After the leatherback awareness was done by Howard and Wence back in 2007, Sel villagers had appointed some community members to take lead in the project. Here are the names and title of those appointed:

Peter Semen: Coordinator
Mathias Alak: Treasurer
Luke Lingut: Secretary
Malcholm Arnam: Chairman

They have Lutheran, Four Square, Christ For The Nation and Catholic Church. Apart from the clan, church and sports groups there are no other organized groups.

Basic Services


There is an Parui Elementary School and Parui Primary School at Sel. These are government agency schools.


The nearest aid post is at Seure, some 30 minutes walk and its run by the Lutheran Health Services. There is a good road linking Sel to Saidor, where all the government services are and its three hours walk from Sel.


Lutheran Development Services (LDS) is working in the area doing water supply for the aid post and introducing the micro finance scheme in community under the name “ Putim Na Kisim”.

NGO’s & CBO’s

VSO, under the “Tokaut Aids” supported a local theatre group from the area to do awareness about HIV/AIDS. The Bismarck Ramu Group is also doing its land and mining awareness campaign in the area

Primary Means of Transport

Most people prefer sea transport. The most reliable means of transport is speed boat, but they can travel by plane from Saidor District, or ride on bicycle

Main Source of Income

Cocoa and copra is the main source of income. Another source of income is by selling betel nut (buai), mustard (daka), lime (kambang), peanuts and other local crops at the market as well as fish.

Other Information


Land issue is very sensitive in the community as there are disputes between major clans and sub- clans; thus, the people hesitated to give the names of sub-clans.


They used to have sacred mens house (haus Tambaran). Today they practice the initiation in the clan and family groups in fear of sorcery. This new system use modern drugs to heal sore.

Turtle Meat and Eggs

Traditionally, they traded the turtle meat with the inland people for taro. They don’t sell the meat, even today people don’t eat turtle meat because of the unpleasant smell, but they do eat the eggs.

Folklore (Tumbuna) Story

Once upon a time in the village of Sel, they lived a clan group called Dagarup. They settled in a small hamlet at the end of Mt Tinigai, facing the sea. In the centre of the hamlet, they built a hausman and in the hausmen, they placed a totem-pole with a carved eagle at the top of the pole with wings spread out.

Every morning when the people went out to their gardens in the bush the carved eagle used to change into an eagle and flew out in search of food. It would return to its place before the people return home from their gardens.

One day, everyone went out as usual but a young boy was left behind as he was still asleep. When he woke up there was no one around so he decided to go and stay at the hausman till everyone return. As he was sitting there he heard a loud noise like a strong wind and when he turned around, he saw the totem-pole moved out of the ground and the pig was dropped into the pit where the pole was placed, and the pole moved back to its position and killed the pig.

The boy was startled by what he saw and couldn’t wait to tell everyone. When the people came back from their daily activities, he told them that he say something unusual in the houseman. The villagers asked him to tell them the whole story but he was too hungry to tell the story and asked them to prepare his meal with chicken so he would tell his story after eating. After he finished the food prepared for him he began the story of what happened during the day. After the people heard the story they discussed and decided to burn the houseman and the totem pole.

They surrounded the house the next day and lit the fire and burnt the grass roof, Everyone watched the hausman went up in flames. When the house was down with ashes, the totem pole and the eagle stood in the middle with no single part burnt.

As the people watched open mouth and eyes the pole moved, shook and made its way out of where it stood and jumped into the sea.

Today, you can see the totem pole with the carved eagle standing out in the sea from where it went down in the story. It usually shows up when its time comes


This story is from the Dagarup clan and today, the clan’s soccer club is called “Saba Irangi” which means “Jumping pole or “pos i kalap” in their language.

Community Assessment

The villagers approach to the team was good. The team however noted that the community was not organized. There’s so many different kinds of disputes within the community for instance on the land ownership. Nonetheless, the leaders expressed interest for Makata to bring the turtle conservation project to their community.


1) The team will return to Sel to conduct a community development training
2) The team will also conduct further research to identify turtle nesting sites, dates, months and any related folklores but not limited to these tasks.

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