POKOP AND NAKOHAI AND NABOTOL - excerpt from Stories Of Pokop Of Pohoyomou Compiled & Edited by:  Dr. Bernard Minol [with glossary]

Pokop and Nakohai and Nabotol

another advernture story of this Manus historic cultural folk hero

Story, story, story....Pokop, Nakohai and Nabotol. Pokop lived in his home at the top of Pohyomou and the two sisters, Nakohai and Nabotol lived in N'Drohut. Being a cold and windy morning Pokop took his n'drawiying (head rest) from the hausboi, went outside and sat downon it with his back to the rising morning sun.

About the same time at N'Drohut, Nakohai and Nabotolwere also basking in the morning sun and weaving baskets. As Pokop sat e njoying the morning sun, a piece of fibre blowing in the wind, struck himon his back. When the piece of fibre struck him, he said, "Ah...Where has this thing come from?" He stood up and looked eastward from where the wind was blowing. Pokop did not say much. He got up from the morning sun and went to the haus marit. He informed his wives, "Today I will go for a little walkabout. I just feel like wandering a little". Having spoken to his wives he came back to the hausboi. He then climbed a betelnut palm and filled up his basket with buai. Then he went to the haus marit to borrow lime.

When he was in the haus marit one of the wives asked, "Where are you going Pokop?" He replied, "I do not wish to keep you people from your work. I will be in the house".

As soon as the wives had gone to their gardens Pokopplanned his journey. He took his small basket and came to Pukuyut. From Pukuyut he came to Tulul and from Tulul to N'Dralawak. After leaving N'Dr alawak he came to Sohoniliu and from Sohoniliu to Pokohoi. He followed the ridge from Pokohoi to N'Drayongai and came passed N'Drohut where Nakohai and Nabotol lived. He put his back to N'Drohut and came down to the river at Laha-Drapasis. From there he came to Nandranoyou's place at Lahanion. Pokop went to the house and stayed there while Nandranoyou, the masalai woman had gone fishing in the river. Nandranoyou came back to the houseat sunset.

When she entered into the house she could smell a man. She said, "What strange thing has come into my house. My house has never been like this before. Just now, just today, I smell a man in my house ." Nandranoyou had no fire because she was too lazy to make fire. She usually leaves her food in the sun and after it had been heated she would eat it. This time she went into the house and made a big fire which enveloped Pokop with smoke.

The smoke forced Pokop to come out to the open. He said, "There is too much smoke". Immediately the masalai woman asked, "Whoare you?" To this Pokop said, "I am Pokop". Next Nandranoyou said, "Where did you come from?" "I am from Pohyomou", Pokop replied. "And what have you come for?" asked the masalai woman. Pokop said, "Nothing. It was a sunny day and I decided to come for a stroll. I did not come to look for anything in particular".

Nandranoyou was very inquisitive about Pokop but Pokop did not reveal what was in his mind. Pokop stayed with the masalai woman for three days but was always thinking of the two sisters at N'Drohut.In his mind Pokop was thinking "This is not a true woman. I think she is a masalai. Why did I come here?"

Meanwhile Nandranoyou, the masalai woman, went to the river Yowes to visit two other women, Nasikambun and Nasikame. She toldthem, "A man is living with me now and all he does is sleep. He does notwant to eat. He has lost a lot of weight". Hearing her complaint Nasikambun said, "You go now. We will stay." When the masalai woman had gone Nas ikame said, "She is a long-long woman. She does not cook". "My sister, nor does she have any gardens". Nasikame and Nasikambun then decided to visit Nakohai and Nabotol at N'Drohut.

In the evening the two women walked up to N'Drohut. When they reached N'Drohut, Nasikambun said, "Nabotol my good daughter, you have any water? This mountain is too hard for old people like us two".Then Nasikame said, "Ei! What are you two beautiful girls doing? There is one staying at Lahanion with Nandranoyou. He is strong and handsome andhis name is Pokop." Nakohai replied, "He must be blind. How did he end up with an ugly old woman like Nandranoyou?"

Next day Nakohai and Nabotol went to Nandranoyou to find out about Pokop. When they arrived Nandranoyou had gone but Pokop was in the house. When they saw him Nakohai said to him, "You must be Pokop?" Pokop replied, "Yes, I am Pokop from Pohyomou." Then Nabotol said to him, "Ei, you think she is human? She is not human, she is a pihi sinai (masalai woman)."

"And why did you come looking for her? See! You havelost weight", said Nakohai. Pokop replied, "True. I did not know about the two of you. I thought this woman was a human and that is why I came tostay with her".

The two sisters felt sorry for Pokop and took him with them to their house at N'Drohut. As they were leaving Nakohai and Nabotol tore down Nandranoyou's house and threw her belongings into the river. When the three of them reached N'Drohut, Nakohai and Nabotol swept th e house and prepared a place for Pokop. Then Nakohai started cooking taroand Nabotol went to the creek to fetch water. When the food was cooked Nabotol brought some to Pokop to eat. After he had eaten they gave him buai and walah (ginger leaf) to chew betelnut.

Having eaten dinner and chewed betelnut they showed him where to sleep. They said to him, "Have a good rest. You have lost a lot of weight. We will help you recover." "Thank you. You two are real hu mans. That old woman was truly a masalai. I don't know what led me to herin the first place" said Pokop.

Meanwhile when Nandranoyou returned in the afternoonall her possessions including the house had been destroyed. She was veryvery angry. She said, "Yoi! What for! Why couldn't you two just get your food and leave my honse alone? Why do you have to destroy my house? For what reason?"

Pokop stayed at N'Drohut for thirty days with Nakohai and Nabotol. He married Nakohai and looked after Nabotol as his daughter. Nakohai became pregnant and Nabotol looked after her. During this timePokop was worried about his situation. He wanted to run away with Nabotol but did not know what to do with Nakohai. One day he over heard Nabotoltelling Nakohai that she was going to fill up the water containers. Nakohai said to her, "All our containers are empty. Take them to the creek, Iam alright." Nabotol took the containers and left for the creek. A little later Pokop informed Nakohai that he would be going for a short stroll in the bush. Nakohai said to him, "That is good. You need to stretch yourlegs. The moon is also right for kapuls. Do not be worried about me. Nabotol should be back from the creek soon."

Pokop went to the house and packed up all his personal belongings. He took his basket, his kambang and all his small possessions and followed Nabotol. He found Nabotol at the creek filling up the co conut water containers. There were thirty of those water containers. She was surprised to see Pokop at the creek all packed up. Then she said, "Pokop, you are going somewhere?" Pokop replied, " Nabotol, the two of us are running away from here". And Nabotol said, "How about Nakohai who is carrying your baby?" In reply Pokop said, "Nakohai will be alright. We willhave to move quickly." Nabotol began to panic and said, "Where will I leave the water containers?" Pokop told her not to be worried as he would prepare a place for the water containers.

After this Pokop started to break the rock with his feet. He counted up to thirty as he went along. When he finished he askedNabotol to place water containers on each of his thirty foot marks. Suddenly Nabotol asked again, "Are we really going to leave Nakohai on her ow n?" "She will be alright. Nothing will happen to her. We can come and seeher some other time." Nabotol was still very worried about her sister. She said, "But Pokop she is very heavy with child. Someone has to stay by her side in case the child comes". Pokop did not want to entertain anymore of this. In an angry voice he said, "Nabotol, we must leave now. There is no time to waste."

Pokop and Nabotol left the water containers at the creek and began their get-away. Meanwhile Nakohai became suspicious when Nabotol did not come back quickly. She got up from the house to see what was holding Nabotol up at the creek. When she came outside she saw Pokop and Nabotol passing through Pahandrapahai. When she got to the creek, there was a water container on each of Pokop's thirty foot prints. Sadly Pokop and Nabotol had left. There and then Nakohai decided to follow them.

When Nakohai came to Pahandrapahai, Pokop and Nabotol were at N'Drayongai. From here on Nakohai began pleading with them. Shesaid,

Pokop, Pokop, Pokop O......Oh!
Aria ndra wiam, aria ndra nosum
Nambuyum yo kopo, nambuyum yo kopo

Pokop and Nabotol did not hear her cry. They continued their journey. When Nakohai reached N'Drayongai they were at Pokohoi. Nakohai made another plea,

Pokop, Pokop, Pokop O......Oh!
Aria ndra wiam, aria ndra nosum
Nambuyum yo kopo, nambuyum yo kopo

Again they ignored her plea. They continued walking and Nakohai pursued them pleading with Pokop that Nabotol was his daughter in law. From Pokohoi they came to Sohoniliu and from Sohoniliu to Tulul . Nakohai followed them until Tulul where she started getting birth pains. There she looked for a suitable place where she could sit down and give birth. She finally found a place, a deserted ant hill. She put her back against the ant hill and gave birth to her child.

Alone and in a strange place Nakohai found courage and strength to deliver her first born child. She knew that she was not going to live long after the birth of her child and so she taught him to dr ink the sap of a soyou ttee and eat wild taro. She pointed to the taro and said to her baby son, "You must eat this small taro until you become a big man." When she finished telling him about the taro she explained to him that for water he must continue to drink from the root of the soyou tree. She gave him the following details, "When you have no water or when you are thirsty you must put the root of the soyou in your mouth. You mustdrink it. It is good for you."

Nakohai lived with her son about three days before she died. But before she died she told her son of his name and where he was from. She said, "I will die. It does not matter. But your name is Yahamui. If you want to live here it is alright; it will also be alright if yo u want to go back to N'Drohut. You must make up your own mind. As for me,I will now die."

After she gave these words to her son she died. Her son remained at Tulul on his own. He stayed alive eating taro and drinking from the sap of the soyou until he grew to be a big man. hs far as Yahamui was concerned Tulul was his place because that was where he was born and also where his mother had died. Yahamui knew that his mother had diedbut he did not know who his father was. He had two very important thingsto do - first to find that exact spot where his mother had died and second find out where his father was living.

Having thought about the matter for some time he remembered what his mother said to him before she died. As he thought about it the words became clearer. Nakohai's final words to him were, "If I dieit does not matter. But you must not die with me. You must grow up and then come and find my bones, put them together and then I can come and liv e with you".

Yahamui found his mother's bones and planted tanget and kawar around the place as a mark of respect. One night Yahamui saw his mother in a dream. She gave him very specific instructions. The instructions were as follows, "Take a karuka and head of a tanget. Collect all my bones and put them on the karuka. Then arrange them in order starting with the leg bones. When all the bones are in place, take the head of the red tanget and throw it on the bones saying,

Lolowa Taleh! Lolowa Tamat!

Yahamui woke up and looked all over the house for his mother. She was young and beautiful and had a very caring manner. Yahamui could not go back to sleep. At first light he set out to do what his m other had told him in the dream. Yahamui got a karuka and went straight to the place where his mother's bones had been left. He spread the karuka out and then started putting the bones in place as directed by his motherin the dream.

When all the bones had been assembled into the rightplaces Yahamui took the head of the red tanget and began to throw it over the bones. He was also perspiring. While he was throwing the red tanget over the bones Yahamui said,

Lolowa Taleh! Lolowa Tamat!

As the head of the tanget fell on the bones the first time, his mother's body appeared lying there but dead. The second time he threw the tanget on the body, his mother began to move slightly on thekaruka. The third time he threw the tanget on the body, his mother sat up on the karuka and they began talking to each other. Next he threw the tanget some distance from the karuka and asked his mother to pick it up.

At the time he brought his mother back to life, Yahamui was not married. He lived alone by himself in Tulul. He therefore gotsome fruit, made hot soup and gave it to his mother to drink. His mother drank the soup but then vomited. She tried to eat some food but vomited also. This continued for ten days. After ten days the food and water Yahamui gave to her remained in her stomach. Nakohai also began to sweat and her body became better and stronger. She also began to talk to Yahamui.

The first thing she said to her son was,

I am sorry my son. It is neither your fault nor mine. If we were in our own place this would not have happened. Nabotol and Pokop tricked me. I left N'Drohut, our place and followed them to here where you were born. This is a foreign place. I do not know whose land this is. But it does not matter now. We can stay here or go back to N'Drohut.

Yahamui was beside himself. His mother was alive andthey were together. After listening to what his mother had told him, he said in response, Mother it does not really matter. N'Drohut is one place. This is Tulul, another place. We are no longer in N'Drohut. We will now make Tulul our new place.

Then Nakohai said to her son Yahamui,

You have spoken my son. I agree with you. Tulul is avery good place. The view of the sea from here is just as good if not better than N'Drohut. Here you can see the sea on both sides.

Yahamui and his mother therefore settled permanentlyin Tulul. Yahamui began work immediately building a haus marit for his mother and then started a new hausboi for himself. By this time he had hun dreds of dog's teeth and pram tambu and hundreds of thousand more in his mother's basket.

About this time Pokop wanted to stage a big masah atPohyomou for his nine wives. He purposely excluded his tenth wife, Nabotol. When Pokop set the date for the masah many people went to the bush tomake garamuts. Then Pokop "cut" the betelnut at Pohyomou and sent it to all his tambus except Nabotol's relatives. Pokop was very worried about this.

The reason for excluding Nabotol was that she did not have any "line". In his own mind Pokop thought, "Nine of my wives have their lines. Who will get Nabotol's buai? In the first place she has no c hildren. Second she has no family or relatives in her village. I will just pay bride price for my nine wives not Nabotol because she has no family." When Nabotol heard this from other people she was sad and very upset. It was something that she thought about many times as the masah drew near. She wanted to confront Pokop about it but felt time was not ready.

This treatment also made Nabotol to feel sorry for herself and began to reminisce of the time when she and her sister Nakohaiwere living together at N'Drohut. She thought aloud, "My sister and I were in our place. Why did Pokop take me away leaving my sister who was exp ecting her first child? I don't really know whether she gave birth or not. And to make matters worse I don't know whether she is still alive or not. I wish I was still with my sister Nakohai."

At the same time as Nabotol was agonizing in her mind, Pokop toowas having problems deciding to leave Nabotol out. The appointed time for the masah was fast drawing near and Pokop wanted to explain to Nabotol. Finally he said to himself, "I will only pay bride price for my nine wives. I will have to explain this to Nabotol sooner or later. I hope she will understand."

The masah began at Pohyomou. There were sounds of garamut and sounds from the feast and the full moon finally got the better of Yahamui. He made up his mind to go to the festivities. One night he said to Nakohai, his mother, "Is this garamut coming from Pohyomou?" Nakohai replied, "There is no other place in that direction Yahamui. It can only be Pohyomou." Yahamui then said, "Mother I would like to go and look atthe singsing tonight". Nakohai smiled at her son and said, "Yahamui, Pohyomou is very close. Go and enjoy yourself but come back before dawn".

As soon as the mother gave him permission, Yahamui got dressed up and made his way to Pohyomou. When he got to the place where people were dancing, he danced and mingled with the men and women untilthe early hours of dawn. When the first chauka called, Yahamui returned to his mother at Tulul. This went on for a number of nights until he was stopped on the road by a girl from Pohyomou.

The girl had been watching him dance and was very impressed with him. When she stopped him she said, "What's your name?" Yahamui replied, "My name is Yahamui." "And where are you from?" asked the gi rl. Yahamui said, "I am from Tulul and my mother comes from N'Drohut. Hername is Nakohai." Suddenly the girl said, "I want to marry you." Yahamuidid not expect this proposition so soon. He said to the girl, "But I don't know who you are and you know very little about me. We should talk about this tomorrow. I can't take you with me now." In reply the girl said, "Waiting till tomorrow is not going to change my liking for you. Yahamui,I watched you dancing tonight and I want to marry you. If you don't take me with you, I will follow you to your house. I have made up my mind that you are my man. I don't care what my parents and relatives say. I want to marry you".

Yahamui took the girl to Tulul. On arrival he called to his mother, "Mother come and see something of mine." Nakohai came down thinking it was a plate of food or a portion of a pig. When she came down she found that Yahamui had brought a girl. Nakohai's immediate reaction was, "Yahamui what is this? You are not ready for marriage. How can you marry this girl? It will not work." In response to his mother's words Yahamui said, "Mother I feel sorry for you. You work too hard for us. I will marry her so that she will help you."

Yahamui's explanation made it difficult for Nakohai not to agree. That night Yahamui dressed up again with his dog's teeth, anew basket, tambu, betelnut and lime and left for Pohyomou. He left his mother and the new wife at Tulul.

When he got to Pohyomou he again mingled with other men and women to dance. He danced till the early hours of the morning. Ashe was about to leave, another girl from Pohyomou stopped him on the road and wanted to marry him. The girl asked, "Who is your father?" He answered saying, "I am not sure who my father was. I only know that Nakohai is my mother. She came from N'Drohut and gave birth to me at Tulul. I now live in Tulul. It is my place."

When Yahamui had finished telling the girl about himself, the girl told him that she too wanted to be his wife. Like the first wife she said, "Let us go. I want to marry you." Yahamui was in real trouble. He said, "I am sorry but I already have a wife at Tulul. She is keeping my old mother company. My mother will not be happy if I went home with another wife." This did not deter the young lady. She said to Yahamui, "You must love your mother very much. But I too love you very much. I am going to go with you to Tulul".

So Yahamui brought his second wife to Tulul in two consecutive days. In fact this routine was repeated eight more times. Each time Yahamui went to the singsing at Pohyomou he returned with a new wife. However on the final day of Pokop's masah, he attended by himself. He told his ten wives to stay at Tulul with his mother.

As soon as Pokop saw Yahamui arrive he came down from the "parsinei", held him to his chest and cried. Yahamui said to him, "I do not know you. Who are you?" Pokop said, "I am Pokop, your father. You are my son." Then Yahamui replied, "Why do you call me your son? Please explain?"

Pokop found he had a lot of explaining to do. After a brief moment Pokop began by saying,

Let me explain. I married Nakohai who lived in N'Drohut. I married her and looked after Nabotol as my daughter. When Nakohai became pregnant, I took Nabotol and we ran away to Pohyomou. I remember my son, who is you.

Having heard this Yahamui said, "I am sorry but I only know my mother. I don't know my father." This kind of talk went on for some time until Pokop began to cry again. At this point Yahamui took the centre stage. He told Pokop of his cruelty to Nakohai and that he Yahamui did not want to be his son. Yahamui now felt he had to tell Pokop what was in his mind. He continued,

Pokop, now you cry. You have ten wives including Nabotol. But you chased my mother away when she was pregnant. You said she w as no good. You did not like her, you chased her away. My mother did not give birth to me in a house. No. My mother gave birth to me on an ant hill. There was no one to care for her and she died. It was my mother beforeshe died who prepared the taro and water for me. I have lived in the bush at Tulul until today. Now you say I am your son. No. I refuse to be called your son .

Pokop continued to cry while Yahamui was accusing him of his negligence. After Yahamui finished Pokop took him to see Nabotol. When she saw him Nabotol jumped on his neck but Yahamui pushed her away. Yahamui told her that he did not know her and that they do not have anything in common. But Nabotol was adamant. She said to him, "No. Your mother and me. Pokop is your father. When he left your mother he married me. We ran away from your mother who was pregnant with you." At hearing this Yahamui told Nabotol, "Nabotol I do not know what you are talking about. All I know from my mother is that she was abandoned in Tulul and gave birth to me. I have no father. My mother has not told me anything about you or Pokop."

Yahamui stayed in Pohyomou until the singsing finished. He wanted to have further discussions with Pokop. Yahamui wanted to give Pokop a piece of his mind. When the singsing finished he met with Pokop. During the meeting he had this to say to Pokop, "Pokop you married ten wives. How much are you giving to your in-laws? I want to know. Are you giving one hundred, two hundred, three hundred or four hundred? I want to see now." Pokop did not reply but quietly returned to the parsinei to account for the wealth he was going to distribute to his in-laws excludingNabotol's family.

From the parsinei Pokop began to deliver his long awaited speech of the masah. Pokop said,

I give great thanks to my wives and the service they have given to my family and my household. I give thanks to their fathers and mothers; brothers and sisters; aunts and uncles and the support and cooperation that you all gave to them. I must proudly tell the whole world that I could not have selected better women than the wives you great and famous families have given me. I salute all of you and the soil of the villages that my wives have come from. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for the women of great breeding.

Today and now at this moment, I am personally proud to inform you that each of my in-laws have tasted the fruits of my hands. They have eaten thousands and thousands of the best taro this land has produced and hundreds and hundreds of sago that I have given. You asked for coconut oil, you were given plenty in pots and other containers; you asked for pigs, I gave you so many that you could not eat them all - they were left to rot. You asked for turtle, fish and pots, I never let you down.

I want to tell my in-laws that above all no one has given more dogs' teeth and pram tambu to you than me. I challenge any of you to point out to me what tambu has given more dogs' teeth and pram tambu to you than me.

Today as you can see clearly I am giving more dogs' teeth and pram tambu to my in-laws. There are nine rows out there and eac h row belongs to family of each of my wives. I appeal to you fathers and mothers; brothers and sisters; uncles and aunts not to abandon your sisters.

I now hand over the brides wealth to you.

While Pokop was giving an account of his achievements on the platform, Yahamui was thinking deeply underneath. Running through his mind were questions like, how many wives was Pokop paying bride price for? Why is he not paying any bride price for Nabotol? Nabotol, why hasn't Pokop included you in this bride price? During all this time Nabotol was crying. Yahamui turned to her and said, "Now you cry. Now you feel sad. You have no family. But you left my mother to marry your man. Go to your man to pay your bride price. Don't cry anymore."

After the masah, Nabotol followed Yahamui to Tulul. Yahamui told her that although she had mistreated his mother, he was bringing her to Tulul. Nabotol left Pohyomou for Tulul. She discovered on arrival at Tulul that Nakohai was not happy to see her. When Yahamui told Nakohai that he had brought Nabotol she said,

Send her away. Don't bring her here. She did not listen to me. You did not grow up in Nabotol's hand. You and I were alone. Y ou grew up depending on the root of a tree for water. The little taro I left, you ate and grew up. That's all. It was not Nabotol. Where was she? When you brought your ten wives where was Nabotol. That's it. You must not bring Nabotol here.

In response to his mother's statement Yahamui said,

Mother I know you are very angry but it does not matter. I am here and I will look after both of you. Please mother forgive her and be good to her. You and I are the only ones left for her. I will look after both of you. You must not be angry with her.

Finally Nakohai accepted her son's arguments and agreed to allow Nabotol into the house. After this Yahamui decided to "cut his betelnut". In announcing his masah he had this to say, "Pokop's masah is finished. Now I am going to try mine. I will fix up my ten wives in case Pokop says I am a rubbish man." Yahamui also made a personal journey to Pohyomou to inform Pokop. He said to Pokop,

Now I want to stage a masah. I want to pay brideprice for my ten wives and you Pokop must come but in the last day. I will not accept any assistance from you. I want to do this myself in case you say later that if it wasn't for you Yahamui would not have paid for his wives. You stay in Pohyomou. I will try to do it first.

When Yahamui finished talking Pokop said,

I will come to your masah

As arranged Pokop received the invitation and came to attend the masah on the last day. When he arrived Yahamui was already on the platform. When he saw Pokop in the crowd, Yahamui began his abuse of him. He proceeded in the following vein,

Pokop, although you are elderly and bald in the head, you have only paid brideprice for nine of your wives. I am not like you Pokop. I am me. I am Yahamui. Pokop you count. Start from here to the end of the rope.

Having counted all the dogs' teeth and pram tambu Pokop became embarrassed. He went on to say,

Why does my son want to compete with me in paying bride price for his wives? Now you can take my place. You can assume all my roles. You can take over all my strength and my position. You have beaten me. I will follow you from now on.

When he heard Pokop make this statement, Yahamui said,

I will not come to Pohyomou. I will stay at Tulul. You stay at Pohyomou. Pohyomou is Pohyomou and Tulul is Tulul. You do not like my mother. If you had married my mother I would have come to Pohyomou. But you left my mother. You must remain in Pohyomou and I will be herein Tulul.

Par payai e tiyiy, sindrik.

(Stalk of payai, stalk of tiyiy, cut)




Aria - That's it. Lele equivalent is "akara"

Cut buai - An expression in Nali and Lele languages which literally means to distribute buai. When you get distributed a buai you accept the responsibility of bringing food etc to the feast or function.

Dranou - A Lele village on the Highway. It isabout half an hour's drive from Lorengau. Also spelt N'Dranou.

Hihisuu - A most important, or vantage, spot on a piece of land where a ritual dedication usually takes place before it is cleared for gardening. Usually the crop for the new garden is taro.

Kakiniy - This is the name of a small river on the South of Manus - in the Nohang area just west of Patusi and Old Pere. In the past it was an important market between the inland villagers and the Titans of Patusi and Pere.

Kaliu - A place in the Yiriu (Yiliu) village.It is near the famous Pokop haven of Pwenet.

Karuka - Rain coat made from pandanus leaf (Tok Pisin)

Kaluu - An old name of the mouth of river Lawes (Yowos, Yowes). In the old times an important market thrived there.

Kawar - Tok Pisin word for ginger

Keyau - This is a wooden bed for lapans or chiefly people. Occupies a prominent position in the men's house. Only lapan men's houses have rights to have Keyaus.

Konga - A fictional land and or place outsideof Manus where the dogs settled when they left Manus.

Kopou - A Nali village. It is towards the south coast, about half an hour by car from M'Bunai village. Sometimes speltKapou.

Koyau - A tapa cloth-like garment made from bark of a tree usually worn by women.

Kuiniy - I (will) eat it


Line - This refers to family, relatives. Family group

Liyiu - A term used in both Nali and Lele languages which refers to a certain type of bad spirits or devils.

Masah - A big feast in which the bride price is paid

Mwalah - Light shower. Rain which comes with the sun.

Nambuyum - Your wife or husband. Same as Nali

Nasi - Nali word meaning "grandmother". Lele equivalent is "tato"

N'Dau - Lele word for wild ton. Tok Pisin is pakpak

N'Drawiying - Head rest. Same in Nali/Lele

N92Drop - Manus woven basket. Lele equivalent is n'dop. It is also the name of the tree whose bark is used for the basket.

Nolou - Cordelyne. Tok Pisin name is tanget.

Par - Tree stump, trunk; stalk of a rope. Nali equivalent is "para".

Nosum - Your in law. Same in Nali but produced differently.

Pasinei - Platform used for ceremonial performance during masah and yon. Usually carved and decorated.

Pram - Lengths of valuable beads used in Manus as a means of exchange

Payai - Lele and Nali name for a creeper which is found throughout Manus. It is the most used creeper in the inland villages and both its leaves and sap have medicinal values.

Parahiy - Lele and Nali word for "ginger".

Pihin - Woman, girl. The term "pihi" means "woman of". Same in Nali and Lele

Perei - An edible substance obtained from shale and dried in the sun. A rare delicacy.

Pohyomou - A hilltop near the villages of Tingou and Yirngou. Traditionally famous because of its association with thePokop stories. Today they also call it Polomou.

Pwenet - Another hilltop associated with the Pokops. It is in the present village area of Sirah.


Rauhuh - A Nali word which means clearing theundergrowth. It is the first stage of preparation for a taro garden. Usually a task done by the women. In the Lele language the word is "tauhuh"

Saleu - An expression of yearning or missed opportunity in both Lele and Nali languages.

Salih - Nali word for staghorn. Lele equivalent is "silih"

Sinai - Nali word for devil. Lele equivalent is "sinei".

Sindrik - Word in Lele and Nali meaning to cut or snap

Sohol - Front and extended part of a haus boior haus marit. The Nali equivalent is "sohal"

Sohoniliu - Nali village which borders the Lele villages of Dranou Pnd Yirngou. Also spelt Sohoniriu.

Sumbrelendriy - A point along the Highway just before Pihpun village (Sapon). From the mouth of the Lawes River it provided an ideal spot to rest after the climb from the Kaluu market.

Tambu - 1. Brother/sister/father/mother in law; 2. Means forbid; 3. Valuable beads string together in different lengths.

Tanget - Same as nolou above

Tarau - Another place associated with the Pokops. This is the old name for the larger of the two N'Dropa islands.

Tatom - Your grand son or daughter; grandmother. Nali equivalent is "tuhum".

Tiyiy - Another creeper used in house building. It is stronger than the payai and can last for a long time. Nali equivalent is "taiyiy"

Toroko - Like this; this way. Nali equivalentis "toro"

Walah - Nali and Lele word for moon or areca leaf chewed with buai

Womolo - Two of you. Nali equivalent is "wamolu"

Wuloh - A Lele and Nali word for "thank you".

Yiringou - Last Lele speaking village on the Highway just after Dranou. Yiringou used to be a Nali speaking village. Sometimes spelt - Yirngou.

Yo - Me. Both Lele and Nali.

Yon - A big feast. Same in Lele and Nali. Similar to "masah" but for quite different reasons.

Yopai- Lele - Nali word for temporary bush shelter or leaves carried to keep dry from the rain.

Yowos - A river which starts at Yiringou and Tingou and empties into the sea near Yowes village. In the Nali speaking villages it is "Yowes". Tok Pisin is "Lawes"

Yukuyiy - A river in the South Coast where there was a famous market. It enters the sea between Sowou and Londruu villages.


Copyright © 1999 - 2002 Dr. Bernard Minol, University of Papua New Guinea

On Copyright:  multi-meida content on this web site (articles, stories, photos, graphics, and other materials) remains the property of the original/licensed creators of the materials on this site unless otherwise noted. © 2002 ManusIsland.com

Manus Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea location near northern Australia and south east of SE Asia

Pokop Stories
table of contents

Note - the printed and illustrated version of this book is available from the University of Papua New Guinea Press

In this book, Dr. Bernard Minol records not just stories about a historic Pokop but also introduces the readers into the cultural history of a section of Manus people.  People of Nali, Ere, Kele and Lelemasih identify with the stories.

see also
  • www.pngbuai.com Papua New Guinea Books Useful Articles & Information

  • E-mail: