Melanesian Ways and Cultural Identity

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Melanesian Cultural identity is starting to be fading away because of the western influence that has a big impact on the lives of our young generation. In terms cultural identity that signifies our characters and behaviors that comply with our code of conduct in life which is based on the principles of virtues traditional and cultural beliefs that we have in our societies.

Melanesian Cultural identity is seen as important aspect in our societies which differentiate ourselves from the western society which based is on the values that makes us feels important in communities. Melanesian society or community is made up of a tribe or families that lives in the same areas are related to each other whether close or extended families. Narakobi (1983, p. 13) claims that “in a Melanesian village, everyone is related to everyone else. You’re either a brother, an uncle, a grandfather, a son, a daughter, a mother, or a relative by marriage.” Melanesian have that bound that everyone in the society are related to each other and have extended families they live together in the same house or next to each other in different house in a community. We have our own traditional beliefs that guides and protects us through the big man system known as the chief system that is made up of different clans of the society.

Papua New Guinea have adopted a lot of western cultures and traditions in our societies since the independence of our country. The cultural values that have mostly influenced Papua New Guineas cultural values and identity Narakobi (1980, p. 52) states “The new cultural values, the commercial adverting, beer culture, pornography, religious reforms of worship, business practice, methods of imparting knowledge and skills are all western inspired, owned and controlled.” Tradition knowledge is passed on from generation to generation meaning the basic knowledge of making canoe, building house, gardening, hunting and the government system of society is seen as the chiefs and elders of the village these are the people who are responsible of the well-being of the society. The people in community are obedient to their village elders and chiefs they listen to what the chiefs and the elders that tell them to do what they suppose do. The chiefs and elders known as the wise man in the Melanesian societies across the Pacific Islands.

The traditional values of names given our children today in Melanesian Societies especially Papua New Guinea today I see that is a need for us Papua New Guineans to strongly emphasize is the names that are given to our children. In the past the native Papua New Guineans give names to their children after season, rituals, or even naming them after a peace with another clan.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s Papua New Guineans identify people from different Province through their name for instance my surname Sosori people would automatic know that I’m from Gulf Province because of the name that comes from that Province or as Lapun we can say that the name is from Manus.

But now we turn to use the names that are given for example Joseph Michel and Peter Moses this hardly we can’t identify where this people come from and also there will be a lot same names around the country and it would be most likely to mistaken a person with name but from another province.

For example, we have to Joshua Philip in SRS 2 if the lectures ask Joshua Philip how would identify them both without knowing their faces. Referring it back educational purpose if we two Joshua who sat for the national exam and there from different one is from Manus and one is from Jiwaka their names where send to Measurement Service Unit (MSU) for marking their exams paper, there marks can be easily exchange for wantok system because of the same name or can receive a certificate of another person with the same name.

Arrange Marriage (Tubuna Man/ Meri) is seen as a force marriage in some sense that some people want to and some they do not allow it to happen. For us as Melanesians in the past we accept this type of marriage but now as changes came into our societies we turn to change our way of thinking. Because in the past the arrange marriage done by the elders or the chiefs in the village not the women or the men that arranging them without following their desire. I strongly suggest let the people make their own choice of marriage because after marriage they will be responsible for the advantage and disadvantage or struggles that face by themselves but not them people that are arrange their marriage.

Dress Code

It is for both male and females we have to dress in appropriate way meaning that we have respect our human dignity that we are all made in the image and likeness of God that we should look after our body not to showcase to others, making them to think in a negative way about us that we this kind of people without knowing but the dressing indirectly telling us the different story all around us again. I suggest that we dress presentable meaning that dress in a sense people see and give good feedbacks rather than negative feedback.


  1. Narakobi, B (1983). The Melanesian Way Retrieved from
  2. http://www.alastairmcintosh.com/general/resources/1983-Bernard-Narokobi-Melanesian-Way.pdf
  3. Narakobi, B (1980). The Melanesian Way: Koon Wah Printing: Singapore.

Cite this paper

Melanesian Ways and Cultural Identity. (2021, Jan 16). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/melanesian-ways-and-cultural-identity/

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