Tufi, Papua New Guinea

In the Oro Province, on the southeastern peninsula of Cape Nelson, Tufi is located at the end of a tropical “fjord”. The village is protected to the east by unchartered reefs, while Mount Victory rises to the west.

Upon arrival, we will canoe along the smooth waters of Kwapurina Fjord. With local villagers as our oarsmen, we will be guided under canopies of ancient mangrove forests, which are home to Tufi’s wide range of colourful birds and butterflies.

Our destination is a small beach where we will disembark and proceed on foot through the rainforest to a small jungle waterfall. Here we will be offered a refreshing coconut drink before watching a demonstration of traditional canoe making.

Continuing on our journey, we return to the village where the villagers will welcome us with traditional songs and dances. Perhaps we will see some of the colorful costumes and headdresses adorned with Bird of Paradise plumes. There will also be an opportunity to observe the making of tapa (bark cloth) and to purchase some souvenirs. Tapa is made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry, and is used for the dresses worn during traditional ceremonies.

Tufi still has the traditional ways of food gathering and hunting, village life, spiritual beliefs and their language “Karafe”. This is their place talk meaning the language spoken by their villages. Daily life of the local villagers includes building their traditional homes and canoes from sago palms, traditionally gardening and fishing and processing of their food, making ropes for hunting pigs, fishing nets and processing various trees for tapa cloth which is a traditional clothing.

In the 18th century Tufi was first recognised as an idyllic anchorage for British capital ships. Later, and in the same period, it became a government station, occupied by the British. The first missionaries here were Anglican and their religion remains predominant today. The Tufi Dive Resort occupies the site that was formally the District Manager's residence during PNG's colonial era. During WWII the Tufi wharf was initially occupied by the Japanese but then was subsequently used as the site of a USN Advance PT Boat base from December 1942 with PT Boats operating along the coast from Buna to Mambare. After WWII the original District Manager's residence was converted to a guesthouse for government employees and other buildings were added. The Laki Hotel was built in the 1970's and Tufi became a popular getaway for Port Moresby residents.

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