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27 January 2018

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W Bergmann and J Taylor both came from a civilised society and were fully aware of the laws and acts that govern the processes of land acquisition. Further they were also aware that Simbu land distribution is also governed under the customary land tenure system.

How did the two foreigners acquire the Kundiawa town land and through which legal processes? Were the dealings done under the colonial laws or under the customary system?

Bro Philip, sampla stori blong bipo: 8 March 1933, first plane over Chimbu by gold prospector Mick Leahy; 6 April 1933, first temporary airstrip at Kerowil Minj built by the first Taylor Leahy patrol to resupply the patrol; at Ega the Lutheran church led by Bergmann built Chimbu strip starting September 1934 and first plane October 1934; and a few hours later, at Kerowagi strip build by the American Lutherans. Waiwo!

Kundiawa Airstrip, known as Tema, is a historical and unique airstrip. According to my grandfather and others, the first air plane landed without the airstrip being built in 1933 before the Taylor expedition and the missionaries arrived.

The airstrip was a flat grass land without any trees and ideally suitable for rough landing. Later Jim Taylor built the airstrip with locals from all over Simbu.

The airplane which landed at the present Kundiawa airstrip was referred to as a big bird send from Gerugl Bundi to chase the Endugla people who stole kina shells from the Bundi's who came to trade with the Sambuglas.

After a few landing the Enduglas out of fear gave back the kina shells but the landings did not stop. They killed pigs and performed magical spells to chase away the big bird and avoid further retaliation but still the plane kept coming.

After a few weeks came the arrival of Jim Taylor and Bergmann from the east and Fr Schaefer and his team from the north.

Yalkuna, thanks for your time in contributing to our history.

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