Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/202

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
72
PICTURESQUE NEW GUINEA.

but got stuck on a sand-bank shortly after starting, and had to wait four hours till the rising tide floated us off. This delay necessitated the postponement of our journey for a day, as the captain was unwilling to navigate those dangerous waters in the dusk. We dropped anchor opposite a village called Parimata, distant as the crow flies only twelve miles from Kerepunu, but on account of the coral reef involving a détour of some twenty-seven. This village presented a peculiar appearance from long lines of high fences, looking in the distance like stockades. We found these to be designed to break the force of the wind, which beats on the low sandy shore to the detriment of both houses and plantations. They are made of a framework of tough sticks and saplings fastened together with rattan, and interlaced with cocoa-nut leaves, butt end upwards. They are fully twelve feet high, and seem to answer the purpose for which they were designed perfectly. The Mission House is close to the beach, and the premises are larger than those at Kerepunu. The teacher Tenaori is a determined looking man of powerful physique, and seems well fitted for his post. Not long ago he was the means of saving the lives of over fifty Motu people, for which service he was presented by the General with a nice silver watch, bearing a suitable inscription. The history of the exploit is as follows:—Some little time ago a trading canoe belonging to Port Moresby got caught in a gale of wind on its return from Motu Motu, and driven past its own port, was wrecked on the reef of Keppel Point, not a great distance from Parimata. There were in all fifty-six persons on board; a traditional feud existing between the Aroma people and the Motu's, the young Aroma warriors, anxious to take advantage of so large a number of their foes being placed in their power, launched their canoes with the intention of massacring them all. Tenaori, seeing their preparations, and learning their object, at once put off in the Mission Boat to interpose and save life. He was after some parley allowed to land unaccompanied, the Motu people knowing their danger, and being greatly apprehensive of a hostile visit. Their anticipations were indeed realized, for soon the Aroma war canoes came in sight. On their approaching within hailing distance, Tenaori harangued the warriors in true native style, and by