On Sunday 28 July 2013, head of the Tanga Group, Chief Cletus Ngaffkin of Taraiu-Waradan Village, lead a ceremony to hand over two Tumbuan Masks of Tanga Island, New Ireland Province to the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery.
The ceremony was entrenched with spirituality. This is the first time in history that a Tumbuan mask will be displayed in the national museum for residents and visitors to view.
The two masks are named ToUngeger and ToKiana. They are priceless cultural masterpieces that date back as far as 10 generations. As part of custom, the spirits attached to the masks were removed in a private traditional ceremony on Saturday 27 July.
Chief Cletus Ngaffkin said he was glad that the National Museum would now hold these masks, as he is aware the museum collection includes Sepik masks and Malagan Masks and these will be the first of this kind to be displayed.
Minister for Culture & Tourism, Hon. Boka Kondra,received the two Tumbuan masks at the small ceremony at the National Museum, which included two traditional performances never before seen outside Tanga Island.
Minister Kondra congratulated the Tanga group, and especially the young boys that participated in the ceremony. He emphasised the importance of the older generation passing their traditional knowledge to the younger generation.
The minister committed to working closely with museum director Dr Andrew Moutu to improve the storage facility at the museum to preserve current artefacts and encourage other clans to bring their artefacts for preservation and display.
Minister Kondra also said culture is not like a mine for gold, copper, silver, zinc, oil or gas, where one day it will finish. Culture is here forever and it’s for everyone. “Culture is a vehicle to many aspects of development that is yet to come in this country. Therefore, keep the culture alive and protect it, preserve it, promote it, and make it grow.”
Dr Moutu expressed that the museum is responsible to not only display the Tumbuan masks, but also to document and preserve the stories behind the masks. They are a significant addition
For more information contact the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery
PH: +675 325 5364