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Bernard Narokobi"s History of Wautogik Village typescript

 Collection — Box: BW 32, Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 16560


  • 1999

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Bernard Mullu Narokobi (1943 – March 2010) was a Papua New Guinean politician, jurist, and philosopher. He was born in Wautogik village, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, to his father Anton (Kukum) Narokobi and mother Maria Mokoi. Narokobi attended the Dagua Catholic Mission and Brandi High School in Wewak, East Sepik Province. In 1959 he was taught by Michael Somare who later became the first Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. He graduated from Kerevat Senior High School in East New Britain Province, where he met another future Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Rabbie Namaliu. In 1966 Narokobi went to Australia where he received a law degree at the University of Sydney in 1972. In that same year he was made a barrister in New South Wales. Narokobi was recruited to become the Permanent Consultant to the Constitutional Planning Committee that was chaired by his former teacher Michael Somare. Narokobi thus had a personal hand in the writing of what became the Constitution when Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia in 1975. He aligned with a team of like minded Papua New Guineans to start the Melanesian Alliance Party. Narokobi was a firm believer in human rights, a staunch advocate of Melanesian philosophy and identity, and he supported strongly the call for a free and independent West Papua, New Guinea. He was also a devout and a highly respected member of the Catholic Church.[3]

He served as the Papua New Guinean High Commissioner to New Zealand prior to his death. Between 1987 and 1997 he represented his Wewak Open Electorate as a Member in the Papua New Guinea's National Parliament. In 2002 he lost his seat and was displaced as a minister in the Chan government for failing to vote in favour of constitutional reforms in the provincial system of government.In April 2009, The Guardian described him as one of Papua New Guinea's "living national icons", along with Michael Somare and Mal Michael.[1]Prime Minister Michael Somare paid tribute to him as "a humble man who dedicated his life to the development of a legal regime that incorporates Melanesian values."[2]

Source: Wikipedia (used link on September 9, 2021) 1"Country profile: Papua New Guinea", The Guardian, 23 April 2009 2 PM pays tribute to Narokobi", The National 3 Ton Otto, Nicholas Thomas (1997), Narratives of Nation in the South Pacific, Routledge, ISBN 978-90-5702-085-8

For more information on Narokobi and the Wautogik Village, read Lisa M. Dobrin's article in the "The Journal of Pacific History" Volume 55, 2020 - Issue 2: The Legacy of Bernard Narokobi and the Melanesian Way: "A ‘Nation of Villages’ and a Village ‘Nation State’: The Arapesh Model for Bernard Narokobi's Melanesian Way"

Bromley, Anne, E., "UVA Anthropologist Digitizes A Changing Culture from Half A World Away", UVA Today, 9 January 2020.


0.03 Cubic Feet (1 folder) : typescript

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Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was a gift from Vergil Narokobi to the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library in 2017.
Bernard Narokobi's History of Wautogik Village typescript
Ellen Welch
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Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States