Pauline Ayuk and Tokamit Loko - Oral History interview recorded on 02 April 2017 at Lakurumau, New Ireland Province

Description

Mrs Ayuk relates her experiences of both the first and the second second World War. At the time of the first war, she was newly married. It was at time that she witnessed Japanese invasion of Lakurumau. She tells of an experience where (she believed) her father's traditional protection kept her and her family from being harmed by the Japanese. Her father communicated with their ancestral spirits. She lived on to witness the second war. So while Other villagers hid in the bushes, Pauline and her family remained in the village unharmed.

Mr Loko tells of how the name of the village was changed by the 'whiteman.' He tells that the village was initially known as 'Lodumau' but was changed to 'Lakurumau,' as it is known today. He also talks about the first invasion as told to him by relatives.

Language

Interview

Warning: This site contains stories of war. Some of these interviews may include detailed and graphic descriptions of events and experiences that may be disturbing for some individuals.


Transcript:
[Interviewer]
Please just wait, I'll let you know when to start.
We are now interviewing Pauline and Tokamit in Lakurumau village. And they will share their experience concerning the war in New Ireland Province.
[Tokamit Loko]
Lakurumau village was named after our ancestors. The original name of our place down here is ah.
[Interviewer]
Okay, so what place is this and how did it get its name?
[Tokamit Loko]
Our village name was taken from the coastal people long before my generation. A name that represents our ancestors from the coast. When the white men arrived they changed this name to Lakurumau.
[Interviewer]
So what's the name again?
[Tokamit Loko]
Lokodumau
[Pauline Ayuk]
Lokodumau
[Interviewer]
So the white men were the once that named this place Lakurumau. Wow! These white folks.
[Tokamit Loko]
Yes
[Interviewer]
Thank you, Alright madam you can start telling your story.
[Pauline Ayuk]
I was here during the first war. Everyone left the village and hid in the bushes except for me and my husband. Partly because I had my traditional protection given to me by dad. Despite being in the fighting zone, my husband and I never got shot or even felt a scratch of a bullet. It was like we were invisible.
[Tokamit Loko]
Her father is 'Tokalang.' And he's from Tolai (East New Britain Province)
[Pauline Ayuk]
My dad practises black magic. He works and communes with our ancestors whom we refer to as our Tumbunas.
[Interviewer]
Ancestors Ah.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Every man and woman hid in the bush and mountains. Both of us were the only one left in our village. The war brought planes that dropped bombs and fired machine guns. Still we were here, none of these things affected us. All because of my father's faith.
[Interviewer]
Pauline's dad?
[Tokamit Loko]
Yes
[Interviewer]
And Pauline, you were a young girl at that time and also married right?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, I got married at a very young age.
[Interviewer]
During the first war were there any ships that came to fight?
[Tokamit Loko]
Not yet, the Army Aeroplanes were the first to come.
[Interviewer]
Alright, tell us now about the second war?
[Pauline Ayuk]
During the second war, I remained back again. while everyone went for cover in the bushes, in those days ah. our bushes were thick and we had really huge trees which did made it difficult for the war planes to see where the people hid.
[Tokamit Loko]
The ships never came ashore yet.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Early in the morning I went down to the beach where the men house was. I was shocked to see the place filled with 'manao.' (ships) Why are you sleeping properly? I shouted. Let's go set up our protective barriers, and they all woke up. Some came running out naked while others only with lap lap. And as I gazed to the sea horizon I could see some people already running away, so sad.
[Interviewer]
It's okay.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Planes with huge machine guns roamed our sky. They fired but we never got shot. The Manua was here. I quickly ate and spit a local ginger (Kawawar) that my father gave to me. I spit at every corner of our village. As a result not even one bullet touched us.
[Interviewer]
So your father taught you how to spit around?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, with the ginger he gave us.
[Interviewer]
And the ships that came did it brought any soldiers?
[Pauline Ayuk]
The Manao ships hung still outside our shores and fired towards the mainland. As they go further out only few bombs and bullets fell on us. Some fell with huge explosion as fire lighted up. However, my husband and I never got affected as we remained back and witness everything.
[Interviewer]
Did anyone from the ship came ashore?
[Pauline Ayuk]
The ships never came ashore, they hung far out from shore and fired at the villages. The planes also flew above and continuously dropped bombs. There was no road for anything to run on, the coconut and other trees fell everywhere making a big mass. Even these bombs fell and struck every one of those hiding in the buses.
[Interviewer]
And were there a lot of people there?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, there was a lot of people even the Chinese. They gathered at river Wangelong.
[Tokamit Loko]
The name of the place is Wangelong
[Interviewer]
Where there many Chinese in town?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Of course, but most of them ran away
The planes continued to drop bombs and fired machine guns. Some Chinese died and were left to rot in the bushes. People feared where they would bury them if they got their bodies.
[Tokamit Loko]
I remember, this other Chinese was Burusen's Son.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, they buried him here.
[Interviewer]
Oh, during the war.
[Tokamit Loko]
When the Japanese threw bombs they also shot him on the other side of Wangelong. Sadly they had nowhere to bury him so they brought him and buried him here. His name is Kenken and he is Burusen's first born son. Today Burusen's second born child is the only one that is alive.
[Interviewer]
So the first born was buried there, so sad.
[Tokamit Loko]
Yes. ah Kenken. That was during the Japanese invasion.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Some were confused that they were being buried here. A Chinese man died and was buried on top of that bush beside the road going up remember.
[Tokamit Loko]
Yeah, I remember this Chinese man.
[Interviewer]
Did you see any Japanese coming here or roaming these areas?
[Pauline Ayuk]
They walked around. Some of these Japanese were really good people. 'Tit Buruk' (Broken Tooth) was one Japanese who stayed with us.
[Interviewer]
Who?
[Pauline Ayuk]
A Japanese Commander and his soldiers who based at Luburu station.
For what reason, the little children were working for this commander and his army. Tit Buruk's platoon.
[Interviewer]
So this Commander's name is 'Tit Buruk' (Broken Tooth).
[Pauline Ayuk]
Soon the dangerous ones arrived, they would take anyone as they please. The man of 'Toraki' came ashore.
[Tokamit Loko]
The Tabar Island
[Pauline Ayuk]
These men, they use to. (Speak in Language). Maybe they are guards assigned to patrol the Island
[Interviewer]
Who does these guards work for? The Japanese.
[Pauline Ayuk]
The Army
[Interviewer]
So are they ordinary guards or something?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Not really, they keep and talk to themselves. And they go around chopping people's neck off.
[Tokamit Loko]
They are called Kenpeitais and are all Japanese.
[Pauline Ayuk]
These Kenpeitais always take away young and married women from their husbands, the women are then forced to stay with these guards while their husbands are taken as captives and prisoned, some they ah. executed.
[Interviewer]
Do they chop off the women's neck? These Japanese Kenpeitais.
[Pauline Ayuk]
No, only the men.
[Interviewer]
And do they marry these women?
[Pauline Ayuk]
No one knows.
[Tokamit Loko]
They don't live together, the guards stay by themselves.
[Interviewer]
Were you told to work in the garden?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, but for the navy
[Interviewer]
You mean 'Broken tooth.'
[Pauline Ayuk]
'Broken tooth' always does take good care of us. If he hears that one of our men was taken by the Kenpeitais to have his neck cut off, he would stop the execution and take his people back.
[Interviewer]
Did Broken Tooth hit your people?
[Pauline Ayuk]
No.
[Tokamit Loko]
Broken Tooth always help our people. He stops the beating when the locals are hit and he saves our people whenever they are about to be killed.
[Interviewer]
Were both men and women working in the garden?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, both men and women even ah. the ladies whose husbands had been taken away from them
[Tokamit Loko]
It's Broken Tooth's soldiers that does the neck cutting. They are all Japanese
[Interviewer]
What? You mean the Kenpeitais.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes.
[Tokamit Loko]
They are stationed outside where Broken Tooth takes care of them as they work.
[Interviewer]
So there's two different groups right?
[Tokamit Loko]
Yeah, one of which are the guards, the Kenpeitais, those who cut peoples' necks off.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Kenpeitai is a Japanese name, maybe in their language it has a meaning to it, who knows.
[Tokamit Loko]
While this man they call Broken Tooth lives at Luburu station with his soldiers.
[Interviewer]
Were you taught to speak in Japanese?
[Pauline Ayuk]
I don't know their Language.
[Interviewer]
How about the other locals, weren't they taught Japanese by any chance?
[Tokamit Loko]
Yes of course.
[Pauline Ayuk]
I only listen and talk, simply by trying to make sense out of what is being said and ah. try to understand the actions.
[Interviewer]
Who taught you the language?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Themselves.
[Interviewer]
You mentioned that before the Japanese came, Chinese people and white men lived in Kavieng.
[Pauline Ayuk]
No.
[Interviewer]
Were there any Chinese or White men living there?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Only the Chinese.
[Tokamit Loko]
After they ran away, the Japanese came (speaks in language 12:15-17-19).
(Speaks in language 12:23-25-29-32).
The white men made the Boluminski road. I asked if the road was already there before the fight and he said no, after.
[Pauline Ayuk]
The road wasn't really completed, only a small portion.
[Tokamit Loko]
Tell us about Luburua (speaks in language 12:29-30)
[Pauline Ayuk]
About Luburua (broken tooth), my husband drives their vehicle, 'Loko' driver.
[Interviewer]
Whose car did he drive, the Japanese?
[Pauline Ayuk]
For the Navy (broken tooth).
[Pauline Ayuk]
He doesn't really know us.
[Interviewer]
Did your people fight with the Japanese?
[Pauline Ayuk]
I told them to leave them alone.
[Interviewer]
Are there any more stories you want to share with us regarding the Japanese that came?
[Pauline Ayuk]
No, this is the only one I know.
[Interviewer]
Broken Tooth?
[Tokamit Loko]
(speaks in language 14:00-01-02)
[Pauline Ayuk]
We were at the village (Luburua), broken tooth looks after every one of us.
[Interviewer]
Every one of you in the village?
[Tokamit Loko]
The kenpeitai people are dangerous.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, very dangerous.
[Tokamit Loko]
These kenpeitai people.
[Interviewer]
Did they kill any of your family members?
[Pauline Ayuk]
We don't know.
[Interviewer]
Did they pull anyone?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Some did not listen and walked around in the night. As a result, yes.
[Tokamit Loko]
(Speaks in Language 13:34-35-36)
[Pauline Ayuk]
They dragged them down into the cave.
[Tokamit Loko]
(Speaks in Language 14:43-44)
[Pauline Ayuk]
It is a scary sight to see them chop off the people's neck in the caves. Kuravei's neck was chopped off as well.
[Pauline Ayuk]
And so they threw them into the caves, and pushed them into water that takes them and buries them in the soil.
[Tokamit Loko]
They slept on it
[Pauline Ayuk]
They take five people at a time to the muddy place and blind fold them and cut them.
[Interviewer]
Cut five people?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes. They take the five people and blind fold them with white laplap. They lie to them that they are going to town. Light a cigarette and have them smoke it all.
They start to count, 'One, two.. they cut off the first person's neck. They count again and continue until the others have been killed in that manner. Bodies are dumped in the big water at the back of the cave.
[Interviewer]
So the water carries the remains away?
[Tokamit Loko]
No, it sinks.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Sinks to the bottom.
[Tokamit Loko]
Just like the swampy area. It sinks.
[Pauline Ayuk]
There is no smell of any sort indicating that such has happened. They must have used some sort of medicine, we believe.
[Interviewer]
Do you women stand and watch what happens?
[Pauline Ayuk]
I don't follow my husband or broken tooth, I go there and watch myself.
[Tokamit Loko]
(Speaks in Language 17:49-54)
[Pauline Ayuk]
The other guy, father brought him back from the cave.
[Tokamit Loko]
Um.......
[Pauline Ayuk]
This is the stone were vehicles run over that causes the water.
[Interviewer]
Ah......
[Pauline Ayuk]
The man father brought back is a mix race.
[Tokamit Loko]
Moat is the person.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Let him know.
[Tokamit Loko]
John Knox is his son.
[Pauline Ayuk]
This person must still be alive. He followed the beach and ended up there at the cave. It's better not to follow that road. He was lucky.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Moat is dead already.
[Interviewer]
He died already?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Now it's okay where we are. The first fight, Manuai came. we are here in fight number two.
[Interviewer]
At Luburua?
[Pauline Ayuk]
In another village where both my sisters lived.
[Interviewer]
Whose is it?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Both my sisters 'Nare!' (Language spoken in background)
[Tokamit Loko]
'Nare Tokulau' and 'Tapin Tokulau' and 'Mosli Tokulau.'
[Pauline Ayuk]
We live with them and we're taking the sisters to the cave today to leave them there and return.
[Interviewer]
What did they carry down?
[Tokamit Loko]
The two sore legs.
[Interviewer]
Sore legs?
[Tokamit / Pauline]
Yes.
[Interviewer]
Your two brothers.
[Tokamit Loko]
Yes
[Interviewer]
And who carried them down?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Moko
[Tokamit Loko]
The husband.
[Pauline Ayuk]
He listens to them.
[Interviewer]
What are they going to do there?
[Pauline Ayuk]
They are going to put it on the grass (kunai).
[Tokamit Loko]
That's in the bush.
[Interviewer]
Yes
[Pauline Ayuk]
Father will prepare the bed and put them there. He then takes them down to the cave. We went back to check the house when father showed mom 'Sekari's' place in the cave. Machines went off and shots fired. we hid in the bushes until it was okay, we came out.
[Interviewer]
Did you get food from the garden?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes. We got food from the gardens. We planted the cocoa together with the Japanese. My husband and I take walks to collect dried coconuts, greens, for cooking early in the morning before dawn. The aeroplanes come out when the sun is high.
[Interviewer]
Do did everyone follow broken tooth? He looked after you all well?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes. Everything was fine.
[Interviewer]
Is there any other story you want to tell us? Maybe the one they said, the Japanese have a place to play when they rest?
[Pauline Ayuk]
It's right in the bush.
[Interviewer]
Do you know what kind of game they play? Do they use any ball to kick, push, throw, etc? Do you go and watch?
[Pauline Ayuk]
After killing the people, they celebrate in singsing. They say to bring cassava within the week.
[Interviewer]
Which language do you sing in? Japanese or your own language.
[Pauline Ayuk]
We sing in the night.
[Interviewer]
Do the Japanese sing, cook and eat the remains of the deceased?
[Tokamit Loko]
Yes. They sing and kill.
[Interviewer]
Do they kill the people here too?
[Tokamit Loko]
Anybody.
[Pauline Ayuk]
That's right.
[Interviewer]
New Irelanders
[Tokamit Loko]
Yes. When they happen to come ashore there.
[Pauline Ayuk]
No one was cut here at Lakurumau and Luburua. Only the ones outside and on the islands.
[Tokamit Loko]
Islands yes.
[Interviewer]
Tabar people, were they taken to the caves, killed, later on cooked and you all ate?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes.
[Interviewer]
They play?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes. The men play while the ladies sing.
[Interviewer]
Women from New Ireland?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, and some from our village.
[Interviewer]
How do you dress?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Dress up for those they have killed.
[Tokamit Loko]
(Speaks in language 24:35-38), which attire?
[Pauline Ayuk]
We just wear our meri blouses.
[Interviewer]
Every time they kill somebody, you cook and sing.
[Tokamit Loko]
Speaks in Language 24:59-25:20)
[Interviewer]
What was that?
[Tokamit Loko]
When they hear that it's one of them, broken tooth takes father and they go in their car to bring them back before killing takes place.
[Interviewer]
He saves them.
[Tokamit Loko]
Yes. Broken tooth rescues them.
[Speaks in Language 25:53-26:24). The person that does the execution, where does he live in Luburua?
[Pauline Ayuk]
(Speaks in language)
[Tokamit Loko]
Only he knows the name of the place he lives.
[Pauline Ayuk]
(Speaks in language)
[Interviewer]
Where is that?
[Tokamit Loko]
At Luburua in a village at ''Lakaxui''
[Pauline Ayuk]
'Lakaxui'.
[INTERVIEWER / TOKAMIT]
'Lakaxui'
[Interviewer]
Pronounced as..
[Tokamit Loko]
Lakaxui. (People pronouncing the word at the background)
[Interviewer]
'KAXUI'.. The boss that kills, is he Japanese or one of us?
[Tokamit Loko]
Japanese
[Interviewer]
The one that chops off people's neck.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes, he's Japanese.
[Interviewer]
Oh. Japanese.
[Tokamit Loko]
There is no Japanese children. They were all removed.
[Pauline Ayuk]
No. (Speaks in Language)
One of the Japanese calls me mother and Moko Father. 'Arseno!'
[Interviewer]
His name is.ummmm
[Pauline Ayuk]
They named him.
[Tokamit Loko]
This Japanese that calls us mother and father. When everything ended, he told us to go and collect the housing materials which we made our current house.
[Interviewer]
Is there anything else you want to add on?
[Tokamit Loko]
No
[Interviewer]
Did your father tell you any other story?
[Tokamit Loko]
No. these are the only stories told to us by our grandparents.
[Interviewer]
When the war ended, where did broken tooth go?
[Pauline Ayuk]
They called on us to go back to the village after the war.
[Tokamit Loko]
'Arsheno' now
[Pauline Ayuk]
They (parents) gave their house.
[Interviewer]
Did you do yours?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Today, ladies return from their gardens with their husbands. The two couple have two houses now. The house built with the town material things is for her husband.
[Tokamit Loko]
The first house is in the front.
[Pauline Ayuk]
Only the cement.
[Tokamit Loko]
That's an old house. Only the foundation is there now.
You came and requested for the post they gave it freely until they decided that it will be for the Japanese children.
[Interviewer]
Get the knife and start building your house. Should tell her, that the Japanese have left, it's now the white men who are here. Please last one.
[Pauline Ayuk]
The white men came and left without doing anything.
[Tokamit Loko]
(Speaks in Language]
[Interviewer]
Did the white men come after the war ended?
[Pauline Ayuk]
Yes. They came and stayed quietly where they settled in town.
[Interviewer]
Okay
[Tokamit Loko]
What about here along the road?
[Pauline Ayuk]
The ones who ran away came back and settled.
[Interviewer]
The Chinese?
[Pauline Ayuk]
People from the bushes came down.
[Interviewer]
They ran away into the bushes.
[Interviewer]
Thank you very much.
[Tokamit Loko]
That's alright.
[Interviewer]
Mother

Click to show/hide Additional Interview Details

Family Relationships

Interviewee

Pauline Ayuk
Tokamit Loko

Interviewee Gender

Interviewers

Interview Date

2/04/2017

Interview Duration

00:31:01:00

Interview Translator


Rights Holder

Deakin University
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike licence

Files

http://pngvoices.deakin.edu.au/files/temp/ayuk-group-photo-2017.jpg

Citation

“Pauline Ayuk and Tokamit Loko - Oral History interview recorded on 02 April 2017 at Lakurumau, New Ireland Province,” Voices from the War, accessed December 19, 2018, http://pngvoices.deakin.edu.au/items/show/376.

Social Bookmarking