Bruno Leto - Oral History interview recorded on 30 March 2017 at Tatau, New Ireland Province


Mr Leto tells about his relationship to Aisoli (elder brother) and clarifies the ancestoral background of Aisoli Salin's family and the chief status.



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Welcome all you relatives of Mr Aisoli Salin, and thank you making time for this interview. We will begin now by looking at his life history which you've held on too ever since the war, and I welcome you all once again. First of all we'll look at his history where he was born and right up to time he got married. So thank you, we'll hand it over to Bruno to start.
OK, thank you.
Ah before Bruno begins, I'm sorry, this interviewer is conducted in Aisoli Primary School hall on Tatau village (East coast of Big Tabar Island) on the 30th of April 2017. We will now begin with one of the relatives, Bruno Leto, to tell us about Salin's life.
OK thank you, my name is Bruno Leto and I am Aisoli Salin's brother. OK, to make myself clear today, I am now the clan leader of Aisoli Salin's clan. OK, in-regard to our clan, I'll begin were Aisoli Salin's ancestors originated right up to where Aisoli Salin was born, so our first place was Lava, up in the bushes of Simberi (Small Tabar island), this is where Salin's ancestors were from, and their first ancestral chief was named Konga. The second man was named Palangato, he was together with chief Konga in Lava. OK, Lunga is another significant head, who originated in Kanava, situated deep within the bushes. Now, two women who originated and lived in Lava were Kolovut and Marabok, OK, Kolovut was dumb, she wasn't able to speak. Marabok on the other hand, gave birth to a woman name Vigilbat who married Tilbong which they had a daughter who was named after Vilgilbat's mother, Marabok. So Vigilbat gave birth to Marabok, who married Mavis and who intendedly became Aisoli Salin's father. When Mavis married Marabok, he took her out from Lava and brought her to Simberi, to a place called Lavambak. He took her out of where her ancestors originated and brought her to Simberi, specifically to Lavambak, there they stayed together until Aisoli Salin was born.
When Salin was born, (speaking in local language 04:12-13-14). Ah when Mavis brought Marabok over to live in Lavambak, Salin then (speaking in local language 04:27-30-35) became Mavis' first born son. Their second born daughter is Mary Baso, who is the mother of these people sitting over there, and their last born child was a boy named Vetar. This is the family where Aisoli Salin was brought in.
OK, when they were at Lavambak, when Salin became the first born, it was a significant custom that Mavis must perform for Salin, a customary path where everything Salin will be receiving, will be received under his dad, whatever type of customary power or blessings will be handed over to him by his father. So this is where I'll stop, I will hand over the part where Salin had been customarily initiated in receiving the cultural blessings and responsibilities, given to him by his father. Things such as the Malagan and other important things, this was the work of his father now.
OK, just one question, Salin received all the blessings, the power and responsibility because he was the first born, right?
Yes, first born.
And because he was a man?
[Unknown male]
First born Males.
Alright, thank you
Before he comes and shares the other part of the story (speaks in local language 06:06-07), ah. Aisoli Salin's father is seen as a very big, important and well respected man, we call or refer to him as the Maimai.
You mean Aisoli Salin's father?
Yes, Aisoli Salin. And his father is also a chief.
So now Elsa will continue with the rest of the story.
She will take over
Yes, Elsa will take over the history.

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“Bruno Leto - Oral History interview recorded on 30 March 2017 at Tatau, New Ireland Province,” Voices from the War, accessed June 20, 2024,