Patrick Marris - Oral History interview recorded on 02 April 2017 at Belifu, New Ireland Province


Chief Maris tells of stories told to him by his parents of how the Japanese mistreated his people through cheap labour.



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.

OK, I was born in 1953, I wouldn't know much about what has happened but stories from my father and my mother ...but the treatment that was from the war it was not our war, it was a that was a war that was brought in ...we did not have a government at that point in time but the Churches were already established here. The Catholic Church, the Methodist Church; they were already here.
Knowing people from... like different administration like the Australian Administration em oli stap pinis. They were all here. But when the war came in 1942, what I heard from the elders was the treatment from the Japanese government soldiers was very cruel and deliberate. And more than that, they were using our resources to support their defence in military. They just come in and get whatever they want: pik, kakaruk, food garden and they used my people to cultivate. Plant kaukau plant anything that can grow for them, for their survival. Because they wanted their business to be accomplished. That we did not know but I was told... after World War II, there must be an agreement or memorandum of understanding between colonial government that atat time there won't be any compensation, I do not know. But at this point of time being a young citizen of this particular village, we have some remains of the Japanese. They are still here and the wreckage is still here. What I need to emphasise here is how can the Japanese government compensate in a community-based institution. I am not talking about individuals but I am talking about something that government of Japan must look at our schools, must support our schools and our rural aid posts so that it will help and also try to compensate for the amount of damage that has been done during World War II.
Don't forget, we did not invite that war. It was a war that was orchestrated from the Western countries that just came and ended up here in Papua New Guinea because...but New Ireland is one of them. Maybe because of the resource we have, I don't know but my call is to the government of Papua New Guinea and also engage government of Papua New Guinea with Japanese government to look at these areas like schools, something that everybody must benefit from it like school, meaning aid post and also the Church. Church is doing very much in my community. Like I come from a Catholic community and Catholic Church here in Beilifu in Ward 14, we need some assistance here. From what has been done, meaning that the cruelty of the Japanese time was very, very bad.
I mean you are have asked my other colleague about the treatment ...he was here about that time. Yes, I was told also. Told about 'ol Jiapan ya, ol nogat tru rispek ya.' And with that...with what he said about mass grave em tru. And my people because of humility, ol voluntarily reskiuim ol bagarap ol guide ol dead bodies ya and ol putim ol insait long mass grave. Bicos long ol oli lukim olsem em ol marn ya. And the treatment oli givim long ol Jiapan ya bicos they were already bombed, em we treat them as human being. Ol putim ol long grave. Now it's still here. The remains are still here. And I being the chairman at this time now asking the Japanese government, the JICA, to support my school, and support also my aid post in my ward.
Especially when all these damages have been done. So with that, I don't have very much to say...during World War because I don't want to tell lies here because I have to tell the truth of what had happened. But the wreckage is there for you to see long... nambis, long beach, and the remains are still here with me in my community. I've got two coffins there and more remains there. All I am asking here is can the Japanese government feel fit to compensate in terms of community -based incentives like high schools and aid post.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.

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“Patrick Marris - Oral History interview recorded on 02 April 2017 at Belifu, New Ireland Province,” Voices from the War, accessed July 17, 2024,