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Obituary for Mr. Kumalau Tawali 1947-2006, reknown Writer · Poet · Scholar · Pastor in Papua New Guinea

| Obituary-Tribute in The National  +  Biographic Sketch |

Photo of Kumalau Tawali 1947-2006

[The following is quoted from The National News]

Scholar and poet dies at the age of 59

By JULIA DAIA BORE, for THE NATIONAL TheNational.com.pg

A SCHOLAR and poet Francis Kumalau Tawali has died.

Mr Tawali died of a stroke at his Madang home at l0pm last Friday [Nov.17, 2006].  He was 59 years old.

Mr. Tawali, from Tawi Island, Manus province, was also a former columnist with The National.   His column was titled Eye on the Nation which began in 1994. One of his close friends and associates, Andrew Kwimberi of Kwimberi Lawyers, yesterday described him as a "very powerful" writer.

I remember one of the columns where he talked about private morality and public morality.  It is a challenge to policy makers.

He said to the effect that you cannot live crooked and think straight on issues that affect public good.  What we do in private will no doubt affect our public life.

You cannot separate them, Mr. Kwimberi said of his late friend and mentor.  Mr Tawali was a high school teacher at Manus High School and moved to Port Moresby as a lecturer in literature at the University of PNG in the 1970s.  In 1981, he returned to study where he gained his Master of Arts in Theology from the Regent College in [Vancouver, University of BC Campus] British Columbia in Canada.

He was a lecturer at the Christian Leadership Training College in Banz, Westem Highlands province.  He was also a long serving pastor until 2000 when heretired due to an earlier stoke he suffered in 1996 (from which he recovered fully) and continued his pastoral duties as a Baptist church minister.

Mr Tawali has written and published many poems, short stories and was currently working on two books - one on leadership and the other on his collection of articles written for The National untll his death.

Biographic Sketch
Kumalau Tawali, the Poet / Playwrite / Story Writer-Columnist / Pastor

Photo of Kumalau Tawali 1947-2006

Kumafau Tawali was born in 1947, on the small island of Tawi, in the Manus Province, Papua New Guinea.

His emergence as a writer was recognized in 1969 when he won the National Literature Competition Award for his short story, Breaking the Ear. Since then, he has published several works.

They include two volumes of poerns, two volumes of plays and a collection of short stories called Island Life. Other short stories and poetry have been widely circulated both in PNG and abroad, He is a well-read man who has traveled to several countries. Having graduated from UPNG in 197t, he made a trip around the world. Two of the poems included in this booklet - Winter Clutches and An Eagle - were written when he was in Canada. As an active writer, he has contributed extensively to the creative writers'world in PNG.

He wrote a weekly column called Eye of the Nation for the National - previously called the PNG Times - on Christian Ethics.

He has served as Director of the Institute of PNG Studies and as a Pastor of churches in Port Moresby and Madang.  He had also been a teacher at Christian Leaders'Training College in Banz. Presently, he resides in Madang with his Fijian indian wife Sisilia and two children, Katherine and Timothy.

Note: Mr. Talawi died November 17, 2006 in Mandang.
return to top of page for news copy announcement of his death

References - Footnotes from Above Articles

  • Andrew Kwimberi, Barrister & Solicitor
    Goma & Kwimberi Lawyers,
    (PO Box 82 Waigani),
    Phone:  323 4011,
    Email:  gomakwimberi@daltron.com.pg
  • Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies P.O. Box 1432, Boroko 111
    Papua New Guinea
    Tel.: (675) 325-4644 Email: ipngs@global.net.pg

    {following is quoted from ethnoer.unimelb.edu.au/IPNGStudiesTalk.pdf 2006.12.01 by PNGbuai.com

    Vincent J Palie Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies Boroko, Papua New Guinea. 1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION The institute of Papua New Guinea Studies was established in 1974, one year before Papua New Guinea got its independence on 16th of September 1975. The Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies is a government institute concerned with cultural research, administratively under the National Cultural Commission. In its 30 years history of existence, the institute has done all can to the best of its ability through its dedicated staff to do research and collect as much information about more than one thousand different cultures, particularly traditional music, dance and folklore of the country. Its main objective is to do research and collect as much information on music, dance and folklore and deposit the finding in the institutes archive for future usages. Because of urban drift and with impact of overseas cultures so many local cultures and languages are dying out at a very alarming rate. One can imagine how difficult it is for a country with so many cultures and languages exist as a nation of its own. We play an important role in documenting and understanding the diversity of Papua New Guinea musics. The institute of Papua New Guinea Studies Music Archive has about 10,060 tapes, discs, cassettes, and tapes comprising 5652 collections. These are catalogued in a database of over 15,000 items, providing information on cataloguing Number, the year institute received the materials and archival number ie,( 06-001), collectors name, ( J Cook year, the material was recorded,( 1945), Province, East Sepik), language, (Iatmul) and so forth. T o access the database, we log in name of the collector or province and or language to locate the desire material. This database is now being transferred to Microsoft Access. The collection contains recordings of traditional, popular, Christian, and stringband music, dating from 1898 to the present. Original recording been made by IPNGS staff

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