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03/30

The Huli People

13/19

The Huli People

13/19

The Huli People

With over 800 original languages and even more distinctive communities, Papua New Guinea remains the keeper of some of the world’s last secret human rituals. No matter how much time I spend on this magnificent island, I feel that I have only scratched the surface of what lies underneath its colourful skin.
Cultural Traditions

Huli Wig School

The custom of the Huli wig school is one of the oldest known traditions in Hela Province. It is where the boys learn the fundamentals of Huli tradition, and how to grow their hair to make into wigs.

Only young virgin boys can enter and they are mentored by wig masters who have special powers and cast spells to improve the growth of hair. After up to 18 months spent exclusively in the forest, the hair is cut and given to the wig specialist, who makes it into either an ‘everyday wig’ or a ‘ceremonial wig’. Making the ceremonial version involves combining two wigs and shaping them into a headpiece that simulates the silhouette of a bird with outstretched wings.

Huli bachelor boys | Tari, Hela province | Papua New Guinea, 2017
Huli widow | Tari, Hela province | Papua New Guinea, 2017
Interview

Mundiya Kepanga, Huli Wigman

What do you think of Western visitors like us?

I enjoy telling you about my community and our way of life and we all appreciate you spending time here. I’m excited that you’re promoting our culture through your work. It gives me the feeling that something will remain of how we are today, even if things change in the future. Please don’t stop doing this work you do with Jimmy, and of course let us know when the book is ready for release – maybe we can help you in some way.

Behind the scenes 0:24
Tumbu, Hangu, Peter, Hapiya, Kati, Hengene & Steven, Huli Wigmen, Ambua Falls, Tari Valley | Papua New Guinea, 2010
Huli Wigmen | Tari, Hela province | Papua New Guinea, 2017
Huli Wigmen | Tari, Hela province | Papua New Guinea, 2017
Huli Wigmen | Tari, Hela province | Papua New Guinea, 2017
Huli Wigmen | Tari, Hela province | Papua New Guinea, 2017
03/30

The Huli People