The Motu are an Austronesian-speaking people who historically lived in the area that now Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. They were heavily involved in trade, and their trading expeditions (hiri) played an important role in their ceremonial life. In historic times, Motu have played a prominent role in Papua New Guinea society and government.

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Traditional Culture(1845-1870)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Gwilliam (1982), pp. 46
Pulsford (1975), pp. 107, 111
Nature god(s) Absent (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 215
Pita & Price (1975)
Gwilliam (1982)
Turner (1878), pp. 492
Ancestral spirits Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 215
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Gwilliam (1982), pp. 36
God(s) Absent (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 215
Pita & Price (1975)
Gwilliam (1982)
Turner (1878), pp. 492

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Pita & Price (1975), pp. 54

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Oram (1991), pp. 530
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Pita & Price (1975), pp. 13-14
Culture hero(es) Absent (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 215
Pita & Price (1975)
Gwilliam (1982)

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Gwilliam (1982), pp. 49

Classes of Tapu

Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Pita & Price (1975), pp. 54

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008)
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 214-215
Pita & Price (1975)
Gwilliam (1982)
Costly sacrifices and offerings Absent (Source)
Pita & Price (1975)
Gwilliam (1982)
Turner (1878), pp. 492
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 146
Pita & Price (1975)
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 215
Goddard (2001), pp. 318

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Turner (1878), pp. 477-478
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Turner (1878), pp. 478-481
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Turner (1878), pp. 481
Gwilliam (1982), pp. 42
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Turner (1878), pp. 478-481
Social Environment +
Population 4500 (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Oram (1982), pp. 3
Oram (1977), pp. 91, 96
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 214
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 214
Kinship system Hawaiian (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 214
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 214
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 214

Conflict

Conflict with other cultures Common, at least every five years (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 215
Conflict within communities Moderate (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 214-215
Conflict between communities of the culture Common, at least every five years (Source)
Oram (1977), pp. 93
Groves (1991), pp. 215
Pita & Price (1975), pp. 5
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Guinea) (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 4772.9 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Ethnologue (Motu) (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 212
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Turner (1878), pp. 483
Agriculture / Horticulture Major (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Land-based gathering Major (Source)
Oram (1977), pp. 83-84
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Turner (1878), pp. 483, 487
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Turner (1878), pp. 483, 487

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Turner (1878), pp. 487-488
Oram (1982), pp. 84
Water-based gathering Major (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Turner (1878), pp. 487-488
Oram (1977), pp. 84

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Major (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Oram (1982), pp. 10-11
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 212

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -9.5 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Ethnologue (Motu) (2014)
Longitude 147.2 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Ethnologue (Motu) (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
O'Connell & Allen (2004), pp. 835
Island Size (km²) 821400.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Guinea) (2014)
Maximum elevation (meters) 4884.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Guinea) (2014)
Post Contact History(1870-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Goddard & Van Heekeren (2003), pp. 145
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Goddard & Van Heekeren (2003), pp. 145
Groves et al (1958), pp. 123
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 215

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Goddard & Van Heekeren (2003)
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Immigration High (Source)
Ethnologue (Motu) (2014)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Port Moresby) (2014)
Goddard & Van Heekeren (2003), pp. 148-149
Language shift Medium (Source)
Goddard & Van Heekeren (2003), pp. 148
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Gibson (2001), pp. 158
Goddard & Van Heekeren (2003), pp. 147-148

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence High (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Air travel Present and long-distance (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Port Moresby) (2014)
Sea port Present (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Port Moresby) (2014)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009), pp. 168

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely voluntary (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Loss of political autonoomy Medium (Source)
Groves (1991), pp. 213
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Unofficial religious syncretism Low (Source)
Goddard & Van Heekeren (2003)
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Goddard & Van Heekeren (2003), pp. 145-146, 155
External Links
References
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blevins, J. (2008). Some Comparative Notes on Proto-Oceanic *Mana: Inside and Outside the Austronesian Family. Oceanic Linguistics, 47 (2), 253-274. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ol/summary/v047/47.2.blevins.html

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Guinea). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/411548/New-Guinea

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Papua New Guinea). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/442191/Papua-New-Guinea

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Port Moresby). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/470920/Port-Moresby

Ethnologue (Motu) (2014). Motu: A language of Papua New Guinea. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/language/MEU

Gibson, J. (2001). Literacy and Intrahousehold Externalities. World Development, 29 (1), 155-166. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/science/article/pii/S0305750X00000826

Goddard, M. & Van Heekeren, D. (2003). United and Divided: Christianity, Tradition and Identity in Two South Coast Papua New Guinea Villages. The Australian Journey of Anthropology, 14 (2), 144-159. DOI:10.1111/j.1835-9310.2003.tb00227.x

Goddard, M. (2001). Rethinking Western Motu Descent Groups. Oceania, 71 (4), 313-333. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40332111

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Groves, M. (1963). Western Motu Descent Groups. Ethnology 2 (1), 15-30. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3772965

Groves, M. (1991). "Motu". In Hays, T.E. (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Volume II: Oceania). New York: G.K. Hall & Co.

Groves, M., Price, A.V.G., Walsh, R.J., & Kooptzoff, O. (1958). Blood Groups of the Motu and Koita Peoples. Oceania, 28 (3), 222-238. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40329218

Gwilliam, J.W. (1982). Some Religious Aspects of the Hiri. The Hiri in History: Further Aspects of Long-Distance Motu Trade in Central Papua. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009). World Port Index Nineteenth Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Oram, N. (1977). Environment, Migration and Site Selection in the Port Moresby Coastal Area. In Winslow, J.H. (Eds.) The Melanesian Environment, (74-99). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Oram, N. (1982). Pots for Sago: The Hiri Trading Network. In Dutton, T. (Eds.). The Hiri in History: Further Aspects of Long-Distance Motu Trade in Central Papua. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Oram, N. (1991). Edai Siabo: An Ethnographic Study of a Papuan Myth. In Pawley, A. (Eds.) Man and a Half: Essays in Pacific Anthropology and Ethnobiology in Honour of Ralph Bulmer. Auckland, NZ: Polynesian Society. Retrieved from http://www.jps.auckland.ac.nz/document?wid=5207

O’Connell, J. F. & Allen, J. (2004). Dating the Colonization of Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea): A Review of Recent Research. Journey of Archaeological Science, 31, 835-853. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2003.11.005.

Pita, R. & Price, A.V.G. (Translator). (1975). Traditional Motu Customs. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies.

Pulsford, R.L. (1975). Ceremonial Fishing for Tuna by the Motu of Pari. Oceania, 46 (2), 107-113. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40330221

Turner, W.Y. (1878). The Ethnology of the Motu. The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 7, 470-499. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2841436