Time Belong Tumbuna

Time Belong TumbunaIf there’s one thing I’ve come to realise about literature on Papua New Guinea it’s this: there are more books about PNG outside of PNG than there are inside the country.

I don’t think you’d find many people who would disagree with that statement. It’s a sad fact but it’s true.

Because of this, I started a personal library collection of books about PNG a couple of years ago and I’ve been slowly adding to it – book by book.

Which is why when I saw a copy of Glenys Köhnke’s 1973 book, Time Belong Tumbuna: Legends and Traditions of Papua New Guinea, on sale – I bought it. And what a bargain it was – it cost me approximately 27 Kina.

Not only was the price worth it, but I was also amazed at the content of this book. It boasts a wealth of information about legends and traditions from all around the country – from the islands, to the north coast, to the highlands, and to the south coast.

Surprisingly I could find very little information on the author herself. Time Belong Tumbuna says the following about the author:

At the age of twenty-four, Glenys Köhnke is herself a legend. To many villagers in Papua New Guinea she is Meri Spik (the Speaking Woman) and attributed with magical powers to explain her knowledge of languages and folklore.

She was born in Brisbane in 1948 and moved to Madang while still a child. After studying creative art at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, Germany in 1968, She returned to settle in Port Moresby.

Glenys Köhnke has held five exhibitions in Papua New Guinea and is represented in collections in Germany, Australia, South Africa and the United States.

Glenys Köhnke is also the author of The Shark Callers: An ancient fishing tradition of New Ireland and from what I can gather she lived a fair number of years among the people of Lemakot, New Ireland.

She should be 60 years old this year – does anybody know or have any other extra information about her?

~ by Tavurvur on November 26, 2008.

4 Responses to “Time Belong Tumbuna”

  1. […] Anyone know the whereabouts of Glenys Köhnke? Tavurvur on: Time Belong Tumbuna […]

  2. Wow that’s an amazing find. How many pages is the book? And do you think that if I paid you, you could scan all the pages for me?

    I love old PNG books as well. I was in the village last week and I was going through my Uncle Bernards old papers and books etc and there’s so much stuff that was being done by the Institute of PNG Studies. Songs, Artwork, Poetry, Arts even recorded music and traditional music.

    See your post I might put up some images of the Raun Raun Theatre Reports I found for 1974 AND 1978. Just reading through all the old books and magazines it seems that there was so much happening culturally around 1975.

    What happened? When did we lose out identities?

  3. Response to Tavurvur concerning whereabouts of Glenys Köhnke; I’ll send her your blog addresse so she can reply to you herself…
    i would be very interested in the Raun Raun Reports and other recent theatre activities in PNG.
    all the best
    Köhnke joey

  4. Wow,

    Thanks Joey. I’d appreciate that.


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