The Maisin are an indigenous people of Oro Province in Papua New Guinea. Most of the population of 3000 live in villages clustered along the southwestern shores of Collingwood Bay with an outlier (Uwe) on Cape Nelson. Far from roads and markets, villagers subsist mainly from the land and sea, making extensive use of rain forest for swidden (slash and burn) gardens, hunting and materials for houses and canoes. Despite the ‘traditional’ appearance of villages, however, the Maisin have long been integrated into the larger Papua New Guinea society. Schools, initially set up by the Anglican mission and now run by the government, have existed in the villages since 1902 and today almost all adults can communicate in at least basic English as well as Tok Pisin and their own Maisin language. A quarter or more of the population now lives in urban areas elsewhere in the country and their remittances form an essential part of the local economy. The Maisin are best known internationally for their exquisitely designed painted bark cloth (tapa cloth).

The purpose of this website is to post materials (documents, photographs, videos and audio recordings) relating to Maisin history and culture. This site is curated by John Barker, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Along with his wife, Dr. Anne Marie Tietjen, John has had the great privilege of researching and working with the Maisin people from late 1981 to the present.

Your comments and suggestions are very welcome!