Haus kiap

The word haus kiap actually designated a cleared area with some simple shelters where local people were called together by the Patrol Officer when he came through on official business, such as the yearly taking of the census. Each clan or clan cluster had been required to clear, build and maintain a haus kiap on or near its territory.

002-06: The haus kiap at Nimbra

There were several structures built of local materials at each haus kiap. One was intended for the exclusive use of the Patrol Officer or other officials, such as medical personnel and agricultural officers, who also made regular or occasional "patrols" through the area to carry out such duties as malaria surveys or the introduction of new crops. If this shelter was not in use by any officials of the Australian government, other "Europeans" such as anthropologists were welcome to use it. The other shelters were designated for native policemen and carriers and for native people on long-distance trips who may have been caught on the road at night.

Haus kiaps
were often referred to by the name of the particular location within the clan territory where they were built, such as Tababe, the location of the haus kiap shared by the Fungai-Korama and Bomagai-Angoian clan clusters, or Fogaikump, the location of the haus kiap of the Kono clan. Alternatively, they were referred to by the name of the clan, e.g., the Tsembaga haus kiap.

On our first walk from Simbai to Gunts we did not use any of the
haus kiaps for overnight stays. On one of our subsequent walks, we had the pleasure of sharing the Singanai haus kiap with a group of people travelling from the Gainj area. We were particularly grateful as they already had a campfire going when we arrived, and they immediately offered to share it with us.

Written in 1996


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