In days gone by some of the Motu-speaking peoples around Port Moresby used to go on annual trading expeditions to the Gulf of Papua. There they would exchange with the inhabitants of that area pots and other valuables for sago and canoe logs. These expeditions were called hiri, and were not only spectacular in terms of the number, nature and size of the sailing craft involved and the cargoes they carried but also very important economically and in other ways to the Motu and others directly or indirectly involved. Despite this importance, however, and despite the fact that the main aspects of this trade have been known for a long time, there are still many aspects of it about which not so much is known, or which have not been recorded. Some of these aspects involve empirical questions which have to do with the day the hiri were organized and operated, particularly at the inter personal level; others are historical questions of unknown depth which can only be answered, if at all, by painstaking research involving investigators from a number of disciplines.
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