Alotau, Papua New Guinea
Alotau, Papua New Guinea. Alotau is the capital of the Milne Bay province of Papua New Guinea, located on a peninsula in Milne Bay in the Coral Sea. The town and water comprise the site of the 1942 battle of Milne Bay, in which the invading Japanese army suffered its first decisive defeat in the Pacific Theater of World War II at the hands of Allied, mostly Australian forces. A War Memorial commemorates the battle. Today the area is largely given over the palm oil plantations. The local people keep their Tawala cultural traditions alive, with the exception of the long-past ritual cannibalism. In Bibiko Village, they will be pleased to show them off in displays of prowess with Kundu drum ceremonies and exhibitions of their impressive war canoes. At the Ahioma village of Dodobana, the many specialized skills of daily Melanesian life are demonstrated in a family-style setting, such as basket weaving, grass skirt making and gardening.