Picture of the crocodile on display in the Royal Art Gallery in London
Picture of the crocodile on display in the Royal Art Gallery in London

The crocodile is a symbolic animal in coastal areas of Papua New Guinea much like the lion is considered majestic in Africa. It is respected and revered in some ways. The people of the Sepik River believe their ancestors evolved from crocodiles and the people of Manus also hold this reptile in high regard.

In 1974 when Queen Elizabeth visited the country, she was presented by a Chief from Rossun village in Manus with a carved model of a crocodile; a tradition symbol of the chiefs.

The chief who presented this model was the late Peter Pomat who was highly respected among the communities in Manus as a leader and missionary. He was also father to the current Minister for Fisheries and Open Member for Manus, Honourable Job Pomat.

The crocodile now sits in the Royal Art Gallery in London with the inscription at the bottom reading

“The Queen was presented with this carved crocodile during her 1974 visit to Papua New Guinea. The crocodile was carved and presented by Peter Pomat of Rossun Village on Manus Island. A carved crocodile is the traditional symbol of the village chiefs or herdsmen on the island”

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