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I am doing a large project which I call 'The Infinite Project'. It involves all media and all aspects of things at least in theory. However one aspect has brought me via one thread of it, the personal, to some letters.
Initially I was going to use my father's letters and a few others etc and some of my mothers. However I have now found and am 'revolving around' her and my grandfather's time in Banaba before WWII.
Various letters, mostly from English or Australian people are of interest. But perhaps the most intriguing is a letter from a Banaban man written in 1931. It is 88 years old and a little damaged and hard to make out. It is written I think in Banaban. But I know other ethnicities were on Banaba (my mother mostly called it Ocean Island - I now know it is Banaba via the internet and an old map my grandfather had of the Island, and some books he had etc
I have transcribed it but I also want to try to reproduce it by actually re-writing it as the writing is, of all her letters, the most beautiful. I have photocopied it. I tried translating it. I am from NZ and know a little Maori and learnt Samoan (somewhat) and I had one visit to Fiji where I was given a book of Fijian grammar and words.
So far I have recognised the word 'mauri' which I think is life force or something. It seems to be almost universally thus in the Pacific.
I have more to say on this and I will present the letter in another post as I am going out shortly.
I also have some songs typed out by my mother who was English (she went to High School in Melbourne but her first teacher was on Banaba): These songs have English translations in part. I will present these here and keep on this tack in further posts.
The letter was by one J. Tekeang.
My mother didn't say a lot about what she and I think other English referred to as 'natives'. A term that I
think I felt even as a small boy was derogatory in some way, or patronising. But in any case one person who was an indigenous Banaban I believe she came to love as a young child.
I will continue in my next post. Richard Taylor. NZ
PS My grandfather on Banaba was Robert John Miller. I think he left Banaba about 1934 or so.