Introduction

The largest of the Trobriand Islands is Kiriwina, home to the tiny district capital of Losuia and the airstrip. Kiriwina is relatively flat, with a rim of low hills (uplifted coral reefs) along the eastern shore. The central plain is intensely cultivated, since most villagers are subsistence farmers who rely on their crops of yam, sweet potato, taro and cassava. The land is bisected by footpaths and a few dirt roads.

The airport is in the north, where the US Air Force had two bases during WWII. South of here, on the west coast, Losuia is a sprawling village, known as ‘the station’, with a wharf, police station, health centre and trade stores. Elsewhere there are small traditional villages, their houses made of sago palm.