Introduction / History
The Biage people live on the eastern slopes of the Owen Stanley mountains in the Kokoda sub-district of Oro province. Many of the villages are located on or near the famous Kokoda Trail; tourism is having a big impact on those villages and is an important source of income for many people.
The Biage people live in villages and hamlets of between 10 and 160 people, which range in elevation from around 400m to over 1400m. The villages higher up on the steep mountain slopes are smaller than the villages in the foothills. The villages at lower elevation are situated among oil palm plantations and old rubber plantations, but as you leave the valley, this is quickly replaced by rainforest. At the higher elevations it can become quite cold at night.
The Biage people grow their own food: taro, sweet potato, green vegetables and a variety of fruits.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church and Anglican Church have been working in the Biage area for about forty years, and other churches have started more recently. Although some villages had a revival in the 1980s, where many people turned away from using magic, in other villages magic is commonly used and many people live in fear of displeasing the spirits. Two Biage men are trying to translate Scripture and church materials into Biage, but lack training and support.
Text source: Anonymous