Gururumba - Orientation

Identification. The Gururumba are one of nine political sovereignties located in the upper valley of the Asaro River in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.

Location. The Upper Asaro Valley is part of the Goroka Valley system, bounded on the east by a section of the Bismarck Mountains and on the west by the Asaro Range. The Gururumba control approximately 140 square kilometers on the west side of the valley at elevations ranging from 1,800 to 2,300 meters. Some 100 square kilometers of this is arable land and the rest is covered with semitropical rain forest. The climate is marked by an annual rainfall of 254 centimeters or more, with 75 percent of it falling in a November-April wet season.

Demography. In 1960 the Gururumba numbered about 1,300 of the 13,500 residents of the Upper Asaro Census Division, reflecting a population increase of about 10 percent during the previous decade. The cessation of indigenous warfare and the introduction of a rudimentary health-care system may largely account for this increase, as is also true of recent estimates of over 18,000 Asaro speakers.

Linguistic Affiliation. The people of the Upper Asaro Valley speak a dialect of the Gahuku-Asaro language in the East-Central Family of Papuan languages. Neo-Melanesian (Tok Pisin), a lingua franca introduced in the 1930s by Australians and others, is also commonly spoken.

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