Wogeo - Orientation



Identification. The Wogeo, who call themselves Wageva, are the Melanesian inhabitants of the island of Wogeo off the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Wogeo is well described for the period from 1934 to 1948, but it has not been studied closely before or since that time. The description here focuses on the traditional culture, although large political, social, and economic changes have probably taken place during the last forty years. The contemporary Wogeo probably closely resemble the neighboring Manam.

Location. Wogeo is located near the intersection of 3° S and 144° E and is one of the Schouten Islands, which include Manam and Kairiru, among others. About 24 kilometers in circumference, Wogeo is a mountainous island of volcanic origin with two peaks reaching about 600 meters above sea level. There are two major seasons: June to September is governed by the southeast trade winds, and the monsoon season lasts from November to April. Rainfall is plentiful and ranges from 228 to 508 centimeters per year. The topography is a mix of rocky outcroppings, beaches, tropical forests, and hilly slopes.

Demography. The population at contact is unknown. In 1934 there were 929 Wogeo on the island, 839 in 1948, and 1,237 in 1981. Despite a smallpox epidemic following first contact, the Wogeo evidently escaped any serious depopulation caused by European contact.

Linguistic Affiliation. Wogeo is a member of the Manam Subfamily of the Siassi Family of Austronesian languages. There are slight dialect differences between villages.

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