Imunu, according to the Urama people in the Gulf of Papua, loosely translates as 'power', and it resides in everything to varying degrees. The greatest expression of this power, kaia'imunu, is spiritual, and the most powerful figure representing kaia'imunu is irawaki. Kaia`imunu is the soothsayer for every major decision, whether it be for hunting pigs or crocodiles, or for fighting enemies. When the Urama people call on kaia'imunu at the beginning of an expedition, they expect the canoe to be rocked by the kaia'imunu spirit residing in irawaki as a sign of encouragement. Kaia'imunu must also make the fish jump away from the canoe rather than towards it, otherwise the trip is cancelled.

Local Name


Physical Description

A figure carved from a single piece of wood. The figure has a fibre skirt, earrings, secured through holes representing its ears, and headdress. It is carved with the arms raised. The face and body are incised with geometric patterns and painted with natural pigments.

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