Calls for resolution of conflicting western and customary laws in PNG

2:41 pm on 7 July 2016

A Papua New Guinean law researcher in New Zealand says adopted political and justice systems do not always allow for the Papua New Guinean way.

Traditional tribal dance at mask festival 7th Gulf Mask Festival, Toare Village, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea on June 19, 2011

Traditional tribal dance at mask festival 7th Gulf Mask Festival, Toare Village, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea on June 19, 2011 Photo: Copyright: danemo / 123RF Stock Photo

Academics, law practitioners, and university students shared their research at the Victoria University Pasifika Law and Culture Conference in Wellington.

Raho Kila who is studying at the University of Canterbury said balancing western laws with various Papua New Guinean practices, such as polygamy, was tough.

"It is actually illegal to commit adultery but then customary law would prevail that polygamy is acceptable and then again it would come down to the grounds and the context of the situation," Raho Kila said.

She said there should be a clear distinction between politics and traditional customs with each situation assessed individually.

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