A New Year Wedding Iban Style
Susie Kudom grew up in a remote longhouse at the head of the Limbang River, in Sarawak. Her groom, Kiwi pilot Garry Allport, has invited 22 friends into the rainforest to meet Susie's family and be exposed to her Iban traditions.
Six New Zealand families including nine children have travelled 15 hours by plane, truck and longboats to reach the isolated Melaban longhouse, home to about 800 villagers.
Garry and Susie sit on gongs while Apai, Susie's dad, circles them three times with his prize fighting cock. He incants a blessing then plucks long wing feathers which he thrusts down the throat of the rooster. The feathers drip saliva, which Apai paints on the couple's brows. Then he bangs their heads together and the spit glues their two minds into one. This is the moment of proclamation as husband and wife.