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Colonists for a Day
Directed by Alec Morgan
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film stillFrom 1906 to 1975, Papua New Guinea was a protectorate of the Australian government. It was Australia's first and only attempt at colonization, the objective being to impose "pax Australiana" - a western economic structure and the British system of law - on the indigenous people.

Without a territorial governing history or a colonial philosophy, Australia's conduct in Papua New Guinea was a mixture of arrogance and benevolence, inexperience and incompetence. And the years were of course marked by cultural conflicts, the effects of which are still being felt by the emerging nation of Papua New Guinea today.

COLONISTS FOR A DAY documents the colonial years with extensive archival film footage, much of it taken by the colonists themselves. These previously unseen films record Patrol Officers, known as KIAPS, crusading into the unknown interior, attempting to impose 'western civilization' on the remarkably diverse tribal culture.

This footage together with eyewitness accounts from colonists and Papua New Guineans makes COLONISTS FOR A DAY a fascinating account of Australian colonization of Papua New Guinea.

© 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

"COLONISTS FOR A DAY is a finely edited and interesting film. New Guinea has always been of interest to anthropologists. This documentary would enhance other documentaries about New Guinea like 'First Contact' and 'Advertising Missionaries'. College level anthropology instructors should find this a welcome addition to their library collections. Highly recommended." - MC Journal: the Journal of Academic Media Librarianship

1997 Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival
1996 Margaret Mead Film Festival

55 minutes / Color
Release: 1999
Copyright: 1993

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Study guide available

Subject areas:
Anthropology, Indigenous Peoples, Papua New Guinea

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