Wairon and Mansusu Boats as Part of the Tradition in Papua

Tradition in Papua
Sumber : Suara Papua

People of Biak in the past had been popular as sailors, and Wairon and Mansusu boats are known regarding their voyage through Papua and West Papua regions. These boats used to be voyaged in war expeditions, but it is also functioned for trade and means of transportation. Take a look at these following highlights.

Tradition in Papua
Sumber : Suara Papua

Tribal Boats Used in War Expedition in the Past

Wairon boat used to sail during war voyages in the past. It is a kind of traditional war boat used by people from Biak Tribe. The build body of the boat is set in streamline design that’ll make voyagers easier to ride at sea. Wairon has long been related to Biak myth and numerous old stories about tribe, war culture, and spiritualism. The traditional boat had popularly been known in the tribe until Mansusu was introduced as well.

Mansusu boat is a boat designed with multi-functioned double-deck faces. A local voyager, Denis Koibor, highlights the effectivity level of Mansusu boat which is relatively higher than that of Wairon.

Mansusu boat has numerous feasible advantages. First, unlike Wairon which is likely hard to conduct maneuvers on the water, Mansusu is effective to perform such movements. Second, Mansusu has an advantage at war as it can relatively be easy to turn around. Wairon boat finds it hard to do such a maneuver resulting to be hit by tidal waves and attacked by enemies. Mansusu boat is beneficially driven to both directions, and, thus, it is more likely known as war boat due to its use flexibility.


Traditional Boats Used for Trade

The term “wairon” is defined as trade boat. People of Biak Tribe used to manage Wairon boat for trade exploring Cenderawasih Bay, Nothern Beach of Papua Island from Mnu Kwar or Manokwari to Sorong, West Papua.  

Wairon boat is a traditional boat used to voyage outer islands, like Ternate and Tidore. People in the past used to sail to tribute to Tidore Sultan to earn Sultan titles. These titles were used by Biak people as clan names, like Sangaji (Sanadi), Kapitan Laut (Kapitarau) or the sea captain, Mayor, Juru Bahasa (Urbasa) or the interpreter, Dimara, and so forth.

Meanwhile, Hosea Mirino, an expert humanist from Biak, mentions that the word “mansusu” means that it is able to move forward and backward. Mansusu boat is also designed by local people as means of transportation. The deck design for front and back parts are similar and adjusted for flexible needs. If you want to know how to differentiate between the front and back decks, simply see the motive patterns on the boat. 


Festival to Preserve Wairon and Mansusu for Local Culture

Festival Biak Munara Wampasi (FBMW) has annually been held from Bina Mina Jaya (BMJ) ex-harbor, Biak. During the festival, Wairon and Mansusu are performed as the traditional boats from Biak. These days, the tribal boats are almost nowhere to find, so the festival is held to preserve both boats as part of the tradition in authentic local culture.

The boat parade of Wairon and Mansusu is expected to be performed annually in the FBMW and other festivals. The local officials hope it would introduce and preserve the culture in Biak Numfor better. They also work on better packaging of the event, so it will hopefully invite more visitors resulting to the increasing local economy. In substance, it is also meant to bring the value of local tribe, religion, and socio-economic in harmony.