Tanah Merah / Tabla language area,

West Papua




Location:North-Papua, west of Jayapura.

Photos: 31 available online, more available in archive.


Tanah Merah is a area west of Jayapura and Sentani on the northern coast of West Papua. It consists of villages such as among others: Depapre, Yepase, Tabla-Supa, Tabla-Nusa, Amai and Ormo. Most of the villages in the area is located within the Tanah Merah bay. The language traditionally spoken in this area is called Tabla, and is related to the Sentani language.


West Papua

West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea, nowdays being Indonesian territory. The eastern part of the Island is the independent country of Papua New Guinea.


New Guinea is one of the least explored places on earth (almost) matching the Amazon, and being the second largest island in the world. West Papua alone is home to over 300 tribes and languages. To this day there are tribes that live in a high degree of isolation because of the poor development of infrastructure. Because of this isolation many people living in the interior of West Papua still show a great variety of old cultural traits. However, Indonesian plans to expand industry and promote nationalism in the region, will for sure have major (cultural) impacts on West Papua in the years to come.



Overview of the Tanah merah Bay, where most of the tabla language villages are located.




The village of Depapre. Americans used Depapre as a entry point to Jayapura during WW2. (14March 2012)


The village of Depapre, with its small harbor. (14March 2012)




Small riverbed in Amai. (14March 2012)


Sago palms in Amai. (14March 2012)


Beach in Amai. Regurlarly visited by Jayapurans during weekends. (14March 2012)


Amai. (14March 2012)


View to coastal area near of Tabla nusa. (14March 2012)


(14March 2012)


Grinding Sago. (14March 2012)




Canoes are still much in use in this area. (August 2007)



House in Amai. (September 2004)


Canoe at beach during sunset. (September 2004)


Adrian and Ebben (September 2004)


A cassowary bird at the beach. The bird was kept by locals who had caught it while it was still small, and raised it until it had reached a decent size before it ended its days on the food-table in 2005. (September 2004)


Cassovary bird.(September 2004)









(February 2005)


(February 2005)


Inside a traditional fishermans house. (February 2005)


The local church "Yauwari" in Yepase (February 2005)


Tombstone outside the "Yauwari" church (February 2005)


Family in Yepase. (February 2005)


Schoolkids. (February 2005)


Mom and daughter. (February 2005)


(February 2005)




Beach in Yepase. (February 2005)



Tabla Supa



(August 2006)


Tabla Supa. (August 2006)


Village gathering after a funeral. (August 2006)








Řystein Lund Andersen © 2012

Contact: Andersen_oystein@hotmail.com