Introduction / History
The Avau people live on the southern coast and islands of West New Britain. Their vernacular language, Avau, has two dialects, but most adults can understand both dialects without any problems. Ten villages in all speak Avau. The total population of these villages is approximately 1,500 people.
They make their living by selling produce and goods to their neighbors, especially within the language area, and other travelers. Copra, which is made out of coconuts, is their only cash crop. Produce and animals such as greens, sweet potatoes, fish, pigs and coconuts are also sold within the villages. The Avau people must rely on personal sales as there are no trade stores within the language boundaries. Only a few Avau people have found work with a timber company located to the west of Gasmata.
Water travel is used frequently by the Avau people, due to their location. Canoes are the most widely used mode of transportation, and dinghies are used occasionally. Travel by air is highly rare, but travel on foot is common.
Children and adults alike speak their vernacular language a majority of the time, even if they speak other languages such as English, Tok Pisin, or even a neighboring language.
What Are Their Beliefs?
There are only three churches in the entire Avau language area, two of which are Roman Catholic. The other is the Apostolic Local Church, which began in 2008 and has very limited membership. The Avau people are very interested in having a Bible in their language.
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