Kokoda is a powerful word. According to the Orokaiva ‘koko’ means place of skulls – ‘da’ is village. The combination of syllables conjures up thoughts of ‘ adventure’ – mystery – danger’ in the minds of sedentary beings.
And no wonder. Orokaiva warriors fearlessly resisted incursions into the Yodda valley when gold was discovered in the late 19th Century. Many early explorers and missionaries ended up in village cooking pots as they were stalked in the remote jungle-clad mountain ranges. (more…)