Stori Tumbuna: Ancestors’ Tales

“This is a story of the Lak people. It‘s also a story of how I came to know the people of the Lak region, how I learnt their traditions, became a community member, and how my story became forever woven into their own… I was also to become enmeshed in events that resulted in bloodshed, death and threatened the existence of the entire community. What’s more, I was held responsible…”

In 2001 Paul Wolffram, a cultural researcher, travelled to one of the most isolated and unique corners of the earth. He eventually spent over two years living and working among the Lak people in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea. As his relationships with the people grew he began to glimpse a hidden reality, a dark and menacing history that loomed over his host community.

Region of Origin

Year of Release



90 minutes


DV, Color


Paul Wolffram Thumbnail

Paul Wolffram

Paul Wolffram received his PhD in music from Victoria University of Wellington where he now teaches in the Film Programme. Paul lives in Wellington with his wife and two children. Over the past ten years working with Melanesian people in Papua New Guinea Paul has contracted malaria six times, been bitten by a snake, cashed by several wild pigs, and collected a number of skin funguses.

Paul has worked with a number of Pacific communities creating documentaries on subjects and stories that are important to the people he works with. He has worked with the Banaban people, a displaced Micronesian culture now relocated to the Fijian Islands, the Tokelauan community, on a film about traditional women’s arts, and with the Deaf community in New Zealand. Paul’s films have been screened internationally and his ethnographic film work in the Pacific is currently playing in several international film festivals.