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Rabu, 11 November 2009

Wertuar;one of the 8 principalities of Papua island

Raja Musa Heremba and Ratu Wa Taribu Heremba Penunuh in the airplane in
november 2009,while going to the palace of the Indonesian president.

Indonesia has ca. 300 recognized dynasties,who ruled before over independent monarchies.These were ranging from empires,sultanates to big and small principalities. Nowadays these dynasties still fullfill it's role as cultural and historical identity points for the local populations at least.
The island of Papua also had principalities:8. Before the coast of Papua is an archipelago with 4 other principalities (west of it) and to the north is the little former principality of the Mapia islands. One of the Papua island principalities is the principality of Wetuar;lying west of the city of Kokas;one of the 3 main cities in the Onin-peninsula area, where all the 8 Papua principalities are lying.These areas are ruled by dynasties originating in the area, of mixed local/outside origin,or originally coming from the Moluccans.
The present dynasty of Wertuar is the Heremba clan and the present raja is Raja Musa Heremba, being the 10th ruler of the area. This clan delivered always the rulers of the area,but not always the raja. Before it was a sort of vasal-area of nearby principality of Rumbati;the former major power in the area. Between 1850 and 1870 it was neccesarily to install a seperate raja for the Wertuar area,so Raja Semempes was installed, who already was a coordinating man a bit there.He was the first and last raja of the old time,although his son Waraburi also is recognized as a sort of ruler of Wertuar,but probably without raja-title. Another source give different/additional info about former rajas of Wertuar. The Heremba clan was then already the Raja Muda clan (vice-raja) of Wertuar.They need to have a seperate raja of Wertuar came back strongly after a while. A certain Raja Muda Lakatey Heremba was installed as raja muda in 1886 and was found a good ruler enough to install him 20-11-1911as the first raja of Wertuar of his dynasty;but nominally still under the rule of the principality of Rumbati. It became total independent in the beginning of the 1920-ies,when the then raja also toook the raja-title. The strong ruler Raja Lakatey Heremba died in 1913 and was succeeded by his son Raja Paris Heremba. Also known as a dedicated ruler for his principality.
The main remaining area of the former principality of Wertuar is not so big, but all the Papua island principalities also have a commercial influence area, which before also more or less belonged to their existence. Raja Paris Heremba abdicated because of old age in 1952 and was succeeded by the last ruling raja of Wertuar:his son Raja Nazar Heremba. This raja ruled over an area consisted of 8 villages.
Nowadays these 8 are grouped into 5 official villages. The dynasty originally comes from the Baham area;the border area between the Onin peninsula and the rest of the island of Papua.They can consider Kramongga village as their residence village. Raja Nazar Heremba became after Papua was attached to Indonesian in the beginning 1960-ies an official in the local government. His father had witnessed the transitional period of Papua, because died in 1961. In his time Raja Nazar Heremba was known as the most educated raja of the area and known also for his very big dedication to bring development to his people. Still he is loved very much in the memory of the people of Wertuar.He died in 1988 and before his burial his son Raja Musa Heremba was chosen and installed as the 10th ruler of Wertuar 15-4-1988. That was done;even in the so-called modern time, by the traditional chiefs according to traditional rules. Later he also had to be recognized by the local government. Like his forefathers;Raja Musa Heremba is known for his caring for his people. He is now a high official at the department of transport of the district government of Fak Fak. From his marriage with Ratu Wa Taribu Heremba Penunuh he has 7 children, of which the oldest son;Raja Muda Abdul Mutalib Heremba;already was passed away before 2009. The succession in Wertuar doesn't go automatically from father to oldest son. The in 1955 born Raja Musa Heremba had an older brother called Raja Muda Umar Heremba, who died when he was 7 and some other brothers, but one way, or another the traditional chiefs and the important members of the dynasty choose for him as 10th ruler of Wertuar. The present crownprince of Wertuar is like him also not the oldest son:Raja Muda Umar Rifai Heremba is now 23 years. Wertuar is lying near the very important harbour of Kokas and in the Dutch time also had their as a a raja their main residence to be close to Dutch government;so lived in the same city as the raja of Sekar. Sometimes the rajas of this area were called the business rajas and they still have these talents until now. The existence of Wertuar as a seperate principality was not always undisputed,because in the past the rajas of Sekar tried to convince Holland to let Wertuar be considered as a part of Sekar.These requests were never rewarded. Now all is harmony here between the 2 dynasties,who are also through marriage related to each other. Nowadays also the raja dynasty of Wertuar is recognized by the other dynasties of Indonesia as a by history founded ruling family;being nowadays a focuspoint for local history and culture. The knowledge and feeling for these matters are nowadays still very much alive and the members of the local dynasties here also have an important place as members elected in the local government. This article could be made after several interviews with Ratu Muda Arwan Heremba S.IP. (the sister of Raja Musa Heremba), Raja Muda Umar Rifai Heremba (the crownprince of Wertuar)and Raja Muda Satria Paris Heremba (the nephew of Raja Musa Heremba). Of course we are extremely gratefull for all their friendly and valuable help during the interviews.

D.P. Tick gRMK
I. Festivana

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