Hair-raising! Fascinating photos give insight into remote 'wigmen' of Papua New Guinea

By Travelmail Reporter


New photos of the notoriously secretive 'Wigmen' of Tari in Papua New Guinea have been released by journalists who visited one of the most remote tribes on earth.

Two writers met the men, who grow their hair into an incredible domed wig which can then be worn as a ceremonial headdress, while travelling from the UK to Australia.

Local tribe of Wigmen

Another way of life: The Huri 'Wigmen' live in the remote Tari region of Papua New Guinea

The trip was in celebration of Lonely Planet's 40th anniversary and roughly followed the path taken by the company's founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler, who published their first guidebook Across Asia on the Cheap in 1973.


The journalists, Christa Larwood and Oliver Smith, who write for Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine, were both tasked with finding 40 unusual travel experiences on their journey.

Christa Larwood with the wigmen

Making friends: Writer Christa was complimented on her own hair by the Wigmen

Oliver Smith trying out the Wigs

New style: Oliver tried on one of the famous ceremonial wigs

One highlight was meeting the Huli tribesmen in the mountainous Tari region of Papua New Guinea, where they live under strict conditions for optimum hair growth.

Local tribe of Wigmen
Local tribe of Wigmen

Local colour: Mr Nabedo sports a bright yellow moustache and his fellow tribesmen demonstrate how they spit water into the air to land on their hair

Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine

December issue: Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine

The men must avoid sex and consume a secret mix of lotions and potions to grow their ginger-flecked hair into the mushroom-shaped 'wigs', which are then cut off and used by both themselves and fellow tribesmen as headdresses.

A vital part of the daily haircare process is the incantation.

Writer Christa Larwood explains: 'In one photo you can see Mr Nabeda dipping a large gourd into the rushing water and beginning. He whispered over the container, his eyes closed and his sacred words drowned out by the river.

'He then passed the gourd to the Wigmen, who each took a large swig and in unison, with a spectacular abruptness that had onlookers stepping swiftly backward, spat the water straight up into the air, allowing the mist to land on their hair and form a frosting of glistening droplets.'

The mystical incantations seem to work. One man named Orolu, who sported a hairstyle that resembled a sun hat, claimed it took him only 18 months to grow.

The comments below have not been moderated.

I think I know of twelve year olds who could write a better article than this absurdly lazy piece of travel journalism. . . .One travel writer piggy-backing on the back of other travel writers. . . .give me strength .!

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