During the last 40 years the Melanesian Institute Research Team (MIRT) has been fully involved in research studies concerning Melanesia, conducting various kinds of courses and workshops, writing or evaluating articles for publication, and partnering with multi-stakeholders to empower local communities and churches to recognize and use cultural resources of the local people for evangelization and integral human development.


2017 Village Court and Land Mediation Secretariat Baseline Survey Meeting

Justice for Grassroots and Peace-loving people: the PNG Village Courts and Land Mediation Secretariat in collaboration with UNICEF PNG awarded a contract to the Melanesian Institute Research Department to conduct an evaluative research on Village Courts in rural and urban communities of the Highlands Region.

Village Court is a unique justice seeking and delivery in the world. It resolves conflicts on the basis of customary laws and attends to the justice needs of the grassroots both in rural and urban areas. The research team is being inducted to the working of village courts, designing research methodology and validating research tools for the actual fieldwork in the bush.

The Major Research Investigations were on the following topics:

  • Self-Study of the churches;
  • Marriage and Family life in PNG rural and urban context;
  • Attitudes of PNG youth;
  • Problems concerning the Land owned by or leased to PNG churches;
  • Religious Affiliation in Melanesia;
  • Sorcery Witchcraft and Christianity in PNG;
  • cargo and charismatic movements
  • Cultural perspective on Disability
  • Inclusive education on Disability
  • Election

The results of the investigations were reported in the MI publications: - Point, Catalyst , Melanesian Mission Studies, Occasional Papers.

Some of the research studies were conducted in collaboration with other institutions, like the Pacific Theological College of Suva, Callan Services of PNG, the Divine Word University, and several other NGOs.

At present the MIRT is engaging in the following activities:

  • providing technical assistance (TA) for development arms of PNG based mainline churches
  • conducting participatory process for grassroots communities in two comparative pilot sites in Kiriwina, Milne Bay Province( islands and matrilineal context) and Par, Enga Province (Highlands and patrilineal context). The MIRT uses Participatory Action Research (PAR), Cultural Audit (re-valuing cultural resources and cultural critique), and SJA (SEE, JUDGE, ACT) approaches for these community processes.
  • Writing up final report on Village Courts in the Highlands region. The research project is sponsored by PNG Village Courts and Land Mediation Secretariat at DJAG and UNICEF.

The Symposia convened by the MI Director have always seen the decisive involvement of the MIRT. The main symposia so far convened have been that on Cargo Cults and Charismatic Movements, on Ethics and Development, on Human Sexuality in Melanesia Cultures, on Development and Environment in PNG, on Politics in PNG, on AIDS and churches in PNG, and the latest on Marriage and Family Life in Papua New Guinea. The proceedings of the symposia have been reported in the MI publications.