In 1937 a young missionary, Father John Nilles, arrived in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. There he stayed for the next 54 years, living with the people of the Chimbu, learning their language and way of life, introducing them to his God and Western culture. More than just a priest, he became an anthropologist, linguist, politician and revered clan leader. Through Nilles' extraordinary archive of photos, diaries and letters as well as interviews with those who knew him, filmmaker Verena Thomas pieces together a portrait of this fascinating man - her great-uncle. What she discovers is an unexpected new family, who had made 'Papa' Nilles one of their own. Presenting a personal perspective on 'big picture' history, Papa Bilong Chimbu offers a thought-provoking insight into the complexity of cultural exchange.
Written by Verena Thomas