Nuaulu people

Nuaulu people
Naulu / Nunuhai
A Naulu man.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Indonesia (Maluku (province))
Nuaulu language, Indonesian language
Naurus Folk religion (predominantly), Islam, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Alfur people (Manusela people)

The Nuaulu, Naulu or Nunuhai[3] are a tribe located in Seram, Maluku, Indonesia.


The tribe name 'Nuaulu' means head[waters] of the Nua River, which is the ancestral homeland of the Nuaulu people. In the late 19th century or early 20th century, the Nuaulu people were moved down to the coast by the Dutch for purposes of pacification.[4]

The Nuaulu are divided into two groups, namely the northern and the southern groups. Numbering at a total of 2500 people, they live in the Amahai district of Central Seram. The Northern Nuaulu inhabit two villages on the north coast of central Seram Island, whilst the Southern group inhabit five villages on the south coast and interior of Amahai District.[5] These two languages are not mutually intelligible.


The majority of the Nuaulu people still adhere to their traditional religion which is based on a belief that the ancestors control everyday life and if the traditions they handed down are not followed correctly the living will be punished with sickness, death, and lack of prosperity. Nuaulu religion also states that there is an original creator called Upu Kuanahatana, and that there is powerful magic which people can use for good, or bad, purposes. Nualu people build Baileo for spiritual purposes.[3]


The Nuaulu people are often mistakenly referred to as the Manusela people, who like the Nuaulu people wear a traditional red cloth on their heads,[6] spoke similar language and practice the same traditional beliefs, the Naurus.[7]

The Nuaulu retained a custom of headhunting until the 1940s.[8]


Sago is the staple food of the Nuaulu. Nuaulu are subsistence farmers who use shifting cultivation techniques; they also grow cash crops such as coconuts, cloves, and nutmeg.[4]


  1. "North Nuaulu in Indonesia". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  2. "South Nuaulu in Indonesia". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  3. 1 2 Hidayah, Zulyani (2015). Ensiklopedi Suku Bangsa di Indonesia. Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia. ISBN 978-979-461-929-2.
  4. 1 2 Bolton, Rosemary A. (1990). A Preliminary Description of Nuaulu Phonology and Grammar (Masters thesis). The University of Texas at Arlington.
  5. Bonardo Maulana Wahono (8 April 2018). "Bertahan mengagungkan Anahatana dan Upu Ama". Beritagar. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  6. Indonesia. Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan (1989). Workpapers In Indonesian Languages and Culture, Volume 6. Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  7. Shiv Shanker Tiwary & Rajeev Kumar (2009). Encyclopaedia of Southeast Asia and Its Tribes, Volume 1. Anmol Publications. p. 92. ISBN 81-261-3837-8.
  8. Lonely Planet Indonesia, 8th edition p.762
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