Harald Melcher was born in 1965 in Rastatt. Shortly after his education in Baden-Baden (Germany) he discovered his special liking for adventure travel. When 16 Harald started to travel by rail. His first outer European target was India. This trip in 1989 set the standard for his future preference for Asia, the Asian people thus he discovered his true passion. In Myanmar, previously named Burma, Harald Melcher met his wife Mar Htay in 1992 where the couple married in 1993. There are few Asian countries that Harald Melcher has not explored.
Primarily his emphasis focuses on ethnology and travel photography. Since 1995 the couple have undertaken several expensive expeditions to New Guinea / Irian Jaya which lasted for several months. It was then when they discovered their fascination to this island and their inhabitants, in particular to the tree people, the Korowai.
They could approach their target very slowly. The 400 km strenuous hike across the mountains towards the swamp area where the tree people live took two weeks. A further 600 km travel on the river in boats, made by excavating trees, had to be completed which took another two weeks. At times 25 carriers had to struggle through the jungle with nearly 500 kg in equipment. Only in 1996 the Sayakh tribe granted entrance to their territory - the previous year a clear denial was shown by shooting arrows. After six visits to the Korowai clear friendship could develop and family circles opened up to the point where we could give a name to a new-born child.
The result of expeditions lasting several months:
§ A complete collection of the utility articles of the Korowai, their ornaments and clothing
§ Survey data of tree houses
§ Dictionary of the Korowai language
§ Permanent exhibition in the ethnological museum in Heidelberg.
Their film "Back to Stone Age" won Harald Melcher a prize at the International Festival for Adventure Films in France in 1997.
The film can be obtained directly from Harald Melcher for DM 49,00 (Outside of Germany DM 59.- or US$ 30.00 including packing and shipping if you pay in advance.)
Harald Melcher has the future aim to have the Korowai country protected in form of a nature reserve. International organisations such as the WWF already belong to his partners.
Am Schlossberg 20
76593 Gernsbach / Germany