Madang Province (MP) covers 29,000 square kilometers on the central north coast and adjacent islands. It includes high mountain ranges, many lakes, a narrow coastal plain, swamps and the Ramu River. Like other regions bordering the Bismarck Sea the area is subject to much tectonic activity. Three of the islands have active volcanoes. Madang province has the fourth largest provincial population according to the 2011 Census (493,906—7 percent of PNG’s population), after Morobe, Eastern Highlands and Southern Highlands.Some 180 languages are spoken. The Constitution, which was adopted in 1978, provides for an elected House of Assembly of 23 members and 3 members appointed by the national government. There are five districts and provincial headquarters are at the coastal town of Madang.
Manus Province (MP) covers 2,100 square kilometers and 220,000 square kilometers of sea. It consists of Manus Island and a number of smaller islands making up the Admiralties group. The Admiralties lie a little south of the equator, at the northwestern rim of the Bismarck Archipelago. Like other regions bordering the Bismarck Sea, the Admiralties are subject to much tectonic activity. The western section of Manus island is volcanic and the east uplifted coral. The smaller islands are either extinct volcanoes or coral. The population rose from 26,000 in 1980 to 96,800 in 1990. Thirty-two languages are spoken. The Constitution, adopted in 1977, allows for a Lapan (provincial) Assembly of 15 elected members. MP’s 12 community councils comprise one of the few strong local government systems in PNG. The provincial headquarters are at Lorengau. MP has the best school system in PNG and its main export is educated people who are found in disproportionate numbers in the public service and senior management throughout PNG. Small quantities of copra and cocoa are produced.
Milne Bay Province (MBP) covers 14,000 square kilometers of the eastern tip of the main island and hundreds of adjacent islands. The mainland includes the eastern end of the Owen Stanley Range and a coral limestone coast. Forty-five languages are spoken. The population rose from 127,975 in 1980 to 157,288 in 1990. The Constitution, adopted in 1977, provides for an elected Assembly of 21 members. There are six districts and the headquarters is at Alotau. MBP produces copra, coffee, rubber, and logs. In 1993 gold was being mined on Misima Island. Transport is mainly by air and sea.
Morobe Province (MP) covers 33,525 square kilometers (the fifth largest by physical area in PNG) in the central east coast and the island of Siassi. Physical features include the Markham Valley and adjacent high ranges, many lakes, short rivers and swamps. Morobe province is the largest province in PNG by population (674,810 persons recorded in the 2011 National Census—9 percent of the National population). Over 100 languages are spoken. The provincial Constitution, adopted in 1977, provides for a Tutumang (House of Assembly) of 35 elected members and three members appointed by the national government. There are eight districts and the headquarters is at Lae, PNG’s second largest city. MP produces manufactured goods, coffee, copra, cocoa, cattle, poultry, chickens and fish. Gold and logs are exported.
National Capital District (NCD) covers 240 square kilometers approximately in the middle of the south coast of Central Province. NCD was created in 1982 to include the capital, Port Moresby and its environs. The headquarters are at the Port Moresby suburb of Waigani. It has a total
population of 318,128 (Year 2011 census figure). The city is home to people from all four regions of the country speaking more than 800 languages with different cultures and tribes and including the country’s largest foreign community. The majority of the population was born outside the NCD. English and Tok Pisin are the languages of administration and commerce. Hiri Motu, Motu and local languages from most parts of PNG are also spoken.
New Ireland Province (NIP) covers 9,600 square kilometers of 149 islands between the equator and latitude 5 degrees S and longitudes 149 and 154 degrees E at the northeastern rim of the Bismarck Archipelago. It is made up of the large island of New Ireland and a number of smaller islands. New Ireland has limestone mountains, a narrow coastal plain and swamps. The population rose from 66,000 in 1980 to 87,200 in 1990. Twenty-two languages are spoken. The Constitution, adopted in 1977, provides for a House of Assembly of 19 elected members. NIP has three districts and headquarters at Kavieng. In October 1993 an agreement was reached to exploit a very large gold deposit on the island of Lihir. The main products are copra and cocoa. The most important resources, aside from gold, are timber and tuna. Environmental problems are associated with the timber and gold projects.
Oro Province (OP), formerly known as Northern Province, covers 22,800 square kilometers on the northeast coast. Much of the province is taken up by rugged mountains, and much of the coastal plain is swampy, but there are considerable areas of fertile land. The province contains active volcanoes. An eruption of Mt Lamington in 1951 caused great damage and loss of life. The population rose from 77,400 in 1980 to 96,800 in 1990. At least 35 languages are spoken. The Constitution, adopted in 1977, provides for an Assembly of 20 elected members and one appointed member. There are six districts and the provincial headquarters is at Popondetta. The main exports are oil palm, timber, rubber, copra, cocoa and coffee.
Southern Highlands Province (SHP) covers 23,800 square kilometers of mountainous country in the west of PNG. Much of the terrain is very rugged, and human occupation limited to isolated pockets. Rivers are not navigable, and the road system is limited to the northern, less rugged part of the province. The population rose from 236,100 in 1980 to 392,700 in 1990. Over 25 languages are spoken. The Constitution, adopted in 1977, provides for an Assembly of 29 elected and three appointed members. There are seven districts and the headquarters is at Mendi. The only significant economic development is at Hides which supplies natural gas to the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province and, since 1992, the rich Kutubu oil field. Some coffee is produced by smallholders but most commercial agriculture and livestock projects have been unsuccessful.
West New Britain Province (WNBP) covers 21,000 square kilometers of volcanic country, much of it consisting of rich volcanic soils, in the western section of the island of New Britain, and 125 small adjacent islands. The population rose from 88,900 in 1980 to 127,500 in 1990. Twenty-seven languages are spoken. The Constitution, adopted in 1979, provides for an Assembly of 21 elected, and three appointed, members. There are four districts and the headquarters is at Kimbe. WNBP is the leading producer of timber and palm oil and one of the leading producers of cocoa and copra. Fish is also exported.
Western Highlands Province (WHP) covers 8,500 square kilometers of mountains and broad, densely populated valleys. Mt Wilhelm (4,509 meters), on the border of Simbu Province, and Mt Giluwe (4,367 meters), on the border of Southern Highlands Province, are PNG’s two highest mountains. The population rose from 265,700 in 1980 to 291,100 in 1991. Twelve languages are spoken. The Constitution, adopted in 1978, provides for a House of Assembly of 25 elected, and two appointed, members. There are five districts and the headquarters is at Mt Hagen. WHP is PNG’s largest producer of coffee and tea. Vegetables are supplied by plane, or along the Highlands Highway, to markets in the coastal towns.