Manus Province

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.

There is evidence of human occupation 30,000 BP. Germans arrived in the late 19th century. Catholic missionaries came in the 1920s and Lutherans and Seventh-Day Adventists in the 1930s. Manus was occupied by the Japanese in 1942 and recaptured by Allied troops in March 1944. The Americans then established a vast military base from which to invade the Philippines. During 1944 the base had hundreds of ships and planes, vast quantities of equipment and almost 1,000,000 troops. Australia maintained it as a naval base for some years. After the war, Paliau Maloat, an influential and charismatic leader, established a popular religious and social movement through which he hoped to improve the lives of the Manus people.

Things to see

Lorengau: Most of the town’s main services and the market are near the wharf. The airport is located at Los Negros Island, which is joined to Manus by a bridge across the narrow Loniu Passage. Seeadler Harbour was used by the Americans during World War II.

Loniu Passage and Cave: The cave is near the passage and is best located by asking your hotel.

War relics: Many rusting relics are visible at Lombrum which was a huge American naval base during World War II.

Things to do

Snorkelling: Most of the north coast is bordered with a reef and has excellent visibility, and huge variety of corals, fish and wartime wrecks. Andra and Ahus islands off the north coast are also good, and there is accommodation at Palankowou.

Swimming: For a freshwater dip, the best place is the waterfall and swimming hole about 5km up the Lorengau River from town. Good beaches are Salamei on Rarah Island and Tulu on the north coast.

Fishing: Hire a boat and head out from the harbour. Anywhere along the coast should be rewarding.

Island hopping: Boats run regularly to the outer islands such as Andra and Ahus, and Lou Island, an old volcano with hot springs.

FYI: PNG’s 4 Regions & 22 Provinces

Region Province Provincial
Capital
Highlands Eastern Highlands Province Goroka
Western Highlands Province Mt. Hagen
Southern Highlands Province Mendi
Hela Province Tari
Enga Province Wabag
Jiwaka Province Banz
Chimbu Province Kundiawa
Southern National Capital District Port Moresby
Central Province Port Moresby
Gulf Province Kerema
Western Province Daru
Oro (Northern) Province Popondetta
Milne Bay Province Alotau
Momase Morobe Province Lae
Madang Province Madang
East Sepik Province Wewak
Sandaun (West Sepik) Province Vanimo
New Guinea Islands Manus Province Lorengau
New Ireland Province Kavieng
East New Britain Province Kokopo
West New Britain Province Kimbe
Autonomous Region of Bougainville Buka

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