Paulias Matane

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The Right Honourable Grand Chief
Sir Paulias Matane
Sir Paulias Matane.jpg
Matane at the Ramoaaina NT Dedication at Molot Village, Duke of York Island
8th Governor-General of Papua New Guinea
In office
29 June 2004 – 13 December 2010
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Michael Somare
Preceded by Jeffrey Nape (Acting)
Succeeded by Jeffrey Nape (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1931-09-21) 21 September 1931 (age 86)[1]
East New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Spouse(s) Kaludia Matane

Sir Paulias Nguna Matane GCL GCMG OBE KStJ,[2] (born 21 September 1931)[3] was the eighth Governor-General of Papua New Guinea, serving from 29 June 2004 to 13 December 2010. His memoir My Childhood in New Guinea has been on the school curriculum since the 1970s, and for many years he wrote a column in the newspaper The National.


Personal life[edit]

Matane is a Tolai, from East New Britain Province, a native speaker of Kuanua and a staunch United Churchman. He has written 44 books which deliberately use extremely simple English, focusing in part on his own overseas travels, including three on the State of Israel. His writing is intended to persuade Papua New Guineans that books are a useful source of information and that they should not regard them as something only for foreigners.[citation needed]

For many years Matane wrote a column in the Malaysian Chinese-owned newspaper The National, containing advice to the younger generation. He also founded the United News Agency of Melanesia.[citation needed] He, together with Grand Chief the Right Honourable Michael Somare, makes a point of wearing a lap-lap (skirt) rather than trousers.[citation needed]


Matane served as the first Papua New Guinean Ambassador to the United States following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.[4]


Matane was elected Governor-General by Parliament on 27 May 2004, receiving 50 votes, while his opponent, Sir Pato Kakeraya received 46 votes. Attempts to elect a Governor-General had failed repeatedly for six months before Matane's election because of constitutional flaws in the nomination process. Following Matane's election, Kakaraya brought a petition to the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea, seeking to invalidate the election.[5]

Matane was sworn in on 29 June 2004, although the legal challenge to his election was still ongoing.[6] He was officially invested as Governor-General by Queen Elizabeth II on 13 October 2004.[7] He was reappointed for a second term in June 2010, under what The National called "very controversial circumstances [...], in an act likely to be challenged in court". Specifically, The National reported that there was "conflicting advice from the speaker and the prime minister" regarding the proper procedure for the appointment, and that the government had Matane reappointed by "using section 87(5) of the Constitution, arguing that the absolute majority secured for Sir Paulias meant that the exhaustive secret ballot vote was not required".[8] The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea ruled Matane's reelection unconstitutional in December 2010.[9]


  1. ^ International Who's Who 2000. Retrieved 2 January 2015 – via Google Books. 
  2. ^ "No. 46594". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 June 1975. p. 7404. 
  3. ^ Profile of Paulias Nguna Matane
  4. ^ "Secretary Clinton's Meeting with Port Moresby Embassy Staff and Their Families". U.S. Department of State. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Further hold-up in finalizing PNG governor-general appointment", Papua New Guinea Post-Courier web site (, 31 May 2004.
  6. ^ "Papua New Guinea governor-general sworn in, legal challenge continues", Radio Australia (, 29 June 2004.
  7. ^ "New Papua New Guinea governor-general officially invested by the Queen", Papua New Guinea Post-Courier web site (, 15 October 2004.
  8. ^ "Sir Paulias Matane returns as PNG's Governor General amid controversy" Archived 8 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine., The National, 28 June 2010
  9. ^ "PNG faces chaos as court rules against GG". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Jeffrey Nape
Governor-General of Papua New Guinea
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Nape