Southern Highlands Province

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Information in this article has not yet been updated to take into account the effects of the creation of Hela Province.
Southern Highlands Province
Flag of Southern Highlands Province
Southern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea
Southern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea
Coordinates: 6°10′S 143°20′E / 6.167°S 143.333°E / -6.167; 143.333
Country Papua New Guinea
Capital Mendi
 • Governor William Powi
 • Total 15,089 km2 (5,826 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)
 • Total 510,245
 • Density 34/km2 (88/sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)

Southern Highlands is a province in Papua New Guinea. Its provincial capital is the town of Mendi. According to Papua New Guinea's national 2011 census, the total population of Southern Highlands (after the separation of Hela Province) is 515,511 spread across 15,089 square kilometers (5,826 sq mi).

Split to create Hela Province[edit]

In July 2009, Parliament passed legislation to create two new provinces by 2012. One of these was to be created by removing the districts of Tari-Pori, Komo-Magarima, and Koroba-Kopiago from the Southern Highlands Province to form the new Hela Province.[1] Hela Province officially came into being on 17 May 2012.[2]


After the split of Hela, the province is divided into roughly three distinct geographic regions:

  1. The West: which includes the districts of Nipa, Mendi and the Lai Valley, and is the home of the speakers of dialects of the Anggal Heneng language.
  2. The East: which includes the districts of Kagua, Ialibu, Pangia and Erave, and is the home of the speakers of the Imbongu, Kewa, and Wiru languages, and home to the second highest mountain in Papua New Guinea, Mount Giluwe.
  3. The Lowlands: which stretch across the southern part of the Southern Highlands province from the volcanic peaks of Mount Bosavi to include the oilfields of Lake Kutubu, and includes the language groups of Biami (shared with Western Province) Foe, and Fasu.

Districts and LLGs[edit]

There are five districts in the province. Each district has one or more Local Level Government (LLG) areas. For census purposes, the LLG areas are subdivided into wards and those into census units.[3]

District District Capital LLG Name
Ialibu-Pangia District Ialibu East Pangia Rural
Ialibu Urban
Kewabi Rural
Wiru Rural
Imbonggu District Imbonggu Ialibu Basin Rural
Imbongu Rural
Lower Mendi Rural
Kagua-Erave District Kagua Erave Rural
Kagua Rural
Kuare Rural
Mendi-Munihu District Mendi Karints Rural
Lai Valley Rural
Mendi Urban
Upper Mendi Rural
Nipa-Kutubu District Nipa Lake Kutubu Rural
Mount Bosavi Rural
Nembi Plateau Rural
Nipa Rural
Poroma Rural

Members of the National Parliament[edit]

The province and each district is represented by a Member of the National Parliament. There is one provincial electorate and each district is an open electorate. The following table lists Members before and after the 2012 general election.

Electorate Previous member (party) 2012 winner (party)
Southern Highlands Provincial Nipa Yawari (PCP) William Powi (PNC) [4]
Ialibu-Pangia Open Peter O'Neill (PNC) Peter O'Neill (PNC) [5]
Imbonggu Open Timothy Tala (NA) Francis Awesa (PNGP) [6]
Kagua-Erave Open David Basua (NA) James Lagea (elected as PNGCP [7] then joined NA)[8]
Mendi Open Michael Nali (PPP) [9] De Kewanua.(elected) as Independent then in PC.[10]
Nipa-Kutubu Open Robert Kopaol l (PANGU) [7]

Declaration of state of emergency in Southern Highlands region[edit]

On 1 August 2006, the government of Papua New Guinea declared a state of emergency in the country's Southern Highlands region. According to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, troops were deployed to restore 'law, order and good governance' in the region, following accusations of corruption, theft and misuse of government buildings at the hands of the regional government.[11]

As a region rich in energy resources, the Southern Highlands was at the centre of plans to construct a gas pipeline to pump natural gas to Queensland in north Australia. The project would have resulted in much needed revenue for Papua New Guinea, and as it was believed that the instability in the region could jeopardise the project, the national government decided to intervene by declaring a state of emergency. The move was supported by Parliament, although some criticism was leveled at the government for restricting press access to the region while the state of emergency was in force. The companies involved subsequently opted for the current PNG Gas project which has export facilities outside Port Moresby. This is operated by Esso Highlands, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, and is expected to begin production in 2014.


  1. ^ "PNG to create two new provinces", Sydney Morning Herald, July 15, 2009
  2. ^ "PNG’S new province Hela, Jiwaka declared", The National, 17 May 2012
  3. ^ National Statistical Office of Papua New Guinea
  4. ^ "Court stops WHP counting". Post Courier Online. 6 August 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2007. 
  5. ^ "31 members declared". The National. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  6. ^ "41 MPs declared". The National. Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  7. ^ a b "95 candidates declared". The National. Retrieved 2007-07-30.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ "MoA to govern". The National. Retrieved 6 August 2007. 
  9. ^ "PNG Electoral Commission - 2007 Results Summary". Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  10. ^ "25 to NA". Post Courier Online. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  11. ^ "State of emergency in PNG region". BBC News. 2006-08-01.