Manus Province

Manus Province is the smallest province in Papua New Guinea with a land area of 2,100 km2, but with more than 220,000 km2 of water. The provincial town of Manus is Lorengau and the total population is 60,485 (2011 census).

Manus Province
Flag of Manus Province
Manus Province in Papua New Guinea
Manus Province in Papua New Guinea
Coordinates: 2°5′S 147°0′E / 2.083°S 147.000°E / -2.083; 147.000
CountryPapua New Guinea
 • GovernorCharlie Benjamin
 • Total2,000 km2 (800 sq mi)
 (2011 census)
 • Total60,485
 • Density30/km2 (78/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+10 (AEST)
HDI (2018)0.597[1]
medium · 2nd of 22

The province is made up of the Admiralty Islands (a group of 18 islands in the Bismarck Archipelago), as well as Wuvulu Island and nearby atolls in the west, which collectively are referred to as the Western Islands. The largest island in the group is Manus Island where Lorengau and an Australian immigration detention centre are located.


The primary industries are coconut and cocoa cultivation, and bêche-de-mer (sea cucumber) fishing. Among scuba divers, the Islands; particularly Bipi Island; have a reputation as a good diving destination with colorful marine life, coral reefs, shipwrecks, and clear water.


Due to its population size, Manus Province only has two Members of Parliament, a Governor and an open member. Charlie Benjamin is the current Governor while his counterpart in the open seat is Job Pomat. Unlike most provinces in Papua New Guinea, general elections are usually peaceful and carried out efficiently on the Island. Traditional "Lapans" - village leaders, are also respected figures in the communities.


The archipelago became a German protectorate in 1880 and an Australian mandate in 1920.

During World War II the archipelago was occupied by the Japanese who established a small base in April 1942 near the village of Rossun on Manus Island. They also built the first landing strip entirely by manpower at the eastern Point of Los Negros Island in Momote.

On 29 February 1944 during World War II, the Admiralty Islands were invaded in Operation Brewer led by American General Douglas MacArthur. The Americans quickly built a big base at Seeadler Harbor, including harbour, wharves and an airbase, which became an important base for the further war operations in New Guinea as well as on the Philippines. The base is today used by the PNG Defence Force. It was made famous by the work there and writing of it by the New York anthropologist Margaret Mead from the 1950s through '70s.


The Manus friarbird, known locally as the chauka, is represented on the Manus provincial flag. Designer of the Manus Province flag Luke Bulei explained his reasons for its design in 1977: chauka is only found in the Manus province; it heralds dawn and signals sunset; it often warns us of dangers; and lastly, it informs us of the success or otherwise of a forthcoming hunting trip. He added that NBC Radio Station had changed its name to Maus Bilong Chauka several years before. He explained that the colour brown on the flag represents the inland people and the blue represents the island people. The other important symbol on the flag is the green snail, which is also unique to the Manus province.[2]

District and LLGsEdit

Manus Province has a single district, which contains one urban (Lorengau) and eleven rural Local Level Government (LLG) areas. Manus District has the highest number of LLG' s than any other district in Papua New Guinea. For census purposes, the LLG areas are subdivided into wards and those into census units.[3]

District District Capital LLG Name
Lorengau District Lorengau Aua-Wuvulu Rural
Balopa Rural
Bisikani-Soparibeu Kabin Rural
Lelemadih-Bupi Chupei Rural
Lorengau Urban
Los Negros Rural
Nali Sopat-Penabu Rural
Nigoherm Rural
Pobuma Rural
Pomutu-Kurti-Andra Rural
Rapatona Rural
Tetidu Rural

Provincial leadersEdit

The province was governed by a decentralised provincial administration, headed by a Premier, from 1977 to 1995. Following reforms taking effect that year, notably the introduction of the Organic Law on Provincial Government and Local Level Government 1995, the national government reassumed some powers, and the role of Premier was replaced by a position of Governor, to be held by the winner of the province-wide seat in the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea.[4][5]

Premiers (1977–1995)Edit

Premier Term
Papi Rasahei 1977–1978
Banabas Kombil 1979–1982
Joel Maiah 1982–1984
Stephen Pokawin 1984–1995

Governors (1995–present)Edit

Premier Term
Martin Thompson 1995–1996
Stephen Pokawin 1996–2002
Jacob Jumogot 2002–2007
Michael Sapau 2007–2012
Charlie Benjamin 2012–present

Members of the National ParliamentEdit

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. Job Pomat as Manus District Open Member elected into office in 2016 makes history as the first politician from the province to be elected as the Speaker of the Parliament of Papua New Guinea in 2016.

Premier Term
Manus Provincial Charlie Benjamin
Manus Open Job Pomat


Soccer and hockey are among the most common outdoor sports played in the province. Rugby League, Union, basketball, volleyball and netball are gaining popularity in on the Island. Due to the lack of proper sporting facilities, most talented sportsmen and women find it hard to make it on the national scenes. However, the introduction of the PNG Grassrooots Games has helped expose some of these hidden talents.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Manus (Papua New Guinea)". Flags of the world. 2009.
  3. ^ National Statistical Office of Papua New Guinea
  4. ^ May, R. J. "8. Decentralisation: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back". State and society in Papua New Guinea: the first twenty-five years. Australian National University. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Provinces". Retrieved 31 March 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit