Enga Province (EP) covers 12,800 square kilometers in the mountainous western highlands. The population rose from 164,500 in 1980 to 238,400 in 1990. Over 90 percent of the people in the province speak some form of the Engan language. There are more speakers of Engan than of any other single language in PNG. The Constitution, adopted in 1978, provides for a House of Assembly of 23 elected members and one member appointed by the national government. EP has six districts. The headquarters are at Wabag. Other towns include Laiagam and Wapenamanda. By far the most important export is gold from the Porgera mining project. Coffee and small quantities of pyrethrum are grown. The rugged terrain makes road construction difficult and EP has a poorly developed communications system.
There is evidence of human occupation 12,000 BP and trade with coastal people 6,000 BP. Catholic, Gutnius Lutheran, and Seventh-Day Adventists missionaries, miners and colonial officials arrived in the 1940s, and European coffee growers in the 1950s. For most of the colonial period the people of Enga were administered as part of the Western Highlands District. The discovery of alluvial gold at Mt Kare led to a gold rush in 1988, and in 1990 a mine was established.
Things to see
Wabag: Tribal fighting is still common in Enga, a rugged mountainous province that has little development apart from coffee plantations and the huge Porgera Mine in the west. The road from Mt. Hagen to Wabag traverses some spectacular country and crosses Kaugel Pass at almost 3000m.
Wabag Cultural Centre: Wabag has a large cultural centre, art gallery and workshop where you can watch artists making sand paintings, an art form unique to Enga Province. Using ground stone as a medium, the sand painters create landscapes and legendary figures on a base of wood or plasterboard. Wigs, masks and war shields from many parts of the country can be seen in the museum. The centre is open from 9am-4pm weekdays.
Enga Festival: Held in August, this is a smaller version of the Goroka and Hagen Shows.
Porgera: Porgera is PNG’s biggest mine and it produces both gold and silver in open-cut and underground operations.
Laiagam: A research station and botanic gardens with a huge orchid collection are the attraction here. The village is located a short way off the road to Porgera.
Things to do
Walking/trekking: Lake Rau, a beautiful crater lake at nearly 3000m, is reached from Pumas village above Laiagam. Allow two days with a guide.
FYI: PNG’s 4 Regions & 22 Provinces
|Highlands||Eastern Highlands Province||Goroka|
|Western Highlands Province||Mt. Hagen|
|Southern Highlands Province||Mendi|
|Southern||National Capital District||Port Moresby|
|Central Province||Port Moresby|
|Oro (Northern) Province||Popondetta|
|Milne Bay Province||Alotau|
|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|