New Ireland Province (NIP) covers 9,600 square kilometers of 149 islands between the equator and latitude 5 degrees S and longitudes 149 and 154 degrees E at the northeastern rim of the Bismarck Archipelago. It is made up of the large island of New Ireland and a number of smaller islands. New Ireland has limestone mountains, a narrow coastal plain and swamps. The population rose from 66,000 in 1980 to 87,200 in 1990. Twenty-two languages are spoken. The Constitution, adopted in 1977, provides for a House of Assembly of 19 elected members. NIP has three districts and headquarters at Kavieng. In October 1993 an agreement was reached to exploit a very large gold deposit on the island of Lihir. The main products are copra and cocoa. The most important resources, aside from gold, are timber and tuna. Environmental problems are associated with the timber and gold projects.
There is evidence of human occupation 30,000 BP – one of the earliest datings in PNG. The islands were sighted by the Dutch navigators Schouten and le Maire (1616), and the English navigators Dampier (1700) and Carteret (1776). European traders and whalers came for food and water in the early 19th century. German settlers established plantations and trading stations in the second half of the 19th century. In the 1880s local men were taken, sometimes by force or deception, to work on sugar plantations, mainly in Samoa and Fiji. The first mission was established by the Methodists at Kalili on the west coast of New Ireland in 1875. Catholic missionaries arrived in 1901. The islands became part of German New Guinea and were under Australian control from 1914 to 1942. Kavieng was a major Japanese base from 1942 to 1945. Many people were killed and much property damaged during World War II. The Australians resumed control in 1945.
Things to see
Kavieng: Sea breezes keep Kavieng cool and it’s a pretty place to wander around. Across the harbour is Nusa Island and as you wander along the waterfront you will find the market, the port, a fishery, and the hospital.
Artefacts: The island people are skilled canoeists and carvers, and traditional ceremonies remain an important focus of their lives. Collections of Malangan carvings can be seen at the Kavieng Hotel and Malagan Beach Resort. Malagan carvings are usually done for burial ceremonies and rites of passage. To meet and see the carvers and their Malagan carvings go to Libba Village near Konos and meet the “Master Carver” Ben Sisia. The local people on Nusa Island manufacture nearly most of the beautiful local jewellery you see. You can visit the village and buy direct – a great experience. Nusa Island Retreat also has an extensive range of PNG and New Ireland artefacts available for sale.
Offshore Islands: The many small islands sheltering the harbour can be visited and some have accommodation. Dinghies travel out regularly and you can island hop or arrange to be picked up later. Swimming and snorkelling are excellent.
Shark-calling: The traditional art of calling sharks is practiced along the coasts of New Ireland particularly on the west coast around Kontu and Tabar villages.
Things to do
Diving and snorkelling: War wrecks, big fish, coral and sharks are just some of the things to be seen here. Local land-based dive operator Lissenung Island Resort has gear hire while Scuba Ventures in Kavieng has gear hire and offers dive courses. Tsoilik Guest house on Tsoi Island off Lavongai or New Hanover Island is an hour and a half by boat and has great diving and snorkelling. In addition to Lissenung Island Resort and Scuba Ventures, Nusa Island Retreat also offers diving and snorkelling services.
Fishing: Nusa Island Retreat offers fishing trips and hires out fishing gear, rods, and tackle. For a serious fisherman, it is recommended that you bring your own equipment to match the style of fishing you require.
Surfing: There are many good breaks close to town, accessible by boat or vehicle. Nusa Island Retreat, based on Nusa Lik Island, has accommodation and caters for surfers, Ph: +675 984 2247 or Rubio Plantation Retreat, email [email protected] Clems’s Place, situated on Tunnung Island north of mainland New Hanover. Its home break is surrounded by four other quality waves all within 35 minutes from the surf camp. Waves found in the area consist of a variety of left and right handers ranging from cruise hotdog waves to pitching peaks to long playful walls. Ph: +612 8216 3678 or [email protected]
Canoeing: Canoes and paddlers can be hired from the beachfront in Kavieng or hire an outrigger from the Malagan Beach Resort. Nusa Island Retreat offer traditional canoeing.
Golf: The nine-hole golf course lies between Tabar Terrace and Tanga Street and the Golf Club is located on Coronation Street. Golf clubs can be hired from the Kavieng Hotel.
Cycling: Kavieng’s flat terrain is ideal for cycling and bicycles can be hired from Nusa Island Retreat or Rainbow Tours. The Boluminski Highway on the north-eastern side of the island is flat and sealed for 174km. Beyond here the crushed coral surface is smooth and easy to ride but very bright. There are number of guest house accommodation at Lauan village (55km), Bol and Konos (about 140km), at Malom, Dalom and Karu (220km) and at Namatanai (264km). The road on the south-eastern side also offers good riding although there are fewer places to stay. For bike tours and hire contact Rainbow Tours in Kavieng or New Ireland Tourism Authority Ph: +675 984 2441. Nusa Island Retreat Ph: +675 984 2247, offers a range of day and overnight tours right down to Namatanai for their clients only.
Kayaking: Single and double sea kayaks can be hired at Nusa Island Retreat Ph: +675 984 2247 – a beautiful way to see the harbour and islands. Day and overnight options are available.
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|