Hela Province

Hela Province
Huli Tindi
Flag of Hela Province
Papua new guinea hela province.png
Hela Province is located in Papua New Guinea
Hela Province
Hela Province
Location within Papua New Guinea
Coordinates: 6°17′S 142°50′E
Country     Papua New Guinea
Formation     2012
Capital     Tari

    Komo-Magarima District
    Koroba-Kopiago District
    Tari-Pori District

 • Governor     Anderson Agiru 2012-
 • Total     10,498 km2 (4,053 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)
 • Total     249,449
 • Density     24/km2 (62/sq mi)
Time zone     AEST (UTC+10)

Hela is a province of Papua New Guinea. The provincial capital is Tari.[1] The province covers an area of 10,498 km²,[2] and there are 510,449 inhabitants (2011 census figures).[3] Hela province officially came into being on 17 May 2012,[4] comprising three districts previously part of Southern Highlands Province.


    1 Districts and LLGs
    2 Historical Establishment
    3 Huli
    4 Opene
    5 Duna
    6 Tuguba
    7 Hewa
    8 Notable Figure
    9 Original Hela Province proponents
        9.1 Damian Arabagali
        9.2 Handape Tiahape
        9.3 Sir Andrew Wabiria
        9.4 Sir Matiable Yuwi
        9.5 Hon.Alfred Aluago Kaiabe
        9.6 Aruru Matiabe
        9.7 Andrew Mokai
    10 Natural Resources Projects
    11 Hides
    12 Mt Kare Gold Project
    13 Mt Tundaka
    14 Kutubu Oil Project
    15 Moran
    16 South East Mananda Oil Project
    17 Sports
    18 Hela Wigmen RLC
    19 Hekari FC
    20 Cosmology and Idea of Hela Province
    21 Members of the National Parliament
    22 References

Districts and LLGs

There are three 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.[5]
District     District Capital     LLG Name
Komo-Magarima District     Magarima     Hulia Rural
Komo Rural
Margarima Rural
Koroba-Kopiago District     Kopiago     Awi-Pori Rural
Lake Kopiago Rural
North Koroba Rural
South Koroba Rural
Tari-Pori District     Tari     Hayapuga Rural
Tagali Rural
Tari Urban
Tebi Rural
Historical Establishment

Hela Province has been a established politically in recent years but the notion of an independent province has been in the hearts of the ethnic Huli people who are the largest single Ethnic group in Papua New Guinea numbering up to over half a million in population. Recent estimates put them at 7-800,000. Oral History suggests that the grand Ancestor of the Huli was a man named Hela who had 4 sons and a Daughter from which the Hela nation was to emerge. The off springs of Hela were sons Huli,Opene,Duna,Tuguba and only sister Hewa. Traditional Hela Territory range from whole of Enga Province (Opene) (Mt Porgera specifically Kumbi Para, ipa Yambale where sacrifice to traditional gods took place) to mt Tundaka (Sacrifical sacred area) to lake kutubu to mt bosavi to mt gigira to the strickland gorges bordering western and West/East Sepik Provinces.

Territories and resources resources given as birthright to each by Hela are as follows.

The designated land area of huli include Tari pori, margarima,benaria, hulia and Tani, pureni areas. Under this area is Mt Kare gold project, Moran and Moro Oilfields=.

Opena land includes whole of current Enga Province. Opene was the first born son of Hela and under its boundary was given the largest gold mine in PNG, Porgera.

Duna Land includes the whole of strickland gorge and Koroba Kopiago electorates.

Tuguba lands start from Mt Bosavi and ends at Mt Gigira. traditionally tuguba lands was known as any areas opposite the Tagali river from Huli lands. Under its lands lies the Hides, Juha and Mananda petroleum projects.

Hewa lands are found in the Lake Kopiago Rural district. This includes the lands bordering both the Laigaip and Om Rivers as well as the headwaters of the Strickland River and the grasslands of the Strickland gorge north of the Duna lands around the Galaga settlement.
Notable Figure
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Original Hela Province proponents
Damian Arabagali

As of 2015 chairman of Hela Gimbu association; author of 'god dadagaliwabe was working in Hela'.
Handape Tiahape

Pioneer Member of Parliament from Hela who had to have a Huli Translator in Parliament due to lack of English/pidgin.
Sir Andrew Wabiria

Pioneer MP representing Tari Pori electorate.
Sir Matiable Yuwi

Pioneer MP and one of the founding fathers of Papua New Guinea. Was a member of the committee overseeing the creation of the PNG constitution with the likes of Sir Michael Somare.
Hon.Alfred Aluago Kaiabe

Former member for Komo Margarima and strong fighter for a separate Hela Province.
Aruru Matiabe

Former MP for Tari Pori.
Andrew Mokai

Former Premier of the Southern Highlands; from Pureni in Koroba Lake Kopiago electorate.
Natural Resources Projects

Hela is the host province for a number of many natural resources projects that benefits Papua New Guinea. The current biggest project includes the PNG LNG Project source area of Hides, Angore, Kutubu, Moro, Moran and Mananda Oil Fields. The second biggest project underway is the Mt Kare Gold Project operated by Indochine Mining. Mt Kare is under Tari Pori electorate. Current gold explorations are underway in Mt Tundaka in Upper Wage LLG of Margarima district under Komo Margarima electorate.

The Hides gas field, located in PDL 1, was discovered in 1987. It is a large anticlinal structure, approximately 30 kilometres long and five kilometres wide. Four wells have been drilled on the structure to date.

Gas production commenced in 1991 with the development of the Hides Gas to Electricity Project (GTE). The Hides GTE project consists of a pipeline (PL 1) connecting the Hides-1 and Hides-2 wells to a small gas conditioning plant at the Hides Production Facility (HPF) located in the Tagari River valley. Sales gas is then used by the Porgera Joint Venture to generate electricity in an adjacent facility. The electricity is transmitted to the Porgera Gold Mine by overhead wire. Condensate produced along with the gas is distilled into naphtha and diesel which is sold into local markets and used as back-up fuel for the power station. Oil Search owns 100% of the GTE project and is Operator. The gas is sold under a long-term gas supply contract, which was revised in the first half of 2012.

As at 31 December 2013, the reserves attributable to the Hides GTE Project (Oil Search - 100%) were 43.3 bscf and 1.0 million barrels of condensate Recent explorations have been done into Mt Kare, Mt Tundaka and Mt Bosavi areas for prospects of Gold.

Currently the hides gas fields together with Juha, Angore, Mananda, Kutubu, Moro and Moran fields are used to supply the PNGLNG Project operated by Exxon Mobil subsidiary, Esso Highlands Ltd. Hides alone supplies 70% of the required natural gas to the project.It is located on Tuguba Tribal Land strectching from hides to angore to SE mananda areas.
Mt Kare Gold Project

Mt Kare is under Tari-Pori electorate on the lands of the Pujaro and Heli Tribes in the Tagali River area. Historically it has always been part of Hela and given to Hela under oral traditions. Porgera is the 'birthright' of the Enga (Opena)brother while Mt Kare is the Birthright of Hela (Huli) shared amonng the two by their common ancestor Hela (Man). It is known to contain more gold reserves than the currenr barrick operated Porgera Gold Mine.

Geologically the Mt Kare deposit shares many similarities with the nearby Porgera gold mine, with the same host rocks, similar geological structures, mineralisation types and the same age of mineralisation. This indicates the large potential for growth in the current Mt Kare resource. Porgera is one of the world's top 10 gold mines, with over 500,000 oz/yr production for over two decades, and has developed significant infrastructure, including roads and power lines, nearby to Mt Kare. Porgera started as a high grade underground mine and later developed a major open cut operation, now more than 500 metres deep.
Mt Tundaka

Recent explorations have speculated on deposits of gold at the Mt Tundaka area of Upper Wage in Margarima District in Komo Margarim Electorate. No confirmation has been given but ongoing exploration for further confirmation is in progress.
Kutubu Oil Project

The Kutubu Oil Project, which was Papua New Guinea's first commercial oilfield development, is located in the southern highlands of Papua New Guinea and takes its name from nearby Lake Kutubu. Oil was first discovered at Kutubu in the Iagifu sandstone structure in 1986 and commercial production commenced in June 1992.

The Kutubu development comprises a network of wells that produce oil from the Iagifu-Hedinia, Usano and Agogo fields, a gathering system and on-site processing facilities (the Agogo and Central Processing Facilities) and supporting infrastructure, as well as a 265 kilometre export pipeline to the coast and a marine loading terminal in the Gulf of Papua. The pipeline operates under Pipeline Licence 2 (PL-2), while the oilfield operates under Petroleum Development Licence 2 (PDL-2). Both licences were issued in December 1990 for a term of 25 years and were extended in December 2009 until December 2035.

Production from the Kutubu field peaked in 1993 at 130,000 bopd. Although still a strong contributor to Oil Search's profitability, the Kutubu Oil Project is well into its decline phase due to natural field depletion. However, efforts over the past several years to arrest the production decline have been highly successful with additional production resulting from the drilling of development wells at Kutubu, Agogo and Usano.

As at 31 December 2013, Oil Search’s share of remaining recoverable 2P reserves at Kutubu was 18.7 million barrels. The main reserves are contained within high permeability oil rims in the Toro and Digimu sandstones with smaller volumes in the Iagifu and Hedinia reservoirs.

Moran production is processed at the Agogo Production Facility (APF) and liquids are then piped to the Central Production Facility for further processing, storage and export through the export pipeline. The Moran PDL-5 participants pay a tariff to the PDL-2 and PL-2 partners for processing and transporting crude through the Kutubu system.

In late 2003, NW Moran, an extension of the Moran field towards the north west, into PPL 219, was discovered. In September 2005, an Extended Production Test (EPT) of the NW Moran 1 well commenced, following the construction of a 23 kilometre pipeline linking NW Moran into the APF. This, together with infrastructure debottlenecking, additional infill wells and success in re-pressurising the Moran reservoir due to improved facilities reliability, has resulted in an increase in production rates in recent years.

In late 2006, the PDL 2, PDL 5 and PPL 219 (now PDL 6) joint venture partners agreed to establish a single Greater Moran Unit across the Moran and NW Moran fields. The unitisation split is 55:44:1 to PDL 5, PDL 2 and PDL 6 respectively, giving Oil Search a 49.51% interest in the Unit. A Production Development Licence over the NW Moran field, PDL 6, was awarded in 2008.

As at 31 December 2013, Oil Search's share of remaining recoverable 2P reserves at Moran was 13.9 million barrels. The reserves are contained within generally high permeability oil rims in the Toro and Digimu sandstones
South East Mananda Oil Project

The SE Mananda field, located in PDL 2, was discovered in 1991. While the field was very close to the Kutubu facilities, it is on the other side of a very deep gorge and consequently, for a number of years, was deemed to be uncommercial.

Following the PNG Government’s introduction of a marginal field tax regime to encourage the development of smaller oil fields, and the transfer of Operatorship, Oil Search commenced detailed technical and engineering studies on the SE Mananda field during 2003. This work confirmed that the field was economic based on a low cost development and incorporating an appropriate fiscal regime. A development plan was sanctioned in 2004 and the fiscal and regulatory framework agreed with the PNG Government in early 2005. The SE Mananda development came on-stream in early 2006.

There were significant challenges associated with the development, including very difficult terrain and the need to span the 470 metre wide, 400 metre deep Hegigio Gorge. The latter resulted in the design and construction of the world's longest pipeline suspension bridge. In addition, the SE Mananda landowners are made up of three separate ethnic groups, which under Oil Search, for the first time came together in a cooperative manner. The infrastructure will facilitate further development opportunities along the Mananda ridge
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Hela Wigmen RLC

Hela Wigmen Rugby League Club is a Papua New Guinea semi-professional rugby league football club based in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. Hela Wigmen entered Papua New Guinea Semi-profesional League in 2009.

Hela Wigmen represents the people of Hela Province. Because of limitations in logistics and facilities in Tari, the team is based in Mendi. Hela Wigmen is sponsored by Kemele Construction and Hides Gas Development Company (HGDC).

In 2014 they won the top national Rugby league competition, Digicel Cup in the Grand Final against Agmark Gurias in Lae Rugby League Grounds.
Hekari FC

Hekari United is a semi-professional association football club, based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The Club is owned by a Hela Businessman from Kutubu, Mr John Kapi Natto. Hekari has been sponsored by Petroleum Resource Kutubu. The team represents Kutubu but is based in the nation's capital and is composed of the best players from PNG and the Pacific.

They were winners of the 2006 (when named PRK Souths United)[1] and the 2007/2008 Papua New Guinea National Soccer League.[2]

In 2010 Hekari United became the first club to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 to be hosted in Abu Dhabi from 8–18 December.

The qualification of Hekari United is historic and represents the first time Papua New Guinea and for that matter any South Pacific Island club not from Australia and New Zealand has been involved in a FIFA club football tournament at any level.
Cosmology and Idea of Hela Province

The peoples occupying the western end of SHP, namely the Duna, Huli, tuguba, hewa, Bogaia, along with their Opene neighbours and whole of enga province, share the view that they descend from a common ancestor, known as Hela (Haley 2002b). Accordingly, they often refer to each other as brothers (Glasse 1965:33; Biersack 1995:14-16), considering themselves sons of the same father. On the basis of this connection there have been calls for many years for the formation of a Hela province, which would take in the resource-rich districts occupied by the Duna, Huli and Paiela, namely the Komo-Margarima, Tari-Pori, Koroba-Lake Kopiago, Nipa-Kutubu and Porgera-Lagaip districts (Vail 1995:360; Haley 2002b).[3] The project is for the most part Huli owned and driven, and lacks wider support, although it does have the support of many key political figures. What local-level support it has derives directly from discontent over the lack of services in the western end of the province and the lack of benefits accruing from present resource developments. It is this same discontent which led to the formation of the United Resources Party by Anderson Agiru.

These peoples also hold that the world is bound up in a process of loss, degradation and decline. This is expressed in the way they engage with their environment and in the ways they perceive and interpret environmental and social changes. Ethnographers of the Duna and Huli have repeatedly commented on this all-pervading theme (Frankel 1986; Goldman 1983; Ballard C. 1995; Strathern 1991; Stürzenhofecker 1993; Haley 2002b), which is common to the region more generally (see also Jorgensen 1981, 1985; Poole 1986; Biersack 1991, 1995). Myths found amongst these groups reveal a common belief that the world originally consisted of formless clay-like mud which was given shape and strengthened by ancestral spirits; that the cardinal elements of the universe were born of an original ancestress; and that the landscape as fashioned by the ancestors is held securely in place by a subterranean cane or cane-like python known as the ‘root of the earth’. These myths also reveal that the way of the world is such that the fertile substance, which sustains the universe, by nature dissipates, and that the expenditure of this substance will bring about the world’s end.

The peoples living in the western end of SHP similarly share the belief that they are part of a regional system deeply rooted in mythology and ritual, and that the fertility of their region is morally constituted. This means they must act and behave in certain ways for their world to be fertile. Such was the basis of their pre-colonial cosmologies. Indeed, in the past, Duna, Huli, Hewa, Bogaia and Paiela participated collaboratively in ground-seeding and ground-making rituals which sought to ensure the ongoing fertility of the region (Haley 2002b). These rituals, which involved the sacrifice of human substances and body parts in order to replenish the root of the earth, were enacted along ritual ‘roads’ which criss-crossed the region.

Specifically, there were at least five major ritual roads crossing the Duna region, these being Kirau atia, Ambua atia, Hewari atia, Nona atia and Miliano atia, and another, Ukuam Sama, traversing the Bogaia region. One thing these roads had in common is that they all terminated outside the Duna area. The most southerly road, Kirau atia, started in Bogaia country near Bulago and proceeded via Nogoli to Gelogili in Huli country (Gelote in the Huli literature. See Goldman 1979; Ballard C. 1995). Ambua atia started on the Oksapmin side of the Strickland Gorge and, it seems, originally terminated at Bebenite, south of Tari.[4] The third road, Hewari atia, commenced at the Duna parish of Angora in the mid Pori River area and travelled through the Logaiyu and Urei river valleys into the Ipili-speaking areas and thence to Mt Kare where it terminated. Nona atia commenced in the Strickland Gorge on Yokona ground, traversed the south Hewa area, and likewise terminates at Mt Kare. The final road, Miliano atia, commenced in Hewa country, traversed Duna country from north to south, and terminated in the Bogaia area. Ritual sites linked by these roads typically featured ground oil seeps and natural gas seeps, which became the focus of the rituals which sought to replenish fertile substance in order to restore and ensure the ongoing fertility of the region.

Even today, despite the almost complete absence of indigenous ritual practice, Duna hold to the belief that moral behaviour conserves fertile substance, and that immoral behaviour sees it depleted and will ultimately bring about the world’s end. Ongoing fertility continues to be something Duna must negotiate through appropriate moral behaviour and proper social intercourse (Haley 2002b). Indeed it is their actions which render specific substances, particularly (but not exclusively) fluid substances, either inimical to growth or capable of inducing fertility. Linked to this is the notion that inappropriate moral behaviour can render a previously fertile substance infertile (see also Ballard C. 2000:210). Mineral resources are seen as examples of fertile substance which originate from deep within the root of the earth. As such they must be properly handled and engaged with in a morally appropriate manner. Duna hold that social intercourse in relation to mineral extraction must also be properly managed, and that the flow of resources elsewhere must be curtailed, lest the fertile substance sustaining the world be depleted at a rate which brings about the end of the world.

How is this relevant to a discussion of politics? For generations, Duna, Huli and Paiela and their more immediate neighbours performed cooperative rituals aimed at re-making and re-fashioning the ground so as to ensure the ongoing fertility of the entire region. Specifically, these involved replenishing the earth’s fertile core. In the contemporary context, Duna claim the Huli and Paiela have forgotten this. They cite their exclusion from Mt Kare as a case in point. Indeed although many Duna clans in the upper Pori area directly descend from Ko-Yundikia (the spirit associated with Mt Kare) and several old men from these groups had sacrificed pork to Ko-Yundikia in their own lifetimes, Duna were chased away from Mt Kare during the height of the gold rush. Duna feel that their Huli and Paiela ‘brothers’ should have recognised and acknowledged their claims, especially as they had been cooperatively responsible for Ko-Yundikia’s ritual propitiation for generations. Furthermore, Duna maintain that they continued observances at Mt Kare well into the early 1970s, long after the Huli had abandoned these practices.[5]

Duna, today, charge the Huli, in particular, with having forsaken both the regional ritual projects which they once strongly promoted (Ballard C. 1994; 2000:213) and the ties which made such cooperative performances possible. Instead of being concerned to preserve the fertile substance of the earth’s core, Duna see the Huli and Ipili as pillaging it. They regard the gold, oil and gas being extracted at Porgera, Mt Kare, Nogoli, Moran, Kutubu and Gobe as examples of this fertile substance, and insist that the Huli are wantonly consuming fertile substance which should be conserved so as to sustain them and the world.

This blood taken along Kirau atia and Ambua atia was fertiliser for gardens, medicine for pigs and children. Those things started here. But where they stored them, that was at Nogoli [Hides Gas], on the Huli side. They have forgotten the true origins of Kirau atia and Ambua atia. We believe that there is something important here — mineral oil, gas or something. We don’t know. Our ancestors told us not to dig the ground in the [Strickland] Gorge. They said, if we did, this thing would come out and burn us all … Where those roads ended they are extracting gas. We too are responsible for that gas. Those things started here. (Andrew Makano 1997; Robinson Fieldnotes Notebook 4:129-130).

In the contemporary context, Duna feel that Huli have sold them out. They charge the Huli with monopolising for themselves the fruits born of their cooperative ritual efforts.

The boy went that way and the girl went this way. She went with a female pig. That pig didn’t take a walk by itself. The people here took it up that way. They would call the name of each group. One group would bring it and give it to the next, all the way to Gelogili … Before we [Huli and Duna] stayed together like a married couple. Our union bore fruit. Our union bore the oil and gas … Those things are as much ours. But they [the Huli] are using it, expending it. They have forgotten us (Sane Noma 1994; Haley Fieldnotes Notebook 3:48; 54).

The Duna likewise charge the Huli with having forgotten that they are brothers who trace descent from a common ancestor, Hela. Almost without exception, Duna now preface conversations and statements about mining and other large-scale development projects with statements to the effect that the Duna, Ipili and Huli are brothers — Hela ingini — sons of the same father. Such appeals to common descent also form the basis of an anti-Huli sentiment which now permeates all aspects of Duna discourse.

Despite espousing the rhetoric of Duna, Huli and Paiela as brothers, Duna have not embraced the growing calls for a Hela province (Biersack 1995; Vail 1995; Goldman n.d.). They vehemently oppose such a project, seeing it as a Huli owned and driven project which will bring them no benefits (cf. Goldman n.d.:12). Some even view the calls for the formation of a Hela province as sinister in intent, fearing that if the province comes to pass they will lose both their land and their identity (Haley 2002b).

The Southern Highlands is big. The Hela people are there. Duna people are underneath … Hela had Duna, Huli and Obena. True we are brothers. But we Dunas don’t fight. If there is trouble we sit down and talk. We don’t fight. Hulis fight first. They think only of vengeance. We are different to Hulis. We come underneath Hela, not underneath the Huli. About this talk of a Hela province — we don’t support this kind of talk. If the Huli want a province, let them have their own province. We don’t want to be part of it. Give us our own province — a Duna province. Don’t cover us up with this talk of Hela. That is something belonging to the Huli — they are misusing the name of Hela. The leaders here, we don’t support that, we want to promote our customs and our culture. We don’t want photocopied customs being sprayed all over the place. We are Duna, and we must not diverge from this
Members of the National Parliament

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 2007 general election.
Electorate     Previous member (party)     2007 winner (party)
Hela Provincial         Anderson Agiru (URP) [6] (pro tem as member for Southern Highlands Provincial)
Komo-Margarima Open     Balus Libe (PLP)     Francis Potape (NGP) [7]
Koroba-Lake Kopiago Open     John Kekeno (PAP)     Philip Undialu (THE) [8]
Tari Open     Tom Tomiape (RDP)     James Marape (NA) [8]

    John Pangkatana (2012-04-26). "PM to light up Tari township". Post-Courier Online. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
    "Southern Highlands Province" (PDF). The National Research Institute. March 2010. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
    Gorethy Kenneth (2012-05-17). "Population of PNG is more than 7 million". Post-Courier Online. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
    "Hela, Jiwaka declared". The National (Papua New Guinea). 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
    National Statistical Office of Papua New Guinea
    "Court stops WHP counting". Post Courier Online. 6 August 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
    "Mulungu is new MP for Margarima". The National. Retrieved 31 July 2007.
    "95 candidates declared". The National. Retrieved 2007-07-30.


Papua New Guinea Provinces of Papua New Guinea

    Chimbu (Simbu)
    Eastern Highlands
    East New Britain
    East Sepik
    Milne Bay
    New Ireland
    Oro (Northern)
    Sandaun (West Sepik)
    Southern Highlands
    Western Highlands
    West New Britain

    National Capital District (Port Moresby)