Sandaun Province

Sandaun Province (formerly West Sepik Province) is the northwesternmost mainland province of Papua New Guinea. It covers an area of 35,920 km2 (13868 m2) and has a population of 248,411 (2011 census). The capital is Vanimo. In July 1998 the area surrounding the town Aitape was hit by an enormous tsunami caused by a Magnitude 7.0 earthquake which killed over 2,000 people. The five villages along the west coast of Vanimo towards the International Border are namely; Lido, Waromo, Yako, Musu and Wutung.

Sandaun Province
Sandaun Provins (Tok Pisin)
West Sepik Province
Sandaun Province in Papua New Guinea
Coordinates: 3°40′S 141°30′E
CountryPapua New Guinea
  • Aitape-Lumi District
  • Telefomin District
  • Nuku District
  • Vanimo-Green River District
  GovernorTony Wouwou (2018-Present)
  Total35,820 km2 (13,830 sq mi)
 (2011 census)
  Density6.9/km2 (18/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+10 (AEST)
HDI (2018)0.518[1]
low · 17th of 22


Sandaun is a Tok Pisin word derived from English "sun down," since the province is located in the west of the country, where the sun sets.[2] The province was formerly named West Sepik Province, for the Sepik River that flows through the province and forms part of the province's southern border.

Physical Geography

The Sandaun Province has beaches along the northern coast, as well as mountainous areas throughout the province, primarily in the southern area of the province.[3] Several rivers flow throughout the province, most notable the Sepik River. The area, like much of Papua New Guinea, is prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.

Districts and LLGs

There are four 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.[4][5][6]

DistrictDistrict CapitalLLG Name
Aitape-Lumi District Aitape East Aitape Rural
East Wapei Rural
West Aitape Rural
West Wapei Rural
Nuku District Nuku Mawase Rural (Nuku)
Palmai Rural
Yangkok Rural
Maimai Wanwan Rural
Telefomin District Telefomin Namea Rural
Oksapmin Rural
Telefomin Rural
Yapsie Rural
Vanimo-Green River District Vanimo Amanab Rural
Bewani-Wutung-Onei Rural
Green River Rural
Vanimo Urban
Walsa Rural

Provincial leaders

The province was governed by a decentralised provincial administration, headed by a Premier, from 1978 to 1995. Following reforms taking effect that year, 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.[7][8]

Premiers (1978–1995)

Premier Term
Jacob Talis1978–1980
Adam Amod1980–1982
Andrew Komboni1982–1984
Paul Langro1984–1987
provincial government suspended1987–1988
Egbert Yalu1988–1992
Aloitch Peien1993–1995

Governors (1995–present)

Governor Term
John Tekwie1995–2000
Robert Sakias2000–2002
Carlos Yuni2002–2007
Simon Solo2007–2012
Amkat Mai2012–2017
Tony Wouwou2017–present

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.

Electorate Member
West Sepik ProvincialTony Wouwou
Aitape-Lumi OpenAnderson Mise
Nuku OpenJoe Sungi
Telefomin OpenSolan Mirisim
Vanimo-Green River OpenBelden Namah


  1. "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  2. "Papua New Guinea Provinces". Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  3. "Sandaun Province · Papua New Guinea". Sandaun Province · Papua New Guinea. Retrieved 2022-11-10.
  4. "National Statistical Office of Papua New Guinea". Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  5. "Final Figures". 2011 National Population and Housing Census: Ward Population Profile. Port Moresby: National Statistical Office, Papua New Guinea. 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  6. "Census Figures by Wards - Momase Region". 2011 National Population and Housing Census: Ward Population Profile. Port Moresby: National Statistical Office, Papua New Guinea. 2014. Archived from the original on 2019-05-19. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  7. 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.
  8. "Provinces". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
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