The creation of two new provinces, Hela and Jiwaka, in 2012 will be remembered as a great event in the political history of Papua New Guinea. However, like all great events it had many false starts and some near fatal collisions. The period from 2010 to 2012 held exciting times for Papua New Guinea. There was an unprecedented political impasse between Sir Michael Somare and Hon Peter O’Neill, attempts were made to remove provincial electorates and Exxon Mobil was preparing to invest heavily in a gas pipeline and processing plant. This discussion paper will attempt to provide some insight into some of these events and consider why after 36 years the dreams of the Hela and Jiwaka people were finally fulfilled.
Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU 2017