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Tolai tribe - Papua New Guinea

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Tolai tribe - Papua New Guinea — Fotopedia
East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea.
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Wikipedia Article
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East New Britain Province

East New Britain is a province of Papua New Guinea, consisting of the north-eastern part of the island of New Britain and the Duke of York Islands. The capital of the province is Kokopo, not far from the old capital of Rabaul, which was largely destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 1994. East New Britain covers a total land area of 15,816 square kilometres (6,107 sq mi), and the province's population was reported as 220,133 in the 2000 census, rising to 328,369 in the 2011 count. Provincial coastal waters extend over an area of 104,000 square metres (26 acres).

There are sixteen Austronesian languages spoken in the province, of which Kuanua, spoken by the Tolai on the Gazelle Peninsula is the most widely spoken.

East New Britain has a dual economy: a cash economy operates side by side with the subsistence-farming sector. The main crops produced for export are cocoa and copra. Tourism continues to be an increasingly important sector of the provincial economy.


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Tolai people

The Tolai are the indigenous people of the Gazelle Peninsula and the Duke of York Islands of East New Britain in the New Guinea Islands region of Papua New Guinea. They are ethnically close kin to the peoples of adjacent New Ireland and are thought to have migrated to the Gazelle Peninsula in relatively recent times, displacing the Baining people who were driven westwards.

The majority of Tolais speak Kuanua as their first language (~100,000). Two other languages are spoken as first languages: Minigir and Bilur, each with approximately 2,000 speakers.

The Tolais almost universally define themselves as Christian and are predominantly Roman Catholic and United Church. Christianity was introduced to the island when Methodist ministers and teachers from Fiji arrived in the New Guinea islands region in 1875. However, in 1878 when some of the tribespeople ate four of the missionaries, the Englishman who led the missionaries, George Brown, directed and took part in a punitive expedition that resulted in a number of Tolais being killed and several villages burnt down.