Nissan - Orientation

Identification. The Nissan Islanders live on Nissan Atoll and Pinipel Atoll, which together form the Nissan or Green Island Group in the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea.

Location. Nissan lies at 154°10′ E and 4°27′ S. Located 64 kilometers northwest of Buka and 110 kilometers east of New Ireland, Nissan links the Bismarck Archipelago to the Solomon Islands. Nissan Atoll is elliptically shaped, measuring 15 kilometers on its longitudinal axis with a maximum width of 7 kilometers. A land rim, nowhere wider than 2 kilometers and broken by three passages on the northwest side, encloses a large, picturesque lagoon. Two and a half kilometers to the northwest of Nissan, Pinipel—locally known as "Pinipir" (the name used in this discussion)—consists of a narrow island less than 10 kilometers long and a tiny uninhabited islet. The islands have a wet tropical climate with a year-round average daily temperature in the 20s. Seasonal monsoon and trade winds visit Nissan, and there is considerable rain (320 centimeters in 1971).

Demography. Early European visitors to Nissan estimated the population to be 1,500 or less. A 1940 census estimated the population at 1,427. In 1971, Nissan had a population of 3,094 (including absentees): 2,551 on Nissan Atoll and 543 on Pinipir. Almost half of these people were born after 1955, the population having doubled since World War II.

Linguistic Affiliation. Islanders speak a Non-Austronesian language including two major dialects, spoken respectively on Nissan Atoll and Pinipir; linguistically, Nissan is closest to Buka. Islanders also speak Melanesian Pidgin (Neo-Melanesian).

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