Wantoat - Orientation

Identification. Like many ethnic groups in Papua New Guinea the people of the Wantoat Valley had no need to name themselves. They knew their territorial boundaries and who were their enemies. Expatriates named them after their principal locality, the valley of the Wantoat River, a tributary of the Leron River which flows into the Markham River.

Location. The people live along the rugged, southern foothills of the Finisterre Mountains in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea, around 6° S and 146°30′ E at altitudes from 360 to 1,800 meters. As the altitude increases the climate becomes more temperate.

Demography. In 1980 the population was estimated at 5,500 for the Central dialect, 1,500 for Awara, and 300 for Wapu.

Linguistic Affiliation. The language is a member of the Wantoat Family, Finisterre-Huon Stock, Trans-New Guinea Phylum of Papuan languages. It has three dialects: the Central; the Awara in the west; and the Wapu in the south.

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