Ningil in Papua New Guinea

The Ningil have only been reported in Papua New Guinea
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Ningil people are an indigenous tribe of northwest Papua New Guinea, living in the Western Province of the country. Their history dates back to pre-colonial times when they lived in small, self-sufficient communities.

The Ningil speak their own language of Ningli. Some Audio Recordings are available in Ningli. About one half of the Ningil speak Tok Pisin, a major trade language of PNG. This language allows the Ningil to communicate with those outside their villages. A Bible translation into Ningil is needed.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Ningil people's lifestyle is centered around subsistence farming and fishing. They grow crops such as sweet potatoes, taro and yams, which they use to feed themselves and their families. They also hunt and fish. These activities provide them with additional sources of food. The Ningil people are skilled fishermen; they use traditional fishing tools such as nets and spears.

In addition to their subsistence activities, the Ningil people have a strong tradition of craft-making. They create intricate baskets, mats and carvings from materials such as bamboo, sago and wood. These crafts are often sold or traded with neighboring villages and provide the Ningil people with additional sources of income. With their income the Ningil are able to buy things like metal tools.

The Ningil live in an isolated region. There are no roads to the provincial capital of Vanimo. To trade their products the Ningil must travel for hours by foot or canoe.

The Ningil people have a colorful history that has been passed down through generations in the form of oral traditions. They have stories and legends that explain the origins of their people and their connection to the land. These stories also tell of the struggles and triumphs of their ancestors.

The life expectancy of the Nigil people is relatively low. It takes hours to reach clinics offer modern medicine. Some Ningil children die of preventable diseases.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Over one third of the Ningil claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Their Christianity is mixed with a belief in animism. The majority of the people continue to practice folk religion and ancestor veneration. The Ningil believe that the natural world is full of spirits and deities. They believe that their ancestors watch over them and protect them from harm. The natural spirits and the ancestral spirits must be appeased by rituals and offerings. The Ningil live in fear of offending the spirits.

What Are Their Needs?

The Ningil would greatly benefit by access to modern medicine. Solar panels could bring them electricity. The Ningil need schools to educate their children. Most of all, the Nigil need to hear and believe the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Bible soon becomes available in Ningil.

Pray the Lord raises up Ningil pastors who know and can teach the word of God.

Pray the Lord sends medical teams to help the Ningil.

Pray that schools are established among the Ningil.

Scripture Prayers for the Ningil in Papua New Guinea.


The National Research Institute 2010, Papua New Guinea District and Provincial Profiles, link here.

National Economic & Fiscal Commission 2014, Go Long Ples Reducing inequality in education funding, A Report by the National Economic & Fiscal Commission

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Ningil
People Name in Country Ningil
Alternate Names
Population this Country 1,900
Population all Countries 1,900
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 4
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 13404
ROP3 Code 107334
ROP25 Code 306102
ROP25 Name Ningil
Country Papua New Guinea
Region Australia and Pacific
Continent Australia
10/40 Window No
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Sandaun province.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Papua New Guinea
Region Australia and Pacific
Continent Australia
10/40 Window No
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Sandaun province..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 8.00 %)
35.00 %
Ethnic Religions
65.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Ningil (1,900 speakers)
Language Code niz   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Ningil (1,900 speakers)
Language Code niz   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Ningil

Primary Language:  Ningil

Bible Translation Status:  Translation Needed

Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

Joshua Project logo    Joshua Project    Copyright © 2024