Port Moresby

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Port Moresby

Pot Mosbi
Port Moresby Town2 Mschlauch.jpg
Downtown Port Moresby
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Papua New Guinea location map Topographic.png
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Port Moresby
Location within Papua New Guinea
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Port Moresby
Port Moresby (Oceania)
Coordinates: 9°28′44″S147°08′58″E / 9.47889°S 147.14944°E / -9.47889; 147.14944 Coordinates: 9°28′44″S147°08′58″E / 9.47889°S 147.14944°E / -9.47889; 147.14944
Country Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea
Division National Capital District
  Governor Powes Parkop (2007-)
  Total240 km2 (90 sq mi)
35 m (115 ft)
 (2011 census)
  Density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
   Main languages Motu, Tok Pisin, English
Time zone UTC+10 (AEST)
Postal code
Website www.ncdc.gov.pg

Port Moresby ( /ˈmɔːrzbi/ ; Tok Pisin: Pot Mosbi), also referred to as Pom City or simply Moresby, is the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea and the largest city in the South Pacific outside of Australia and New Zealand. It is located on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, on the south-western coast of the Papuan Peninsula of the island of New Guinea. The city emerged as a trade centre in the second half of the 19th century. During World War II it was a prime objective for conquest by the Imperial Japanese forces during 194243 as a staging point and air base to cut off Australia from Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Tok Pisin is a creole language spoken throughout Papua New Guinea. It is an official language of Papua New Guinea and the most widely used language in the country. However, in parts of Western, Gulf, Central, Oro Province and Milne Bay Provinces, the use of Tok Pisin has a shorter history, and is less universal, especially among older people. While it likely developed as a trade pidgin, Tok Pisin has become a distinct language in its own right. It is often referred to by Anglophones as "New Guinea Pidgin" or "Pidgin English".

Papua New Guinea constitutional monarchy in Oceania

Papua New Guinea, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is a country in Oceania that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.


In 2000 it had a population of 254,158. [1] As of 2011, it had a population of 364,145, giving it an annual growth rate of 2.1% over a nine-year period. [2] The place where the city was founded has been inhabited by the Motu-Koitabu people for centuries. The first Briton to see it was Captain John Moresby in 1873. It was named in honour of his father, Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby.

John Moresby British naval officer

Rear Admiral John Moresby was a British Naval Officer who explored the coast of New Guinea and was the first European to discover the site of Port Moresby.

Fairfax Moresby Royal Navy admiral

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Fairfax Moresby GCB was a Royal Navy officer. As a junior officer he took part in the unsuccessful expedition to capture Ferrol in Spain during the French Revolutionary Wars. He later saw action during the blockade of Brest during the Napoleonic Wars before becoming commanding officer of a sloop which was sent to the Aegean Sea to defend the population of Malta from pirates; the grateful people presented him with a sword. He then sailed to the Adriatic Sea where he led a naval brigade providing artillery support to the Austrian forces during the siege of Trieste. He went on to be senior naval officer at the Cape of Good Hope and then senior officer at Mauritius, with orders to suppress the slave trade: he concluded the Moresby Treaty with Seyyid Said, the imam of Muscat restricting the scope of local slave trading and conferring on English warships the right of searching and seizing local vessels.

Although Port Moresby is surrounded by Central Province, of which it is also the capital, it is not part of that province, but forms the National Capital District.

Central Province (Papua New Guinea) Place in Papua New Guinea

Central Province is a province in Papua New Guinea located on the southern coast of the country. It has a population of 237,016 people and is 29,998 square kilometres (11,582 sq mi) in size. The seat of government of Central Province, which is located within the National Capital District outside the province, is the Port Moresby suburb of Konedobu. On 9 October 2007, the Central Province government announced plans to build a new provincial capital city at Bautama, which lies within Central Province near Port Moresby, although there has been little progress in constructing it.

Port Moresby hosted the APEC summit in November 2018, [3] however there were concerns about security given the capital's reputation for violent crime. [3]


A Hiri expedition arriving in Port Moresby in the 1990s A Hiri expedition in the 1990s.jpg
A Hiri expedition arriving in Port Moresby in the 1990s

Before colonisation

The Motuan people of the area now known as Port Moresby traded their pots for sago, other food and canoe logs, sailing from Hanuabada and other villages built on stilts above the waters of the bay. Their language, Motu, was the basis of Hiri Motu, an official language of Papua New Guinea. It has been steadily in decline since the 1960s when Tok Pisin (till then confined to the northern side of the former border between Papua, British New Guinea until 1905, and New Guinea, which was German New Guinea until 1914) began to grow in popularity.

Sago starch extracted from tropical palm stems

Sago is a starch extracted from the spongy centre, or pith, of various tropical palm stems, especially that of Metroxylon sagu. It is a major staple food for the lowland peoples of New Guinea and the Moluccas, where it is called saksak, rabia and sagu. The largest supply of sago comes from Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. Large quantities of sago are sent to Europe and North America for cooking purposes. It is traditionally cooked and eaten in various forms, such as rolled into balls, mixed with boiling water to form a glue-like paste (papeda), or as a pancake. Sago is often produced commercially in the form of "pearls". Sago pearls can be boiled with water or milk and sugar to make a sweet sago pudding. Sago pearls are similar in appearance to the pearled starches of other origin, e.g. cassava starch (tapioca) and potato starch, and they may be used interchangeably in some dishes.

Hanuabada Place in NCD, Papua New Guinea

Hanuabada is a coastal village in Papua New Guinea located on the outskirts of the nation's capital, Port Moresby. It is the biggest Village in the Motuan Tribe, It is known commonly amongst the Locals as HB

Motu is one of many Central Papuan Tip languages and is spoken by the Motuans, native inhabitants of Papua New Guinea. It is commonly used today in the region, particularly around the capital, Port Moresby.

The Hiri expeditions were large scale. As many as 20 multi-hulled canoes or lakatoi, crewed by some 600 men, carried about 20,000 clay pots on each journey. To the Motuans, the Hiri was an economic enterprise and it confirmed their tribal identity through its long and dangerous voyages.[ citation needed ]

Hiri is the name for the traditional trade voyages that formed an important part of the culture of the Motu people of Papua New Guinea.


Lakatoi are double-hulled sailing watercraft of Papua New Guinea. They are named in the Motu language and traditionally used in the Hiri trade cycle.


Queensland raises the British flag at Port Moresby in 1883 British flag raised on new guinea annexed by queensland.jpg
Queensland raises the British flag at Port Moresby in 1883
Government House in Port Moresby--still used today though substantially enlarged and altered--, at the beginning of 20th century. Government House Port Moresby early 1900s.jpg
Government House in Port Moresby—still used today though substantially enlarged and altered—, at the beginning of 20th century.

There was already an important trade centre on the site of Port Moresby when the English Captain John Moresby of HMS Basilisk first visited it. He sailed through the Coral Sea at the eastern end of New Guinea, saw three previously unknown islands, and landed there. At 10 a.m. on 20 February 1873, he claimed the land for Britain and named it after his father, Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby. He called the inner reach "Fairfax Harbour" and the other Port Moresby.[ citation needed ]

In 1883 Queensland attempted to annex the south-eastern corner of the New Guinea Island (subsequently known as Papua), fearing that Germany would take control of the entire eastern half of the island. British authorities refused to approve the annexation following the German annexation of New Guinea in 1884, but four years later it established a protectorate over Papua as British New Guinea.

In 1905 the recently federated Australian government passed the Papua Act which came into effect in 1906. The act transferred Papua, with Port Moreseby as its capital, to direct Australian rule. From then until 1941 Port Moresby grew slowly. The main growth was on the peninsula, where port facilities and other services were gradually improved. The first butcher's shop and grocery opened in 1909, [4] electricity was introduced in 1925, [5] and piped water supply provided in 1941. [6]

Douglas Street, Port Moresby: Old hotel lot, vacant for 30 years, and new building behind it. Douglas Street Port Moresby.jpg
Douglas Street, Port Moresby: Old hotel lot, vacant for 30 years, and new building behind it.

World War II and after

The long-closed Burns Philp department store, in the mid-1990s having been used as a private school building The long-closed Burns Philp department store.jpg
The long-closed Burns Philp department store, in the mid-1990s having been used as a private school building

During World War II, some Papuan men enlisted in the Papua Infantry Battalion and others as carriers over trails and rough terrains (porters) as supply support to Allied and Japanese armies during long jungle marches. [7] Historian William Manchester makes it plain in his biography of General Douglas MacArthur, American Caesar , that acting as porters was well down the natives' list of acceptable voluntary activities and that they would fade away without great inducements. [8] Many Papuan residents of Port Moresby either returned to their family villages or were evacuated to camps when the threat of Japanese invasion loomed. The city became, by September 1942, home to an important Allied complex of bases and thousands of troops were eventually stationed in the area or more often, staged through it, as it was the last Allied bastion on the island [9] [10] and, conversely, a key staging and jumping off point as the Allies began conducting offensive warfare themselves, pushing back the Japanese advances. [11]

The longstanding downtown United Church with next door office building in 2013 were replaced with one building, the church on the ground floor. Site of POM downtown UC being redeveloped.jpg
The longstanding downtown United Church with next door office building in 2013 were replaced with one building, the church on the ground floor.
Downtown POM Downtown.jpg

In 1945, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea was formed when Papua and the former German New Guinea, which had been administered by Australia since 1918, were amalgamated under a single Australian administration though several laws remained in two territories and remain so, which can be complicating with provinces sitting on two sides of the otherwise extinct boundary. Port Moresby became the capital of the new combined territory and a focal point for the expansion of public services.


Front side of the parliament building Port Moresby parliament building front, by Steve Shattuck.jpg
Front side of the parliament building

In September 1975, Papua New Guinea became an independent country with Port Moresby as its capital city. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, represented the Queen of Papua New Guinea at the celebrations. [12] New government, intellectual and cultural buildings were constructed in the suburb of Waigani to supplement and replace those of downtown Port Moresby. They included those for government departments, including a National Parliament Building, which was opened in 1984 by Prince Charles and blends traditional design with modern building technology. [12]

The Papua New Guinea National Museum and National Library are in Waigani. A mansion was built in Port Moresby just west of the old legislative building but the last pre-independence chief minister and first prime minister of the sovereign state declared it not nearly grand enough; it was made the residence of Australian high commissioners and a mansion suitable to Somare's demands was built in Waigani.

Several of the government buildings have been abandoned due to long-term neglect. Chief amongst these are Marea Haus (known to most locals as the "Pineapple Building") and the Central Government Offices. Nearby buildings, such as Morauta Haus and Vulupindi Haus, are starting to show significant signs of decay due to a lack of maintenance.[ citation needed ] However, widespread restoration rather than demolition of long-disused office buildings has been highly active since the first decade of the 21st century. The legislative building before independence and the first parliament building is long-gone but the old court house in town Port Moresby remains, bearing its pre-independence label with its previous title.

The population of the Port Moresby area expanded rapidly after independence. In 1980, the census return registered a population of 120,000; by 1990, this had increased to 195,000. [13]


Moresby has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen: Aw) with relatively constant temperatures throughout the year. Port Moresby’s average yearly rainfall is just over 1,000 millimetres or 39.37 inches, making it the driest place in New Guinea.

The wet season starts in December and ends in May; the dry season covers the remaining six months .This is due to the south easterly trade winds running parallel to the coast, and the city being surrounded by high mountains. The average high temperatures range from 28 to 32 °C (82.4 to 89.6 °F) depending on time of year, while the average low temperature shows very little seasonal variation, hovering around the 23 °C (73.4 °F) mark. It tends to be slightly cooler in the city during the dry season.

Climate data for Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Record high °C (°F)36.2
Average high °C (°F)32.1
Daily mean °C (°F)27.4
Average low °C (°F)23.7
Record low °C (°F)20.4
Average rainfall mm (inches)192.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)18161811964455612114
Average relative humidity (%)79818182817977767676757778
Mean monthly sunshine hours 1821581842002112002032222132312432162,463
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization [14]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes, mean temperature, humidity and sun) [15] [16] [lower-alpha 1]

District, LLGs and suburbs

Urban sustainability analysis of the greater urban area of the city, using the Circles of Sustainability method of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme. Port Moresby Profile, Level 2, 2013.jpg
Urban sustainability analysis of the greater urban area of the city, using the Circles of Sustainability method of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme.
Walter Bay from hills immediately east of downtown Port Moresby Walter Bay from hills.jpg
Walter Bay from hills immediately east of downtown Port Moresby
Ela Beach Ela Beach Port Moresby.JPG
Ela Beach
Coastal housing at Hanuabada in Port Moresby Poor coastal housing at Hanuabada in Port Moresby1.jpg
Coastal housing at Hanuabada in Port Moresby

Port Moresby is the single district of the National Capital District, which contains three Local Level Government (LLG) areas. For census purposes, the LLG areas are subdivided into wards and those into census units. [17]

DistrictDistrict CapitalLLG Name
National Capital District Port Moresby Moresby North-East
Moresby North-West
Moresby South

Port Moresby refers to both the urbanised area of the National Capital District and more specifically to the main business area, known locally as "Town".

Since the 1990s the original town centre has ceased to have restaurants and night life, though it is very successful and prosperous looking as an office centre. The affluent housing region north of downtown along and up from the coast remains so, though there are now few modest residential houses, most of which are replaced with substantial mansions and apartment buildings.

The suburb of Boroko, once the commercial heart of Port Moresby, is very idle, with many former shopping buildings now empty; the west is full of high rises, shopping centres and affluent housing. Other neighbourhoods of Port Moresby include Koki, with its popular fresh produce market, Newtown, Konedobu, Kaevaga, Badili, Gabutu, Kila Kila, Matirogo, Three Mile, Kaugere, Sabama, Korobosea, Four Mile, Hohola, Hohola North, Boroko, Gordons, Gordons North, Erima, Saraga, Waigani, Morata and Gerehu. There are villages like Hanuabada, the largest in Papua New Guinea.

Parts of Port Moresby have security problems with house break-ins being the main problem. Fences topped with razor wire, security lighting, alarm systems, guard dogs, locked gates and walls are considered necessary around houses and apartment buildings. Carjacking is now rife in the capital and stopping at the few functional traffic lights is not recommended after dark when marauding gangs gather at the intersection(s). Security guards are widely employed as the police force is under resourced and weakened by internal corruption. Travel by foot is not recommended in and about the city and suburbs due continuing breakdown in law and order. The UN Global Compact Cities Programme, using a method called Circles of Sustainability has assessed the urban security of Port Moresby as 'critical'. [18]


Jacksons International Airport, looking east across the airstrip. Port Moresby Airport looking west.jpg
Jacksons International Airport, looking east across the airstrip.

Port Moresby is served within the city by buses and privately owned taxis. Flights are vital for transport about the country, highways not being widely available. Port Moresby is served by Jacksons International Airport, the biggest international airport and Papua New Guinea Defence Force Air Wing base in the country. Air Niugini and Airlines PNG conduct regular domestic and international services from the airport, while Virgin Australia and Qantas fly to Brisbane. Jacksons has international flights to Brisbane, Cairns, Cebu, Sydney, Honiara, Nadi, Port Vila, Manila, Bali (Denpasar), Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

As the national highway system is not fully linked, there are many internal flights to other towns, such as Lae and Madang, which have no direct road connection to Port Moresby.


Port Moresby, seen from the International Space Station PortMoresbyFromTheISS.jpg
Port Moresby, seen from the International Space Station

Papua New Guinea is rich in natural resources, which account for two thirds of their export earnings. Though PNG is filled with resources, the lack of development led foreign countries to take over some sites. Continuing foreign demand for PNG's resources led the United States to set up an oil company that began to export in 2004. This was the largest project in PNG's history. The project increased the potential to triple PNG's export revenue. Papua New Guinea gained much assistance from Australia and was offered two hundred million dollars a year in aid, and many countries such as Singapore, Japan and China have also played a great part in PNG's industry business. [19] The decision to host the 2018 APEC meeting, [20] bringing a large number of world leaders to Port Moresby, indicates the speed with which Port Moresby is entering the world economy.

In recent years Port Moresby has been economically booming. There has been substantial building of housing, office towers, shopping malls and commercial establishments over much of it. The waterfront area has been completely redeveloped with apartments, restaurants and shopping centres. Sporting facilities were upgraded significantly for the 2015 South Pacific Games, and further development is took place in preparation for the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup. [21]

Airlines PNG has its head office on the grounds of Jacksons International Airport. [22] The Jacksons International Airport was redeveloped and is to be further developed in time for the APEC Heads of Government meeting in 2018.


The 1969 South Pacific Games, held from 13–23 August 1969 at Port Moresby, were the third South Pacific Games to be held. A total of 1,150 athletes participated. [23]

The 1991 South Pacific Games held from 7–21 September 1991 at Port Moresby and along Lae were the ninth South Pacific Games to be held. This was the first time that events at one games had been held in two cities. The decision to do so was to allow both locations to benefit from the construction of new facilities. [24]

Cricket PNG is the official governing body of the sport of cricket in Papua New Guinea. Its current headquarters is in Port Moresby. Cricket PNG is Papua New Guinea's representative at the International Cricket Council and is an associate member and has been a member of that body since 1973. It is also a member of the East Asia-Pacific Cricket Council. [25] [26]

2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby

The 2015 Pacific Games was held in Port Moresby from 4 to 18 July 2015. [27] In September 2009, the Pacific Games Council, at its meeting coinciding with the 2009 Pacific Mini Games, elected Port Moresby as the host of the 2015 Games. The final vote was 25-22 in favor of Port Moresby over Tonga to host. [28]

The 2015 Pacific Games involved 24 different countries from the pacific regions with 28 different sports events including; basketball, soccer, touch rugby, table tennis, weight-lifting, triathlon, swimming, cricket, squash, shooting, sailing, va'a, rugby 7s, power-lifting, rugby league 9s, volleyball, beach-volleyball, athletics, hockey, netball, karate, lawn bowls, body building, boxing, softball, taekwondo, golf and canoeing. Papua New Guinea ranked first with the most medals followed by New Caledonia and Tahiti. [29]

The opening ceremony took place on the 4th of July 2015 involving various of traditional dances. [30] The closing ceremony involved singers such as J Boog, Fiji, O-Shen and George Mamua Telek. [31]

Sports venues

The venue has hosted the PNG national side since 1975 and has previously hosted Rugby League World Cup matches in 1986 and 1990. It is also home of the Hunters, the local Papua New Guinea team who play in the Intrust Super Cup which is the Queensland NRL tournament. The National Football Stadium features a permanent main grandstand with seating for 3,000 including a roof and corporate facilities while temporary stands around the ground boost the seating capacity. There are also lights and a video screen.


International schools

The International Education Agency provides private education via six international schools; Korobosea International School, Boroko International School, Ela Murray International School, Gordon International School, Port Moresby International School and IEA TAFE college. There are approximately three hundred staff. [39]

The Port Moresby International School (POMIS) has been operating since the 1950s. It is an International Education Agency school and is the premier international high school in Port Moresby. It enrolls nearly 1000 students from Grades 7 to 12. [40]

Port Moresby Japanese Language School (ポート・モレスビー補習授業校 Pōto Moresubī Hoshū Jugyō Kō) was a supplementary Japanese school in the city. [41] It closed in August 2009. [42]

Twin towns

Associated towns

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  20. "APECPNG2018.ORG". www.apecpng2018.org. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  21. FIFA.com. "FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 - FIFA.com". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  22. "APNG Contacts Archived 2009-09-13 at the Wayback Machine ." Airlines PNG. Retrieved on 26 May 2010.
  23. 1 2 Hawthorne, Stuart (2011). Taim Bipo. Boolarong Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN   978-1-876344962 . Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  24. Wightman, Brian (1992). "Ninth South Pacific Games in Port Moresby" (PDF 0.4 MB). Olympic Information Cente. pp. 50–53. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
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  26. cricketpng
  27. "Pacific Games dates set" Archived 2012-09-11 at Archive.today , Post-Courier, 18 April 2012
  28. PNG2015 - Papua New Guinea Wins, published by the Pacific Games Council, on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
  29. "The Pacific Games 2015 – Port Moresby - The Pacific Games 2015 – Port Moresby". www.portmoresby2015.com. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
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  31. "Port Moresby says goodbye to an 'outstanding' Pacific Games - The Pacific Games 2015 – Port Moresby". www.portmoresby2015.com. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
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  33. Amini Park at CricketArchive
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  36. Stadium information
  37. Taim Bipo
  38. Hubert Murray stadium work on schedule
  39. "IEANet". www.ieanet.net. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  40. West, Christopher. "Port Moresby International School" (PDF). Port Moresby International School. iea.net. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  41. "大洋州の補習授業校一覧" (). MEXT. February 13, 2002. Retrieved on April 7, 2015. "ポートモレスビー Port Moresby Japanese Language School c/o Embassy of Japan P.O. Box 1040 Port Moresby P.N.G."
  42. "関係機関へのリンク" (Archive). The Japan School of Doha. Retrieved on March 31, 2015. "ポート・モレスビー補習授業校(2009年8月休校)" and "(ニューメキシコ)アルバカーキ補習授業校(休校)" and "(プエルトリコ)プエルトリコ補習授業校(2006年3月閉校)"


  1. Station ID for Port Moresby is 92035 Use this station ID to locate the sunshine duration

Further reading