27 Responses

  1. Jordi Vidal
    Jordi Vidal October 21, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Hello everyone;
    My name’s Jordi I’m Spanish and I’m going to be relocated to PNG in January 2017. My employer is sending me to Kokopo. I’ve been living in China for the last 20 years so I am not new in the expat life but I would like to know what is it like in Kokopo and if some of you guys can give me some tips on do’s and don’ts.


    1. Obartlet
      Obartlet October 24, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Jordi,

      I am PNGn but from another part of the country. I have just completed a three year assignment in kokopo. You are in for the best, kokopo is the best town in PNG, it has most of what we would consider as basic services and among if not the safest. It is a beautiful par of the world and your only main challenge would be the earth tremours and occaisonally earth quakes. Most or all the expats that visit kokopo always want to return so I will not be surprised that you will too.

      I can provide many other details but I should leave the rest for you to pleasntly surprise ypurself.

  2. JP
    JP August 12, 2016 at 3:08 am

    I’m 9% body fat, black belt in TKD, have 1000+ hours small arms experience, a photographic memory and I can fix electronics – and I don’t remotely feel like I have the skills to survive in Port Moresby. The climate, diving and wildlife look amazing but it just isn’t worth hiding behind barbed wire with guns hoping to not get dismembered. No doubt there are a lot of nice Melanesians but until “raskols” are dealt with, POM is never going to be livable.

  3. Jake
    Jake August 8, 2016 at 12:58 am

    Did you people read the same story that I did? Are you intentionally being obtuse to defend the place where you work (but have the luxury to eventually leave). Carmen wrote: “We have received a range of security devices that we carry around and keep in the car, we have adjusted our driving style, we use an armed escort for trips in the dark or into unknown areas, and we do not walk in public areas. In addition, we avoid certain areas within Port Moresby altogether and on the few occasions that we have travelled out of town, we have done so in a convoy of many cars. Our house also has several security features, in addition to its location in a secure compound.”

    This sounds like an absolute nightmare and to compare this situation to ANYTHING encountered in the U.S. or Australia, as many of you did, is intellectually and otherwise dishonest.

    1. Elizabeth Morgan
      Elizabeth Morgan August 8, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Jake – we read the same article! We responded differently to you – simple as that – Port Moresby is far from a nightmare as we all noted – and that was exactly the point Carmen was making. Not sure whether you live there or whether it’s your home – but it was mine for 7 years and I have ongoing short term visits. Yes there are constraints and yes we can leave. But some of us really love Port Moresby despite the constraints. And for the record – Victoria alone has had over 170 car jackings in the past 12 months and many armed robberies. Violent crime happens in my home city every day. And I’m afraid I disagree strongly with you – to pretend that my country (or the US – with massive and repeated death tolls from domestic gun violence) is without risks to personal safety is dishonest, to constantly denigrate someone else’s home city is neither helpful nor respectful. That post was written 2 years ago – Port Moresby is even more vibrant now – in my view. You may see it differently and that’s fine. It may be your home and you may have very good reasons for being outraged. Or you may be judging something quite wrongly.

  4. Kimani
    Kimani June 27, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you Carman this is an excellent piece of writing, pure talent and experience.

  5. James Macpherson
    James Macpherson June 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Dear Carmen,

    thank you for the very balanced presentation and for the equally balanced discussion which followed it.

    I would very much enjoy joining the Bushwalking Club. are you able to give contact persons and telephone numbers or emails? Or whether the next bushwalk is: June 26th or July 4th.

    Jim Macpherson


  6. Maalini
    Maalini May 23, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Carmen,

    Thanks you so much for sharing many information about PNG and Port Moresby.


  7. PMMagury
    PMMagury April 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you Carmen for your honest view about Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea in general.

    Carmen is my colleague researcher at the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI). She treats all Papua New Guinean employees at NRI with respect. She mingles and associates herself very well with everyone at NRI. She has time to talk to researchers, ancillary staff and even cleaners. It is a pleasure working with her at NRI.

  8. Stacie
    Stacie March 28, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I agree with you Carmen. I also love PNG. I am a Filipino and went to Port Moresby for a two month vacation as a tourist and I found it very nice. The number one thing that I love is no traffic compared to here in the Philippines. But there’s one thing I would like to know, can a Filipino couple or any expats get married in Port Moresby? And any requirements needed?

  9. Malia
    Malia August 4, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Thank you Carmen for such a relevant article!

    PNG as a nation has so much more to offer than what is perceived by the world!

    1. Ed O Pehara
      Ed O Pehara February 15, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Hi Carmen,
      Thank you for a honest and unbiased write up. When I started reading your post I was fearing the worst already, but the story never went the way I had thought like most stories would end up (Negative). I hope you enjoy your stay in PNG and if you have time, do walk the Kokoda Track, and visit other places around the country, because you will never regret. All the negative stories you hear do happen because the tourists do not respect local authorities and try to do things their own way and get into such mishaps. I have organised trips for tourists from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Townsville, Sydney, Singapore, Cape Town, Brussels and New York besides the local expatriates from Pom, Lae Mt Hagen and Goroka. They have never regretted and I know you will also have the same experience.

  10. Iamo
    Iamo February 18, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Carmen, thank your for positive message about our country. Although there is no much negativity about its law and order problems, there is so much this country has to offer. I guess you will have to live in it to experience the truth about PNG, we are not that bad. I hope your enjoy your stay here and look forward to hearing more of your adventure in PNG. God bless!

  11. Jonathan
    Jonathan February 17, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Thank you Carman… appreciate your excellent piece of writing which demonstrates your worldly experience.

  12. Kenneth Mlelwa
    Kenneth Mlelwa February 13, 2015 at 7:04 am

    I dont know why but I come to love this country so much I hope one day I wll be there either for employment or vacation. I am from Tanzania and thru information from internet and youtube PNG is having a very bad reputation by Western media – its like South Africa, Brazil and America just to mention a few are better places than POM, but this is how western media does when it come to third world countries especially Africa or any other place.

  13. Laufa Haro
    Laufa Haro December 9, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Hi Carmen,

    Great piece of writing! I am sure you will enjoy more of Port Moresby and PNG, its “land of the unexpected” theme. I have had an Israeli, couple of Aussies, couple of German’s come to my humble abode to spend a night or two in the mosquito net and catch the bus 9 route… Or put them on the plane to experience Goroka then bus ride along the Highlands highway or the Madang highway and even doing the banana boat cruise from Alotau to Samarai These were the expatriates who ventured beyond imagination what PNG had in store for them and their love of this beautiful place which is my home, their home! Being able to indulge with you in a coffee the other day was great and we will catch more to do this and that to make you stay memorable!

  14. Lavinia
    Lavinia December 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing Carmen. Enjoy your time in POM.

  15. AJ Lambo
    AJ Lambo November 10, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Carmen, your story is worth reading.

  16. adam
    adam November 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Carmen, thanks for your lovely insights. I agree that PNG gets a very bad wrap because of POM and parts of the Highlands where tribalism is rampant. One forward looking leader is Hon. Anderson Agiru from Southern Highlands. His message is consistent, plain and bold. “You keep fighting tribal wars, then don’t come and ask me for compensation.” I grew up in POM (my Mother tongue is Motu). I’ve been in a lot of places in PNG. Even remote villages in Goroka, and the Gulf and tiny Islands like Malie in New Ireland Province. Life goes on. People in ‘rural’ places have products to sell, fish and game to catch and children to feed. What happens in Port Moresby, or other parts of the country, in a 24 hr cycle, is of no direct significance to them.They look after their land. I’m not bragging, but I had seen most of the world by the time I was 23. I have lived, travelled and worked in a lot of places! Once, in Sardinia, my taxi driver told me that his island was not Lebanon or Damascus! Go figure. Yes, I’ve walked Kokoda, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Amman, Harlem, Cairo, Sofia, and Aiwo in Nauru too. They had their risks. I caught the same bus as Kofi Annan to the UN most mornings from Roosevelt Island,NYC without private security. Thank God, nothing happened. I have used common sense. Well, well, my house got burgled in Suva, but all they got was my Cuban and Pacific CDs and my leather jacket! I lived in “Domain” on Ratu Sukuna Rd, two minutes walk from town. I moved from Fiji to Cairns, Australia. After 5 years, my two cars got stolen outside my yard in the City! Damn, I thought I was in a civilized world. Crime happens everywhere. In Cairns, a guy just dissolved his partner in acid thinking he could get away with intentional murder. Is Cairns still safe and touristic? Yes, yes, Yes.

    I look outside my house in POM in the morning, and see mums and dads taking their children to school, hoping that they get a good education and succeed in life. I wish things could be less expensive and tougher in this city. I now work in PNG (with Carmen), and the one big contrast with PNG and other developing and developed countries is that elsewhere I have lived, ‘you do the crime, you do the time.’ Sadly, in PNG, this is still not evidently so, and the Good Samaritans, that Melanesians are known for, seem too afraid to help others in trouble, because of the psyche they grow up with in this city, and come to accept that it’s the norm, so as to survive another day. But they are there, plentiful, the PNGean that is a proud landowner, hard-working, happy, peaceful and kind. They need to turn the tide, so that the fences and Walls, like the Australian fortress at Konedobu, (Ozcatraz), near to where I grew up with my aunt, with a small wire fence, expat neighbours, a mango tree, a cricket ball, and no crime – can eventually come down. Sadly, I doubt this will happen very soon. Perhaps. Adam

  17. Diane Barr
    Diane Barr November 5, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for writing this positive article about PNG. PNG does suffer from too much negative coverage and those of us who have come to love the country and its people share your enthusiasm and vision for its future. While I acknowledge the many challenges PNG faces, I have no doubt that the resourcefulness of its diverse and resilient population will find culturally appropriate solutions to develop a fair and equitable society.

    1. Clint Woolly
      Clint Woolly November 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Here here Diane! And thank you Carmen for your fair account. As a PNG ples mangi who’s lived in New Zealand and now Australia, I miss home and given the chance would return in a heartbeat. I look forward to reading about the outcomes of your work there. All the best, laikim.

  18. Brad Bailey
    Brad Bailey November 4, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Carmen great article, I would also like to add it is not within the best interests of any of the “Security Agencies” to paint PNG and or Port Moresby as a safe and comfortable location to reside, first of all they would all be out of business if they did, so in effect the worse it appears from the outside the more money they make, why the PNG Govt continues to blame the “Foreign Media” for this is anyone’s guess as from my perspective a person who was born and remains a resident of Port Moresby for the past 52 years the biggest culprit for PNG’s or Port Moresby’s bad name is the resident Security companies as they are the ones who work in tandem with “The foreign risk management” agencies to write up most of this negative rubbish. It is a huge multinational business with many shareholders in the UK, US and of course Australia who receive huge dividends based on PNG’s bad international reputation….I accept Port Moresby has its crime issues not unlike many cities where people are hungry and have little hope, however I have traveled extensively and note there are many places in the US I would not walk after dark nor drive for that matter, so it is in fact all relative.

  19. Elizabeth Morgan
    Elizabeth Morgan November 4, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Dear Carmen – thank you for posting this account of your time in Port Morseby. I too loved Port Morseby and lived there for 7 years until April this year. I worked in the law and justice program so the horror stories always found their way to our in-boxes. I loved the city, the harbor, the people and its vibrancy. Many of my friends felt likewise. My two adult children visited several times and loved POM too, choosing to stay in POM on one visits o they could experience everything POM could offer. I found a local driver and guides who gave them the best time possible. I had a couple of minor incidents during that time but was never hurt. Few expats ever are. The security industry and many expats have a lot to answer for Port Morseby’s image. I learned so much culturally whilst i was there – one of the most lasting was how damaging it is for the people of a nation when other (almost always expats) people write negative stories about their country – whilst benefiting financially themselves. I hated the horror stories – they still incense me. I had my car stolen in Canberra and know of quite a few incidents where friends or family members have been hurt through crimes in Australia. No-one would dare write Australia off as a place to visit. Thank you for writing this and enjoy the rest of your time there.

    1. Jim Cormack
      Jim Cormack November 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

      I lived in Port Moresby for 11 years and had to leave as I was attacked by 3 men who were after my car in my front yard. One had a machete and I lost my left hand when he tried to strike my head with it. I was well known and had many Papua New Guinean friends right up to the ex GG Sir Tore Lokoloko.

      Unfortunately some of these incidents do occur and I was extremely vigilant around my home, travelling at night and while at work. I hold no-one other than the 3 who attacked me responsible for the attack. This is a horror story as it took 14 operations to my left hand over 2 1/2 years before I finally recovered. But to label every negative story as one that would incense you is going a bit far.

      1. Elizabeth Morgan
        Elizabeth Morgan November 5, 2014 at 1:12 am

        I am sorry to hear of your experience Jim – that must have been shocking. However I was not saying at all that every negative story on POM incenses me. But tragic and shocking crimes also happen here in Australia and women and men die here as a result – every day. What incenses me is the single image of PNG and Port Morseby which is perpetuated by a heavily vested interest, security industry, and the media. POM has its dangers and it would be naive to ignore them. What Carmen has done is present an alternative story of the vibrant and beautiful country which is PNG and a balanced account of living in Port Moresby in a way which respects the people whose country it is. It is still true that few expats have the sort of traumatic experience you had. The data does not lie.

        1. Jim Cormack
          Jim Cormack November 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm

          I loved my time in Papua New Guinea. I went prawn trawling on my friends trawler for 11 days in Gulf Of Papua off Kerema. I visited Bougainville in 1980 and helped with a Pidgin Radio broadcast on Radio Kalang. I visited many wonderful places from Vanimo to Rabaul, Mendi, Lae, Mt Hagen and along the Papuan coast.

          The place was truly uplifting for the warmth of the people once you were trusted by Papua New Guineans as a person there to help and not just chase the dollar. I was married while I was there and 3 of my kids were born at POMGH Maternity ward. I am still in touch with a number of my friends there after not being in PNG for 24 years. It really is an amazing place and yes I have seen the worst of it but still hold my time there dearly.

    2. Helina
      Helina November 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you , Carmen for writing this,. As a local born , bred and educated in this beautiful country that I call home,. it pains me when working , for an International Company,. my expat colleagues utter negative words about the country and its people,. it often hurts and I wonder if their homes are truly better than ours,. Or if they look beyond and see the beauty,.

      Thank you so much for your honesty and what you have written, it is uplifting to know that no everyone views the country with such narrow eyes,. I wish you Gods blessings as you stay in my home and if we ever do cross,. I would very much like to give a hug and take you home to meet my extended family and the beauty of the Land of the Bird of Paradise- PNG , especially the Papuan Coast,. where I am from

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