Facts in Brief –Papua New Guinea

Capital Port Moresby
Official Languages English, Tokpisin and Hiri Motu
Form of Government Constitutional Monarchy, recognizing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of State. She is represented by Governor-General, Sir Michael Ogio. Government byparliamentary democracy, with a unicameral Parliament of 111members ledby a Prime Minister.
Head of Government Prime Minister,Hon. Peter Paire O'NEILL, CMG, MP
Provinces Twenty-two , including the National Capital District.
Area 462,840 square kilometers (including the large islands of New Britain, New Ireland andthe Autonomous Region of Bougainville (and some 600 small islands and archipelagos).
Elevation Highest – Mount Wilhelm (SimbuProvince), 4,706 meters above sea level.
Population 7 million (2011 Census).
Chief Export Products Copper, gold, silver, coffee, copra, cocoa, oil palm, timber, fish and prawns.
Money Basic Unit PNG Kina
National Song O Arise All Ye Sons

Papua New Guinea became an Independent Nation on September 16, 1975.

National Emblem

The National Emblem features a widespread Bird of Paradise, Genus Paradisaea, perched on a Kundu, a drum used for ceremonial purposes. Behind the drum is a spear.

The Emblem is representative of all parts of Papua New Guinea since the three symbols appearing on it are well known over a wide area of the country. The emblem design was prepared in 1971 by a group of design artists from the then Office of Information.

The Bird of Paradise is depicted in its different natural colours. It has a yellow head, grey-blue bill, black neck, green breast with yellow band, and light brown abdomen. The wings and long tail feathers are reddish brown while the display plumes are deep red.

The kundu and spear are black with white highlights and ornamentations.

Use of the National Flag and the National Emblem is restricted to official government use as laid out in the National Identity Ordinance of 1973.

National Flag

The Papua New Guinea National Flag, formally adopted in 1971, is rectangular in the proportion of four to three. It is divided diagonally from the top of the hoist to the bottom of the fly. On the upper part appears a yellow Bird of Paradise on a red ground. On the lower part are five white stars, representing the Southern Cross, on a black ground. Black, red and yellow are traditional colours in Papua New Guinea.

The flag design was based on one made by Susan Karike, then a student from Yule Island in the Central Province. Susan’s design was chosen from among many others submitted in a nation-wide flag design competition.

The Bird of Paradise plays an important part in the social and cultural activities of many groups in Papua New Guinea and its plumes are often used as ceremonial decoration. On the flag, it is shown soaring above the Southern Cross, with display plumes trailing, symbolising Papua New Guinea’s emergence into nationhood.

Physical Features

Location : Papua New Guinea lies between longitudes 141 and 169 degrees East and latitudes 1 and 12 degrees South of the equator and 160km north of Australia.

Geography : Papua New Guinea comprises the main landmass of the eastern half of the world’s biggest island, New Guinea, with Indonesia to the west. The rest of the country is made up of about 600 small islands.

Topography : The mainland and the larger islands are notable for their impressive mountain ranges, several mountains exceed 4,000 metres, the highest being Mt. Wilhelm which stands at 4, 706 metres above sea level. The main island is dominated by a central mountain chain or cordillera which extends throughout the length of the island. The mountains are the source of fast flowing rivers which descend to the coastal plains to join some of the world's largest swamp system. Two of the country's largest rivers, the Sepik and the Fly are navigable to small boats for about 800 kilometres.

Climate : Monsoon type, hot and humid all year, though cooler in the highlands. Rainfall is mainly from December to March. High mountains receive occasional frost and even snow. Temperatures in the lowland, coastal and island areas range from 23 degrees to 33 degrees Celsius.

Form of Government : The Independent State of Papua New Guinea is a parliamentary democracy, with a single legislature known as the National Parliament.

Population : 7 million (2011 Census– growth rate of 2.8%. About 80 percent of people live in rural areas.

Languages : with over 800 languages, PNG has the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. There are three official languages: TokPisin (New Guinea Pidgin), Hiri Motu, and English.

People : The people are of Melanesian race, though small communities of Polynesians live on outlying atolls. Most people live in small coastal villages and on high mountain ridges. The bulk of the population lives in rural areas.

MajorTowns and Cities : Port Moresby was declared the CapitalCity by Parliament on September 16, 1975. It is the administrative, judiciary and economic seat of Government. It houses most Government institutions, departments, diplomatic missions & international organizations, business enterprises and NGOs. Other cities are Lae in the MorobeProvince (industrial centre) and Mt.Hagen in the WesternHighlandsProvince, where coffee and tea are widely grown for export. Other major centres are Goroka, Eastern Highlands, Kokopo, East New Britain, Wabag, Enga Province where Porgera Mine is situated, Kavieng, New Ireland – the Lihir gold mine is located; Daru, Western Province – the Ok Tedi mine; Mendi Southern Highlands – Kutubu, Gobe oil fields.

Most of these towns are accessible by road and air transport.

Telecommunications: PNG has modern satellite communications.ISD and STD dialing are available throughout the country. International code is (675) and the operator code is 019 and 0178.Telecommunication services are provided by Telikom PNG - Government's owned telecommunications entity. It provides landline telephone services, while its subsidiary operator, Pacific Mobile provides mobile phone services, using GSM system.For international access dialing, dial 00followed by the country code – the area code – then the desired telephone number. Digicel PNG, another mobile company also provides mobile services in remote areas of the country.

Internet: Email and Internet services are available in hotels and resorts. There are internet cafes located at various locations around the National Capital District. Major hotels also provide internet café.

Water: EdaRanu company manages and regulates the water and sewerage system in the National Capital District. Water is very safe to drink, as it is treated to World Health Organisation standard, however, bottled water can also be purchased from shops.

Electricity: Government owned entity, PNG Power Ltd, regulates electricity supply in Papua New Guinea. The standard voltage is 240 volts, utilizing Australian standard sockets.

General Information

Postal Services: Postal services are available through Post PNG Limited. There are about 90 post offices in the country.

The Waigani Post Office is located within the Vision City, Waigani, and isabout 500 yards from the Conference Centre. Normal trading hours are from 8:00am – 12:00noon & 1:00pm – 4:00pm Monday – Friday, Saturdays: 8:00am – 11:00am. Other branches are located in Boroko, Waigani, and the Central Business District downtown.

Banking Facilities: NormalBanking hours are from 8:45 am – 3:00pm, Monday to Thursday and Fridays – 8:45am – 4:00pm. International banking facilities are available at various commercial banks:

PNG's Central Bank – Bank of Papua New Guinea (Located on Douglas Street, Port Moresby) - Tel: 3227200
AustraliaNew Zealand (ANZ) Bank (Corner of Champion Parade and Hunter St.) - Tel: 3223333
Bank South Pacific (Corner Musgrave & Douglas Streets, Port Moresby ) - Tel: 3211999
Westpac Bank PNG – Douglas Street - Tel: 3220888
Maybank (PNG) (Waigani, opp. Holiday Inn, Port Moresby) - Tel: 3250101

Exchange Rates : Other branches are scattered through out the city - Boroko and Waigani. ATMs &Eftpos facilities are also located through out the city. Credit Cards (including MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners and JCB) and traveler’scheques are accepted at most major hotels, restaurants and travel agencies.

Money transfers : Western Union – located at major Bank South Pacific Branches; Travelex – located at major ANZ branches; Telegraphic transfer – remittance via the bank account of the same bank; Salim Moni Kwik (SMK) – same day domestic money transfer through Post PNG.

Currency : PNG's own currency was first issued on 19 April 1975. Major currency unit is called Kina (keena) (basic Unit), minor unit is called ‘Toea’and comes in 5, 10, 20, 50, coins, and the interesting looking K1 coin with a hole in the middle. Notes are inK2, K5, K10, K20, K50 and K100 denominations. It is divided into 100 toea, K1 is equivalent to Euro 0.35.

Health regulations

Vaccination against yellow fever or cholera is required for travelers over one year of age coming from or through infected areas. On the other hand, travelers should take extra care against malaria as it is a serious health risk and visitors are advised to consult your doctors before departure. Water quality is within World Health Organisation.

Shopping Facilities

Shopping facilities are dispersed throughout the city and suburbs. There are a variety of retailers, apart from the department stores, supermarkets and specialists shops. Trade stores are located around the suburbs for convenience.

Variety Stores are located in main suburbs – Boroko, Waigani, Gerehu,Gordon, Downtown, Konedobu, SVS Shopping Centre along the Hubert Murray Highway. Anderson Foodland supermarket store, located at the Harbour City, has a wide range of goods and fresh vegetables. A news-agency, travel service, and Daikoku restaurant is also situated in the building. A new inclusion at the Harbour site is the new Food World Waterfront supermarket and specialist shops.

Another new shopping mall, the Vision City was opened for business in 2011. It is located along Sir John Guise Drive, Waigani and opened from 8 am – 9pm at night. It has a secure and spacious parking lot.

Most shops open from 8:00am to 6:00pm – Mondays to Fridays, and 8:00am to 5:00pm on weekends.

Goods and Services Tax

GST of 10 percent is charged on all goods and services.

Time Zone : Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 10 hours.

Craft Markets : Workshops and Cottage industries include vocational centres and sheltered workshops. These outlets cater for screen printing, tie-dying, potted plants, making and mending of cane furniture, picture framing and book binding, and ethnic dress making.

The Ela Beach Craft Market which is held at the ElaBeach sea front, opens on the last Saturday of each month, and is an ideal place to purchase souvenirs and other locally produced artifacts and crafts.

Markets : Market are the main outlet for locally produced food such as tropical fruit and leaf vegetables, sea food. They are located at Koki, Malaoro, Gordon, Gerehu, Waigani and Hohola and are opened 7 days a week.

Passport and Visa requirements

It is advisable to possess a valid passport to enter Papua New Guinea. Visitors of countries requiring a visa should obtain such a visa from the nearest PNG Diplomatic Mission overseas, before departure.Visitors from countries that require visas and do not have access to a PNG mission, will be issued visas on arrival in Port Moresby, but proof of exemption must be obtained before departure.

Customs requirements

Normal Customs clearance is required. Visitors are allowed 200 cigarettes, twolitres of spirits/alcohol and perfume.

For more information : PNG Customs website -


International entry pointto Papua New Guinea is the JacksonInternational Airport, Port Moresby.

Access : Air Niugini, Papua New Guinea's National Airline has two scheduled flights to Singapore everyMonday & Thursday, daily flights to Cairns, Brisbane, every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, andJapan every Saturday.


Help protect Papua New Guinea's beaches, rain forests, coral reefs, and the environment, against pests and diseases .The National Agriculture Quarantine & Inspection Authority (NAQIA) has issued a warning to declare on Arrival Form, of food, plants and animal products.

For more assistance:

Telephone : (675) 3112100,

Airport : (675) 3256010,

Plant Quarantine : (675) 3215719,

Post Office : (675) 3112694.