Living & Working in PNG
The country is divided into four main regions: Mamose/Mainland, Southern, New Guinea Islands and the Highlands. These regions consist of 19 provinces and the National Capital District.
While only 5.5 million people call Papua New Guinea home, there’s more than 850 different tribes and more than 800 languages to be found in this island nation. Papua New Guinea is like no other place on Earth with so much unspoilt land and cultures to explore.
There are about 20,000 expats living and working in PNG within just about every facet of the economy. Automotive, mining, logging, financial services, aviation and tourism provide many of the expat opportunities. At the other end of the spectrum, aid agencies and projects in PNG attract volunteer workers. As a result job oppertunities in PNG offers people a great deal of diversity and unique experiences.
A long time ago
Whilst there is evidence that humans occupied the land over 20,000 years ago, it wasn’t until 1526 that Jorge de Menezes, became the first European to set foot on the main island – he named it Ilhas dos Papuas. But New Guinea was regarded as a large, daunting place with no obvious wealth to exploit and very hostile natives, so it was largely left alone while European colonists plundered the Americas.
In more recent times
An influx of expatriates to PNG, mainly Australians, fuelled rapid economic growth and the expatriate population grew to more than 50,000 in 1971 thanks to industrial recruitment (today it’s about 20,000).
PNG became fully independence on 16 September 1975. Law and order became an issue in 1990’s together with the large-scale mining operations. Whilst PNG’s mineral-rich resources fast became the greatest contributors to the economy, it also came with social, environmental and political burdens that took a heavy toll on the country.
Port Moresby, with a population of around 300,000, is the largest city in Papua New Guinea. The city sprawls around the coast and into inland hills. The Poreporena Freeway, cuts through the city and makes it a relatively easy 11 km distance from downtown to the airport. Most of the PNG government offices, a number of diplomatic missions, and several educational institutions, including the University of Papua New Guinea, are located in the suburb of Waigani.
Choose a section below for more information about the Papua New Guinea lifestyle: