Tok Pisin Tok Pisin (,Laurie Bauer, 2007, ''The Linguistics Student’s Handbook'', Edinburgh Tok Pisin ), often referred to by English speakers as "New Guinea Pidgin" or simply "Pidgin", is a creole language A creole language, or simply creole, is ...
: ''Pot Mosbi''), also referred to as Pom City or simply Moresby, is the capital and largest city of
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country in Oceania th ...

Papua New Guinea
. It is one of the largest cities in the southwestern
Pacific The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

(along with
Jayapura Jayapura is the capital and largest city of the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and S ...
) outside of Australia and New Zealand. It is located on the shores of the
Gulf of Papua The Gulf of Papua is located in the southern coast region of New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the southwestern , it is separated b ...
, on the south-western coast of the
Papuan Peninsula The Papuan Peninsula, also known as the Bird's Tail Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from whi ...

Papuan Peninsula
of the island of
New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu Hiri Motu, also known as Police Motu, Pidgin Motu, or just Hiri, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign ...

New Guinea
. The city emerged as a trade centre in the second half of the 19th century. During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
it was a prime objective for conquest by the
Imperial Japanese The was a historical nation-state that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of Japan, 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan. It encompassed the Japanese ...
forces during 1942–43 as a staging point and air base to cut off Australia from
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
and the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

. In the 2011 census, Port Moresby had 364,145 inhabitants. An unofficial 2020 estimate gives the population as 383,000. The place where the city was founded has been inhabited by the Motu-Koitabu people for centuries. The first Briton to see it was
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
John Moresby Rear Admiral John Moresby (15 March 1830 – 12 July 1922) was a British naval officer who explored the coast of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-lar ...
in 1873. It was named in honour of his father,
Admiral of the Fleet An admiral of the fleet or fleet admiral (equivalent rank to admiral of the navy Admiral of the Navy was the highest possible rank in the United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country" ...
Fairfax Moresby Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy), Admiral of the Fleet Sir Fairfax Moresby Order of the Bath, GCB (29 November 1786 – 21 January 1877) was a Royal Navy officer. As a junior officer he took part in the unsuccessful Ferrol Expedition (1800), expe ...

Fairfax Moresby
. Although Port Moresby is surrounded by
Central ProvinceCentral Province may refer to: *Central Province (Kenya) *Central Province, Maldives *Central Province (Papua New Guinea) *Central Province (Solomon Islands) *Central Province, Sri Lanka *Central Province (Victoria), an electorate of the Victorian Le ...
, of which it is also the capital, it is not part of that province but forms the National Capital District (Papua New Guinea), National Capital District. The traditional landowners, the Motu and Koitabu people, are represented by the Motu Koita Assembly. Port Moresby hosted the APEC_Papua_New_Guinea_2018, APEC summit in November 2018. However, there were concerns about security given the capital's reputation for violent crime.


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 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 Tok Pisin (,Laurie Bauer, 2007, ''The Linguistics Student’s Handbook'', Edinburgh Tok Pisin ), often referred to by English speakers as "New Guinea Pidgin" or simply "Pidgin", is a creole language A creole language, or simply creole, is ...
(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. The Hiri trade cycle, 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.


There was already an important trade centre on the site of Port Moresby when the English Captain John Moresby of HMS Basilisk (1848), 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. 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 German New Guinea, New Guinea in 1884, but four years later it established a protectorate over Papua as Territory of Papua, 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 Moresby 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, electricity was introduced in 1925, and piped water supply was provided in 1941.

World War II

World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, some Papuan men enlisted in the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, Papua Infantry Battalion and others as carriers over trails and rough terrains (Porter (carrier), porters) as supply support to Allies of World War II, Allied and Japanese armies during long jungle marches. Historian William Manchester outlines 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.American Caesar, William Manchester, 1978, Little Brown Company, 793 pages, , pp.306: "On and about Jul-Sep 1942 and MacArthur's troops stop the Japanese in the difficult jungles of New Guinea and General Kenney gifts Port Moresby to the SAC by moving the bomber line to five new air bases." Many Papuan residents of Port Moresby either returned to their family villages or were evacuated to camps when the threat of Japanese invasion loomed. By September 1942, the city was an important Allied complex of bases, and thousands of troops were stationed in the area or more often, staged through it, as it was the last Allied bastion on the island and, conversely, a key staging and jumping off point as the Allies began conducting offensive warfare themselves, pushing back the Japanese advances.American Caesar, William Manchester, 1978, Little Brown Company,793 pages, , pp.290-307: "On and about Feb-Dec 1942 and MacArthur's reorganization of troops, lack of theater priority, his support for Guadalcanal and his daring offensive gamble in going to meet the Japanese in the difficult jungles of New Guinea as a way of conducting a forward defense of Australia, rather than risk a war of maneuver when he had insufficient forces to move around." General MacArthur located his headquarters in Port Moresby from November 1942 to October 1944. In 1945, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea was formed when Territory of Papua, 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. Port Moresby was granted city status in 1972, with Oala Oala-Rarua becoming the first Lord Mayor.


In September 1975, Papua New Guinea became an independent country with Port Moresby as its capital city. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, represented the Monarchy of Papua New Guinea, Queen of Papua New Guinea at the celebrations. 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. 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. 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.


Moresby has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification, Köppen: ''Aw'') with relatively constant temperatures throughout the year. Port Moresby's average yearly rainfall is just over , 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 depending on time of year, while the average low temperature shows very little seasonal variation, hovering around the mark. It tends to be slightly cooler in the city during the dry season.

District, LLGs and suburbs

Port Moresby is the single district of the National Capital District (Papua New Guinea), 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. The National Capital District machinery of government also incorporates the Motu Koita Assembly, established by an act of parliament to represent the traditional landowners of Port Moresby, the Motu and Koitabu people. The Assembly governs the traditional lands and inhabitants of the ten recognised villages, and is the only entity of its kind in Papua New Guinea. The Chair of the Motu Koita Assembly also holds the position of Deputy Governor of the National Capital District. 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, Papua New Guinea, Koki, with its popular fresh produce market, Newtown, Papua New Guinea, Newtown, Konedobu, Kaevaga, Badili, Gabutu, Kila Kila, Matirogo, Three Mile, Kaugere, Sabama, Korobosea, Four Mile, Hohola, Hohola North, Boroko, Gordons, Papua New Guinea, Gordons, Gordons North, Erima, Saraga, Waigani, Morata, Papua New Guinea, Morata and Gerehu. There are villages like Hanuabada, the largest in Papua New Guinea.


''Al Jazeera'' describes Port Moresby as "one of the most dangerous cities in the world". Parts of Port Moresby have security problems with house break-ins being the main problem. ''ABC Australia'' reports that "many homes have big fences covered in metal sheeting, locked gates and internal steel security doors." 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 underresourced and weakened by internal corruption. Travel by foot is not recommended in and about the city and suburbs due to 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'.


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. 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.


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. The decision to host the 2018 APEC meeting, 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 took place in preparation for the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup. Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Guinea, and Airlines PNG, the second biggest airline in the country, have their head offices on the grounds of Jacksons International Airport.


The 1969 South Pacific Games, held from 13 to 23 August 1969 at Port Moresby, were the third South Pacific Games to be held. A total of 1,150 athletes participated. 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. Cricket PNG is the official Sport governing body, governing body of the sport of cricket in
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country in Oceania th ...

Papua New Guinea
. Its 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. The city hosted the 2017 FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup, where the Papua New Guinea national basketball team won the gold medal. The city is home to the Port Moresby Vipers rugby league team who play in the Papua New Guinea National Rugby League.

2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby

The 2015 Pacific Games was held in Port Moresby from 4 to 18 July 2015. 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. The 2015 Pacific Games involved 24 countries from the Pacific regions competing in 28 sports events, including: basketball, soccer, touch rugby, table tennis, weightlifting, triathlon, swimming, cricket, Squash (sport), squash, shooting, sailing, va'a, rugby 7s, powerlifting, rugby league 9s, volleyball, beach volleyball, athletics, field hockey, hockey, netball, karate, lawn bowls, bodybuilding, boxing, softball, taekwondo, golf, and canoeing. Papua New Guinea ranked first with the most medals followed by New Caledonia and Tahiti. The opening ceremony took place on the 4th of July 2015 involving various traditional dances. The closing ceremony involved singers such as J Boog, Fiji, O-Shen and George Mamua Telek.

Sports venues

* Sir John Guise Stadium is the premier sports venue with a capacity of 15,000. It was completely rebuilt in 2015. * Amini Park is a cricket ground in Port Moresby. The ground is named for the Amini family, several of whom have played cricket for Papua New Guinea (both the Papua New Guinea national cricket team, men's and Papua New Guinea national women's cricket team, women's teams), the ground has seen the men's team play Australia national cricket team, Australia, the West Indies cricket team, West Indies and Victorian Bushrangers, Victoria. The women's team played Japan national women's cricket team, Japan in a three match series at the ground in September 2006. * Lloyd Robson Oval is a sporting ground in Port Moresby and has hosted 3 games for the 1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup. It has been the home ground for the Papua New Guinea national rugby league team since 1975 and the Port Moresby Vipers. It has a total capacity of approximately 17,000. * National Football Stadium – Papua New Guinea's National Football Stadium, formerly known as Lloyd Robson Oval, is located in Port Moresby and hosted three matches for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. The venue (Loyd Robson Oval) was completely redeveloped in 2015 and has an all-seated capacity of 15,000. This was completed in time for the Pacific Games. 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. * PMRL Stadium is a football stadium in Port Moresby and it is used mainly for association football, football and hosts the home matches of PRK Hekari United of the Papua New Guinea National Soccer League and OFC Champions League. The stadium has a seating capacity of 15,000 spectators. * Hubert Murray Stadium is a sports venue located in Port Moresby and was developed for the 1969 South Pacific Games on reclaimed land at Konedobu that had previously been shoreline mangroves. The athletics events and the opening and closing ceremonies were held at the new stadium, which was named after Sir Hubert Murray, a former lieutenant governor. In 2015-16 it was completely rebuilt as a large capacity football ground.


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. 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. 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 hoshuko, supplementary Japanese school in the city.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."
It closed in August 2009.関係機関へのリンク

. 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)"

Twin towns – sister cities

Port Moresby is Sister city, twinned with: * Jinan, China * Suva, Fiji * City of Townsville, Townsville, Australia



Further reading

* Paul James (academic), James, Paul. et al.,
Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Development
Other Paths for Papua New Guinea'' (2012)

MSS 139
Special Collections & Archives
UC San Diego Library.

External links

Official Port Moresby−National Capital District website
* {{Authority control Port Moresby, Populated places in Southern Region (Papua New Guinea) National Capital District (Papua New Guinea), . Capitals in Oceania Capital districts and territories Provincial capitals in Papua New Guinea Gulf of Papua Southern Region, Papua New Guinea Port cities in Oceania Ports and harbours of Papua New Guinea Populated places established in 1873 1873 establishments in Oceania