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Papua New Guinea is the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands. The capital is Port Moresby, on the southeast coast. PNG is the world's third largest island country and is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. 851 known languages are spoken by hundreds of ethnic groups. PNG is a member of the British Commonwealth. The mountainous New Guinea Highlands run the length of the island from west to east. There are many active volcanoes with frequent eruptions and earthquakes. We first visited PNG in December, 1989.
Mendi is the provincial capital of the Southern Highlands Province. The town lies in the Mendi River Valley at an elevation of 1675 meters.
Tari is the capital of the Tari-Pori District of Hela Province, and is accessible by road from Mendi.
The local people are Huli, one of the largest ethnic groups in PNG.
Huli men wear elaborate headresses made of their own hair. These "Huli wigmen" often incorporate flowers, feathers, tree kangaroo fur, and butterflies into their wigs.
The Huli build raised tombs for their ancestors, called "spirit houses". The skulls are often decorated. "Spirit stones" are also decorated and stored in raised shrines.
Mount Hagen, located in the Wahgi Valley, is the third largest city in PNG and is the capital of the Western Highlands Province.
The Highlands Highway connects Mount Hagen to the coastal cities of Lae and Madang.
The city is named for an old eroded volcano crater about 24 km to the NW, which in turn was named for a German colonial officer, Curt von Hagen.
A sing-sing is a village tribal gathering where people can show off their distinct culture, dance, and music.
A pig-swap is a bride-price negotiation, mostly to be paid in pigs. Cassowaries may be included in the price as well. This bride, in dark blue seated at the left next to her female relative behind the yellow cloth on the ground, is not commanding a high price to be paid to her family because she is an orphan.
Goroka is the capital of the Eastern Highlands Province. Coffee is the main crop grown here.
Tree kangaroos are kept for their fur.
The Asaro mud men (also called Holosa) wear traditional costumes with mud masks. They live in the area around Goroka.
Lae is the captial of Morobe Province and is PNG's second largest city. It is located near the delta of the Markham River and the start of the Highlands Highway.
New Britain Island is the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago of PNG. The main towns are Rabaul/Kokopo and Kimbe. There are many active volcanoes. A major eruption of Tavurvur in 1994 destroyed Rabaul, most of which is still buried under volcanic ash, and the provincial capital of East New Britain was moved to Kokopo. Kimbe is the capital of West New Britain and is PNG's largest port. It is the center of the palm oil industry.
diving New Britain Island
We returned to Papua New Guinea in November-December of 2000 for a combined ham radio and scuba diving trip.
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Last modified 12 November 2023