On September 16th 1995 Papua New Guinea celebrated the twentieth DESTINAT-images_Page_006_Image_0001anniversary of its Independence. This book is an extension of that celebration, paying tribute to the country, its people and to their spirit of independence. It shows you something of the country’s past and its traditions, but also much about its opportunities and its goals. The profiles of government ministries and agencies provide a unique and up-to-date view of the nation’s administration and its plans for the future.

The profiles of the world of commerce, which represent a substantial cross-section of the country’s economic activity, from the multinational companies to small independent retailers, are a testament to their commitment to PNG’s prosperity. This book may be considered to be opinionated, contradictory and notably frank as it reflects the views of the many different people who were interviewed and their different interpretations of the situation of PNG at this time. We hope you will appreciate their interesting and original insights.

However, while Destination Papua New Guinea provides overviews and practical information for foreign investors, it simultaneously offers a guide to those visitors who want to explore Papua New Guinea in a more leisurely fashion. The country, its people, its flora and fauna cannot be condensed into a few hundred pages. In offering a glimpse of the multifaceted cultures and spectacular landscapes for which Papua New Guinea is renowned, this book goes some way towards presenting the splendour and the beauty that draws so many people to this special part of the world.

Papua New Guinea is at the geographical hub of the new grouping of South East Asian and Australasian economies. Since Independence, it has found that it has not only the resources to compete successfully with its close neighbours, but also the energy and the incentive to make its presence felt as an international commercial force. Like many ‘new’ nation states, Papua New Guinea has been subject to a range of European influences. After it was ‘discovered’ in the early sixteenth century, it became part of a trade route that encompassed the whole South Pacific. It was eventually divided up and annexed by the British and the Germans in 1884. Twenty years after Independence it still has strong European links. But Papua New Guinean culture goes back beyond its European links for fifty millennia with a plethora of traditions, rites and customs. It has a diversity of peoples and languages unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

The ancient societies of Papua New Guinea contrast sharply with the modern technological age, but beware of the clichés. The tribesman standing beside a jet plane may make an arresting image, but it does inadequate justice to the real Papua New Guinea at the turn of the twenty-first century. The truth is that while PNG does retain many of the structures and customs of the past among its predominantly rural population, it is simultaneously one of the fastest developing countries in the world. It has enormous untapped wealth and an increasingly qualified workforce. Its government has proved itself capable of tackling its national and international problems. It is a modern parliamentary democracy. Papua New Guinea now invites you, without sacrificing its unique past, to discover its exciting future.

Tau Asigau-Fridriksson