Papua New Guinea’s flag.
After my trip to Singapore and the other Asian offices I was asked to visit our next-door neighbour Papua New Guinea, because TNT had offices in this country and we planned to use these inter-company connections as our agent for courier traffic.
This was the start of my Pacific Island-hopping time.
The map shows Australia and Papua New Guinea – the red dot on the Australia is Sydney and the red dot on the yellow area, which is PNG, is the capital Port Moresby.
It is thought that people have lived in PNG for over 60,000 years and it was not until the Portuguese and Spanish arrived in the 16th century that the first Europeans took notice of the area around PNG.
Jorge de Menezes, a Portuguese explorer arrived in about 1526 and is thought to have named the people ‘Papua’, which is a Malay word for frizzy hair of the local people.
Later, about 1545 the Spanish arrived and named the area New Guinea because they considered that the locals reminded them of the natives of West Africa around Guinea.
Over the years various Europeans have navigated around what we now know as PNG and in the 1870’s a Russian Nicholai Miklukho-Maklai arrived and lived with the locals for some years.
He does not look all that happy, perhaps he is thinking of returning to a Russian winter.
In 1883 the colony of Queensland tried to annex part of PNG, but the British Government did not approve until Germany took an interest and started settlements in the northern areas of PNG, at which time the British, in 1884, declared the southern area of Papua New Guinea a British protectorate.
It was called British New Guinea, which, in 1902 was placed under the control of Australia, and remained so until independent in 1975, except for four years when the northern part was under the control of the Japanese (1941 -45).
At the beginning of WW1 Australian troops took control of German New Guinea until the end of the war.
In 1921 the League of Nations gave Australia a mandate to govern the ex- German territory and Australia did so until independence.
I found PNG to be a fascinating place and the staff at the main TNT office in Port Moresby were very hospitable and full of local knowledge.
I love odd bits of trivia – such as – in PNG until 1933 seashells were used as the local currency.
PNG has the only poisonous bird in the world – the Hooded Pitohui
and on a brighter note – Port Moresby the capital, I know it has had troubles in the recent past but in the late 1980’s it was peaceful and a friendly place.
I was only in POM (the code for Port Moresby airport) for a couple of days and it was a ‘getting to know’ you trip, rather than a hard business trip of negotiations for maximising profit.
On leaving I was presented with a large carton of Papua New Guinea coffee. In the carton were small solid bricks of vacuumed packed ground coffee, and until I visited Papua New Guinea I had not tried PNG coffee.
From memory I am sure it was Goroka coffee, but the packaging was not as fancy in the late 80’s. Goroka is an area in the Eastern Highlands.
Try this link for Black Coffee if you like
A blast from the past . .