National Capital District (NCD) covers 240 square kilometers approximately in the middle of the south coast of Central Province. NCD was created in 1982 to include the capital, Port Moresby and its environs. The headquarters are at the Port Moresby suburb of Waigani. It has a total
population of 318,128 (Year 2011 census figure). The city is home to people from all four regions of the country speaking more than 800 languages with different cultures and tribes and including the country’s largest foreign community. The majority of the population was born outside the NCD. English and Tok Pisin are the languages of administration and commerce. Hiri Motu, Motu and local languages from most parts of PNG are also spoken.
NCD is administered by an Interim Commission consisting of a chairperson and 14 members appointed by the national government. The Commission is responsible for such things as roads, markets, water and sewerage, bus services and regulating the squatter settlements. It is funded mainly by land and sales taxes. In 1990 the government approved a plan to create a permanent administrative body of 20 members. There is also a Motu-Koitabu Assembly of ten elected members and an appointed chairperson to protect the rights of the original landowners.
Port Moresby has PNG’s main port, airport, radio and television stations, the national library, largest hospital and one of its two universities. It is the seat of national government. The public service is the major employer. Most overseas companies have headquarters in Port Moresby. All diplomatic representatives are based in Port Moresby.
Things to see and do
Markets: Gordons Market, on Gordon Court Road off the end of Cameron Road is one of the largest in the country and always bustling. Malaoro market on Kibeni Street past the Port Moresby General Hospital, you will find varieties of garden foods, tropical fruits and fresh fish from local fisherman. Koki market, on the waterfront near the Koki settlement,
is the main seafood market and best on Saturdays.
Parliament House: Built in the style of a Maprik Haus Tambaran (house of spirits), an impressive building was opened in 1984. It’s an interesting place whether Parliament is sitting or not. A small shop has books and displays of Papua New Guinea’s fantastic butterflies. Open 9am to noon and 1pm to 3pm.
National Museum & Art Gallery: Located on Independence Hill close to Parliament House, the museum has excellent displays on fauna, culture, geography, ethnography and history of PNG which include examples of masks and shields, shells, and local foods. A small shady courtyard in front is a pleasant place to sit and has a few live specimens of local wildlife to view. The small bookshop has a limited range of books on pre-history and culture. Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 3:30pm. Admission by donation.
Libraries: The Michael Somare Library Ph: +675 326 0900 located at the University of Papua New Guinea, Waigani Campus and the National Library located at Waigani Ph: +675 325 6200, Independence Drive, have huge PNG collections. Both are open to the public.
Port Moresby Nature Park: This is a haven of greenery with 2km of broadwalk threading beneath a jungle canopy, green lawns, excellent wildlife displays, and a huge collection of orchids. It is the only combined botanical and zoological parks and gardens dedicated to the promotion of PNG’s flora and fauna. A shadehouse in the shape of the country has plants from all regions. Located within the University of Papua New Guinea campus on Waigani Drive. Contact Ph: +675 326 0248 Fax: +675 326 3016. Entry fee is collected at the gate.
City and Harbour Views: These are great from Paga Hill behind the Crowne Plaza or from Touaguba Hill above the harbour. A tour of the city may include these lookout points as well as the stilt villages of Hanuabada.
Bomana War Cemetery: Ph: +675 328 1536 Thousands of young Australian and Papua New Guinean soldiers are buried in this carefully tended World War II cemetery, a heart-wrenching reminder of the horrific campaigns in the region. Located on the Sogeri Road not far from the Sir Hubert Murray Highway.
Wild Life Sanctuary 14 Mile: A newly open facility in early 2011, a 10 minute drive outside of Port Moresby on Sogeri Road. The sanctuary has a breeding centre for the Birds of Paradise for conservation purposes dedicated to the protection, conservation and promotion of our native animals and birds.
Hiri Moale Festival: Celebrating the traditional trading that took place along the coast, this is celebrated mid-September, around Independence Day. Replicas of the lakatois – the giant canoes that were used – pull up on Ela Beach to dancing and singing.