Goroka is the administrative headquarters for the Eastern Highlands Province and it is located on the Okuk Highlands Highway. Goroka is a thriving busy city with its formal sector enjoying a wide range of urban services and amenities. The city attracts overseas and local tourists to its world re-known Goroka Show and Goroka Coffee Festival. Goroka City like other Melanesian cities exhibits a common feature of formally laid out modern patterns of urban development that are surrounded by informal and uncontrolled informal settlements development.

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After the destruction of Rabaul Town by the volcanic eruptions in 1994, Kokopo is now the main administrative, commercial and educational centre for PNG’s East New Britain province and the New Guinea Islands region. It has grown rapidly over the last 13 years from a small district town to becoming the fourth largest city in the country. It has a population of approximately 23,000 people (both urban and rural). The relocation to Kokopo saw a boom in the construction industry and together with the restoration program funded by the World Bank; investment has surpassed what had originally been in Rabaul.

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Port Moresby

Port Moresby is the capital city of PNG and is the main administrative, commercial and education centre of the country. It has a population of a little over 400,000 with an average density of 16 persons per hectare. It developed based on its historical and strategic considerations. The main economic activities in Port Moresby are in the service industry. The unemployment rate in Port Moresby is high with more than 50% of the
unemployed in settlements and urban villages. Most of these people participate in some form of informal sector activities.

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World Bank in Papua New Guinea

In 1963 Australia invited a World Bank mission to review PNG’s economy and resources. The mission’s 1964 report was the most comprehensive review made in the colonial period and was an independent source of information for the United Nations. The report described Australia’s treatment of PNGans as “benevolently paternalistic”. It recommended that Australia stimulate the modern sector of PNG’s economy by increased financial assistance, the encouragement of overseas investment and international aid, and the use of volunteer agencies in areas such as health to overcome the shortage of skilled PNGans. A five-year development program, based on the report, was introduced in 1968.

In 1990 the World Bank provided a $US50 million structural adjustment loan to help Prime Minister Namaliu’s Government implement a structural adjustment program. Since 1988 the World Bank has sponsored a Consultative Group (CG) which meets annually to provide a forum for international development agencies, bilateral aid donors and the PNG government to discuss development strategies.

Whaling in Papua New Guinea

In the first half of the 19th century there were three important whaling grounds adjacent to Papua New Guinea (PNG). The most extensive was on the northern coast of the main island on either side of the 140 degree east longitude where killings were made in October and November. Other important grounds stretched from the northern tip of New Ireland to Bougainville (fished in February and March), and off the northeast coast of the main island (fished from October to January). There is evidence of intermittent contact between whaling ships’ crews (from the United States, Britain and Australia) and the coastal people of the islands, particularly New Ireland, the Duke of Yorks group, Buka and Bougainville, where ships stopped for food and water. Occasionally PNGans were taken on as crew. These contacts, and the contacts with traders, are thought to have been important for the development of Tok Pisin.

Women in Papua New Guinea

Traditionally, women were expected to produce children (preferably male children), cultivate the gardens, raise pigs, and tend the old and the sick. Marriage customs varied among groups but most had some common characteristics. Marriage was a contract which established reciprocal responsibilities between two clans. These contracts were often made when the couple were children. The payment of bride price cemented the relationship and gave the husband’s clan rights over the woman’s labor. These rights included the right to beat her for perceived poor performance or misbehavior. At marriage women were sent to live in the village of their husbands. Most societies were patriarchal. Where societies were matrilineal women had greater rights. Most societies were polygamous and one way for a man to acquire status was to accumulate wives.

From the mid-19th century the Christian churches advocated monogamous marriages, based on affection and respect between consenting adults. However, a nationwide survey conducted in 1982-84 found that only 35 percent of the women and 29 percent of the men surveyed reported church marriages, and two-thirds of the women in rural areas admitted to having been beaten by their husbands. Women are more likely than men to suffer from malnutrition and infectious diseases. The PNG National Health Plan 1986-90 listed family planning services and maternal care as priorities. However, there is no evidence of improvements in these areas. Maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. Women are less well educated than men. Girls have less access than boys to education and more women than men are illiterate.

In theory women are allowed equality of opportunity in contemporary PNG society. In 1973 Chief Minister Michael Somare produced an Eight Point Plan which included “a rapid increase in the equal and active participation of women in all forms of economic and social activity” and women’s rights are enshrined in the national Constitution. In practice, women are discriminated against in both modern and subsistence societies. It is difficult for women to be accepted in professional and managerial roles in either the public or private sector. Only three women have been elected to the national parliament and only one has been a minister. None of the women who contested the 1993 election was successful. Where women work in the cash economy they are usually expected to continue to take responsibility for the household.

In 1992 Prime Minister Wingti publicly recognized the low status of women and discrimination against them in access to education, employment, health care and the law. However, through the example of those women who have broken into the modern sector, and the activities of bodies such as the National Council of Women, attitudes, at least among the educated elite, are gradually changing. There is a Women’s Division of the Department of Home Affairs and Youth, Provincial Women’s Offices and a Women’s Desk in the Department of Finance and Planning. The Women’s Division expects to receive K815,400 from aid donors in 1993. In October 1992 the government launched a National Women’s Policy which includes vocational training and literacy programs, family planning programs and a credit scheme. The programs are to be funded by a K401,100 budget allocation in 1993.

Papua New Guinea in World War II

Papua New Guinea (PNG) became involved in WWII when Japanese seaborne troops captured Rabaul, the headquarters of the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea, on 23 January 1942. Australia had made no preparations to defend PNG. When the invasion occurred most of her troops were in Europe fighting the Germans and Italians. The Japanese rapidly took the towns of the north coast of New Guinea and an arc of islands north and east of the mainland, and in April mounted an invasion aimed at capturing Port Moresby, the headquarters of the Australian Territory of Papua.

The United States of America (USA) had entered the war after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. In May 1942 forces from Australia and the USA, combined in the South Pacific Area Command, prevented a seaborne invasion of Port Moresby by defeating the Japanese in the Coral Sea Battle. In July Japanese troops attempted to capture Port Moresby by moving overland from the Milne Bay coast on the eastern tip of Papua, and from Gona on the north coast via the Kokoda Trail. They were defeated at Milne Bay and turned back on the Kokoda Trail in September. Between September 1942, and their final surrender at Wewak, on the north coast, on 13 September 1945, the Japanese gradually retreated from the areas they occupied. When Manus Island was recovered, in February 1944, the US established a giant base from which to attack Japanese bases in Southeast Asia.

The fighting involved 1,000,000 American, 500,000 Australian and 300,000 Japanese troops (almost outnumbering PNG’s population) and an unknown number of PNGan soldiers, police, scouts, carriers and laborers. An estimated 200,000 Japanese, 15,000 Australians, and an unknown number of PNGans died from injury or disease. In regions most heavily affected some estimates of loss of Melanesian life are as high as 25 percent. PNGan soldiers were recruited into the Papuan Infantry Battalion and three New Guinea Infantry Battalions (later combined to form the Pacific Islands Regiment) of the Australian Army. The Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) conscripted men as laborers and carriers. The Japanese conscripted laborers and carriers but seldom used local men as soldiers.

The effect of the war on PNGans depended on the area in which they lived. People in many island and coastal areas suffered greatly from aerial bombardment and from being caught in the crossfire of Allied and Japanese ground troops. Many lives were lost and gardens and houses destroyed. Even outside the war zones village life was disrupted when men were conscripted and women and children left with the responsibilities usually undertaken by men. However, some parts of the country, such as the central highlands, had little or no contact with the war.

The war had an important social as well as physical impact on the PNGans involved. During the period of the Japanese advance, PNGans saw, for the first time, that white men were not invincible. They also saw black American soldiers who apparently had the same privileges as whites. And they met Australians who respected their skills and, unlike the prewar white settlers, were more prepared to regard them as equals. The support that many PNGans had given Australian troops was well publicized in Australia and after the war Australians were ready to support the government’s well funded ”New Deal” which was designed to accelerate economic and social development and improve the welfare of the people of PNG.

See also: The ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’

Last edited by Sam on September 16, 2017

Cardinal Numbers in Tok Pisin

Numbers in Tok Pisin occur with and without –pela suffixed to them:

    1                       wan                                  wanpela
    2                      tu                                       tupela
    3                      tri                                      tripela
    4                      foa                                    fopela
    5                      faiv                                   faipela
    6                      sikis                                 sikispela
    7                      seven                               sevenpela
    8                      et                                       etpela
    9                      nain                                 nainpela
    10                    ten                                    tenpela

Those without –pela attached correspond to the names of the numbers in English and are used for mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and for counting money and telling the time, some of which will be presented in more detail later. Numbers beyond ten are not constructed as in English although one may occasionally hear the shorter ones with –pela attached to them, e.g.

    elevenpela                 eleven
    eitinpela                     eighteen
    twentipela                 twenty

Sometimes an older method of counting beyond ten is resorted to in modern contexts to make sure that there is no ambiguity or doubt about what is said. For example, on aircraft where the noise level is high the hostess might say The journey will take thirty-five minutes and will use tripela ten faiv minit for thirty-five . The numbers in this older method of counting are based on ten (except for the hundreds) and are regularly derived. Consider, for example:

    11                    wanpela ten wan
    12                   wanpela ten tu
    18                   wanpela ten et
    26                  tupela ten sikis
    54                  faipela ten foa
    80                  etpela ten
    100                wan handet

In the classroom nating, not or siro is used for nought or zero but outside it in everyday life the idea of nothing is expressed by i no gat wanpela (lit. there is not one). Approximations are given by samting olsem, e.g. Em i gat samting olsem fotisikis kina He’s got about K46 (lit. something like K46).

Personal Pronouns in Tok Pisin

The principal pronouns in Tok Pisin are:

Tok Pisin formRefers toEnglish
mithe speakerI, me
yuthe person spoken toyou
emthe person or thing spoken abouthe, she, it
him, her, it
yumithe speaker and person(s) spoken towe (incl.), us (incl.)
mipelathe speakers and person(s) with him and not including the person spoken towe (excl.), us (excl.)
yupe lathe persons spoken toyou (pl)
olthe persons spoken aboutthey, them

There are four important differences between these Tok Pisin pronouns and English ones:

1. There are no separate pronouns for he, she, it in Tok Pisin. These are all em. Thus Em i go long taun can mean either he went to town or she went to town;

2. In most carefully spoken varieties of Tok Pisin all the subject pronouns (except mi and yu) are followed by the special particle i which occurs between the pronoun and the verb, for example as in:

  • Mi wokabaut.
  • Yu wokabaut.
  • Em i wokabaut.
  • Yumi i wokabaut.
  • Mipela i wokabaut.
  • Yupela i wokabaut.
  • Ol i wokabaut.

In other varieties this particle is regularly omitted so that Em i wokabaut becomes Em wokabaut.

This particle is a most important part of the special structure of Tok Pisin and is usually referred to as the Predicative Particle or Predicate Marker. Its position relative to other items in sentences will be illustrated and discussed as they are introduced later. For teaching purposes it will be used after all pronouns except mi and yu in the first few units until learners get used to it. Then no further attention will be paid to it and it will be left out or used depending on context, speed of utterance and/or other factors operating at the time;

3. Most Tok Pisin speakers distinguish between yumi and mipela which are both represented as we in English. To distinguish the Tok Pisin forms in English yumi is said to be we (inclusive), that is we, including the person spoken to and mipela is said to be we (exclusive), that is we, excluding the person spoken to. Thus Mipela i go long taun means We (that is, my friends and I but not you) are going to town whereas Yumi go long taun means You and my friends and I are going to town;

4. Tok Pisin pronouns do not change form like English ones do when they occur as objects of verbs or prepositions (like long or bilong). Thus whereas in English one says He sees me and not He sees I, in Tok Pisin one says Em i lukim mi where mi is the same form as one uses in the beginning of sentences like Mi lukim em I see him.

Pronouns: dual and trial

In Tok Pisin it is customary to refer to the number of persons or things involved in any action, especially if there are only two or three. This is done by adding the numerals tupela and tripela to the pronouns mi, yu, em, yumi. Thus the set of pronouns given in the last table should now be expanded to include at least the following:

Tok PisinRefers toEnglish
mitupelathe speaker and the person with him but not including the person spoken towe (two) (excl. )
yumitupelathe speaker and the person spoken towe (two) (incl. )
yutupelathe two persons spoken toyou (two)
emtupelathe two persons spoken aboutthose (two)
mitripelathe speaker and the two persons with him but not including the person spoken towe (three) (excl.)
yumitripelathe speaker and the person with him and the person spoken towe (three) (incl.)
yutripelathe three persons spoken toyou (three)
emtripelathe three persons spoken aboutthose (three)

Reference to four, five , six, etc. can ‘be made in the same way by adding fopela, faipela, etc.