• Solomon Islands!

    Solomon Islands: Looking up at palm trees. Go Now!

    Solomon Islands
    This Melanesian country is best known for its many islands and beaches... and this natural landscape (pictured) is why most people go. Don't miss out on the unique Melanesian culture and foods though! Begin Your Journey!

  • Tonga!

    Tonga: Coastline. Go Now!

    The heart of Polynesian culture is rooted in Tonga, but most visitors just come for the natural beauty. Explore Tonga!

  • Vanuatu!

    Vanuatu: Jetty into the ocean. Go Now!

    Picturesque serenity is a good way to describe Vanuatu, but the culture offers much more, including the inspiration for bungee jumping, which remains a rite of passage for young men. Explore Vanuatu!

  • Palau!

    Palau: "70 Islands!" Go Now!

    Few people have even heard of this small Micronesian country, but those who have often return with stories of beauty unmatched elsewhere, such as view of the "70 Islands" (pictured). Go Now!

  • Explore the: Federated States of Micronesia!

    Federated States of Micronesia: Overlooking some islands. Go Now!

    Federated States of Micronesia
    This diverse country stretches for thousands of miles and has the diversity to prove it, including the people from Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap among others. Begin Your Journey!

  • Samoa!

    Samoa: A traditional home. Go Now!

    Among the most famous of the South Pacific's many countries, Samoa sits in the heart of Polynesia and has a culture to match. Begin Your Journey!

Culture & Identity of Papua New Guinea


The culture and way of life in Papua New Guinea varies from village to village and city to city as there is the seemingly conflicting sense of diversity in languages, cultures, and ethnicities, but a shared history, landscape, and, to many degrees, lifestyle.

There are few cities in Papua New Guinea and those that do exist only hold a small percentage of the population, in fact less than one in five people live in a city in Papua New Guinea. Despite this, the rural regions in the country tend to be more densely populated than rural lands in many other countries as large farms or land plots are rare. Due to this heavily rural population, farming, hunting, and living off the land tend to be the most common occupations in the country and most lands are community owned, but members are welcome to farm there, making community very important.

For many people in the mountains and more rural areas their "occupation" is simply farming, hunting, and fishing to provide for themselves and their families. In cities there may be a much more structured work schedule as employees are expected to arrive and depart at certain times; however this lifestyle is only found in the cities. The average income in the country also reflects this lifestyle of sustenance farming as little is produced to be sold, but rather only grown for a family's or community's own use.

As farming, gathering, and hunting are the general occupations, evenings and weekends vary little from weekdays as all these same events take place throughout the week. However, there are also numerous social events that take place weekends as there are men-only socialization sessions and women often gather to socialize as well. "Western" forms of entertainment are rare in Papua New Guinea outside Port Moresby and a couple other cities; even in these places, few people experience these entertainment options on a regular basis.


Identity in Papua New Guinea varies greatly as there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different identities that are used. On one extreme are those who primarily identify with their kin group, which is their extended family or village and no further; these people are usually fairly isolated in the mountains. On the other extreme are those who identify with Papua New Guinea as a whole; these people tend to be in cities and speak Tok Pisin. In between these two ends are the people who tend to identify with their local region, an identity based on ethnicity, language, culture, history, etc. No matter what a person's primary identity is, nearly everyone has secondary identities that include all of the above mentioned identities.

For the people who identify on a national level the identity is defined primarily in political and linguistic terms. Citizenship is important, but to many people speaking Tok Pisin is just as important, which excludes the minority from being included in this "national" identity.

Many people still identify as being a member of their local ethnic group, who speaks a different language and maintains a distinct culture. However, the number the people that identify in this way is slowly declining. Today people from different ethnic groups within Papua New Guinea are getting married and together they speak Tok Pisin, teaching their children this language, giving them a more national identity. This is leading to the loss of local languages, cultures, and a melting pot of ethnicities, making it difficult for individuals to identify with a single ethnic group. Due to this change in the landscape, fewer people are identifying with their local ethnic group in favor of identifying on a more national scale, but this is a slow transition.

This page was last updated: November, 2013