KiwiExpat beginners guide to Port Moresby 2015 edition – part 1

  1. Port Moresby’s International Airport is called Jackson’s, and so is the domestic Airport. This is abbreviated to POM, which is also what we call Port Moresby to other people from Port Moresby. Eg: “When are you going back to Pom?“
  2. Port Moresby is also called Moresby or Mosbi, as well as Pom. Often the names get interchanged whilst talking (just to confuse you). Eg: “Hey, how’s life in Port Moresby?”, “Oh man, Moresby a bit crazy at the moment”, “No shit?”, “Yeah – when you coming back to Pom?”, “Ahhh – dunno bro, all my Mosbi wantoks want me to come back – but not sure when”….
  3. Port Moresby is spread out along an old main route called the Hubert Murray Highway. This is the old way old of “Town” (the modern way and most used is via the Poreporena Freeway (Spring Garden Road)).
  4. The CBD location beside Paga Hill is called Town, and the old Hubert Murray route is used for naming locations along this route
    1. Town
    2. 2 Mile (Badili Area)
    3. 3 Mile – Although this is actually called Murray Barracks
    4. 4 Mile (Boroko) – but normally refers to the 4 Mile PMV (Bus) Stop
    5. 5 Mile – 5 Mile roundabout (has a Mobil Service Station) – beside Jack Pidik Park
    6. 6 Mile – T intersection, left takes you to Jackson’s Airport – right takes you down the Magi Highway
    7. 7 mile – Jacksons’s Airport
    8. 8 mile – ATS settlement, Malolo Estate
    9. 9 mile – 9 mile settlement, right hand turn off to Sogeri
    10. 14 mile – Pacific Adventist University (PAU), Adventure Park, Orchid Gardens
    11. 16 mile – Hugo Canning factory (Ox and Palm)
    12. 17 mile – Bluff Inn
    13. Sogeri
    14. Turn right for Crystal Rapids
    15. Veer left for Koitaki
  5. The main suburbs/area’s are:
    1. Town
    2. Ela Beach/Ela Makana
    3. Touaguba
    4. Konedobu (Kone)
    5. Hanuabada
    6. Hohola
    7. Koki
    8. Badili
    9. Gabutu
    10. Korobosea
    11. Gordons
    12. Waigani
    13. Ensisi
    14. Erima
    15. Gerehu
  6. Suburbs/area’s you may not want to visit without a local are:
    1. June Valley
    2. Morata
    3. Sabama
    4. Erima
    5. Gerehu past stage 3
    6. Gordon’s Market
    7. Koki Market area
  7. Where can you get a Coffee? There are lots of places, however my favorites are:
    1. My Place :) (we only drink PNG coffee – yum!)
    2. Other people’s places – especially when they like PNG coffee too ;)
    3. Duffy’s
    4. Edge Café
    5. Fusion Restaurant
    6. Airways Hotel
    7. Brumby’s at Vision City (when the machine is working)
    8. Royal Papua Yacht Club
    9. Espresso Café – Deliotte Tower (only cause I work upstairs)
    10. Boncafe – Deliotte Tower (Only cause I work upstairs, they open at 7:30am, and we get to see their pet rats that run around behind them…)
  8. So, you are now hungry – here’s my favourite eateries
    1. Fusion Restaurant – Wonton Noodle Soup
    2. Duffy’s – for their beef pie’s
    3. The Edge Café – The steak sandwich or Egg’s Benedict
    4. The Imperial – Salty Fish Rice
    5. Asia Aroma’s – Salt & Pepper Squid
    6. Stone Grill or Tapa’s at The Yachty – RPYC
    7. Friday night Fish n Chips at Sail’s Café – RPYC
    8. Sail’s Café – Egg’s Benedict
    9. Ten Japanese Restaurant – It’s all good, but try the special buffet lunch
    10. The Aviat – Burger and Chips. But standard lunch menu is a good pub lunch
    11. Koitaki – for local beef
    12. Bluff Inn – for a burger and chips
    13. Airways – Buffet Lunch
    14. Ela Beach Hotel – Pizza
    15. Foodstation – Pizza and Fish n Chips
    16. Ang’s – Best duck in town
    17. Sunset Lodge Lea Lea – BYO food to cook on the wood fired BBQ
    18. Big Rooster – for Fried Chicken (which I don’t eat BTW) and the best chips in PNG
    19. Tasty Bite – for steaks and Mexican… kidding Indian ;)
  9. And if you really have to eat at home, then you need some groceries
    1. Waterfront Supermarket (is 10 to 15% more expensive, but it’s nice, so we go there :) )
    2. Boroko Foodworld at Gordons – still the best damn sausages anywhere… and I mean anywhere!! Was the place to go a few years ago until the new supermarkets opened
    3. RH Hypermart in Vision City – I really like their Ham, and quite often are a lot cheaper than anywhere else, they also have a Brumby’s bakery onsite
    4. SVS Harbourcity – used to be our old supermarket, now it just looks old… pretty grotty place, but you can find things here that you can’t anywhere else. Might be because they have less clientele now
    5. Waigani Central Stop and Shop (or Stab and Grab for a bit of fun) – has some of the best range of cheese around.
    6. RH Hypermart opposite Brian Bell – grotty grotty grotty, hold your fecken wallets…. Actually not a bad place ;) you can get items here that no one else stocks
    7. SVS 2 Mile – has possibly the best stock of spices around
    8. SVS Koki – used to be (a long time ago) part of the Anderson’s Chain. Been there, not worth going back
    9. The Shed at PAU Markets – my favourite place for fresh fruit and vege, only open Sunday morning at 14 mile, make sure you spread some cash around the outside market as well – some of the locals grow the best pumpkin you have had in your life!   Even my kids eat it – and kids never eat pumpkin, they are normally forcefed…
    10. Malaro Markets – no wallets, old clothes, go with a local the first time :) best market in Pom. Although you can get fresh fish at Koki Market, or on the side of the road – this is the best place to come.
    11. Side of the road – some of the best fruit and vege is found on the side of the road by a bunch of street sellers, people like Anna Banana and Peter bring fruit down from Sogeri and sell it at strategic places around the city (like the school when it’s pickup time). You can haggle a little with them (please don’t be too harsh), and if you buy banana’s, make sure they are green – they are the bestest!
    12. Sogeri – if you drive up to Sogeri in Pineapple season, buy some! If you have never had “real” pineapple (or banana’s for that matter) before – then you are in for a treat.


Part 2 to come…..

What to do in an accident?

Today’s Post-Courier has on the front page “A mother’s grief” with the headline story about her 7 year old girl being hit on the freeway by an expatriate, who then “flew off” to Australia.

Of course, anything happening like this always has 2 sides to the story – I have semi published my own personal near-miss last year.  And I am sure that if my car was hit in the accident, I would have been in the same horrible situation as the expatriate driving the car this time around.

So what should you do?  Leave the scene, or stay and help?

The bottom line here is peoples personal safety.  I witnessed a truck crash here a couple of years ago, the seriously injured truck driver was dealt to retribution style by bystanders.  Did he deserve it?  Of course he didn’t.

What about this female expatriate, driving her car – when a young girl runs out in front of her car – and gets clipped – then is run over by another car.  What do you do?  Panic?  Or do what you have been told by all the websites, and traveler blogs, and even the New Zealand government :

Should a driver be involved in or witness a road accident he/she may find themselves at personal risk as crowds tend to form quickly after an accident and they may attack those whom they perceive to be responsible. Persons involved in accidents should proceed directly to the nearest police station rather than stopping at the scene of an accident.

The Post-Courier has stated that the driver went immediately to her husbands place of work, they immediately called the police.  And if you were in a panic mode – I think that is what most people would do – unless you knew where the police stations were around Port Moresby, then you would go where you can get help.

I really feel for both the expatriate driver, the child that was hit, and the grief stricken mother.  The driver who “flew” off to Australia would have been sent immediately by her company in order to safeguard any form of “pay back” as well as to help her with the significant mental issues you have after being in an accident like this.  The child of course – is now badly injured, and the medical system here in PNG will struggle with yet another casualty.

As far as I am concerned – yes horrible situation, but the driver did exactly what she should have done.  She went and got help!  When I saw the accident last year – we couldn’t get through to emergency services via the telephone….

I have detailed the full editorial below:

A mother’s grief by Donald Willie and Merolyn Ten


  •  Expat woman hits school girl in hit-and-run, flies off to Australia
  • PNG family grieves as daughter fights on in hospital

A DRIVER suspected of a hit-and-run accident that broke the legs of a seven-year-old girl has fled the country.

It is feared the young girl may be paralysed after the driver drove off from the scene of the accident.  It happened on May 7 on the Poreporena Freeway in Port Moresby as the girl was on her way home from school.  It is understood the driver – an expatriate woman – left the country the next day after the accident and without knowledge of local police.  An official familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Post-Courier that the woman drove to her husband’s office shocked and physically shaken by the ordeal.

The husband, who works with a financial institution in Port Moresby, reported the matter to his head of security who then alerted the city police.  His wife is yet to go to the station to make an official statement to enable the formal investigations to get underway according to the city police.  The financial institution released a statement recently say that the driver only “clipped” one of the legs of the young girl and she was allegedly run over by another vehicle.

“We understand that the girl ran in fromt of the traffic without warning because she was being chased by an attacker,” the financial institution said in a statement.

The young girl, who is recovering in the hospital, told this newspaper that she recalls the driver of the white vehicle being a woman.  When asked by this newspaper why she was quickly flown out of the country, the financial institution said the advice the family was given at that time was for her immediate relocation due to significant risks of revenge attacks.

Meanwhile the young girl, who was identified as Sarah Kevin, has been hospitalised for over a week.  Her family has been advised that she is urgently in need of surgery to insert steel plates into her right leg, which was crushed in the accident.

Aussie Federal Police assisted immediately at the scene (as per the photos in the Post-Courier) and given the tone of the newspaper article then I wouldn’t want to come back if I was the expatriate driver.

All of this is concerning for us as expatriates, it seriously impacts our thought processes as we could easily become victims too.  I really feel for everyone involved – and bloody glad it was not my wife nor me.  We are not here to deliberately hurt anyone, we are not here to be a menace to society – we are here to help and give; our time, our knowledge, our energy.  Oh – how it can go pear shaped in a heart beat… :(

and what we forget here – is that accidents do happen, and it could easily happen to you or me.  It could easily escalate out of control…  In fact, the area where the accident happened is a known spot for troublemakers, with people being attacked in the early hours of the morning, and rocks being thrown at cars.

When in Port Moresby – you have to use your head…


Don’t be shy!

I had to go and get some groceries today, and whilst sitting in Lei’s Cafe at The Waterfront enjoying a coffee with no wife nor kids, I noticed a couple of people kept glancing furtive glances my way.

Either I’m one scary looking guy, or they were working out if they had read my blog, and trying to figure out if it was me or not, and wondering if they should ask..

Ask! Shout me a coffee or a beer, I don’t mind! :)

I answer so many questions, send lots of emails, and yet so many people rock up to Port Moresby and then never say Hi once they get here.

So if you see a tattooed kiwi (I have a large maori tattoo on my left forearm), sometimes wearing an All Blacks cap, commonly wearing rasta jandals, more often than not with a wife and 3 kids – girl10,boy8,girl3 – and always drinking coffee. Then don’t be scared, come share your story and let me know if this blog helped you out, and if there is something that you can add – how about a guest post :)

We are often sitting down at the Sails Cafe area (Yacht Club) on a Friday evening supervising our children playing whilst enjoying a cool SP or two – none of our friends bite either :)


Fishermans Island Port Moresby

 On Sunday we went to the annual RPYC (that’s the Yachty) Christmas party at Fishermans Island.  If you have a boat, then it’s a nice trip out of Fairfax Harbour and across to Fisho’s.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a boat, and haven’t been invited on one… Note to new expats that read my blog, and come over and buy a boat – we have kids, but we’d still like to come for a cruise!

So, Jacinta hasn’t been over there and I have only once.  We went across on a Steamships barge, which was pretty cool.  On the way we past a guy on an upright paddle board paddling his way across.  This is no small feat, it must have been easily in the mid 30’s and it is quite a distance, 45 minutes on the barge…

We had a great day, it was very hot, and since it was a family day – we left the booze back in Moresby :). Santa came and visited, and basically we just soaked in the beautiful clear water.  We honestly felt that we were in a beautiful island paradise – and of course we were :)

The next day I woke up to a fully sunburnt body, including the tops of my hands.  Very sore!  And then to top it off, Deliotte Tower lost a circuit breaker which meant no AC, water or lifts…

Oh to be back on the island!

It’s getting very hot now – I’m really looking forward to cooler weather back in New Zealand at Christmas!

Heres some Photos: Xanthe and Xaria waiting in the shade

Getting on the barge

Happy dad, pissed off son

Xanthe checking out the Harbour

Checking out the front of the barge

Yay, almost there

Lunch area

Xanthe surrounded by local girls having a swim.  

Xavier got grease from somewhere, how the hell do boys find dirt?  Here he is getting clean…

That’s me checking the barge out getting ready for the trip back

All in all, a great day :)

12 Months in Papua New Guinea

Today, officially – I have been in PNG for 12 months.  So far – it has been an amazing journey, all be it frustrating at times

From a work perspective, my IT team has grown immensely – I am very proud of their achievements.  When I arrived, they didn’t have a lot of real world IT direction, and now they are on track building their careers and enjoying what they do.  I am very satisfied, that my team has had zero turnover – they obviously see the real benefit in my mentoring approach.

We have achieved a lot, including Project Management Frameworks, Change Management Policies right through to our technical projects.  This year we deployed Windows 7  Enterprise and Office 2010 to 180 odd clients, migrated from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange, and deployed Sharepoint 2010.  We have done heaps of work on disaster recovery, have moved into a Virtual world with Hyper-V and are gradually pulling things back into a framework that Papua New Guineans can manage – such as moving from Pervasive SQL to Microsoft SQL.  This might seem odd – but it’s important here to ensure that systems are self managed using locally developed skills.  In general, it is very expensive to access the internet, use power or even buy a PC – so the type of research that we would do in New Zealand is decidedly difficult here.

On the home front, Jacinta and the kids have settled into PNG life.  Xaria (our youngest) is off to the lik lik pikinini school (little kids school) on the 20th of August, and both Xavier and Xanthe have made good friends in their respective classes.  Both the two big kids are on the advanced side with schooling, with Xavier being an almost straight A student and Xanthe not too far behind.  I was very proud when Xanthe was told to stop reading school supplied books after school.  She has been reading some of our fantasy novels that we have at home :) and Xavier is part way through The Hobbit.  Not bad for a 9 and a 7 year old…

We now get cold when it is 24 degrees, and the pool at our compound looks rather fresh – I hope it warms up soon!  Our social life is pretty hectic with the weekends generally full starting with the Friday drinks…

Of course – we enjoy being Kiwi’s here, and make sure that we shout it out…  Today, I am wearing an All Blacks top to work – just to piss off the Aussies.  And on Monday, when we win the rugger this weekend – I’ll be wearing Black business attire, just to rub it in some more :)

We have made many friends here – and lost some to ended contracts – but not lost for good…  Expat life in PNG can be tough at times, and good at other times – it can be very isolating…

Our life is luxurious compared to how some Papua New Guineans live, but in general – I think we have a better quality of life in New Zealand.  We do have a house keeper here (Maria – Our Haus Meri) but more for the fact that we are employing someone, than any real need.  It also does mean that Maria can babysit on the odd (so far once) occasion that we go out with no kids.

I think some of the frustrations I have here – is with the Sir Michael Somare coined phrase “Boomerang Aid” that is prevalent.  I don’t really get why Aid workers are on such high, untaxed salaries, except that it sets them up back home for the future.  It would be interesting to look at all monetary aid in PNG and find out the percentage that actually hits the community.  Even so, some of our friends work for Defense and AusAid – and are wonderful people with amazing jobs and attitudes.  I just wish the Aussie government would grow a pair and review the methodology in aid packages.

I’d also really appreciate anything from the IT community out there to help me develop my team.  Literature, magazines, software etc.  Anything physical can be mailed to:

Aaron Bird, PO Box 1141, Port Moresby, NCD 121, Papua New Guinea

Appreciate anything you can throw our way J I don’t mind that it takes 2 months to get here

Above all – thanks for continuing to read my blog