The Media and Papua New Guinea

I read an article today from former AAP PNG correspondent Eoin Blackwell comparing Sydney’s road rage issues to be less stressful that “carjacking and murders in Papua New Guinea”.

PNG is a stressful place, not just for expats but locals as well. They don’t like being carjacked or murdered as much as anyone else… But it seems to be the typical media beat up of PNG, the “fear”, the sensationalism.

Here’s the link to the article:

At the end of the article, Eoin does point out that carjackings etc in PNG is borne out of poverty, that’s the “balance” so that he can write whatever he likes in the rest of the article.

And yes, I don’t disagree that being a victim of road rage is very stressful, and living in Port Moresby is also very stressful. But why the comparison? They have absolutely nothing in common. Why not have a title of “I felt safer in Port Moresby than Sydney”….? Why does every article about Port Moresby have to focus on Carjackings and Murders?

PNG has 1/3 of the population of Australia and 50% more population than New Zealand, but with substantially less resourcing in law and order, and yet the crime statistic’s for Australia and New Zealand are pretty damning. So lets not focus on Australia’s issues, but turn it into a PNG thing…

The other point I find I struggle with in Eoin’s article, is the Eoin was in PNG in 2011/2012/2013, and his road rage incident happened in Sydney when he still had a year of his 2 year stint to go. So that placed it 5 or 6 years ago – but the article with it’s “I asked my wife this morning” makes it sound like it all happened yesterday. It also flies in the face of the terrific parting article when Eoin was leaving PNG.

Look I don’t want to trivialise what could happen to you in PNG. I’ve got plenty of friends and framily (that’s friends that are family apparently) and friends of friends that have suffered greatly at the opportunistic crime that happens in Port Moresby (Myself included). But this constant bias of Australian media reporting crime in Moresby is pretty suffocating, and especially in the lead up to APEC 2018 and the opportunities that this will present to showcase PNG to the world. PNG doesn’t need all of Australia thinking it’s closest neighbour is a cesspool of rampant murders and carjackings – it needs to show how much PNG has progressed, especially in the past 5 years in economic development, investment opportunities, event management (the Pacific Games and FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup – and soon to be Rugby League World Cup), and economic growth. Other “tourist” hotspots around the pacific don’t seem to attract the same level of crime reporting – don’t want to scare the tourists now do we?

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d say that the Aussie Military presence both in PNG and Darwin, the level of funds in the guise of Australian Aid and the deals around Manus Island, isn’t so much for PNG’s benefit, but more to ensure that uncontrolled border between PNG and Indonesia has an Australian eye across it. Getting the Australian media to focus on crime and/or political instability in PNG gives the Australian Government a reason for funding “Aid Monies” into PNG and in return concessions on ensuring the safety of Australian mainland. PNG could be the new gateway to Asia, and it was no surprise to me when South Korean warships were in Port Moresby at a similar time as the FIFA U20 Womens WC was being held, featuring the eventual winners, North Korea. Just like WW2 featuring the Japanese offensive, PNG is in a significantly strategic position for Australia. Hmm – maybe I have just trivialised the Australian Aid program, and that’s quite unfair, I know a lot of people in DFAT and the ADF and other agencies who are doing a bloody sterling job and putting 100% into their time in PNG – PNG needs them, they make a hellova lot of difference.

OK – I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and maybe there is a bit of over-analysing there 😉

The other sensationalism in Eoin’s article is referring to the “mutiny” that occurred whilst he was in PNG. Mutiny? Really Eoin? Since 2011 how many Prime Ministers has Australia had? What happened in PNG was pure politics, a calculated bid for the top job that worked, and although I have no opinion to what happened to Sir Michael Somare, it was very evident that Peter O’Neill used political manoeuvring to gain power, and subsequently win the next 2 elections. I’d say that’s a lot more political stability than in many places around the world, but to call it mutiny is stretching it.

Can I also just say; that in fact, I felt at times safer in Port Moresby than many places I have travelled around the world. Not the least, safer than parts of Auckland. Auckland has a reputation for home invasion’s and burglaries, and some of the astronomical violence that we are experiencing in NZ with attacks on corner shops (dairies) beggars belief. Australia too, with unprovoked attacks on innocent people – I shake my head.

I always set out the intent of this blog to be as balanced a viewpoint as I possibly can on life in Port Moresby. I’ve never shied away from telling it as it is, but at least if you read my blog you will always see the good and the bad – I just wish the mainstream media could put a bit “more” balance in their articles as well…

Shopping at the Supermarket

We tend to shop at Waterfront Foodworld, although it has a small premium on most goods compared to other supermarkets, but you really can’t beat the convenience of it just down the road.  Here is a selection of goods, to convert from PGK to your currency, either use Google, or

Oreo’s – vanilla K3.80
Oreo’s – Chocolate K4.40
2 minute Maggi noodles K6.60 for pack of 5
Palmolive big bottle dishwashing – K11.95
Heinz Baked Beans (standard can) K4.50
Arnott Cheese & Bacon Shapes K9.50 (on sale)
Kleenex 12pk toilet paper K19.90 (on sale, normally K30)
ETA Potato Chips -big packet K9.50
UHT Milk 1 litre K4.95
Olive Grove spread 375gm K9.30
Wattles chunky frozen chips K14.35
Beef Eye Fillet 600gm K45.57
Apples (packet of 10) K11.53
Sliced bread – fresh K5.95

I’ll post another sample next week 🙂

Lanes – 10pin bowling in Port Moresby

Lanes is the new 10pin bowling alley here in Port Moresby.  After coffee at Cafe Palazzo, we headed up (the team in the cafe actually checked it was open for us without any prompting).

Xavier is keen on having his mates go bowling next week for his birthday (he was 12 yesterday) so we rocked up to try and book, was told that if we were there at 11am it would be no problem, and decided to throw down a couple of games whilst we were there.

The venue has 6 lanes, all modern (no bumpers for little kids though), a Cafe, alcohol, and the ability to buy from the restaurants down stairs.

Aside from no shoes and having to put covers over our existing footwear (which was hell slippery) it’s a real slick operation and well worth going to.  We had lots of fun, pictures and pricing are below:

Cafe Palazzo – Lamana Hotel

Thought I would pass the time by reviewing some of the places we eat/drink/socialise…

First up – Cafe Palazzo at Lamana Hotel.

Xavier and myself came to check out Lanes, Lamana’s 10pin bowling alley (more on that later) which was advertised at opening at 10am, but in reality it’s 11am.  So whilst waiting, popped into Cafe Palazzo for coffee and hot chocolate (pic below)

I really hate the glasses that everyone seems to use, my latte came out in the same type of glass/mug.

We also got a K22 slice of mud cake, which they sliced in two for us to share, which is great service (and only AUD$5 each – which is OK)

Yum!  Mud cake was light but still had that gummy taste we like 🙂 10/10

The coffee tasted slightly flavoured, which is not my cup of tea and a bit watery – better than other places, but if they ditched the glass/mug and put more foam into the latte it would be really good – 5/10.  Hot chocolate got rated a 7/10 – so that means we’ll be coming back 🙂

Edit: The Hot Chocolate got better as it went down, Xavier changed to a 9/10

The tub chairs you sit in are comfy as and they play very relaxing Italian music (Opera)  (even Xavier was tapping his feet).

The seating is arranged around the outside of a circle with the prep facilities in the middle, which means you don’t have many neighbours

Overall – nice, relaxing, great service from the staff and Xavier looked like he could spend the day “laxin out” in the armchair :). Coffee could be better, but everything makes up the shortfall.  We both agree that Cafe Palazzo is an easy 8/10

Also of note: they have homemade Gelato that we didn’t try – so maybe next time they might get a 9 😉

Getting to Sunset Lodge, Lea Lea

I was quite rightly informed that my blog was out of date in the weekend 😉 (thanks!) and directions to Sunset Lodge, Lea Lea were scratchy at best. Apparently the Sunset Lodge signage has disappeared, but truth be told, it was hard to see anyway, so it might still be there.

The general premise is to head out to the LNG Plant along Napa Napa Road, go all the way around the plant (which you can’t miss – I’m sure it’s visible from the moon) and then when you get to the far side, you will see the road continue to the right up the coast. Finding Sunset Lodge can be a bit of a “blink and you miss it” type deal, it’s on the left hand side right in Lea Lea, but don’t worry if you miss it – when you get to the end of the road, there is a long foot bridge going over the river, backtrack about 700 metres and you will spot it (now on your right hand side). The entrance means you drive down into a gully – park your car and then follow your nose (or the sound of the music) to the waterfront.

Now – if you don’t know how to get to Napa Napa Road, leave the Yacht Club and head up the Poreporena Freeway turning left onto the Hanuabada Top Road (police station corner). Follow this road to the other side of Hanuabada (the road has been repaired on the other side of the hill) and it will take you around the harbour a ways. You will eventually see the nice new road heading inland, follow this until you get to a roundabout, turning left will take you back to the harbour, turning right will take you to Gerehu (very close to the Nature Park) NOTE: This is possibly the quickest way to the Nature Park from Town…

So – turn left, then head towards the harbour for 500 metres or so – then turn right to follow the Napa Napa Road to Lea Lea 🙂