Image: Motuan lagatoi, circa 1800. Photograph Credit: University of PNG.


City Symbol

The symbol of Port Moresby is the Lagatoi, a traditional multi-hulled canoe used by the coastal inhabitants of Port Moresby and surrounding areas for trading in the era preceding Western contact and during the English and Australian colonial administrations. This trading practice, held over many generations, was known as the Hiri and existed long before the arrival of the first European in Port Moresby.

The Lagatoi was the lifeline for the indigenous people, the Motu Koitabuans, who, living in the dry environs of Port Moresby before the abundance of Western food supply, were forced to traverse the Gulf of Papua to the west to trade clay pots for sago with the people of Gulf.

A lagatoi was constructed when its hulls were  fashioned out from huge tree trucks and tied together with strong bush vines to create a vessel that could hold thousands of clay pots during the forward journey and the weight of wet heavy sago on the return journey. The Lagatoi is distinguished by its crab-claw sails, usually made from woven frond mats.

The Lagatoi was adopted by the National Capital District Commission as the City's Official Emblem when it took its official status. According to Port Moresby historian Ian Stuart, the emblem was first displayed at a public ceremony at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium in Konedobu to officially recognise the first councillors of the Port Moresby Council (the predecessor to the NCDC), including Port Moresby's first Mayor Cr. Oala Oala Rarua.

The emblem is a silhouetted black Lagatoi against a yellow field, presumed as the South Pacific sun. The use of the Lagatoi is to commemorate the Hiri and honour the local people of Port Moresby whose original land the Nation’s Capital now stands upon.

THE CAPITAL OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Port Moresby has seen exponential growth over the last five years since 2013 largely because of an investment boom in the country, witnessed in PNG's mining and resource sector.



PORT MORESBY is the Capital of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and the country's largest city.

It is also the biggest city in the South Pacific outside of Australia and New Zealand. The City is located on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, on the south-eastern coast of the Papuan Peninsula of the island of New Guinea, at latitude and longitude 06° 00' S, 47° 00' E.

The city emerged as a trade centre in the second half of the nineteenth century under the Australian colonial administration. During the Second World War, it was a prime objective for conquest by the Imperial Japanese forces during 1942-43 as a staging point and air base to cut off Australia from Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Port Moresby has become the main lure for migration from almost every tribal group in the country, as well as attracting a large population of foreigners. The City is now a multicultural one, embracing 21st century technology and development, while trying to retain the traditional values of its varied population. As the administrative hub for the country, Port Moresby benefits from substantial investment in infrastructure and physical development. In 2000 it had a population of 254,158. As of 2011 it had a population of 364, 145, giving it an annual growth rate of 2.1% over a nine-year period.

The place where the city was founded has been inhabited by the Motu-Koitabu people for centuries. The first European to see it was Captain John Moresby in 1873, who named it in honour of his father, Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby.

Although Port Moresby is surrounded by Central Province, of which it is also the provincial capital, it is not part of the province, but forms the 'National Capital District'.

Port Moresby has struggled with its own socio-economic issues over the years since gaining its status at PNG’s Independence in 1975. However, over the last 10 years, the National Capital District Commission of Port Moresby, the municipal government, has made many solid moves that have seen the City begin to push back the barriers in the areas of physical development, city beautification, human resource empowerment, social interaction, governance, and trade and commerce.

Today, Port Moresby has become one of the fastest growing cities in the region. With its revitalised infrastructural development and economic master plans, the NCDC has steadily been changing the physical, social and investment landscapes of Port Moresby to help claim Port Moresby’s position as the leading city among the developing cities of the Southern Pacific.



National Capital District comprises a rocky coastal strip and an inland plain divided by a steep ridge, which falls steeply to the sea. The landscape of the inland plain is dominated by a series of parallel ridges separated by broad, flat and gently undulating valleys. The ridges rise to about 200m above sea level. To the north and east of the ridges are lower areas that merge into the flat Waigani swamp and the Laloki River flood plain.



Before colonisation: People settling in the area that is now Port Moresby, in early days, were rarely able to grow enough food because of low rainfall and poor soil. Consequently, they relied heavily on trade activities. From August until December each year, fleets of multi-hulled canoes called lagatois sailed from Motu villages and were carried by southeast trade winds along the coast of the Gulf of Papua where they traded their claypots for sago, other food, and canoe logs with the people of Gulf of Papua.

The Hiri expeditions were large-scale. As many as 20 multi-hulled canoes or lagatoi, crewed by some 600 men, carried up to 200,000 clay pots on each journey. To the Motuans, the Hiri was not only an economic enterprise but a mechanism that confirmed their identity and social order as a group of people because of the long and dangerous voyages.

The language of the Motuans, Hiri Motu, used mostly during the trade made it easier for communication and coordination when the first European settlers arrived in Port Moresby.

British Protectorate: Port Moresby was thus an important trade centre when the Englishman Captain John Moresby arrived on the 19th of February 1873. It was 10 o’clock in the morning of the 20th of February 1873, when John Moresby claimed the land in the name of the British Crown and proudly named his discovery after his father, Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby. He called the inner reach Fairfax Harbor and the outer Port Moresby.

Soon after,  on 21 November 1874, the Reverend William Lawes of London Missionary Society took up post in Port Moresby and was later joined in 1877 by another missionary and his wife, Rev. James and Mrs Chalmers.  Rev. Lawes settlement of the LMS, near Hanuabada Village, started off Port Moresby's initial European settlement at Konedobu. About 1878, Australians flooded into the town in a gold rush after a bit of gold was discovered on the Laloki River.

On 6 November 1884, Papua was formally declared as the Protectorate of Britain, with the event taking place in Konedobu. About 1887, the town expanded when a second settlement was established across the swampy area (now the site of Sir Hubert Murray Stadium) on the narrow saddle between Touaguba Hill and Paga Hill which has come to be known as Downtown Port Moresby. The two townships were designed and laid out, with their streets named at this time, and some of the town's first buildings were constructed about this time also. One of them  is the Ela Church which was built in 1890. After several renovations, it still stands today on Douglas Street, Downtown Port Moresby and is one of the oldest buildings in Port Moresby.

Over the course of the British possession, Port Moresby became home to several administrators who ran the Protectorate and while based here did their patrols throughout Papua. Major-General Sir Peter Scratchley was the first Special Commissioner of the new Protectorate of British New Guinea. He passed away from illness on 2 December 1885 and John Douglas took his place.

On 4 September 1888, Dr. William MacGregor arrived in Port Moresby as the first Administrator of British New Guinea after the annexation of Papua by Britain.

Australian Administration: On 1 September 1906, the Papua Act was formally proclaimed. The law changed the status of the country from a British Possession to that of an Australian Territory. The Possession of British New Guinea now became the Territory of Papua. After the change of hands of several administrators from MacGregor, Hubert Murray was sworn in on 19 November 1908 as the first Lieutenant-Governor of Papua. Under him was Miles Staniforth Cater Smith, who was Administrator.

Murray set about actively encouraging European settlement and investment and this change of policy was soon reflected in improvements and developments in the capital. A lot more buildings including government offices and guest houses were added to the town as a result, civil works including the plans for a railroad, telephone service and the establishment of the town's first two banks (1910), the publication of the first newspaper (1911), a school (1911), first live theatrical performance (1914), electricity (1925), first flight out of Port Moresby (1928), first petrol bowser (1928), wireless telegraph (1931), talking-pictures (1933), first official airmail service between Australia and Port Moresby (1934), official radio broadcasting (1935),  first traffic signs (1938), piped water supply (1941), and the town took on a lot more social and economic life.

The town witnessed a quiet part of the First World War but felt some measure of the pain of the Great Depression.

Historian Ian Stuart notes: "The atmosphere of the town had changed completely by the 'thirties. Whereas previously it had been a hot-bed of intrigue, strife and bitter argument, it was now a pleasant little community of some 500 expatriates who ..... managed to live together through an economically depressed and depressing period reasonably happily and harmoniously, united in the hope that the rich gold finds in New Guinea would soon be repeated in Papua."

On 27 February 1940, Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Hubert Plunkett Murray - the first Lieutenant-Governor of the Territory of Papua and the man who grew Port Moresby with his "native administration" policy - passed away in Samarai while on tour of the Eastern Division. He had served in that role for 32 years. His nephew Hubert Leonard Murray was appointed by the Australian Government as the Administrator of Papua (and the position of Lieutenant-Governor abolished after an amendment to the Papua Act).

When the Second World War broke out into the South Pacific in 1941, Papua and New Guinea was designated as the Eight Military District of Australia, with its headquarters in Port Moresby. The town became the military base for the Australian Defence Force against Japanese invasion from the north-east after the fall of Rabaul. Many Papuan residents were told to return to their villages. Enlisted men formed the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) while Papuan men who enlisted formed the Papua Infantry Battalion that helped as carriers, porters and as riflemen. Port Moresby became the target of Japanese air raids, and it is estimated that 124 bombs were dropped in the vicinity of the new airfield at 7 Mile alone. American soldiers also arrived in Port Moresby to assist the Australian Force. Port Moresby was strongly expecting Japanese invasion but on 8 May, the main battle was staged off the Louisiade Archipelago (in what is now Milne Bay Province) primarily by fighter planes from carriers from the respective fleets and land-based planes. Port Moresby at this time was apprehensively expecting heavy bombing attacks, to be followed by paratroopers and a sea invasion force. Then the news came through  at last that the Japanese fleet had turned and was heading back to Rabaul. The town had been saved by the allied victory in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

In July, the Japanese made another attempt to capture Port Moresby especially because of the town's growing airfield at 7-Mile and the ships in the harbour. They landed at the Anglican Mission station at Gona (now Oro Province) on 21 July and used the inland track on the other side of the Owen Stanley Range to advance toward Port Moresby. The force was met by Australian troops where the Battle of Kokoda Trail ensured. Although many of the soldiers were hungry and ill from lack of supplies and reinforcements, they fought bravely and drove back the Japanese. The invading Japanese had actually reached Imita Ridge, within sight of Sogeri, and only a few miles from the motor road to Port Moresby. Many young Australians lost their lives in that battle.

The fighting continued elsewhere throughout various parts of Papua, particularly in what is now Oro - in Buna, Sanananda, and Gona. But by the end of January 1943, it was all over. The enemy was beaten and Port Moresby's year of peril had ended.

But Port Moresby's role in the war against Japan was clear.  It was General Douglas MacArthur himself who, after visiting Port Moresby for the first time, ordered in October 1942 the immediate establishment of a Combined Operation Service Command in the town to deal with the docking and unloading of ships and the storage and distribution of supplies, as well as the staging and despatch of personnel, the operation of repair shops, depots, and major utilities, and the provision of hospitals and evacuation of wounded troops. The town thereafter became a great base for the campaigns against the enemy in New Guinea and the occupied islands to the north. At the peak of operations of COSC, 8500 tons of supplies were unloaded in the port in one day, leading to the construction of another wharf by the Americans on Tatana Island and a causeway linking the island to the town constructed because the small town wharf was too small to take in all the cargo.

The centre of Port Moresby came back to life and for the remainder of the War, the whole of the Port Moresby area was a great, if temporary, metropolis. As for the Papuan's engagement in employment, by the end of 1944, 28,000 were at work - twice the number ever employed before. This was aside from those volunteer Papuans and New Guineans enlisted in the Papuan Infantry Battalion, which numbers between 5,000 and 6,000.

Restorative efforts went into rebuilding Port Moresby and in 1945, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea was formed when Papua and the former German New Guinea, which had been administered by Australia since 1918, were amalgamated under a single Australian Administration though several laws remained in the two territories. Port Moresby became the capital of the new combined territory and a focal point for the expansion of public services.

Under Colonel Jack Keith Murray (former Principal of Gatton Agricultural College and Professor of Agriculture at the University of Queensland) as the post-war Administrator, Port Moresby began to take on its revitalised physical character and a new social character in terms of its race relations by 1950. Col. Murray, early on, made it clear about his stance on race discrimination when he entertained two Papuans who had been captured by the Japanese to lunch at Government House. Shock and outrage swept the expatriate section of the town as Europeans saw this contrary to all the accepted conventions and standards of behaviour.

Historian Ian Stuart observes: "Pre-war expatriate society had been built on a foundation of unquestioned belief in white superiority. The doctrine gave moral justification for colonialism and it was firmly held that life for the white man was only possible in New Guinea as long as the native people regarded him as a superior being. Now the Europeans were horrified to find this seemingly sacred and self-evident truth questioned, and questioned moreover by the Administrator himself."

Although earning the wrath and the alienation of the expatriate community Col. Murray continued his non-discriminatory "Native's First" Labour Government policy and toward the end of his term was successful in laying secure foundations of the new New Guinea.

Stuart continues his observation: " It took a long time for the old Port Moresby hands to realise that they were fighting a losing battle and that the old days had, indeed, gone forever. They failed to see that three years of total war had dissolved forever the magic of the old white mystique and that the Papuans had inevitably been changed by the completely new kind of relationships they had enjoyed with the troops during that period."

In February 1949, the Australian Federal Parliament passed the Papua and New Guinea Act and on 15 March, Port Moresby was designated as the capital of the two united territories. The final choice of Port Moresby was influenced by the fact that much building had already taken place to provide accommodation for the Provisional Administration and that there were no comparable facilities in any of the towns.

In 1952, Col. Murray was replaced by Brigadier Donald Cleland as Administrator.

Planning and preparation by the Australian Administration was well underway for self-government and many leading and promising Papua New Guineans were trained and prepared when the House of Assembly was opened in 1964.

In 1969, Port Moresby hosted the South Pacific Games which contributed greatly to creating a sense of community and cultivate an awareness of citizenship. The event was held at the new Sir Hubert Murray Stadium in Konedobu and turned out to be a great success.

Independence: In September 1975, Papua New Guinea became an independent country with Port Moresby as its capital city. Prince Charles represented the Queen of the Commonwealth, of which Papua New Guinea belongs, at the celebrations.

New government, intellectual and cultural buildings were constructed in the suburb of Waigani to supplement and replace those of downtown Port Moresby. They include those for government departments including a National Parliament Building, which was opened in 1984 by Prince Charles and blends traditional design with modern building technology.



Figures out of National Statistics Office from its National Census in 2011 states the population of Port Moresby at 369,139. Studies within the National Capital District Commission’s Policy Office say that with a total square area of 240km, this poses a population density of 1,052 per square kilometre.  However, considering the population growth rate of 3.3% per annum, the projected figure by 2016 would just be over 400,000 (414,621). In the next 10 years, projected population for NCDC would be in the vicinity of 1,323,388.

On the other hand, since the unprecedented financing from PNG LNG Project, Port Moresby has experienced a rapid growth in infrastructure development between the period 2011 and 2014. This has ignited the swift increase in the population of an influx of migrants from rural to urban areas seeking employment opportunities. Access to improved health and education services, entertainment and social activities.

This particular gives an indication that the growth rate at 3.3% per annum would have undoubtedly increased immensely. The NCD Commission also understands that sample households in unplanned settlement were not accounted for in the 2011 National Census. Therefore, the current projected population 2014 may be higher than 450,000.



Port Moresby climate is determined by the influence of two surface pressure systems. From May to October, Trade Winds originating from a subtropical high-pressure system located to the south of NCD blow consistently from the South-East. Wind strengths of up to 25-30 knots are common late in the season although lower velocities occur at the start of the season. During this period, the city experiences a marked dry season and water demand is significantly high.

From December to March, the city is influenced by the movement of the Inter Tropical Convergence zone, first southward and then northward. This zone is where air streams pass over the NCD and moist north-westerly winds bring regular daily rainfall. In both April and November, transitional periods between the two seasons influence the two pressure surface systems and so the NCD experiences humid and still conditions.

The city’s average annual rainfall is 1197mm approximately with a district Wet period from December to April. Rainfall is often unpredictable and often very heavy at this time. Temperatures are high throughout the year. Seasonal variation is small and is exceeded by daily variation with the night-time minimum contrasting with the daytime maximum.



There is only one district for Port Moresby – the National Capital District – which is broken into three electorates. These are Moresby North-East, Moresby North-West and Moresby South.



Port Moresby is the main administrative centre, its economy is dominated by the service sector or the service industry. Though there is presences of manufacturing industry, and agriculture, both are seen in a much smaller scale compared to service sector.

A high percentage of the unemployed are those with no formal education or dedication up to primary school level. However, this is not to say that they are not involved in other income generating activities as most of these people participate in informal sector activities.

According to the 2011 National Census for the households in NCD, over 2% are engaged in Agricultural activities. Less than 0.5 % grow their own crops for use, 5% are engaged in income generating activities and just over 2% are engaged in selling food.



A total square area of 240km land in Port Moresby are customarily-owned, mostly by the Motu Koitabu Clan. In existence are seven Motu Koitabu villages.



The 2011 National Census established the Literacy and Educational indicators in NCD for population at age of 10 and over are as follows: Literate in one Language 91%, Not Literate in an language 7.5%, Literacy not reported 1.2%, Total Literate in English 80%, Total Literate in Tok Pisin 82%, Total Literate in Motu 26%, Total Literate in Other Language 70%.

Educational Qualification for Population aged 15 and Over are as follows: Protective Qualification 2%, Vocational College 5%, Technical College 7%, Tradesman/Apprenticeship 3%, Business and Secretarial College 19%, Teacher’s College 7%, Health College 2%, University/Public Admin College 10%, University Degree 24% and Others 9%.

Historical Reference:

  • Port Moresby: Yesterday and Today, Ian Stuart, 1970, Pacific Publications, Sydney


The National Capital District Commission of Port Moresby has entered into bilateral relationships with municipal authorities of cities within the Asia-Pacific Region and in various parts of the world, making Port Moresby ‘sister cities’ to these municipalities.

The Sister Cities program aims to develop meaningful and long-term links with cities and communities in other countries to achieve a greater level of understanding and goodwill between peoples, and to share in economic, community, cultural and social interaction.

These bilateral and cooperative exchanges, known as Sister-City Relationships, are usually long-term, officiated by formal documentation and expanded through mutual cooperation, technical advice, and cultural exchanges and usually marked by an increase in trade and economic development through this mutual cooperation.

Port Moresby’s sister cities are Shenzhen (China), Townsville (Australia), Suva (Fiji), Jinan (China), Jayapura (Indonesia) and Bucheon (South Korea). Shenzhen is the newest, established in 2016, and Townsville, the oldest, established in 1983.

Here, we list in some detail the more 'active' sister-cities.



In 1983, National Capital District Commission and Townsville City Council signed the sister-city agreement to foster communication across the two cities, enhance economic ties, and provide avenues for cultural exchange and education.

Sister City Agreement

The agreement was formalised by Mr Sinaka Goava, Chairman of the National Capital District Interim Commission (precursor to NCDC) and Alderman Mike Reynolds, Mayor of Townsville.

It reads as follows:

The City of Townsville, Australia, and the City of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, hereby declare their affiliation as Sister Cities. The citizens of both cities will endeavor to establish goodwill, trust and understanding, and promote reciprocal exchanges for mutual prosperity. It is our firm belief that this affiliation between Port Moresby and Townsville will contribute to strengthening the friendship between Papua New Guinea and Australia. To affirm this auspicious sister-city relationship, the Mayor of Townsville and the Chairman of the National Capital District Interim Commission, on behalf of both cities, affix their signatures to this declaration.
(Signed) | Mr. Sinaka Goava, MBA | Chairman of the National Capital District Interim Commission | Port Moresby | Papua New Guinea
(Signed) | Alderman Mike Reynolds | Mayor of the City of Townsville | Queensland | Australia

The Declaration can be viewed here on PDF.

Project Hetura

Under the charter of Sister-City, Townsville set about to assist Port Moresby by capacity-building its municipal authority, the National Capital District Commission. A scoping study was conducted in September 2000 by NCDC to develop the Planning Capability of the Commission under the Commonwealth Local Government Forum’s Good Practice Scheme. Ensuing from the recommendations of the Scoping Study, Aus-AID funded a four-year project which was subsequently named ‘Project Hetura’. (Hetura means Friendship in the local Motu vernacular.) Project Hetura commenced in 2002 as a capacity-building exercise with the principle parties being the NCDC and the Townsville City Council.

The project was managed by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) with local coordination provided by the PNG Urban Local Level Government Association and the New South Wales Local Government Association. There were seven Modules included in the Project. These were Organizational Structure, Policy Formulation, Operations, Information Technology, Human Resources, Financial Management & Corporate Information, and Rating System. Initially the project team decided to concentrate on one area of NCDC, namely, Regulatory Services and focused on the following modules relevant to this department. Project Hetura was intended to be a pilot project developing modules for the various functional areas within Regulatory Services.

These modules, once developed successfully, could be available for use in other areas of NCDC with the option to extend to other Local Government Areas within Papua New Guinea.

Activities & Achievements

Organizational Structure (Module 1)

  • Approval of the Hetura Structure in 2003.
  • Establishment of the Strategic Planning Section, Physical Planning Section, Building Section, Licensing Section, Lands Section and Administration Unit.
  • Development of Corporate Planning capability with the departmental Corporate Plan.
  • Establishment of a combined customer service i.e. a One-Stop-Shop for all – Development, Building, Trade and Liquor Licensing applications. Developers have one point of contact.
  • Establishment of the Records management system
  • Development of compatible work processes and procedures including the centralized filing system, work flow charts and capability training.
  • Determination of the responsibilities of the compliance unit of NCDC i.e. Enforcement Unit

Policy Formulation (Module 2): Capacity building assistance to complete the NCD Urban Development Plan and other Local Development Plans and Policies.

Information Technology (Module 4): The development of procedures and provision of training for Electronic registration and storage of particulars of Development, Building and Licensing applications

Human Resources (Module 5): Preparation of Position Description of all staff in the Regulatory Services to reflect new roles and responsibilities as a result of the Hetura Structure.

The scope of Project Hetura was extended by another four years from 2006 to 2010, this time shifting away from Regulatory Services to other divisions of NCDC. Some of these included the Information Technology Division, Human Resources Division, and Waste Management Division.



The City of Townsville is located on the north-eastern coast of the Australian state of Queensland. It hosts many government, community and administrative offices for the northern part of Queensland. Townsville lies approximately 1,350 kilometres north of Brisbane, and 350 kilometres south of Cairns, on the shores of Cleveland Bay.


As of 2015, Townsville boasted a population of 180,333.


Townsville is characterized as a tropical savannah climate. Owing to a quirk of its geographical location, Townsville's winter rainfall in particular is not as high as elsewhere in the coastal tropics of Queensland, such as Cairns. The winter months are dominated by southeast trade winds and mostly fine weather. Further north the coastline runs north/south and the trade winds are lifted to produce rainfall right through the year. Townsville, however, lies on a section of coastline that turns east/west, so the lifting effect is not present. As a result, winter months are dominated by blue skies, warm days and cool nights, although at times significant rainfall may occur.

Municipal Government

Townsville is governed by a City Council, comprising an independently elected Mayor and 10 Councillors who each represent a separate division within the local government area.[34] Following local government reform undertaken by the Government of Queensland prior to the March 2008 elections, the previous entities of NQ Water, The City of Townsville and the City of Thuringowa were amalgamated.

In the unicameral Queensland Parliament five electorates cover the Townsville Region:

  • Electoral district of Burdekin (southern suburbs)
  • Electoral district of Hinchinbrook (northern suburbs)
  • Electoral district of Mundingburra (central/southern suburbs)
  • Electoral district of Thuringowa (western/northern suburbs)
  • Electoral district of Townsville (CBD + Magnetic & Palm Islands)
    Image Credit: Townsville City Council


SHENZHEN-PORT MORESBY FORMALITIES: Governor of National Capital District Powes Parkop in formal discussions with Shenzhen Mayor Qu Xin in Shenzhen in May 2016. The discussions preceded the signing of the Sister-City program between the two cities, both of which were witnessed by members of the respective city municipalities. Photograph: National Capital District Commission Media Division.


PORT Moresby started its sister city ties with the City of Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China on 27 May 2016.

This was in line with National Government policy to strengthen diplomatic and economic relations with China to partner the Asian country to develop its ‘One Road, One Belt Policy’. Port Moresby started the exchange with Shenzhen because of the city’s proximity to Papua New Guinea and mostly because of its recognition of the value of learning development lessons from Shenzhen.

NCD Governor Powes Parkop travelled to Shenzhen to sign the agreements, which came in two parts. First was the formal Memorandum of Understanding, which Governor Parkop signed with his Shenzhen counterpart laying the framework for the mutual cooperation. The next was the Memorandum of Agreement which laid out plans for tasks the two cities would work at achieving within the years 2016 and 2017.

A trade conference also took place marking the event between Governor Parkop and members of the China Council for The Promotion of International Trade and the China Chamber of International Commerce Shenzhen Branch.


Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): The MOU was signed by the Mayor of Shenzhen Mr Xu Qin for Shenzhen City and the Governor of National Capital District Hon. Powes Parkop for Port Moresby at Wuzhou Guest House in Shenzhen City on 27 May, 2016.


The Declaration: This reads: Both Port Moresby and Shenzhen (hereinafter referred to as “both sides”), through amicable negotiations and represented respectively by Hon. Powes Parkop, Governor of National Capital District of Papua New Guinea and Mr Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen, agree on signing this “Memorandum of Friendly Exchange and Cooperation between the City of Shenzhen of the People’s Republic of China and Port Moresby, National Capital District of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea” and reaching the following intentions to further increase friendship, to expand exchanges and cooperation, and to enhance friendly relations between the two sides:

  • Both sides, under the principle of equality and mutual benefit, mutual trust and common development, agree to conduct pragmatic exchanges and cooperation in economy, trade, port affairs and other areas. Shenzhen City is committed to establishing Guangdong Shenzhen Trade and Exhibition Centre in Port Moresby.
  • Both sides agree to conduct exchanges and cooperation health and education, promoting mutual exchanges among doctors, nurses and students.
  • Both sides agree to conduct exchanges and cooperation in culture and tourism, promoting mutual visits of art groups and providing assistance to each other on tourism and city promotion events.
  • Both sides agree to invite delegations from each other to participate in their exhibitions, forums and conferences.
  • Both sides agree to keep regular exchanges between governments and their agencies so that negotiations on exchanges and cooperation and on issues of common interest can be conducted.
  • Both sides agree to enhance friendship and bilateral cultural exchanges between the people of Port Moresby and Shenzhen through governmental and community efforts.
  • Both sides agree to promote exchange and cooperation between the corporate sectors of Port Moresby and Shenzhen. The details of the exchange and cooperation will be coordinated by the foreign affairs office of each side.
  • Both sides agree to sign this Memorandum of Friendly Exchange and Cooperation. This Memorandum is written in Chinese and English with two copies of each being treated as equal. This Memorandum will take effect upon its signing on May 27, 2016.

(Signed), Mr. Xu Qin, Mayor , Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government    ...................................... (Signed), Hon. Powes Parkop, Governor, National Capital District Commission of Port Moresby


Memorandum of Agreement (MOA): The MOA was signed by National Capital District Commission Deputy City Manager, Honk Kiap and Shenzhen’s Deputy Director General of Foreign Affairs, Sun Huaizhong on behalf of their respective cities. The MOA spells out the Yearly Plans for the two cities in the area of Trade & Economy, Education & Health, Culture & Tourism, and City Management & Development.


Timeline of Activities Undertaken through this Agreement:

2016 February: Shenzhen Vice Mayor Ai Xuefeng and his 32-member delegation visit PNG

2016 May:

  • NCD Governor Powes Parkop and his 12-member delegation visit Shenzhen.
  •  NCD Governor Powes Parkop and Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin  sign Memorandum of Understanding.
  • NCDC Deputy City Manager Honk Kiap and Shenzhen Deputy Director General of Foreign Affirs Sun Huaizhong sign Memorandum of Agreement on 2016-2017 Plan of Action.
  • Governor Parkop has an audience with the China Chamber of International Commerce (Shenzhen Branch), the city’s chamber of commerce where members were given a brief on potential investment opportunities in Port Moresby and expressed  interest to invest in PNG and its capital Port Moresby.

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is in southern China. It is one of China’s bigger cities, located in Guangdong Province, north of Hong Kong. Because of its position in Chinese developmental plan, Shenzhen holds a sub-provincial status, with special powers that make it more elevated than most of China’s cities but slightly less than a province.

The city has a very special recent history in that it was chosen as one of the first cities to trial out China’s ‘Special Economic Zone (SEZ)’ under the country’s ‘Opening Up’ Policy. Shenzhen used to be a market town, a rural fishing community of no more than 30,000 people on the route of the Kowloon-Canton Railway. Beginning in 1980 and under SEZ status, Shenzhen’s growth picked up such incredible speed that by 2000, Shenzhen was recorded as being one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. The city today boasts a very modern cityscape that has come about because of the vibrancy of economy made possible by rapid foreign investment since 1979.

The city has, undoubtedly, become a major financial center and plays host to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of many high-tech companies. It also has one of the busiest container ports in the world.

Population: According to the Government report for 2015, Shenzhen had transformed into a city with a population of 10,778,900 and a metropolitan area population of over 18 million.

Geography: Shenzhen is located within the Pearl River Delta, bordering Hong Kong to the south. The municipality covers an area of 1,991.64 square kilometres (769 sq miles) including urban and rural areas. The city is elongated measuring 81.4 kilometers from east to west while the shortest section from north to south is 10.8 kilometers.

Climate: Shenzhen has a warm, monsoon-influenced, humid subtropical climate. Winters are mild and dry; Fog is frequent; Early spring cloudiest; Rainfall increases in April lasting until about October; Monsoon is at its height in the summer months with very hot and humid weather. Torrential rains are common about this time.

Administration: Shenzhen has direct jurisdiction over eight administrative districts and two new districts. The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) comprises only Luohu, Futian, Nanshan, and Yantian districts until 1 July 2010, when the SEZ was expanded to include all the other districts, a five-fold increase over its pre-expansion size.


Papua New Guinea and Fiji are the two biggest Melanesian states within the Pacific. Considering themselves as ‘Melanesian Brothers’, their capital cities have also chosen to embark on a sister-city relationship to underpin this greater tie. Since then, many events and activities have taken place under the charter of sister cities.

Sister City Agreement

The Agreement was signed in Suva in January 1993 by the Mayor of Port Moresby Honourable David Unagi, MP representing Port Moresby and Lord Mayor of Suva Dr. Senikarawa Duadromo representing Suva.


Suva is the capital of Fiji and the country’s political and administrative headquarter. It is located on the south-east coast of the island of Viti Levu, in Rewa Province, Central Division.

Geography & Features

Suva is a harbour city, built on a hilly peninsula between Laucala Bay and Suva Harbour. Revealing its colonial history, Suva is rich in an eclectic mix of traditional colonial, 20th century modern, and traditional ethnic-inspired architecture. The area upon which the city is built is generally swampy, leaving tourists, townsfolk and locals to seek beach recreation somewhere else. The nearest beach is some 40 kilometres at Pacific Harbour.


As of 2007, Fiji recorded a population of 85,691.


Suva features a tropical rainforest climate. With even levels of precipitation throughout the year, the city sees no real ‘dry season’, although locals would say November to May sees the most rainfall and lesser from June to October. Temperatures remain constant throughout the year, with an average high of about 28 °C (82 °F) and an average low of about 22 °C (72 °F).

Municipal Government

With a municipal status, Suva is supposed to be governed by a Lord Mayor and a 20-member city council. The Suva City Council is the municipal law-making body of the city of Suva. It consists of 20 Councillors, elected for three-year terms from four multi-member constituencies called wards. Councillors, who are elected by residents, landowners, and representatives of corporations owning or occupying rateable property in Suva, elect a Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor from among their own members; they serve one-year terms and are eligible for re-election.

In 2009, the Military-backed interim government dismissed all municipal governments throughout Fiji and appointed special administrators to run the urban areas. As of 2015, elected municipal government has not been restored. The special administrator of Suva, along with nearby Nasinu, is Chandu Umaria, a former Lord Mayor of Suva.

Photo Credit: & Fiji City Council