Village Life in Papua New Guinea

Although the country is gradually changing, many people still live in small villages, making a living from subsistence agriculture. In some areas, people have specialised as gardeners, fishers, hunters or craftspeople. Traditionally, women are responsible for the household and daily work of the village, while men take care of hunting, trade and warfare. Family, clan and tribal rights determine the community and village structure, with a strong emphasis on the extended family. Traditional authority is vested in chiefs, village elders and ‘bigmen’, and reciprocity (giving and receiving help in the form of labour, land, food or pigs) is the basis of social life and clan transactions.

Visiting Villages
Village stays are a wonderful way to spend time with people and learn more about the local culture and lifestyle, but remember these guidelines:

  • Be polite and show respect for local customs and religious beliefs.
  • Always wear modest clothing when going into towns or villages. Elders are respected in communities and decent dressing can be a token of respect.
  • If you wish to visit a village where there is a death or tribal dispute, as a matter of courtesy you should ask if you can be allowed to visit.
  • If you are in doubt about the correct way to behave, ask a guide or local villager.
  • Don’t wander off alone – always take a guide with you.
  • Remember that most land is owned by a community or village and you need to ask permission first.

Discover Papua New Guinea

Head to the Highlands for a glimpse of Papua New Guinea’s tribal culture.

See how Vanuatu invented the bungee jump.

Swim with gentle humpbacks in Tonga.

Come face to face with Samoa’s multi-coloured marine life.

Dive into the world’s largest coral lagoon in New Caledonia.

Gorge on French cuisine and tropical surroundings in the Cook Islands.

Dive Fiji’s easy-access sites in this 'soft coral capital of the world.’

Shop to your heart’s (duty-free) content in Norfolk Island.

Explore Nuie’s unique peaks and exciting coastal caves.

Island-hop your way through Tahiti and Her Islands.

Hike American Samoa’s mountain ridges peppered with wild papaya.

Spend New Year’s on Kiribati and be the first in the world to see midnight.

Take a swim at sunset in Tuvalu’s spectacular lagoon.

Papua New Guinea Map