Port Moresby is currently the capital of Papua New Guinea. Before the European settlement, the area was inhabited by the Motu and Koitabu people. The port was named after the Adm. Sir Fairfax Moresby, father of the explorer, Capt. John Moresby, to whom the harbor is credited. (Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018)
In present day, the indigenous people of Port Moresby are referred to as one, Motu Koitabu. (Gaudi 2001:4) They are now a marginalized people living in Port Moresby and the surrounding capital area called the National Capital District (NCD). The indigenous language of the Motu Koitabu is called Motu, however, because this city is the capital and has one of the longest histories of European Settlement (in PNG) most people speak the official languages of PNG: English, Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu – a simplified version of Motu.
Aside from the patrol reports, not very much was culturally reported about Port Moresby during this era. Most of the changing face of this area happened before 1945 (mostly during World War II) and after 1975 – the independence of Papua New Guinea.
Local newspapers painted Port Moresby as people living in the aftermath of a war-torn country destroyed by Japanese bombings. The ports were nearly abandoned, and a lot of people were either living in empty military holdings or in temporary shanty towns. (Kenwood 1947: 11) Author Kenwood does end his article with a slow sense of hope as everyone in the area is relying on the “Army occupation” along with renovated infrastructures, such the water utility, to slowly rebuild the area into the “modern village” it was once promised. (Kenwood 1947:11)
1946, shows the reemergence of the government of Papua New Guinea’s commitment to education (post WWII) to which Ph.D. candidate Pamela Anne Quartermaine of University of Tasmania – Launceston studied the policy, practice and progression of teacher education spanning from 1946 to 1996; when in June 1946, William C. Groves, was appointed Director of Education within the Department of Education. (Quartermaine 2001:13) This appointment was significant for the area and the country since schooling had come to a stand-still (and almost nonexistence) during World War II.
A news article from 1948, states protests by public servants as recent salary wage increases were not sufficient enough to cover cost of living expenses as electricity prices were high while housing condition low. The protesters also wanted the raise to cover secondary education for their children. (A.A.P-Reuters 1948:1)
The slow recovery from World War II seems particularly hard for both the Europeans living in- and the natives of- Port Moresby.
A.A.P.-Reuters (June 12, 1948) Port Moresby Protest Sent to Canberra.Retrieved from https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2750065
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web accessed July 14, 2018.
Gaudi, Haraka G. (2001) Partners in Coastal Development: The Motu Koitabu People of Papua New Guinea.Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001252/125208e.pdf
Kenwood, Bryan (May 17, 1947) Contrasts in Port Moresby, 1947. Retrieved from https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/74654425
Quartermaine, Pamela Anne (2001) Teacher Education in Papua New Guinea: Policy and Practice 1946 – 1996. Retrieved from https://eprints.utas.edu.au/21298/1/whole_QuartermainePamelaAnne2001_thesis.pdf