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MFAT - Papua New Guinea Travel Advice

Consular Division Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

This travel advice has been reviewed and reissued on 31 May. It reflects the ongoing deteriorating law and order situation.

New Zealanders in Papua New Guinea should exercise a high level of personal security and vigilance at all times, especially in public places and areas frequented by foreigners. There is some possibility of terrorism.

In Mt Hagen and the Highlands provinces and the cities of Port Moresby and Lae, the law and order situation remains very poor. Sporadic outbreaks of tribal fighting are a normal occurrence in the Highlands provinces. Travel in areas where there is tribal fighting should be avoided.

New Zealanders wishing to travel to Bougainville should discuss their plans with the High Commission before setting out. It should be noted that travel to the area around the old Panguna mine should be avoided in any circumstance due to the enforcement of a “no-go zone” by armed elements of the Meka’mui Defence Force (MDF).

Violent incidents continue to occur without warning and increasingly so in Port Moresby. There has been a high increase in car hijackings in Port Moresby this year, involving discharge of firearms. Drivers are urged to take extreme caution when driving at any time of the night or day. Crime rates are high in Port Moresby and other urban centres.

Assault, armed robbery and sexual assault, including gang rape have occurred. Visitors should take security precautions, and not walk alone, especially at night. Isolated public areas such as golf courses, beaches and parks can be dangerous. The settlement areas of towns and cities, particularly in Port Moresby, should be avoided.

Recently there have also been car hijackings and armed robberies in certain locations along the highway between Lae and the Nadzab Airport.

Visitors to Papua New Guinea should avoid using taxis or buses, known as PMVs (public motor vehicles) and should instead rely on their sponsor or hotel to arrange for taxi service. Drivers should always lock their doors and should exercise extreme caution especially during the hours of darkness. 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.

Friends and relatives of an injured party may demand immediate compensation regardless of legal responsibility. Persons involved in accidents should proceed directly to the nearest police station rather than stopping at the scene of an accident.

New Zealanders travelling outside the major cities in Papua New Guinea, especially to more isolated areas, should seek advice from the High Commission before beginning their journey. Travel plans should be left with friends, relatives or reliable local contacts.

Given terrorist attacks in South East Asia, the proximity of PNG to that region, and current circumstances, the possibility of terrorist attacks cannot be excluded. New Zealanders in Papua New Guinea are encouraged to record their details with:

-full names of individuals and accompanying dependents, New Zealand passport number(s), contact details whilst in Papua New Guinea departure dates and details, (where these are known), and contact information for a family member or friend in New Zealand.

New Zealand citizens may also register on-line at: http://www.nzembassy.com/registration.cfm?c=1021&l=1

New Zealanders travelling to or resident in Papua New Guinea should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies that include provision for medical evacuation by air.

Please note: While every care has been taken in preparing these travel advisories, neither the New Zealand Government nor its agents and employees can accept liability for any loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein.

ENDS

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