The People, Language, and Religion
Papua New Guineans, most of whom are Melanesians,
vary widely in their physical, ethnic and
cultural characteristics. Papua New Guinea
is, in fact, the most heterogeneous country
in the world.
centuries old heritage of Melanesian society
maintains a strong influence over most of
the population. Long before the concept
of democracy was established in Europe,
Papua New Guinea communities were reaching
decisions by consensus and not by the dictates
of the most powerful member of the village.
This concept of democratic consensus in
decision-making is evident in most aspects
of today's society.
The Papua New Guinean attitude to the land
is also very different from many other countries.
Land is not a commodity that can be bought
and sold by individuals - it is a permanent
and integral part of a village community.
Land is owned and maintained by generations
of clans. Although they cannot sell the
land, individuals can hand over their own
About two-thirds of the population are
Christians, Catholicism being the largest
denomination in the country.