History  ›  Site history

Site history

Early history

Paga Hill is a 23-hectare point, adjoining the Port Moresby central business district and within a short distance of Port Moresby’s Jacksons International Airport.

The traditional name for Paga Point is Elakurukuru, a Motu term commonly used to refer to a point of land, the bow of a canoe, or a nose.

Papuans considered Paga a useless place of ‘rocks and stones’, and the land was taken by the colonial administration as ‘waste and vacant’ in 1901. Over time, the side overlooking the downtown area became an elite housing area, with industrial development taking place along the waterfront near the port. During the colonial period, the hilltop became a popular tourist lookout, while the city’s waste was dumped into the sea at the furthest point, where the lower slopes were too steep for colony’s residential or industrial purposes.

Settlement at Paga Hill began in the 1960’s. Competing versions of events have Mr Maira Nakaia and Mr Papua Amogoa establishing settlement in relation to their roles in ‘night soil collection’. In the ensuing years, they would be joined by extended family, as well as other downtown workers, with Paga Hill developing into an informal settlement.

Read more: Paga Hill’s World War II heritage