Papua New Guinea
The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - was divided between Germany (north) and the United Kingdom (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives. On the north coast of the island, we find colourful Madang, called the “prettiest town in the South Pacific”. Its peninsula-setting is a showplace of parks, waterways, luxuriant shade trees and sparkling tropical islands. Although small, the town has modern urban facilities, including hotels, department stores, markets and art shops. The people of Madang can be broken into four distinct groups - islanders, coastal people, river people and mountain people. These groups are similar in appearance except for the smaller Simbai mountain tribesmen from the foothills. The traditional dress consists mainly of traditional dyed multi-coloured grass skirts made out of either pandanas leaves or sago palm. The women from the mountain areas wear skirts that are colourless, narrow and stringy. Unlike the women, men wear meshy net aprons in front and a clutter of target leaves astern.