Neighbours PNG

This unit of work, Neighbours PNG, begins with the concept of neighbourliness and then extends the focus to our Pacific island neighbour, Papua New Guinea — its place in relation to Australia, major languages and the culture of traditional storytelling.

Texts used include fiction, stories and factual texts, with Miracle on Separation Street by Bob Graham, Bungawitta written by Emily Rodda and illustrated by Craig Smith, a traditional tale The First Lakatoi by Andrew V Solien, material from Get Connected, Issue 3: Our Pacific Neighbours, and the video clip Guardians of the River.

Images of PNG kids from World Vision (2008) Get Connected: Issue 3 — Our Pacific Neighbours

Above: Images of PNG kids from World Vision (2008) Get Connected: Issue 3 — Our Pacific Neighbours

Australian curriculum links

The general capabilities emphasised in the unit of work Neighbours PNG are literacy, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability and intercultural understanding. This unit addresses the cross-curriculum priority Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia.

See how this unit relates to Australian Curriculum: English content descriptions and NSW Syllabus outcomes.


This unit provides opportunities to explore the ideas that:

  • good neighbours want to know, understand and assist their neighbours
  • Australia has an obligation to help our international neighbours if needed
  • despite differences in how we live we have basically the same human needs
  • if we know about our neighbours’ lives, customs, languages and cultures we are more likely to understand them
  • Australians have a responsibility to learn about Papua New Guinea and our international neighbours.

Teaching and learning activities

  1. Introduce the unit with an overview of student work and the stories they will explore
  2. Investigating orientation
  3. Group reading and retrieval
  4. Our neighbours in Papua New Guinea

For the teacher

Find teacher notes for Bungawitta (.pdf 272 kB). The First Lakatoi and other traditional stories can be ordered from UPNG Press.

Screen Australia provides an interactive map of Australia and the Pacific region and Pacific Stories journeys through the islands of the Pacific to tell of the amazing transformation of the region.

There are over 800 spoken languages in PNG. Tok Pisin is one of the official languages and widely spoken, and also important as the language among Papuans and New Guineans who otherwise have no other language in common. Tok Pisin is a pidgin language whose vocabulary is mainly derived from English, indigenous languages, and other languages, mainly German. Its structure is in many ways un-English. Radio Australia has services in Tok Pisin. Teachers may wish to listen or to show their students news headlines in Tok Pisin.

Note that print downloads do not include updates applied online, including curriculum changes over time and should be used with caution:    .doc 6.85 MB    |    .pdf 1.25 MB    |   Copyright