Redevelopment of Gordons Market, Port Moresby

Roselyn Moses - vendor at Gordons Market

Reopened in 2019, Gordons Market is a hub of economic and social activity in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. Home to over 1500 registered vendors, the two-storey complex was redeveloped in a joint venture between the New Zealand Government and PNG’s National Capital District Commission (NCDC) as part of the UN Women’s Safe City Programme aimed at making markets safe for women and girls.

The original market, built in the 1980s, had problems with flooding, overcrowding, petty crime, and safety. Vendors like Leah Daniel would have their meri blouses stolen and be unable to do anything. “We feared for our safety whenever we tried to get them back, there was no security, so we’d just let them take it,” says Leah.

Leah Daniel at her market stall with an EMTV crew member

Through the UN Women’s Safe City Programme, more than 400 female vendors like Leah helped design the market to ensure their rights, safety, and security were at the forefront of planning.

As a result of these changes vendors are feeling a lot safer. Elvina Paul, another vendor at the market, says she feels free to move around thanks to security and isn’t scared anymore.

The market also has a café, playground, food court, secure parking, CCTV, better lighting, and shelter from the elements.

Joyce Mape, a vendor, says the old market was difficult to work in but with the redevelopment “we are sheltered from the rain and sun, and that has brought us great joy.”

Gordons Market also has a purpose-built IT system that includes the facility for fingerprint banking.

“Many of the vendors are illiterate and had no forms of identification,” says James Apiale, Programme Coordinator of the New Zealand High Commission in PNG. As a result, opening bank accounts for their small business is difficult.

The fingerprint system has created a reliable, transparent banking system for vendors and ease of payment has helped boost sales.

Ongoing support is provided to vendors in the form of training in leadership, communication, financial literacy, numeracy, food hygiene, and business management.

James Aipale – Programme Coordinator, NZ High Commision PNG

Charlie Pengi, NCDC Market Manager, says the impact has been highly positive.

“Development partners like UN Women, they come [and] provide training for the mothers … to guide them into their own [small business],” he explains, “We have all these new initiatives happening at the market.”


Beyond the economic boost, vendors and their families are experiencing the huge impact these changes have brought. Elvina says the market has helped her family in a big way.

“I now have money for my children to get an education,” she explains. “I have a nice home, I even bought myself a car and it’s all because of what the market has done for me and my family. I am so grateful and happy.”

The redevelopment of Gordons Market has provided a platform for many others like Elvina to provide for their families too.

Elvina Paul during filming with EMTV about the Gordons Market redevelopment

James Apiale says the investment in redeveloping the market has transformed the suburb into a safer area, helping transform the image of the city.

“It gives me enormous satisfaction,” says Apiale.

This story will first air on PasifikaTV Friday 23rd December 2022 at 4:49pm NZT and again the following day at 3:08pm. After that, it will be on rotation between our regularly scheduled programming.