In this paper, the author explores Melanesian women’s relationships with the capital cities of Noumea and Port Moresby. To do so, the author draws on conversations, email exchanges, interviews and focus groups with 16 Kanak and 12 Papua New Guinean women. Illustrating their profoundly different views about the urban areas in which they live, the author argues that it is important to attend to the distinct voices of women that inhabit the towns and cities of the Pacific. Although they might all be described as middle class Melanesians, these Kanak and Papua New Guinean women inhabit cities that are differently shaped by colonial place making and the experience or absence of independence.
This article appears in the Development Bulletin: Urban Development in the Pacific, n 78, August 2017, edited by Pamela Thomas and Meg Keen.