• There is no shortage of wonderful artefacts and craft objects to take home: ebony carvings from the Trobriand Islands, masks and animal carvings from the Sepik, Madang and New Ireland provinces, and even penis gourds from the upper Sepik and possum-bone necklaces from the Highlands.
  • The best advice to shoppers is to buy one good piece you really like, rather than armfuls of small inferior carvings and artefacts. If you're heading to the Sepik, or any other remote area for a serious shopping spree, bring your own bubble wrap to protect your purchase.
  • Be aware of Australia's strict regulations if you’re thinking of bringing PNG and Solomons artefacts through Australian customs.

Bargaining

There is no tradition of bargaining in Melanesian culture, so don’t expect to be able to cut your costs much by haggling. Bargaining is, however, starting to creep into some aspects of society, souvenir shopping being one. For example, artists who are used to dealing with Westerners (eg at Port Moresby’s markets or at the Goroka Show) will have experienced bargaining, so probably won’t be too offended if you make a lower bid for their work. But forget about the old ‘offer one-third and work up to a half’ maxim; it’s more like they ask K300, you offer K200 and you get the piece for K250. Maybe. Some artists are used to being asked for a ‘second price’ but few will appreciate being asked for a ‘third price’.