With nine million people speaking more than 800 languages, Papua New Guinea is the most ethnically diverse country in the world. Eighty-five percent of the population still lives in a rural setting, often far from roads and landing strips, and rarely with electricity or running water. They are mostly subsistence farmers, sago makers and hunter gatherers. Where possible, people fish and grow cash crops such as vegetables and coffee. Yet even with the influence of the outside world, there is a strong sense of the fascinating traditional life—the ways of the ancestors—just under the surface.

These photographs were taken from 1982 to 2019.