There have been few attempts to identify the way different perspectives of corruption are employed in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The paucity of such analysis makes it difficult to identify the way scholars and policy-makers understand corruption in the country, in turn leading to potentially poor targeting of anti-corruption programmes. This article categorises perspectives of corruption that are found in academic and policy accounts of PNG. It finds that this literature is marked by an over-reliance on ‘mainstream’ Western interpretations of the definition, causes and solutions to corruption. In turn, it is argued that there is an important role that ‘critical’ and culturally aware academics can play in reframing debates about corruption in PNG and the Pacific.