The PNGAA was previously known as the Retired Officers’ Association of Papua New Guinea, being formally constituted in 1951. It was incorporated under the NSW Associations Incorporation Act of 1984 in March 1996.

The Association owed its genesis to the concerns of retired officers who had served in the Public Service of Papua (then an Australian possession) and New Guinea (then a Mandated Territory under the League of Nations) prior to the outbreak of World War II, in the Provisional Administration of Papua New Guinea immediately after World War II or in the combined Public Service of Papua and New Guinea. Their concerns related to the maintenance of superannuation entitlements and retirement benefits affecting both themselves and their dependants.

Initially ROAPNG represented the interests of a membership principally comprising retired public servants. Its role has progressively expanded over the years and it now comprises a global network of more than 1,600 members representing the diverse interests people with affection for or an interest in Papua New Guinea.

The management of PNGAA is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and is undertaken on an honorary basis. The Association keeps in touch with its members through its quarterly journal, Una Voce, which has a readership of 3,000.