PNG Now magazine: April 2021

Page 1

ISSUE 03 | APRIL 2021





Welcome to the third issue of Papua New Guinea’s new lifestyle magazine, PNG Now. PNG’s people are at the centre of PNG Now: from high achievers in sport and work, to creative musicians and artists, to wise elders and hard-working grassroots people. You’ll meet many of them inside these pages, and hear their stories. You’ll also discover great places to visit and things to do, right across the country. There is so much for us to celebrate and feel good about. Our stories feature exceptional storytelling from PNG’s best writers and photographers. You can meet some of these talented individuals on Page 6. In February, PNG lost its founding father, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. His passing was followed by the most significant period of national mourning in PNG’s history, with tributes received from all over the world. Our own modest tribute starts on Page 20. As 2021 progresses, we are also of course still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Please keep yourself and others safe by following the official advice including maskwearing, hygiene and social distancing. PNG Now is free and has extensive distribution in cafes, hotels and other social hubs. Contact us by email or on social media to learn your nearest distribution point.



Meet a few of our editorial crew 06 Breakfast with Samantha Kassman, taekwondo fighter 08 Vox pop, Papua New Guineans on politics 10 What’s happening around town? 14




A tribute to Sir Michael Somare

Style File, our new column profiling PNG designers and fashionistas 34


Can you identify the mystery PNG island? 36 The PNG resort that hosted Rolling Stone Mick Jagger 38


A taste of PNG at the Hilton’s Mumu restaurant 42 Review, Daikoku restaurant at Harbourside 46



Our new column about life’s lessons

The benefits of day spas 48


Sailing adventure around PNG made into movie 50


Vallé and the influence of PNG on his music 52


Hunters make the move to Australia 54


Executive living, a new development 58 Fully serviced apartments on offer 59


A snapshot of news of PNG’s economy, SMEs and entrepreneurship 60 At work with tourism boss Eric Mossman 62




Papua New Guineans at work


PNG Now is a free magazine produced by Business Advantage International Pty Ltd in association with

Creative dynamo Andrew Kuliniasi

Distributed by Pascoe Promotions, Port Moresby © Copyright 2021, Business Advantage International and contributors. All rights reserved. Join the PNG Now conversation on Facebook and Instagram @pngnowmag. ADVERTISING INQUIRIES TO BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Charles Saldanha +61 (0) 404 842 472 EDITOR Robert Upe EDITORIAL ADVISORY TEAM Penny Burns, Aaron Chin, Leanne Jorari, Sylvia Pascoe CONTRIBUTORS Richard Andrews, Dean Arek, Mary Aseari, Penny Burns, Dusk Devi, Zana English, Bronwen Gora, Florida Gulaseni, David James, Leanne Jorari, Godfreeman Kaptigau, Paul Kerrison, David Kirkland, Lemach Lavari, Gabriella Munoz, Carmel Pilotti, Peter Schofield, Russel Wai, Sally Woollett


Our favourite POM pizza revealed, plus more great things in town

COVER: Basketballer Apia Muri on court in Port Moresby. See our story, Page 56. Photograph by Russel Wai (Pixels Perspective)

Proudly printed in Papua New Guinea by BizPrint



Basketballer Apia Muri APRIL 2021 PNG NOW 5

The Talent







Sandhya Dusk Devi Nand, to give her full name, is a Pacific media personality who writes about fashion and style for PNG Now. She is also a model, a fashion theorist, a gender-equality activist and a publicist. When she’s not writing for PNG Now, she is the lead photographer and spokesperson for Pacific Runway. “I consider myself a style ambassador for Pacific designers and often wear brands from PNG, Fiji and Samoa,” she says. “I consider PNG designers to be right at the top in the region and some – like Lumai and Iyara – are world class.”

Dean Arek has been taking pictures for about four years and making videos for about two. Being a digital content creator has been an amazing journey that has provided me an income,” he says. “In this issue, I was tasked to do stories that are close to my heart. I like hearing the stories of people that we often don’t get a chance to hear. Being able to document people from different walks of life, different age groups and different occupations is a great experience.”

Leanne Jorari is a proud Pacific Islander, having grown up around the region before returning to her home country, PNG. Her storytelling aims to introduce the world to the beautiful people and cultures of the Pacific. Writing for PNG Now and other publications, she says her aim is to tell the stories of PNG and the region without distortions, misinterpretations, half-truths or false perceptions. On her rare days off, you can find her watching Netflix with a glass of whiskey neat.









Audit tAx Advisory 6 PNG NOW APRIL 2021




Samantha Kassman competed in taekwondo for PNG at the Olympics and Pacific Games. She retired from the sport in 2016, but believes taekwondo provides benefits in her dayto-day life. Why have you chosen this cafe for breakfast? I’ve chosen Cafe Palazzo (at Lamana Hotel) because it’s where I work (as front office manager). It’s quiet and an enjoyable place to have a barista-made coffee. They make the best ginger tea as well, which I love. Do you usually eat breakfast? I often skip breakfast and have a light brunch. But when I have breakfast, I usually have lightly toasted bread with Vegemite and scrambled eggs on top, and a bowl of fruit. Tea or coffee? I’m a tea person. I stopped drinking coffee when I started training for the Pacific Games in 2015. I like my tea black with a spoon of honey or sugar. Black tea reminds me of my grandparents and my childhood growing up. What have you ordered today? It’s strictly not a breakfast dish, but grilled tuna with green vegetables and a cup of ginger tea. This should keep me going throughout the day.


I retired after the Olympics and became a mum to twin boys. (Another son was born in 2018.) What are the benefits of taekwondo? It provides a sense of accomplishment as you learn the techniques. Knowing self-defence makes you feel secure and gives you confidence. A principle of taekwondo is self-control, which helps when I’m under pressure at work. Tell us about your sporting career. Well, I was my brother’s kicking bag (giggles). Jokes aside, my older brother Edward was into taekwondo. While preparing for the 1995 Pacific Games in Tahiti, he would train in our backyard and I would join him. I was 14 at that time. I started liking it. I think it was natural for me to do so because I was a tomboy and liked to fight. Which major tournaments did you compete in? My very first was the NCD National Championship in 1999. Also, the 2003 Pacific Games in Fiji, the 2015 Pacific Games in PNG, where I won two silver medals, and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Are you involved in taekwondo now? I want to start up a taekwondo club and hopefully prepare PNG’s next international representative for taekwondo. I’m thinking of starting a kids’ club as well. I have a Facebook page where I post my group training sessions and also my own workouts using taekwondo techniques. Lamana Hotel’s Cafe Palazzo is open from 9am to 5pm. Light meals are made fresh daily, there’s a selection of pastries, and the barista-made coffee is locally sourced from the Highlands. Tel. 323 2333.

“I love the mornings here... The tranquility of breaking sunlight as it glistens over dew covered gardens. There is a calmness here that refreshes. That is how it is here every day.”


Vox Pop


Who would you have voted for, Donald Trump or Joe Biden? 02 What are the key qualities you like to see in PNG politicians? 03 What are the biggest social, political, economic and environmental issues in PNG?



22, final-year Bachelor of Science chemistry student, Taurama, Port Moresby 01


I would like PNG politicians to be honest and transparent, generous and considerate. 02

Our biggest social issue is domestic and genderbased violence. Our biggest economic issue is that we keep importing products that we can produce locally. Our biggest environmental issue is illegal logging. 03


24, technical training coordinator, Konedobu, Port Moresby 01

BRIDGETT KASSMAN 29, SME owner, June Valley, Port Moresby

Joe Biden

02 I would like to see PNG politicians be more accountable and transparent.

46, dog trainer, Edai Town, Port Moresby

Joe Biden

I like our politicians to portray strong leadership skills, to be considerate, to have integrity and humility. 02

03 I think the biggest social, political and environmental issues stem from people. As much as we try to pin issues on something else, it all comes down to ourselves, our attitudes and how we nurture the environment.



03 In short, lack of regionalism.

Joe Biden

I would like to see PNG politicians promote PNG tourism more.


Safety and security are major issues. The rise in crime is making it difficult to enjoy life in PNG.

To clearly express their policy views.


26, driver, Eight Mile, Port Moresby 01


FREDERICK JOSEPH 25, marketing coordinator, Vabukori, Port Moresby 01

Joe Biden

02 I think we need politicians to be articulate and respectful. 03 We have problems like gender-based violence, but also a lack of basic services. Political instability has been making headlines, so instead of dealing with our problems we have had politicians fighting for power.


Donald Trump


Taxes are too high. Lower taxes would encourage more business and investment, which would create new jobs and increase the total revenue of the country. The biggest social issues are crime and domestic violence. 03

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Life Lessons



Barnabas Orere, known as Barney to his friends, is a veteran journalist at the Post Courier newspaper in Port Moresby. He has just released a 10-volume history of Papua New Guinea that is available at the University of PNG library. He is a recipient of the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to journalism and the Anglican Church, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, PNG’s 30th Independence Anniversary Medal, and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Centenary Medal. He was born in the inland district of Ijivitari in Oro Province, to missionary parents on November 13, 1953. 12 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

First memory My parents were mission workers and we moved around a lot. The memories I have from childhood are mainly of being hungry all the time. We got monthly rations and although the Christian community was kind enough to bring us food, they had their own priorities and a lot of the time I was sleeping on an empty stomach. Important lesson in life On my birthday I give gifts, I don’t receive them. My mother was called Grace; she told me, “you came into this world empty handed and you will leave the same way, so it is more important to give than to receive”. Biggest influence I spent a lot of time with my mother in the garden. She gave me a lot of advice that influenced my attitude. She came from a family with very high integrity, which showed in the way she conducted herself; she showed me how to behave in a dignified way. Advice for life Listen first. Prioritise – do what is important. If you don’t know what is important, ask someone who will know. And if you think you’re better off on your own, you will develop an attitude that is going to stop you from progressing. My father told me: “Wisdom comes in the dead of night – if it sees that your lights are on, it will come to you.” I realised this once when burning the midnight candle, contemplating finances and priorities; going to sleep on the decisions reached, they turned out to be the right ones. Happiness Thought is a beautiful thing. Harbour good thoughts and you’ll see how wonderful the world truly is. Use my ‘JOY’ formula: J for Jesus, O for others and Y for yourself. Always put yourself last. Listening Remembering what is being said with good power of observation can have a lot of bearing on

On my birthday I give gifts, I don’t receive them. It is more important to give than to receive.

the choices you make. The connection between ear and brain started for me very early, when I was about seven years old. When my dad’s cousins came to share tobacco stories, dad would tell us children to retire to our sleeping quarters, but I resisted so he would tell me to lie down and sleep beside him. But I never slept at all. I listened. Wealth I once faced the biggest Buddha in Taiwan; it was three-storeys high. We were told we could make our wishes. I thought of wealth but I asked for wisdom and good health instead. Looking back, I am glad I made those choices because what I did not ask

for seems to be emerging. It is freakish. I guess I got what I asked for that enabled me to open my own door. Respect If you have self-respect you will respect others and sleep long on earth. That is what my mother Grace told me as a boy. Anything you would change I don’t think so. I was a poor mission worker’s child and I have always remembered my background. The ‘Wisdom’ column seeks sage advice from respected elders in PNG society. If you’d like to nominate someone for the column, email




To market … Port Moresby’s Night Markets are back after being stopped because of COVID-19. Set on the beautiful Stanley Esplanade at Harbourside, the markets have everything from art and craft to cosmetics, jewellery and locally made produce such as honey. The Night Markets are held on the last Wednesday of each month, from 6pm to 9pm. A new series of Seaside Markets is about to start, with the first to be launched at Pari village. Other locations for Seaside Markets in Motu Koitabu villages will be announced soon. The Seaside Markets are under the umbrella of Pascoe Promotions, which has been

running the POM City Markets since 2016 to provide a platform for small businesses to sell a range of goods, including homemade craft, plants, art and food products. “The markets have given small businesses a space to flourish and connect physically with customers, where previously they would operate predominantly online or through word of mouth,” says Pascoe Promotions director Sylvia Pascoe. “Anytime you buy from our markets, you’re supporting communities around our nation,” Pascoe says. Find more information about the markets on the Pascoe Promotions Facebook page.

The operation and opening times of markets and other events are subject to directions from the National Pandemic Controller. To see the most current directives, go to 14 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

Pop-up shopping at ‘home’ Young entrepreneur Mickaella Rumints has put a new spin on second-hand clothes shopping with a ‘Sip and Shop’ concept that involves shopping, food, drink, and entertainment with an DJ or local musician a fourhour shopper’s party on the first Saturday of every month. Rumints says the turnout so far has been bigger than expected. Rumints, employed by 360 Real Estate, hosts the Five & Dime pop-ups at open houses with the blessing of property owners. “The idea is to host the pop-ups at our listed properties, especially since a lot of properties have been vacated since COVID-19,” she tells PNG Now. This arrangement has worked out well by attracting more potential renters to see the properties. At least a few properties have already been leased through the fledgling idea. Five & Dime’s clothing range is for teens and adults, and the events are child friendly. Five & Dime’s Facebook page has more information on locations and times.

New hangouts Bars and restaurants have been mushrooming in Port Moresby lately, taking food, service and entertainment to new levels. Here are some new places to check out.

01 Port Terrace Restaurant & Bar

The Port Terrace Restaurant & Bar is modern and open-plan, with views of Fairfax Harbour. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or pop in for sundowners. The menu is varied with burgers, pastas and chicken parmigiana about 50 kina; lobster and steak about 75 kina; and bar snacks such as hot chips, dips and chicken wings from 20 kina. WHERE: Crowne Plaza Residences, MacGregor Street, Port Moresby ONLINE:

02 Alibi Bar & Grill

The splendid boardwalk area on the waterfront at Harbourside East is alive again with the opening of Alibi Bar & Grill (pictured). Menu servings are generous, particularly the seafood platter for two that costs 180 kina. There’s a very good steak selection from 85 kina, and burgers from 50 kina. Schnitzel, parmigiana, salads, kids meals and small snack plates round out the menu. Alibi opens daily at 11am for lunch and dinner and there’s live entertainment on weekends. WHERE: Harbourside, Port Moresby ONLINE:

03 Salt at Beachside (Ela Beach Hotel)

The Ela Beach Hotel has opened its new ‘Beachside’ area with a bakery, the well-known Enzo’s Pizza, and the new Salt Restaurant and Bar. The Salt chefs are using locally sourced ingredients to create Asian-Pacific flavours; the chilli mud crab, green curry and opera cake are highly recommended. There’s live entertainment during happy hour each Friday from 5pm to 8pm. WHERE: Ela Beach Hotel ONLINE: APRIL 2021 PNG NOW 15

Around Town

Global award for Airways Hotel Port Moresby’s Airways Hotel has won a World Travel Award for the Oceania’s Leading Boutique Airport Hotel 2020. It is the second year in a row that the hotel has won the award, beating a strong field of properties that included the Kingsford Brisbane Airport Hotel, the Oceania Hotel in Micronesia, the Comfort Hotel at Sydney Airport, The Islander Hotel in the Cook Islands, and the Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort in the Cook Islands. The World Travel Awards are voted on by industry professionals and the travelling public.

Graham Cooke, founder of the World Travel Awards, said: “Our winners represent the best in global travel and tourism and my congratulations to each of them. They have all demonstrated remarkable resilience in a year of unprecedented challenges.

“The World Travel Awards 2020 program received a record number of votes cast by the public. This shows that the appetite for travel has never been stronger. “With hope and the tourism bounce on the horizon, our industry can look forward to a resurgent and bright future.” As reported in the previous issue of PNG Now, the award for Oceania’s Leading In-flight Magazine was won by Air Niugini’s Paradise. The magazine has been published by Business Advantage International (BAI) since 2014. BAI is also the publisher of PNG Now.

Basketball for health The Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea (BFPNG) has started a Hoops for Health program that anyone can join. All you need to do to take part is register a team of five and work on your dunking skills. BFPNG executive officer Nick Daroa says the idea is to promote health by getting people on the court to enjoy the game. Daroa says anyone can get involved, from professional basketballers to those who just want to play for a bit of fun and health. Women’s teams are being encouraged to sign up. The first Hoops for Health event at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex in Waigani last November had four men’s teams take part, but no women. The organisation is also looking at starting the program in Lae and Mount Hagen or Goroka. A similar program is being held in schools under the banner of Pikinini Hoops, for children from pre-school right up to year 12. To register a team, go to the BFPNG Facebook page for more information. APRIL 2021 PNG NOW 17

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Around Town

New PNG Single Singer Alyson Joyce, who featured on the inaugural cover of PNG Now, has released a single in collaboration with Hawaiian musician Jah Maoli. Disguised as a love song, SOS is sung from the perspective of Mother Earth as she shares the story of her gradual destruction and calls to humanity for help. Joyce says: “Through the arts we have an opportunity to reach people on a global scale. I was so happy that Jah was on board with this track and I’m so honoured to be collaborating with fellow Pacific artists of his calibre. “I wanted to remind people

that we really can make a difference. This is a love song between Mother Earth and us all. She is asking us for help and to sit up and recognise what we are doing and that we need to change.” SOS is available on alysonjoycemusic, and other music streaming platforms.

Live music guide Dajas (Henry & Sentanya) This powerhouse vocal duo performs a mix of pop, blues, soul and soft rock. At the Crowne Hotel Mondays to Wednesdays from 6pm to 9pm, the Gateway Hotel on Fridays from 7pm to 11pm and the Alibi Bar & Grill on Sundays from 4pm to 8pm. Chris Cobb Cobb’s mellow acoustic sounds are perfect to wind down a tiring week. At Port Terrace Bar & Restaurant on Friday evenings from 6pm to 9.30pm. Dates for Mojo Social and Grand Papua coming soon. Rock Bottom This funky blues and rock-inspired group comprises top-calibre musicians on guitar, keyboards and bass. At Akaka Retreat, Taurama, on Sunday afternoons from 1pm to 4pm. Zarma Band This family band performs a groovy mix of oldies, and some local tunes. At the Holiday Inn every Saturday from 6pm to 9.30pm. Mereani Masani The strong female lead vocals of Masani (pictured) are complemented by back-up vocalist and bass guitarist George Tauna in a silky smooth harmony at the Hilton Hotel every Friday night.

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Above: Sir Michael Somare’s state funeral at Sir Murray Hubert Stadium. Right: Mourners march in the streets of Port Moresby in memory of Sir Michael.

WHAT THEY SAID He is universally loved in our country, may his memory bind our nation still.

Sir Michael Somare did not flinch at the journey of uniting the most diverse country on the planet under a national flag. He was the most humble of leaders who always held his people at heart. His effortless lifelong charisma and humility drew people from all walks of life to his side.

The country has just witnessed the passing of a great light in the world.

DAME MEG TAYLOR Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum


ALLAN BIRD East Sepik Governor


Left: Sir Michael Somare has been mourned and honoured across PNG and the world.

Sir Michael was like an anchor, an anchor for the nation. DAME CAROL KIDU Colleague & former MP

If one looks at Sir Michael’s life, it is an embodiment of the true spirit of Papua New Guinea. POWES PARKOP NCD Governor

Sir Michael was an extraordinary man of his generation. He was the light of his generation, which has lighted up the path for Papua New Guineans today and into the future. SCOTT MORRISON Australian Prime Minister

Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare has been farewelled in touching tributes across the nation, culminating in a four-hour state funeral at the Sir Murray Hubert Stadium in Port Moresby on March 12. The funeral, led by Cardinal Sir John Ribat, was attended by about 20,000 people and ended two weeks of mourning that had been declared by the government. Sir Michael, known as the ‘father of the nation’, died aged 84 from pancreatic cancer on February 26. The funeral included traditional dances from Sir Michael’s birthplace of East New Britain. Tens of thousands of people also gathered across the country during the mourning period in haus krais, marches and memorials for the Grand Chief, and services were held for him overseas, including in Australia, Fiji and Vanuatu. The Somare family thanked the people of Papua New Guinea for the “incredible outpouring of love and support” during their time of grief. Sir Michael was PNG’s first prime minister when the country gained independence from Australia in 1975, and also its longest-serving leader. He had three stints as prime minister, totalling 17 years. Prior to independence, he was the Chief Minister of the Australian-administered territory of PNG. Sir Michael was born in Rabaul in East New Britain Province, APRIL 2021 PNG NOW 21


This is just the beginning. Now we must stand on our own two feet and work harder than ever before. We are indeed masters of our own destiny. SIR MICHAEL SOMARE, IN A Sir Michael Somare pictured in 1975, at the time of PNG’s independence from Australia.

where his father was stationed as a police officer, but he was raised in East Sepik Province, which he eventually represented in parliament. Apart from his official posts, Sir Michael is remembered as the unifying figure of culturally diverse PNG. A colleague of Sir Michael’s and former prime minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, says there was not unanimous support for independence, but Sir Michael brought the nation together through his negotiating skills and his personal leadership. “It was not an easy task (independence), far from it. But independence was delivered hand in hand with national unity and stability. That has served us well ever since. It is and will remain a lasting tribute to the Grand Chief.” 22 PNG NOW APRIL 2021


A LIFE REMEMBERED Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare ☛ Born April 9, 1936, Rabaul, East New Britain ☛ Died February 26, 2021, Port Moresby ☛ Parents Ludwig and Kambe Somare ☛ Early years Raised in Karau village, East Sepik Province ☛ Early career Teacher, interpreter, broadcaster ☛ Married Lady Veronica Somare, 1965 ☛ Children Betha, Sana, Arthur, Michael Junior, Dulciana ☛ In politics Longest-serving prime minister (17 years), founder of the Pangu Pati, Foreign Minister, Chief Minister, Leader of the National Alliance, Leader of the Opposition, Governor East Sepik Province ☛ Prime Minister Four terms: 1975–1980, 1982–1985, 2002–2011 ☛ Honours One of only two people to be given PNG’s highest official title of ‘Grand Chief’; knighted by the Queen, 1990

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‘Loud’, ‘colourful’ and ‘talented’ are just a few words that can describe rising star Andrew Kuliniasi. The mastermind behind 2017’s theatrical play Meisoga, at only 20 years old, is a creative force to be reckoned with. Papua New Guineans first met him around four years ago when at 16 and still in high school he wrote a gripping adaptation of legendary Misima folklore about his clan, the Meisoga. Kuliniasi brought his play to life, directing it on stage at both the University of Papua New Guinea and the Moresby Arts Theatre. His debut play tells the story of young chieftain of the Meisoga clan, Sine Kepu, who must lead the migration of her people from the island of Suau to the island of Misima, both in Milne Bay Province. The play was well received by critics and audiences. Impressed by his talent, renowned journalist Scott Waide wrote of Kuliniasi as “showing a level of maturity beyond his years”. The success of Meisoga was not easily won however. Kuliniasi says: “I’d often collide with actors, which frustrated me. I was a teenager directing people older than me and at times they wouldn’t take my commands seriously. It was tough but I had to hold my ground and ensure that my vision was performed on stage.” Not one to settle with the mantle of a ‘one-hit wonder’, Kuliniasi has become heavily involved in the country’s art 24 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

scene, continuing to write and direct at the Moresby Arts Theatre as well as lending his hand to the PNG Fashion Week as creative director. The ambitious young thespian has hopes of resuscitating theatre in the country and inspiring young people to use theatre and on a wider spectrum, the arts, as a platform to channel their creativity. Kuliniasi remarks that he was bullied when in school and it was the arts that gave him a voice and a purpose. “I was different from kids my age. I was loud and flamboyant and had a high voice. The other kids didn’t get me and so they would make fun of me. Theatre was my escape. I would step on the stage and step into the role I was playing and that was my

escape. I was in my element on stage.” With overwhelming support from his family, especially from his grandparents, who encouraged and fanned the creative spark in him, he decided to pursue it as a career after graduating from high school, enrolling at the University of Papua New Guinea’s arts literature program. Despite being a full-time university student, Kuliniasi has various other commitments. He says 2020 was a year of imposed repose due to COVID-19 curtailing some of his plans, however he is looking forward to the promises of a new year. “I have a number of exciting projects I am working on that I will announce in time,” he says. With a diamond like Meisoga already on his resume, his much anticipated next move is sure to leave fans excited … whether in theatre, film or television. Up close, this young man’s exuberance and infectious charm are a delight. His magnetic energy is alluring, and if he’s in the same room as you, you better believe you’re going to hear from him. Well on his way to achieve his lifetime dream of being PNG’s first Oscar winner, Andrew Kuliniasi is definitely one to watch.




PNG Now photographers Dean Arek and Godfreeman Kaptigau roamed the capital recently and found a dedicated workforce. The common story of the people photographed and interviewed is that they love their jobs.

THE SOLDIER Israel Oa, 23, is a Port Moresby local who joined the Army about two years ago and lives at military barracks in Wewak. He says he gains job satisfaction by being able to help people. “During my last tour (of duty), I noticed that we provide hope to our people, especially those in isolated villages who need basic services. When they see us, they see hope, and this is the reason why I love my job. I want to change people’s lives; I want to make a difference by helping people who are in need.” PHOTOGRAPH: DEAN AREK


THE GOLFER Brian Taikiri has been helping to coach at the Port Moresby Golf Club for the past five years. As an amateur golfer, he has travelled nationally and internationally. “I see golf as a meditation hub for me, it’s a reflection of my state of mind,” he says. PHOTOGRAPH: GODFREEMAN KAPTIGAU



THE OFFICE WORKER Daphne Liu Rasehei has been an operations executive and producer at the Tribe Agency for the past three years. She’s produced a multitude of shows and has worked with some of the best creatives in PNG. PHOTOGRAPH: GODFREEMAN KAPTIGAU

THE RESTAURANT MANAGER Geno Karo is the manager at the Lamana Hotel’s Italian Restaurant. She has been there for more than two years and her front-of-house duties include greeting diners, seating them and explaining the menu. “I basically love everything about my job,” she says. “It’s very challenging at times but it’s rewarding working with a great team at a great restaurant under a general manager who has taught us a lot and has guided us along the way.” PHOTOGRAPH: DEAN AREK


THE BARTENDER Jessie Tom is a bartender at the Gateway Hotel. “What I like most about my job is learning how to mix spirits and do cocktails. I love getting to know the customers and interacting with them and making sure they enjoy their time with us,” he says. PHOTOGRAPH: DEAN AREK

THE DJ Travis Magini works as a DJ at various events and produces music for artists, something he has been doing for 12 years. “Being in the music industry, I’m able to evoke emotions that allow me to make people happy, which is what I love about what I do.” PHOTOGRAPH: DEAN AREK



THE TAXI DRIVER Nickson Hanis knows the streets of Port Moresby well after being behind the wheel of his taxi for about 15 years. “I meet a lot of people and become friends, then family with them, both local and international.” He says that among his most memorable passengers were some people from Korobosea. “Every time I took them shopping, they’d also shop for me.” PHOTOGRAPHS THESE PAGES: DEAN AREK

THE NURSE Veronica Kalebe has been a nurse for 29 years and works at Port Moresby General Hospital where she cares for patients, compiles clinic reports and conducts refresher training for staff. “I love caring for the patients and seeing them recover from their illnesses,” she says.



THE POLICE OFFICER Julius Taliu (above, at right) is an information and communications technician (ICT) for the police. When he first joined the force, he worked on general police duties for four years, and then he trained for ICT where has has worked for 28 years. He is in charge of police communications and says his greatest job satisfaction comes from doing his job properly. “As a technician, I am satisfied when the users of the system are happy.”

THE ENGINEER Chantika Haru works as a geotechnical engineer for OK Tedi Mining. She lives in Port Moresby but works in Tabubil and has just become a permanent employee after two years as a graduate trainee. “Every day is a new challenge, whether it be out in the field or not, you are pushed to your physical and mental limits,” she says. “I also love that I am part of the change that sees more women in this generally maledominated industry. The fly in and fly out (FIFO) lifestyle has its downsides, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

THE GUARD Lukas Reuben Kawage has been a guard at Jacksons Bar for almost five years. “I am responsible for monitoring the movement of customers in and out of the building, and I maintain the peace,” he says. “Because I work near the airport, there’s a big variety of people that come and go here, from CEOs to aviation staff and grassroots people.”

Silver Leaf is the definitive Port Moresby dining experience. With lavish interiors, breathtaking views of the city, our fine dining restaurant is the place for any occasion. Sir John Guise Drive Port Moresby Vision City Waigani PNG

Call +675 302 8888 to book or email



GALLERY ☛ The PNG National Museum and Art Gallery at Waigani has artefacts from all 22 PNG provinces, some dating back to the 1800s, museumpng.

☛ Edge by the Sea (pictured), marina outlook, alfresco, at Harbour City, ☛ Duffy, three locations in POM, excellent coffee, bakery items, ☛ Jeanz Cafe, great vibe, at the new Gordons Plaza, ☛ Rainforest Cafe, surrounded by living tropical rainforest wall at The Stanley Hotel, ☛ Deli KC, all-day, particularly good lunches poolside at the Airways Hotel,


☛ Heritage Bar, Monday to Saturday happy hour has free tapas and live entertainment, at Crown Hotel,


☛ Port Moresby Yacht Club, where you can enjoy a sundowner as the yachts bob in the water. Non-members need to be signed in by a member, rpyc. ☛ Mojo Social, a hip spot for after-work drinks any night of the week, facebook. com/mojosocialeatdrink. ☛ Red Rock Bar & Grill, five minutes drive from Six Mile, a weekend-only bar with speccy views, popular with 4WD clubs and motorbikers, skilagepng.


☛ The Lamana Gold Club has a reputation as the ‘party capital’, with resident DJs, live music stations and international artists, lamanahotel.

☛ Tasty Bites, traditional Indian in cosy atmosphere, good prices and good wine list, Tel. +675 321 2222.


☛ There’s great debate about the best pizza in POM, but we’ve settled for the pepperoni at Mojo Social in the heart of Harbour City, mojosocialeatdrink. It’s 50 kina for eight slices of pepperoni smothered in napoli sauce and mozzarella. Highly recommended are Mr Mike’s Pizza, Enzo’s Pizza and Yellow Captain’s.


☛ The Cosmopolitan is a ritzy superclub at Vision City, often featuring live bands, CosmopolitanPNG. ☛ Club Illusion is a late-night DJ playground,

☛ The pasta at Stanley Hotel’s Green Haus is a stand out,


☛ Fusion 2, in Waigani, go-to dishes include crab and lobster brought in fresh from Kavieng, Tel. +675 7917 0077.


☛ C t L ( m T ( I S M


☛ The Buffalo Burger with two beef patties, melted cheese, gherkin, caramelised onion and aioli is one of the best-loved hamburgers in Port Moresby. There are four Buffalo Burger stores in POM, including the town store in Hunter Street, meathaus. The Sanctuary Hotel also does a mean burger,

DISCLAIMER The hotels, bars, cafes, restaurants and other businesses and activities listed in this guide have been selected on merit, chosen by P



☛ Ela Beach has space for joggers; the volleyball and basketball courts are free for public use. ☛ The Southside Fitness Centre at Koki has modern equipment and fitness classes, ssfcpom. ☛ The Pyramid Board Riders’ Club at Taurama has private property access to the only serious swell near POM and the city’s only skate ramp, facebook. com/pyramidsurf. ☛ The Royal Port Moresby Golf Club has 18 holes, accepts non-members (there’s a dress code) and hires equipment, ☛ Swim laps at Taurama Aquatic & Indoor Centre from 6am, ☛ Free programs and activities from yoga to kickboxing are available through the Active City Development Program,




☛ Lae: The Lae International Hotel has two restaurants, a bar, swimming pool and gym,

☛ East n Sea is a small backpacker retreat at East Cape at Milne Bay, the most easterly tip of Papua New Guinea.

☛ Madang: Set by the sea, Madang Resort has it all: pools, restaurants, cocktail bars, tennis, gym and a big list of activities and tours, including diving, ☛ Kokopo: The beachfront Rapopo Plantation Resort has sea and volcano views, a pool, a dive centre for lessons and excursions, and comfortable rooms with polished timber floors and air-con. Some rooms also have leather furniture and Nespresso machines. Free breakfast and kayaks are included in the price, ☛ Rabaul: Rabaul Hotel, character-filled, three-star with the best place to eat in town,


☛ Alotau: Driftwood Resort, cosy cabins on the water’s edge, dine on the hotel’s jetty,

☛ The Port Moresby Nature Park has 550 native animals and hundreds of plant species in beautiful gardens, and cafe,

☛ Mount Hagen: The Highlander Hotel is set in tropical gardens and has a range of room styles, right up to apartments,

☛ Airways Hotel, one of the best in the Pacific, close to airport, ☛ The Stanley, luxury accommodation adjacent to Vision City Mega Mall, ☛ Hilton Port Moresby, 15 storeys of typical Hilton comfort, ☛ The Sanctuary Hotel and Spa, most spacious twin-share rooms in Port Moresby, handmade furniture, walk-in bird enclosure, ☛ Grand Papua, a centrally located premium hotel with plenty of executive options, ☛ Holiday Inn Express, affordable, in Waigani,



Craft markets are held in the city every Saturday: Laguna Hotel Craft Market (first Saturday of every month); Moresby Arts Theatre Craft Market (second Saturday); Holiday Inn Craft Market (third Saturday); Ela Beach Craft Market (last Saturday).


The highway from Alotau to East Cape has recently been upgraded and the drive to the retreat takes about an hour. Owner Jeff Evennett hosts guided historical and cultural tours around the area, sharing the wealth of local knowledge he has amassed, including war history. Accommodation includes a bungalow, or an open house (pictured) that sleeps up to 12 for 50 kina each, with breakfast. Burgers, chips and pizza can be ordered for lunch or dinner, and guests can help with traditional clay pot cooking of organic meals fresh from the garden. Guests have access to the white-sand Anchor Beach, highly rated for its snorkelling and corals. There are also islands and reefs to visit. See East n Sea on Facebook for more information.

☛ Crystal Rapids, picnic on the wellmaintained lawn area, swim in the river or float over the rapids; via Sogeri. ☛ Kokoda Trail, journey to the trail head at Owers’ Corner about 50 kilometres from POM, and stop in at the Bomana War Cemetery. ☛ Loloata Island Resort, newly opened, accepts day visitors for a fee, dive, snorkel, laze by the pool,

PNG Now writers. The listings are not meant to be comprehensive and are not based on commercial considerations. They represent what we like.







Sarah Haoda-Todd launched her popular fashion label PNGianKala in 2013. Since then, she has showcased her collections in Lae, Port Moresby, Fiji, Sydney, Brisbane, London and Bali. Her designs are based on Papua New Guinea’s art and culture. She is currently based in Brisbane where she is studying fashion branding and works as a professional stylist. She is also an anti-violence campaigner. How are you affiliated with the Pacific fashion industry? I have my own fashion label named PNGianKala and have also recently launched a brand named ‘Thousand Tribes’ for an international reach. The new brand is in partnership with Cassaundra Rangip of Pacific Fashion Festival and aims to showcase branded PNG and Pacific fashion. What do you think makes Pacific designers stand out? Pacific designers stand out for

their vibrant colours, but more so the authenticity of their cultural prints. These cultural and traditional prints have been contemporised, and often result in breathtaking colour fusions. The styles are modern and fun and, at times, flamboyant. Our fashion prints and styles are unique compared to the rest of the fashion world. I have always said that PNG and Pacific fashion provides a statement that promotes our island nations in a very bright and positive way.

How would you describe your personal style? My style would be classic, bold, modern, and comfortable. What does fashion mean to you? Fashion to me is about selfconfidence and being courageous. When you wear something that makes you feel good and makes you look pretty awesome, you smile and ooze confidence. That gives you the courage to step out into the world boldly to accomplish your personal goals. Fashion affects your mind and emotions, and plays a part in the way you carry yourself and present yourself to others. Who are some of your stand-out PNG and Pacific designers? My stand-out PNG fashion

Fashion is about self-confidence. When you wear something that makes you feel good, you smile and ooze confidence. SARAH HAODA-TODD

designers are AA Tribal, Tabu, Baiwa and Niugini Native. Fijian designers of note include Hupfeld, 8 Mountains and Samson Lee. In Samoa, it’s Lepou, Cecelia and Exclusively Off Da Rock.




Intrepid travellers enjoy traditionally styled overwater bungalows and sea views on this small Papua New Guinean island near the equator. It’s popular with surfers, divers, snorkellers and fishermen, and has a barefoot vibe. The simply furnished bungalows have verandahs with hammocks (yes, take your favourite Ernest Hemingway), polished timber floors, ceiling fans and mosquito nets. Some have ensuites. Expect lots of fresh fish and lobster at the nightly buffet. Nearby, along a jungle track, there’s a village where guests are welcome to browse for handmade souvenirs, or you can take a five-minute boat ride back into the friendly town on the mainland where there’s a daily market and a golf course. But, hey, when you’re in such a tropical idyll you may want to just stay there. The epicentre of the island’s social life is the small bar. Amble up and order an icy SP, or a gin and tonic, to quell the equatorial heat and talk about the day’s adventures with the handful of other guests. A dress code applies at the bar. It’s bare feet, perfect for wriggling your toes in the sand. To find out where the island is, turn to Page 62. 36 PNG NOW FEBRUARY 2021





So, this is where Rolling Stone Mick Jagger stayed? Yes, the old rocker checked in for a short stay in 2014 after a concert tour that included Australia and New Zealand. He arrived in style, jetting in to Mount Hagen on his private jet. He must have liked the lodge, because he vowed he would one day return with his children. The resort is set high in the hills overlooking Mount Hagen about 2000 metres above sea level. The air is cool and crisp, so be sure to pack your woollen beanie. It’s about an hour by road from the airport, or you can arrive by helicopter and land at a private mountain-top helipad … just like a rock star. There are views over the fertile Wahgi Valley, and at night you can see the twinkling lights of Mount Hagen, which seems a world away. Twitchers will love it here because more than 180 bird species have been identified in the surrounding rainforest. There are many walking trails in the hills. You can walk to a beautiful waterfall, visit the impressive orchid garden maintained by the lodge, and stop off at a nearby village to buy some local vegetables for the chef to add to your evening meal. On the menu you’ll find some delightful choices like Highlands pork chops with sweet potato and ginger mash, fish from Betty’s Trout Farm at Mount Wilhelm, local strawberries, indulgent banana fritters and freshly baked cakes and biscuits. There’s also typical pub fare, such as hamburgers with potato wedges. The heart of the lodge is the large open-plan building with the restaurant, a bar, cafe and reception. It’s beautifully finished with sago and pitpit leaf woven-panel ceilings and timber-panelled walls. There are oversized doorways and floor-toceiling glass with views of a serene pond, manicured garden and misty covered mountains in the distance. Sitting on a lounge next to the outdoor fire is a good way to take in the views. 38 PNG NOW FEBRUARY 2021

Above: Rondon Ridge Lodge. Left: In the cafe, happy staffers Paul (the lodge manager, in dark shirt) and Terry. Far left: Set high in the hills in lush gardens, the lodge has views of the valley and Mount Hagen town.



This picture: The spacious interior at Rondon Ridge Lodge. Below: An umbrella goes up for a walk on one of the many trails. Below right: The lodge’s tranquil pond. Bottom: Champagne hour with server Hega.

The rooms are spacious and light with high ceilings and big windows. The beds are blissfully comfortable and there’s tasteful decor in neutral colours and natural materials. The interiors are finished with cane ceilings, timber walls and ceramic tiles. The inclusion of ground coffee and a plunger add to the benefit of your own secluded balcony. The tri-level executive rooms have facilities for self-catering and offer greater luxury. Basic rooms are from 400 kina (+GST) per night and executive rooms from 700 kina (+GST). Village tours are among the options of things to do here, or ask reception to set up a trip to the Kuk World Heritage archaeological site, where the world’s oldest gardening tools and plots have been found. For some of the best coffee in PNG stop off at the Kofi Kave near Mount Hagen’s airport for a cup of Banz coffee and more cakes. To visit Rondon Ridge, contact Trans Niugini Tours on 7198 9397, email, or see 40 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

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A TASTE OF PNG To Papua New Guineans, the mumu is defined as ‘pit cooking’; to Hilton Port Moresby executive chef Neil Abrahams, the social aspect of the mumu is a key part of this style of eating and the inspiration behind the hotel’s Mumu Restaurant. “Mumu is about social interaction and sharing, the way I see it,” Chef Neil says. “You don’t cook it for just one person. You get to enjoy food with your whole family or the whole village.”

THE RESTAURANT VIBE Part of the Mumu Restaurant experience at the Hilton is the

interaction with the chefs and being able to see the food being cooked from the open kitchen, whether you’re outside in the relaxed rainforest setting or inside at the kitchen counter. The social aspect of the restaurant has also been emphasised, with group-sized servings that can be shared among many – bringing forth the essence of the mumu in PNG culture. Chef Neil says: “This concept is not new; the Chinese have been doing it forever – the main experience when you go to a Chinese restaurant is the food

Above: Pork belly from the mumu with apple slaw. Beef, chicken and fish are also available in this traditional style of cooking at Mumu Restaurant. Right: Chefs (from left) Richard Rupa, Neil Abrahams and Yohun Magni.




Above: The stylish outdoor setting at Mumu Restaurant with polished timbers, rainforest plants and fire pits. Right: Mumu chefs at work in the open kitchen.

comes to the middle of the table and everyone’s sharing. It’s the same social interaction here, but different food.”


The Mumu kitchen is providing imaginative and inventive dishes with Papua New Guinean favourites such as lamb flap skewers, skordalia and pickled pitpit getting a modern and international twist. Chef Neil says it is all about understanding an ingredient and its properties, and then experimenting with cooking methods and flavours. Young local Mumu chefs Richard Rupa and Yohun Magni say they never imagined that everyday local ingredients could be presented in such interesting ways. Chef Yohun says: “I never knew that you could pickle pitpit; we’ve only known the taste of pitpit in coconut creamed soup, so the first people that tried the recipe 44 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

were surprised at the tanginess of it and how it was prepared with watercress salad and roasted tomatoes – you don’t really expect that. “Chef has given us this amazing recipe which I am proud to make and I reckon, ‘why not try something new’?” Chef Neil says it’s all about coming back to the raw ingredients. “If you really want to break pitpit down, it’s just a grass. You’re eating the heart of the grass so what I’m reminded of when I see the heart of a plant is bamboo shoots, heart of palm and all these wonderful flavours that I’ve cooked with in other countries and then I think of how we can create that locally as well and have people walk away amazed with the experience”. Chef Neil says there is a lot of potential for PNG ingredients. “If you start creating recipes with flavours that are conducive

to other cultures, but include something they have never experienced, you’ll have people getting excited and asking how we can export your ingredients. “But then for me it’s more a question of, ‘why would you want to export food when you can import tourism’?”


Chef Neil is the continental director for Worldchefs in the Pacific Rim. Worldchefs is the world’s largest network of chefs, with members in 110 countries, including PNG. With his Worldchefs hat on, Chef Neil is passionate about training and upskilling. A key focus of the organisation is to develop chefs throughout the world and establish a global standard. “If you’re a certified commis chef (novice chef), that certificate is recognised all over the world – we’re striving to get to that here at the Hilton. The aim for me while I’m here is to make sure

that everyone in my kitchen has a trade qualification,” he tells PNG Now. Both Richard and Yohun are in the program as part of six apprentices who are studying for a Certificate III in commercial cookery. Once they achieve the certificate, they will be deemed trade competent and will then be able to apply for the commis chef certificate. Chief Neil says it is imperative to build up a skilled population through vocational training to lift the standard of the tourism and hospitality industry. “Mumu is showcasing what PNG’s local cuisine can be at an elite level, so there are a lot of requirements with food safety, sourcing ingredients and standards. “It’s one thing to teach a dish, it’s another to create a menu and then another to turn that menu into something profitable and sustainable for the future of any

Mumu is showcasing what PNG’s local cuisine can be at an elite level.

establishment; that’s where we need to be.” The chefs have now developed new eyes for the local produce they grew up with. “I think every chef’s goal is to become boss, but now that I’m doing this course I’m actually hoping to write a recipe book,” Chef Yohun tells PNG Now. “I’m looking forward to the practical side to be able to understand the structure of food and cooking using local PNG produce, like what Chef Neil has done with the Mumu menu,” she says. Chef Richard hopes to eventually travel the country and discover local ingredients and methods of cooking to add to his knowledge and capacity to create new dishes. The Mumu Restaurant at the Hilton opens Wednesday to Saturday, from 6–10pm. For bookings, Tel. 7501 8000 or 7501 8015.





Daikoku, named after a Japanese god, is one of Port Moresby’s oldest and most-loved restaurants. Most recently based at Harbour City, it has been part of the Port Moresby dining scene for decades. The good news is that another Daikoku has opened in the Steamships Building at Harbourside. The new restaurant is bright and airy and adds to the influx of new places to eat in the capital. It has a large bar area, and indoor and outdoor seating, so you can choose between air-conditioned comfort or sea breezes for your dining experience. The restaurant has continued with its trademark teppanyaki tables and maintained its highquality food and presentation. Teppanyaki, for the uninitiated, is a style of Japanese eating where food is cooked on a hot grill in front of diners. Teppan

TEL. 321 0255 OPEN Monday to Saturday 11.30am–2pm for lunch; 5.30pm– 10pm for dinner. Sunday 5.30pm– 10pm for dinner. STYLE Japanese teppanyaki. GO-TO DISH Daikoku Special teppanyaki plate of shrimp appetiser, beef tenderloin, lobster and vegetables with steamed rice. PRICES Teppanyaki main course banquets from about 80 kina to 110 kina. Sashimi and sushi from about 33 kina.

means ‘iron plate’ and yaki means ‘grilled’. The teppanyaki main course banquets at the Harbourside restaurant start from about 80 kina and provide exceptional value. You can choose from beef, lobster, prawns and chicken combined with vegetables for your teppanyaki plate, accompanied by miso soup, salad and dessert. It did get a little smoky for a

moment when our special shrimp sauce was lit up for added effect and exceptional flavour, but the smoke and flames are all part of the atmosphere. But it’s not all about teppanyaki at Daikoku. You can also order traditional Japanese favourites such as fresh sashimi and sushi, tempura, katsudon, ramen noodles and pork cutlets. Vegetarians will be impressed with the range of options.






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Of everything the wellness and beauty business has to offer, day spas would have to be among the best. These temples of bliss are among the few places where we can escape from the world to indulge in massages and numerous wellness treatments that ultimately leave us calmer, healthier and happier. The concept behind modern spas harks back to the days when humans first discovered the pleasures of soaking in hot springs bubbling from the ground. The Greeks and Romans were among the first to embrace the relaxing and restorative effects of these mineral-rich waters, and the practice spread far and wide. Modern spa menus now offer many health-giving therapies, all with different key benefits. Salt scrubs,

for instance, aim to leave skin silky smooth, wholebody seaweed wraps help reduce joint inflammation and water retention, while aromatherapy calms and uplifts. Massages, too, do far more than sooth sore muscles. A Canadian study found even a quick 10-minute post-workout massage can boost recovery and strength by up to 60 per cent. Massage has also been found to aid sleep, boost immunity and reduce stress from mild to severe, a huge benefit when you consider that chronic stress can disrupt virtually every system in the body. A calm mind helps set everything straight, from better breathing and problem solving to clearer communication and increased happiness. – BG



01 Positioned at the end of Pitpit Street, North Waigani, the Sanctuary Hotel’s Lingzhi Serenity Spa is small but very comfortable, with a tropical feel. The sweet aroma of lemongrass wafts through the spa and soft soothing tunes are played. The spa has a range of facial treatments and massages. The Philippine Traditional Hilot massage is one we recommend. It is a deep tissue massage to relax the mind and heal the body.

Royal Papua Yacht Club, Salon & Spa is a sanctuary with cool sea breezes and exceptional customer service. There are TLC treatments for skin, hair and muscles. The spa’s Lymphatic Massage is recommened, along with the HydraFacial that detoxifies and rejuvenates skin to provide a healthy glow. The spa is not restricted to members of the yacht club, although bookings have to be made a day in advance. There is a 25% discount every Monday on all services.

WHERE Pitpit Street, North Waigani TEL. 303 7400/7387 2377 FACEBOOK The Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa HOURS Daily 9am – 5pm 48 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

02 On the ground floor of the

WHERE Royal Papua Yacht Club TEL. 310 0521/7914 6351/7592 6844 FACEBOOK Salon & Spa at Marina HOURS Daily 9am – 7pm


03 The Zen Spa well and truly

lives up to its name, being peaceful and calm. Leather sofas help create the relaxed aura of the spa where facials, massages, waxes and scrubs are available. If you really want to spoil yourself, try the 60-minute massage and spa bath in the VIP room. WHERE Level 3, Stanley Hotel & Suites TEL. 302 8871/7166 8669 WEBSITE HOURS Daily 10am – 10pm – MA

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Art & Culture


The 2016 circumnavigation of New Guinea in a traditional wooden canoe by Danish adventurer Thor F. Jensen and his Papua New Guinean crew is to be released in a documentary in PNG later this year. The film, Sailau, is part of a project to inspire the nation’s younger generations. It all started when Jensen teamed up with Milne Bay sailors Job Siyae and brothers, Sanakoli and Justin John, to embark on the first recorded circumnavigation of New Guinea island. “I bought the canoe from the brothers’ uncle on Basilaki Island,” says Jensen. “The Tawali Pasana was made using ancient methods, but fitted with nylon ropes and sail. A symbol to me of PNG’s journey from past to present.” Powered only by paddle and wind for the 6300-kilometre voyage, the crew spent almost 14 months facing high seas, storms, capsizes, crocodiles, treacherous reefs, Indonesian bureaucracy and even testy sea gods. North of Lae, on the notorious Bobongara Reef, high winds stirred up huge waves that filled the boat and almost sank it. Jensen had to jump out and climb on the outrigger to stabilise the canoe, while the others started bailing. “Legend has it that the reef is guarded warily by a half-serpent, half-man,” says Jensen. “Sanakoli 50 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

This picture: The traditional canoe in full sail on its way around New Guinea. Opposite: The crew (from left) Sanakoli John, Thor F. Jensen, Justin John and Job Siyae.

warned me to be respectful and paddle in silence as we looked desperately for shelter. “It was good advice. There’s still a lot of magic in PNG and we made it safely to a beautiful bay near a village called Wandukai.” Unfortunately, Siyae had to return home during the journey for medical reasons, but later reunited with his friends. “What the sailors did was almost superhuman,” says Jensen. “We completed a world-first voyage in unknown waters, thanks to their skills.” News of the adventurers travelled ahead of them, by internet, mobile phone and bush telegraph. “People all along the way were very protective and welcoming,” says Jensen. “For example, we spent six days in Bucava, where the village helped us build and

replace a damaged outrigger.” The documentary was recorded on a DSLR camera, a GoPro and iPhones, with support from Port Moresby drone photographer Robert Weber. Now in post-production, Sailau is scheduled to premiere at the National Kenu & Kundu Festival in Alotau in November. An EMTV screening is also planned. Meanwhile, Jensen is seeking sponsorship for the next stage of the project. “We hope Justin and Sanakoli can tour the documentary to schools and communities around PNG, inspiring the new generation to value their traditional knowledge, respect their elders and dream big.”

We completed a world-first voyage in unknown waters.

View the film’s trailer at project/sailau.




The songs of Papua New Guinean-born New Zealand musician Vallé are clearly influenced by his humble PNG beginnings, family and cultural origins. After 20 years living in NZ, the musician journeyed back to PNG for the first time just a few years ago, resulting in his popular single Trip Advisor. The single was released last April and the music video was shot in Port Moresby featuring his mother’s family from Enga Province, and a slice of the grassroots PNG lifestyle. “This song is about life in PNG through my lens and my family’s lens,” Vallé says. “Ultimately it’s a family anthem that gives the outside world an insight into a small part of PNG.” Born in Port Moresby, he and his mother had to take a lifesaving trip to New Zealand when he fell dangerously ill with malaria when he was about eight months old. Later, he and his mother settled in NZ. Vallé, born Enjalas Jenkinson, grew up in Wellington in a musical family with grandmother and grand aunts all playing piano, and his father raising him on soul and blues music. Growing up as the only Papua New Guinean throughout his schooling life, Vallé didn’t have a platform to express his culture, saying it went dormant for a while. Music, he reveals, was a way to connect with people and fit in with peers, and still is to this day. “Music can transcend culture and habit,” he says. “When I went on my first trip back to PNG it was really intense and emotional,” Valle tells PNG Now. “There are a lot of questions that come with being disconnected from family that long – you’re unsure about how they’ll receive you.” On the trip, however, he says it was “love from the jump”. “Straight away I started to feel a bit of sorrow; a sort of mourning for all the years we were apart. But it definitely was amazing to see all my family and share stories about my father, and walk where he had walked. It was a life-changing experience,” he says. 52 PNG NOW FEBRUARY 2021

Vallé says he was lucky to be raised in NZ with a wantok he called Uncle Jack. Along with Valle’s family, Uncle Jack spoke Tok Pisin and the Engan language, and versed him in the ways of his culture. “My Kiwi father also loved PNG, so he told me stories as I was growing up – the good and the bad,” Vallé says. These PNG roots and experiences contribute to his music in a big way. “My next project is an EP inspired and influenced by Papua New Guinea, my story and culture,” he says. As a musician, Vallé wants to be the best he can be, whatever that is, and build a strong connection and relationship with people who listen to his music, hoping to bring something positive. “It’s waking up every day and being better than I was creatively and in all other aspects of life, than I was the day before,” he says of his ambitions.

When I went on my first trip back to PNG it was really intense and emotional.

Vallé on … Collaborating with PNG artists Of course, 100 per cent. That’s definitely going to happen. I also hope to tour in PNG with shows in Port Moresby, Enga, possibly Lae, and other main centres. So I’m always open to collaborations, as long as the music connects with me; I’m excited about working with other artists.” PNG artists I’m listening to DJ Dirty Fingers, Ragga Siai, Oshen and O-Four, to name a few.

Musician Enjala Jenkinson, better known as Vallé, is being inspired by his Papua New Guinean culture.




Papua New Guinea’s beloved rugby league team, the SP PNG Hunters, has had to make the tough decision to relocate from Port Moresby to the Gold Coast in Australia to participate in the 2021 Queensland Intrust Super Cup. A 29-man team left for Australia at the end of January and will remain overseas for seven months. The relocation to the Gold Coast Performance Centre at Runaway Bay has been necessary because of international travel restrictions due to COVID-19 and included a gruelling 31 days in quarantine for the team in PNG and Australia. Prior to leaving for Australia, the team had been training in Port Moresby since November. The competition kicked off on March 20. So what do the players, officials and fans think about the move?


Matthew Church says the squad is bonding well. “Everyone is working hard, encouraging each other and learning together. Their attitudes, performance, comradeship and morale are excellent, and I am enjoying their company and building on the

relationships we have formed.” Church says the club is looking to provide education and job placement opportunities for the players to reward their sacrifice. The club will also enlist the help of local PNG communities to ensure the players remain motivated throughout the season. “It is important that they are close to their culture as much as possible, so we’re engaging some PNG communities to be in and around our program, so they feel that connection to home.”

Left: SP PNG Hunters coach Matthew Church at a pre-season training session in Port Moresby. 54 PNG NOW FEBRUARY 2021


Forward Ila Alu says the move will be challenging for the players. “Being away from home and loved ones for the season will be tough. But on the other hand, it is an opportunity for the boys to experience something new.” Alu says that having experienced players in the squad, who have previously played overseas, had boosted preseason confidence. “There are quite a few players who have never been overseas, so we’ve shared our overseas experiences and advice with them. They (the experienced players) also play an influential role in ensuring the club’s culture and standards are maintained.”


Above: Veteran forward Ila Alu and teammates putting in the hard yards during training. Below: The squad members go through their paces in Port Moresby prior to relocating to Australia for the Intrust Super Cup season.

The move will be costly according to PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) acting chief executive, Stanley Hondina. He predicts the team’s budget will have to increase by about 20%. (In 2018, the PNGRFL said its annual budget for the club was about 7 million kina.) The PNGRFL is yet to state how it will generate revenue from the season, but it has received a 5 million kina sponsorship from Kumul Petroleum Holdings that will help the team settle in. Hondina says the call to relocate had to be made because the PNGRFL risked losing its licence to participate in the competition in future.


Rima Handapeh probably speaks for most Hunters fans when he says he will miss watching the team in live action. He believes the team will also miss the home-ground advantage of the Port Moresby humidity and thousands of screaming fans. APRIL 2021 PNG NOW 55




Basketball runs in the family for Apia Muri, a Papua New Guinean basketballer who has played at national level since 2006. His dad, Moi Muri, brothers Purari, Dia and Obed, and sister Waka, have all represented the country on the court. Apia is hoping to make the national team again this year, to play in the FIBA Melanesian Cup in Fiji.

Apia Muri on … I started basketball because my dad represented Papua New Guinea in the 1980s and most of what my siblings and I were exposed to in sport was basketball. My dad, Moi Muri, is the current coach of the women’s national team. I first represented PNG in 2006 and have not missed an international tournament since then. (The tournaments include the Arafura Games, Pacific Mini Games, Pacific Games, FIBA Oceania Championship and FIBA Melanesian Cup). My siblings – brothers Purari, Dia and Obed, and sister Waka – are also heavily into basketball and have played in national teams.

FOR THE RECORD Name: Apia Muri Age: 32 Height: 1.9 metres Position: Point guard Local team: Moni Plus Competition: Port Moresby Basketball League


I am in the national squad preparing for the FIBA Melanesian Cup, which will be hosted in Fiji this year. Because of COVID-19, our regular competitions for 2020 had to be cancelled and therefore I have had to keep fit through personal training. I am hopeful to make the final team. PNG is the current champion; our men’s and women’s teams won gold in the inaugural tournament in 2017, here in PNG. The toughest teams internationally are New Caledonia and Fiji. I’ve had to draw on every drop of my ability and performance in the matches against them. I’m not saying that I don’t put in the effort every time (against other teams), but it is always a bonus to play quality opposition; it brings out the best in you. My most memorable moment representing PNG was winning gold in the 2017 FIBA Melanesia Cup with my siblings and our father. My sister, Waka, played for the women’s team coached by dad, and Purarai, Dia and I played

Apia Muri at the Era Kone basketball courts in Port Moresby.

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR BASKETBALL? 1. How many players are on the court during a game? 2. What is dribbling? 3. Can you name the NBA star who was killed when his helicopter crashed last year in the US? 4. Why is American James Naismith famous in basketball? 5. The shortest player in a team usually plays in which position? 1. 10 (five players for each team). 2. Bouncing the ball continuously with one hand. 3. Kobe Bryant. 4. He invented the game in 1891. 5. Point guard.


for the men’s team. It was a very proud moment for our family. I follow the US National Basketball Association and I am a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. My favourite player is Lebron James. What I like about his game is his uncanny awareness of his surroundings, where he can pick out support players without even looking and just being there at every point-scoring opportunity. There is a huge need for the development of PNG basketball outside Port Moresby. There are talented players out there that just need an opportunity to play the game in well-organised local competitions, and also to have access to training facilities or training education. Life after basketball? I have not given that much thought to this yet, but I have been involved in the development of the sport in PNG through the ‘Hoops for Health’ program. It’s a program that teaches basic skills and health tips. It is supported by the Australian Government. I also did a basketball clinic in my community of Kaugere for school children on their holidays. I see a lot of potential for growth of the sport through such initiatives and would like to be involved in this more when I’m not playing.


Real Estate



A spacious new gated garden estate with one-, two- and threebedroom luxury apartments is taking shape in Port Moresby. The project, due to be completed in August, is a collaboration between Airways Residences and ETS Architects. The apartments are being built on the back of speculation that more executive-level accommodation will be needed as the oil and gas sector ramps up with new projects. The ‘Airways C Residences 8’ development will include 24 apartments in blocks of eight on the existing Airways Residences site adjacent to the Airways Hotel. Each apartment will be furnished with custom-designed furniture and will be fully serviced. The apartments also include secure private lifts and private balconies with floor-to-ceiling windows revealing views of Jacksons International Airport, the Owen Stanley Ranges, or Bootless Bay. 58 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

The apartments are being built on the back of speculation that more executive-level accommodation will be needed as the oil and gas sector ramps up.

Facilities will include a recreation park, a mini supermarket, a bank/ ATM, pharmacy and medical clinic. Residents will also have access to the hotel’s top-class facilities, including restaurants, bars, swimming pool, health club and day spa. In an early nod of approval, the new apartment development has already been recognised for its excellence in the residential development category at the Asia Pacific Property Awards (2020– 2021). ETS Architects is an awardwinning Australian firm based in Brisbane, which has a long association with PNG. The firm’s projects here have included Airways Hotel’s impressive Dakota Wing, Airways apartments and penthouses, Nambawan Plaza and Gekko Bar at the Holiday Inn. For more information about Airways Residences and the new apartments, see airwaysresidences., Tel. 325 4366.



on Ela Makana Street in Port Moresby. The hillside position gives tenants superb views across Fairfax Harbour to Motukea over Walter Bay and the Coral Sea. The estate is part of the Credit Corporation’s portfolio of real estate, which also includes the Era Mantana Estate on the same street and Credit House on Cuthbertson Street in the CBD.

The coveted Era Dorina Estate is, for the first time, offering serviced apartments in addition to the leased apartments that are available in one-, two- and threebedroom configurations. The apartments are suitable for executives, families and fly-in flyout workers. They come with complimentary Wi-Fi, IPTV and Digicel Playbox, onsite management, five-day servicing, swimming pools, fitness centre, tennis courts, airport transfers and 24-hour security and CCTV. Era Dorina Estate is located

For more information about the serviced apartments or to arrange a site inspection, see properties/era-dorina, Tel. 321 8101 or 321 8103.

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Money & Business/News



Taxi innovation The tourism sector has taken a big hit because of COVID-19, with 91 per cent of bookings to PNG cancelled in 2020. However, business watchers believe PNG’s overall economy will improve during 2021.

Economic recovery predicted The CEO of Bank South Pacific is “expecting a much improved year” and has told The National newspaper that Papua New Guinea’s economy is expected to recover by 2.5 per cent and the Pacific region by 1.3 per cent in 2021. However, Robin Fleming has noted that PNG’s growth is dependent on key resource projects proceeding in the future. comparative diversity in its The COVID-19 effect economy, but will still require A report by the World Bank on a major effort to achieve the the economic and employment recovery. impact of COVID-19 on Pacific “A resilient recovery will Island countries has shown that require foreign investment PNG has been hit hard by the in new resource projects pandemic, with GDP growth – as well as strengthening dropping to minus 3.3 per cent macroeconomic management, in 2020. protecting the vulnerable, and Despite the hit, the World supporting firms and jobs in the Bank also predicts PNG’s informal sector.” economy will rebound this year. Especially hard hit is According to the report, the tourism sector, which saw PNG has escaped some of the 91 per cent of bookings for impacts experienced by other 2020 cancelled, resulting in at Pacific countries, due to the least 1200 job losses. 60 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

Finding a safe and reliable taxi service in Port Moresby can be an issue, but entrepreneur Isaac Jipsy has come up with a solution. He has launched ODESH (On Demand Express Services Hub), the first Papua New Guinean online ride-hailing solution that connects taxi drivers and chauffers 24/7 with customers in real time. After travelling to the Philippines, Singapore, the US and Australia for work and using the Uber, Lyft and Grab ride-hailing services, Jipsy came back to Port Moresby to develop ODESH. He realised his platform needed modifications to respond to Port Moresby’s unique challenges and consulted with over 150 taxi drivers to understand their needs, and about 200 taxi users. ODESH now has over 130 registered drivers and provides over 200 trips per day in Port Moresby. “If a client in a taxi feels unsafe because of the driver’s behaviour or for some other reason, they can press the app’s SOS button and the driver’s profile, current location and vehicle details will be immediately sent to our call centre, which alerts the police to respond,” explains Jipsy. ODESH also plans to have its own Security Response Unit this year. Jipsy has plans to expand ODESH to other cities, including Lae, Rabaul and Alotau.

Help for SMEs in Lae

Bank’s profit statement

Julliane Terry, owner of Tok Stret Consulting, has launched a business incubator hub in Lae to foster innovation. “Our platform is a one-stop shop for an MSME or SME – for anyone with a dream or already in business but struggling. Our programs are different to what is usually offered: most hubs in PNG are craft markets but ours is a place of learning, energy and growth,” she says. The hub offers short-burst programs over six months. Terry describes them as “boot camps of the mind”, to develop core skills such as financial literacy, marketing, planning and budgeting, and healthy

Kina Bank has announced its 2020 financial results, reporting an unaudited statutory profit of 76 million kina, an increase of 25 per cent compared to 2019. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Greg Pawson, said the company grew in all areas despite COVID-19. He pointed to the launch of digital strategies and the integration of ANZ PNG. Meanwhile, a partnership with Kina Bank has given Bmobile customers access to Konnect, Kina’s mobile banking service. Bmobile customers can register for Konnect at their Kina branch and then check their account balances and statements, transfer money and buy Easipay credits using their phone.

business habits. Participants pay 10 kina for the program and work with, and learn from, other SMEs.

A growing sector

Apples have been grown in Menyamya in Moroboe Province since 1996 and have been sold locally, but there are now plans to sell them in markets in Lae and other places around the country. A spokesman for the apple farmers, Gimeh Gart, recently told newspapers: “We believe we can supply the market, and with commitment from the provincial government to support us, it will encourage us to be more committed in growing the crop and to expand.”

New hotel in Gordons Despite the tough times for the hospitality sector, Port Moresby has a new 12 million kina hotel. The S&J Hotel is in Gordons and has been developed by local entrepreneur Nathan Milyo, who also owns the Comfort Taxi Service. Powes Parkop, Governor of the National Capital

District, and William Powi, Governor of Southern Highlands Province, attended the opening ceremony recently. The new hotel has a range of rooms, swimming pool, conference room, balcony and a cafeteria. APRIL 2021 PNG NOW 61

Money & Business/CV


Eric Mossman has stepped into the country’s top tourism job as the chief executive officer of the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA). It’s a tough time for the tourism industry, with the PNGTPA identifying that 90 percent of tourist businesses have been affected by the downturn in visitor numbers because of COVID-19. But Mossman has good credentials in the industry and may be just the man to lift it out of its mire. He joined the PNGTPA in 2009 as a project officer, was promoted to senior project officer, then director of policy and planning, and later director of corporate service.

Eric Mossman on … Invigorating tourism Our marketing team has come up with a plan to develop tourism in the remote communities. We’re also looking at the potential of the domestic tourism market. The first step we are working on is a ‘safe travellers’ guide’, which we will run by the Pandemic Controller’s office. We’re trying to roll this out quickly to get some movement. His goals as CEO I would like to bring about reform in the Tourism Promotion Authority Act. It’s a significant piece of legislation that needs a lot of work. At the moment, it is under consultation with the industry and government. I’d also like to establish a National Tourism Master Plan to guide the industry forward. Answer: The mystery destination on Page 36 is Nusa Island Retreat, offshore from Kavieng on New Ireland. See nusaislandretreat. com. 62 PNG NOW APRIL 2021

The potential of PNG’s tourism industry PNG remains one of the last frontiers in everything – if you look at our flora and fauna, our people and culture, we have it all; it has not been explored fully. But tourism here needs support from the government and industry, and we need leadership to drive it forward. The importance of cruise ships They have ceased operations because of COVID-19 and this has had a huge impact on

the industry. Going forward, we are also developing a cruise ship strategy with PNG Ports and looking into that space on how we can harness that potential. Kokoda and future plans Kokoda remains one of the biggest ground attractions that we have in the country and is the biggest drawcard that we have from our key source market, Australia. TPA will be working in partnership with the Kokoda Track Authority, the Australian Government and the governors on both sides (Oro and Central) to maintain the track and ensure that the resource custodians receive the benefits they are entitled to. His next holiday in PNG I’ve never seen Bougainville, so I would love to go there. And maybe Manus Island – those are two places I’d go for a holiday.

THE FINEST D ININ G E XP E RI E N C E I N P N G With the country’s best-stocked wine cellar and attentive table service, award-winning Bacchus transforms every meal into a memorable five-star experience. There is simply nothing like Bacchus, Papua New Guinea’s most premier restaurant.

Airways Hotel, Jacksons Parade, Port Moresby Tel +675 324 5200 Fax +675 325 0759


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