PNG Now Magazine: August 2021

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ISSUE 05 | August 2021






Welcome to the fifth issue of PNG’s premium lifestyle magazine. PNG Now is all about celebrating the best of PNG and its people. There’s no shortage of positive things to write about, and no shortage of interesting people and places to discover. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the magazine since its launch last September. Thank you for your positive comments and encouragement. Creativity comes in many guises, so never think you’re not a creative person. Consider some of the examples from this issue. Gerard Ivalaoa wanted to write a book but didn’t own a typewriter or computer. His solution? To type all 85,000-plus words of it into his mobile phone (Page 08). Musician Gari Guru from Tubusereia in Central Province had no idea he could be an artist when he first started writing songs at school, and now he’s launching a music career in Australia (Page 36). The members of music trio The Vibe needed to balance their creative urges with the need to study, work and look after their families and this ended up inspiring a terrific new song (Page 38). Music and writing aren’t the only creative pursuits. Consider, too, Abus na Kumu founder Richard Mark turning his passion for cooking into a food-ondemand business (Page 14) and chef De’Bono Paraka taking traditional Japanese sushi and giving it a PNG spin (a Pini roll, anyone? – see Page 40). You’ll find plenty of creative people, and ways of being creative, inside this issue. This magazine is also about directing you to great places to visit. A lot of locations and activities are still being affected to some extent by COVID-19 pandemic controls. While it makes it all the more important to support them, you may find that conditions and opening hours change at short notice, so it’s best check ahead and seek the latest advice if you’re making plans. Most importantly, take care and stay COVID-safe.



Meet our writers and photographers 06 Breakfast with Gerard Ivalaoa, who wrote a book on his smartphone 08 Vox pop, what would you do with a big lottery win? 10 My World, our new column about what people are reading, watching, and listening to 12


Boxing, music, markets and more 14–19


Raynon Palmer’s mission against gender-based violence 24


All the best that POM has to offer: restaurants, bars, hotels and more 32


The star lawyer sticking up for West Papua



Musician Gari Guru opens up about his music and fashion sense 36 Another single for TV trio 38



Restaurant review, Alibi Bar & Grill 42 Bread winners, the best sandwiches from around the world 43


PNG’s quest to play in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup 52 PNG’s best sports people recognised with SP Sports Awards 54


The benefits of superannuation and how it works 56 PNG chocolate to be shown off at World Expo in Dubai 58 PNG business news at a glance 60 At work with chef Molly Vaieke 62



ON A SUSHI ROLL New food venture for Port Moresby

How it has affected PNG




Papua New Guineans at play

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

A PNG elder shares her life lessons

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, Paul Chai, Hal Dente, Dusk Devi, Alicia Freile (designer), Zana English, Bronwen Gora, David James, Leanne Jorari, Godfreeman Kaptigau, Lemach Lavari, Gabriella Munoz, Carmel Pilotti, Peter Schofield (designer), Sally Woollett (proofreader) COVER: The all-girl group The Vibe, photographed by Godfreeman Kaptigau. See our story P38.

Proudly printed in Papua New Guinea by BizPrint


LOCKER ROOM CHAT Footballer Marie Kaipu


The Talent Pool




Pilotti writes the ‘Around Town’ and ‘Wisdom’ columns in each issue. She’s also a talented food and music scribe.

Arek’s photography is wide and varied. One minute he may be taking a portrait, such as the woman with face mask (P45), and next minute he may be taking a photo of sushi on a plate (P40).

Lavari is our ‘go-to’ sportswriter who writes the popular ‘Locker Room Chat’ column. The sports person he has chosen to interview in this issue is footballer Marie Kaipu (P50).





Jorari contributes regularly with thoughtful interview stories, and in this issue she investigates how the pandemic has impacted PNG (P44).



Kaptigau has been busy in this issue, taking our cover shot of the girl band The Vibe, as well as our photo feature of ‘Papua New Guineans at play’ (P26).



Our resident ‘style queen’ writes about fashion in her regular column ‘Style File,’ in which she interviews Papua New Guineans about Pacific clothing and trends (P36).

Audit tAx Advisory 6 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021




Why have you chosen the Port Moresby Nature Park cafe for breakfast? It’s a beautiful, quiet and peaceful place to start the day with fresh air. It’s a good spot for writers like me to jot down our thoughts on paper while sipping a warm cup of tea.

would run to the nearest tucker shop to charge my phone at an affordable price of one kina as I didn’t have access to electricity at home. How hard was that? When I first started writing the book it was really difficult as I had to overcome and adapt to factors such as the lack of electricity and the bad state of my phone. But as time passed, I used these negative factors as a sort of fuel to help drive my passion and hunger in writing, completing and finally publishing my book.

Do you usually eat breakfast? I consider breakfast to be one of the most important meals of the day because I like starting my day filled with energy. Tea or coffee? I’m more of a tea person. I think tea is more affordable and healthier than coffee. What have you ordered today? I’ve ordered a fish burger. It’s a really delicious and hearty meal and will keep me going for the rest of the day. You’ve written a book on your phone. Why? I wrote my book 70 Reminders of Excellence on the phone because I didn’t own a laptop at the time. I had the passion and the goal to write and publish the book, so I had to improvise with the resources I had available. My phone was the resource that I had on hand. It was convenient and affordable. I could write down my ideas for my book on a writing app whenever they struck me, and I 8 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

How many words? It has 85,000-plus words.

When I first started writing the book it was difficult as I had to adapt to factors such as the lack of electricity and the bad state of my phone.

Did you self-publish or have a publisher? The book was published with the Shane Baiva publishing company. What’s it about? The idea of the book came from the reminders that my mum used to give to me daily when I left home for school. She’d remind me on how it was important to study hard, to put God first and to help and respect friends and people in general. In the book, I share these daily reminders as a form of motivation for young people, especially students, because I believe that it is motivation that unleashes the potential that students have. The book is not just about academic excellence or studying: it entails leadership,

Gerard Ivalaoa at the Port Moresby Nature Park cafe, which he says is a peaceful place to start the day.

by writing and publishing more books. I am currently writing two books: Be the Change and Born to Conquer. They are motivational books targeted at addressing issues faced by young people. What is one book that has inspired your writing? A book that has inspired me is Rick Warren’s A Purpose Driven Life. My style of writing is mainly motivational, and it is the ultimate inspirational book for me. Any tips for young aspiring writers? My pro tip to aspiring authors would be to have a solid foundation of your work layout so that, when you start writing, the ideas and content are smooth and consistent, resulting in a professional outcome.

thinking and spiritual life as well. I’d say the core message of this book is to remind students that we need God to unleash our full potential. What do you do when you’re not writing a book on your phone? I’m a firm believer of the quote ‘great readers make great writers’,

therefore I try to indulge myself in a good book whenever I am not writing. My go-to book is the Bible. I find the scriptures very refreshing and motivating. Would you like to write more books? It is my dream to continue sharing my thoughts with others

How can people get your book and how much does it cost? My only market is Facebook. Interested buyers can place an order through my account, Gerard Ivalaoa, or my page The Weekly Review with Gerard Ivalaoa. The book is currently going for 50 kina. Port Moresby Nature Park’s cafe is open daily from 9am to 4.30pm (5.30pm on Saturdays). The cafe has a large deck in a natural setting and can be accessed without paying the entry fee into the park. See AUGUST 2021 PNG NOW 9

Vox Pop


If you could donate one million kina to any charity or cause, who would you give it to? If you won one 02 million kina in a lottery, how would you like to spend it?



38, guard at Corps Security Services, ATS, Port Moresby

I would like to donate it to children with disabilities, the poor and also support churches.

01 02

I would like to spend it on education, a house and my family.


56, ancillary staff at Coronation Primary School, Hohola, Port Moresby

I would donate it to the 01 Cheshire disAbility Services for special education for the blind, disabled and less-fortunate children. I would share some of it with my children, renovate my house and build a new one. I would also share some with my siblings and donate some to the primary school and high school back home in Milne Bay.



23, final-year journalism student, Morata, Port Moresby

I would donate it to orphans and people with disabilities.


I would spend it on education and then build my house.



44, primary school teacher, Koni, Port Moresby

I would split the one million kina in half. Half would go towards helping Jomba Primary School in Madang to help build new school infrastructure, while the other half would be given to Modilion General Hospital.


Oh, that’s a lot of money. I’d probably buy a house for myself, pay school fees to further my studies and also travel to two of my dream destinations: Cook Islands and Tahiti.




25, final-year music student, Morata, Port Moresby

I would donate it to three NGOs: Marie Stopes PNG so they can provide affordable and accessible sexual reproductive health services to local communities; Susu Mama’s PNG Inc. because I see the critical role that this organisation plays in saving the lives of mothers and babies; and the Digicel PNG Foundation because they provide conducive learning environments for students in local communities.


I would spend it by investing in my family and myself whether it’d be in business, health or education, and then help out some churches and community projects. I’d also put the kids in my community into school and ease the financial burden of their families.




What new music are you listening to? Gary Clark Jnr, Billie Eilish and Sprigga Mek. What’s the best live music act you’ve ever seen? Il Divo with the Sydney Opera Orchestra at Lamana Gold Club, Port Moresby. I organised a private event, 100 people. They literally brought the whole audience to tears of joy; it was the most beautiful performance, and we’ve done a lot of live music events, so that’s saying something. What’s the best book you’ve read recently? I just finished The Dry and Force of Nature by Jane Harper. If you like crime novels you’ll enjoy these. I’m reading Sana (Sir Michael Somare’s autobiography) and Neither Civil, Nor Servant (The Philip Yeo story) right now. Which Papua New Guinean musician or artist do you most admire? I’ve always had a soft spot for Raun Haus Jazz Quintet and Sambra Aikit. In a sea of pop and digital music they are doing something unique. They are so talented, the live music is spot on technically and it’s just beautiful music to listen to.

What is your favourite movie, ever? OK, I’ve watched Harry Potter a hundred times and read the books at least 200 times! Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Forrest Gump and 300 are movies I can watch again and again and never get bored. Have you been binge watching any TV recently? Bull. Something about justice served I enjoy. Have you discovered any new apps recently that you want to rave about? Ticket Bilum. It’s a PNG-made app that allows you to buy event tickets over your phone. I love anything PNG made, and being in the event industry this appeals to me. I’m just looking into using this so people can enter Pom City Market events using this rather than carrying cash. Sylvia Pascoe is an entrepreneur with a focus on community development. She has built a successful event company over 10 years and is an innovative leader in the SME space, with a passion to empower people and communities to financial freedom. She also sits on the editorial advisory team of PNG Now.

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Pop-up food and music a big hit The focus of any family gathering in Papua New Guinea is local cuisine cooked traditionally, which is also the essence of Abus na Kumu. Abus na Kumu, started by Richard Mark, is a food-ondemand company that delivers to order. The company’s food and products – such as barbecue stands, coconut scrapers and chopping boards – were on show recently at a pop-up event in Port Moresby. The event, at the Aramani Club, included many other food- and drink-related SMEs providing their own specialties, from Western Province seafood to sago recipes to the Amai Cocktail Bar Service, which can be hired for private events. Abus na Kumu (abus means meat

Richard Mark (centre), the owner of Abus na Kumu, with assistant cooks Jonathan Moses (left) and Jordan De La Cruz (right) stuffing bamboo stems at the pop-up event.

and kumu means green leafy vegetables in Tok Pisin) provided a bamboo cooking demonstration, making a delicious dish of stuffed bamboo stems with lamb, chicken and fresh agepa, a type of spinach only found in the Highlands. To top off the great food and family atmosphere, there was live entertainment from upcoming musician Rocky Wills and local rockers, Undecided. Music was part of the pop-up food event (left), with colourful and cheerful locals (far left).

Mark says he has had a passion for cooking since a young age, and just recently decided to commercialise his cooking skills. “I grew up with a single mum and three brothers in Goroka, so it was important for us boys to learn how to cook and be self-reliant, so naturally we developed a passion for cooking,” he tells PNG Now. For details of future pop-up events, follow the Abus na Kumu Facebook page, where you can also order food and check out the company’s range of products.

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

Jackson’s new menu launch Best known in Port Moresby for its grilled dishes, Jackson’s Bar & Restaurant at the Gateway Hotel recently launched a new menu. Gateway Food and Beverage Manager, Randy Jackson, who specialises in French cuisine, tells PNG Now that during the past few months his team at the hotel has been perfecting the menu based on customer feedback. “We have our regulars who are our best critics,” he says. “These days people are much more fluent in

these things, so we have to push the boundaries.” He says menus can be fancy, but the ‘wow’ factor must come on the plate and flavours must have two or three dimensions to cover two or more taste receptors. As if the most favourite 500gram tomahawk steak wasn’t enough, the new menu now has a whopping one-kilogram steak, cooked on a searing chargrill. Jackson says the new menu is not large, but he has tried to

cover all customer preferences in terms of variety and dining options. “If you look at the menu we have the kilo steak, a full lobster and a whole fish and of course our pizzas – groups of people can also opt to share where they might ask our staff for a large spread of dishes.” Jackson’s Bar & Restaurant is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 11pm.

New dishes at Jackson’s: lemon cheesecake (left), deep-fried tempura prawns (above) and the big steak (right).


Around Town

A yapping good cause The RSPCA’s annual Dogs’ Day Out, including a paws walk and a dog show, is coming up on October 16. Proceeds from the day are used to rescue and re-home dogs, such as the ones pictured here, who are waiting for their new families to collect them. The dogs – Kris Kardashian (left) and puppies Pipi and Clam – are with vet nurses Susan Fari (left) and Jasmine Mileng. To find out more, see

WHERE TO FIND US PNG Now has extensive distribution in cafes, hotels and other social hubs. In Port Moresby, this includes Duffy outlets, Airways Hotel, The Hilton and The Stanley (cafes), Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and CHM at Vision City. In Lae, it can be picked up at the Lae Chamber of Commerce and the Lae International Hotel. You can also find the magazine published in full and for free at


Around Town

Hot chips and cold ice-creams The Innovative Agro Food Park at Vision City Megamall has just got a whole lot better with the arrival of a Kuk chips outlet, adding to the Ilimo ice-cream trailer. Musician Mereani Masani (pictured) recently performed at the food park, which has become a favourite place for Port Moresby locals. Kuk uses high-quality potato from the Highlands and has shoestring chips, steak-cut chips and sweet potato among its offerings.

Fashion runway at plaza Fashion was taken to the people in Port Moresby recently with models on the runway at Mosin Hills Plaza. They showed off some of the latest Pacific fashion, as well as health and beauty products. The annual runway is part of PNG Fashion Week.


Celeb chef joins forces with rice giant Celebrity Chef Julz Henao and one of Papua New Guinea’s iconic food brands, Trukai Industries, have joined forces to create a range of healthy recipes with rice. The company has named the chef as a brand ambassador. “Chef Julz is passionate about healthy nutritious food and Trukai has been manufacturing high-quality and vitaminenriched rice for over 50 years,” says Trukai’s Marketing Manager Maryanne Tom. Chef Julz has worked in restaurants in Hong Kong,

Chef Julz Henao and Trukai’s Maryanne Tom at the announcement that the chef has become a brand ambassador for Trukai.

Sydney, London and Port Moresby and his catering company, The Healthy Food Company, uses the best-quality local ingredients. “This exciting collaboration with Chef Julz will bring to our consumers some fresh new vibrant recipes using PNG’s local produce with Trukai rice,” Tom says. “He’ll be creating a range of recipes to suit different

budgets and tastes, using his own signature style. He has the ability to make food fun and exciting.” Chef Julz says: “The collaboration between Trukai and I is well suited since I strongly believe our morals and values align, especially in the sense that both brands support local produce, health and sport.”

Staying on top of COVID-19 Papua New Guinea’s official website for COVID-19 information is The site updates COVID-19 case numbers in PNG, provides prevention tips and has a 24/7 hot-line, 1800 200, if you need advice. Access to the hot-line is also available via email,

Prevention tips include:








London-based Jennifer Robinson is an awardwinning human rights lawyer involved in some of the world’s most high-profile court cases. Less known is her love for PNG. She has also taken up the independence cause for West Papua. It’s a long way from George Clooney’s majestic wedding on the Grand Canal in Venice to a lively concert in Port Moresby with Black Sisters and US reggae group Big Mountain. But it’s not that far for Jennifer Robinson, a guest at both events and the go-to barrister for the world’s most famous. International media have often shown the acclaimed Australian lawyer standing beside her client, Julian Assange – the WikiLeaks founder holed up for seven years in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, to escape US extradition. The controversial journalist provoked the ire of authorities with the release of secret documents exposing the darker side of America’s military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Robinson’s involvement in his case has led to death threats, surveillance and an attempt to stop her boarding a plane at Heathrow Airport. Her other high-profile clients include Aquaman actress Amber Heard in a $US50 million libel case brought by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, star of Pirates of the Caribbean. Broader-scale cases have ranged from investigations into crimes against humanity in Iran to the liability of the Vatican and the Pope for child sex abuse within the Catholic church. Less publicised are Robinson’s longstanding links to Papua New Guinea. “My great grandfather was postmaster general for the British government in Samurai before the Second World War,” she says. “He was buried in Port Moresby, so I have a family connection to the place. I have loved my time in PNG. I feel at home.” 20 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

Opposite: Lawyer to the stars Jennifer Robinson says she feels ‘at home ‘ in PNG. Above: Robinson fronts a media scrum in London to speak about the Julian Assange case. Left: Independence leader Benny Wenda during his incarceration in West Papua.

Robinson, 40, says a highlight of her time in the country was an invitation to join a concert in 2016, where Big Mountain played with the Black Sisters. “The group includes the Rumwaropen sisters, who are West Papuan, and the daughters of Agus, from the Black Brothers,” she says. “They’re continuing their father’s legacy – singing about the West Papuan struggle and cultural identity. I loved it and I loved seeing the solidarity in the PNG audience.”

On the same issue, Robinson has travelled to PNG twice at the invitation of Powes Parkop, Governor of the National Capital District. “I was invited to speak to Parliament about West Papua with Governor Parkop. In 2013, I attended the historic raising of the Morning Star in Port Moresby,” she says. “It was the first time the West Papuan flag had flown over a government building in PNG. It was a very emotional moment for the community.” AUGUST 2021 PNG NOW 21


Jennifer Robinson clients include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Hollywood actress Amber Heard and West Papua independence fighter Benny Wenda.


Commitment to West Papua’s fight for independence dates back to Robinson’s student days. “I studied a semester in Jogjakarta and then went to West Papua in 2002 as a volunteer with ELSHAM, a human rights NGO,” she says. “Those next few months changed my life forever.” Aged only 21, Robinson investigated claims of brutality and torture of indigenous West Papuans. “The oppression of Indonesian occupation is something I will never forget,” she says. Robinson visited transmigration areas and stayed in Jayapura, where she became involved in the trial of Benny Wenda, a West Papuan independence leader. “He was a political prisoner who was being persecuted for his leadership of the movement for self-determination,” says Robinson. “He had no chance of a fair trial.” Robinson was shadowed by Indonesian intelligence, threatened with expulsion and caught malaria. She also took the risk of smuggling out documents detailing the police crackdown on independence leaders. “I helped Benny and his family escape the country for asylum in the United Kingdom and we have worked together ever since.” At the time, Wenda predicted that one day Robinson would “become a big lawyer”. He was right. In 2018 she appeared in the International Court of Justice to argue for the legal principles to protect West Papua. Since then, PNG and more than 80 other countries have increased calls on Indonesia to grant UN access to the province. Robinson credits her time in West Papua as the “catalyst for the opportunities” that have led to her outstanding career. “The experience gave me a new perspective, a passion for human rights and continues to motivate my work.” Unlike many of her private-schooled peers in the British legal world, Robinson came from a small town in rural New South Wales and attended the local high school. “My path from Berry to London is a very unlikely one and is the product of quality public education in Australia,” she says. “This later enabled me to have a very privileged educational opportunity with a Rhodes Scholarship that took me to Oxford University, which in turn gave me my start in the law in London.” (Reportedly, she’s the first elite Rhodes Scholar at Oxford to list surf lifesaving as her sport.)

Jennifer Robinson on … Her greatest achievement I think my greatest achievement is the close and supportive relationship I have with my brothers and sisters, which enriches my life in ways that I do not know how to convey. Best day of her career The best day was probably standing up before the International Court of Justice to address them on what the free will of the people means in international law, because of its significance for West Papua and the future of the independence movement. Also, the day the court handed down a decision which confirmed those principles. Worst day of her career It’s hard to choose just one. Whether it was the day Julian Assange was arrested and visiting him in a high-security prison. Or hearing the latest reports of protestors being arrested and shot in Indonesia. Or being trolled and abused for representing Amber Heard speaking out about her allegations of domestic violence. Or working 20-hour days to meet court deadlines. There are many difficult days doing this work, but the wins are so rewarding that they do not stop me from moving forward.

Robinson advocates “proper investment in public education to ensure kids that come from backgrounds like mine have access to opportunities in any sphere they choose”. She recently set up a mentoring program to show these young people “some of the pathways to success” and to “reassure them that they have all they need for a great education at their fingertips”. Robinson largely credits her own success to her family. “My father is a horse trainer, and I watched him get up before dawn every day and work incredibly hard. That is where I learnt about the importance of hard work and where I get my work ethic,” she says. “My mum was a teacher who emphasised the importance of education, which is where the dedication to my studies came from. I also think that growing up in a rural area where there are fewer opportunities taught me to make the most of every opportunity in life. “I hope that my story inspires kids from all backgrounds in PNG to strive to achieve their goals.”

Visits to PNG I have loved my time in PNG. I feel at home. My great grandfather worked in Samurai, and was buried in Port Moresby, so I have a family connection to the place. I love being around Papuans and Melanesian culture. I have travelled to PNG at the invitation of Governor Parkop to speak in PNG’s parliament. I was very moved by the solidarity that I saw from so many people in PNG for the West Papuan cause. I look forward to coming back. The fruit that best describes her I was asked in an interview to name a food that best reflected me. I chose the rambutan because it was my favourite fruit in Indonesia. But it’s also an interesting fruit in that its physical appearance tells you nothing about what it is actually like. It has a very hard and spiky surface but is soft and sweet on the inside. Advice to a young person in PNG aspiring to an international career I hope that my story inspires kids from all backgrounds in PNG to strive to achieve their goals.

She constantly stands up for the rights of people; she’s really a courageous woman. BENNY WENDA, WEST PAPUA INDEPENDENCE LEADER, SPEAKING ABOUT JENNIFER ROBINSON IN US ELLE MAGAZINE, JANUARY 2020





When news spread of Jenelyn Kennedy dying last year, allegedly at the hands of her partner, people around Papua New Guinea and the region were shocked at the violence. Marches were organised, the nation wore black to mourn the loss of such a young life and justice was demanded. The days turned into months and the dust settled on the tragedy. To many, hers and similar stories become a statistic. But to a few, what happened to Kennedy, and what is happening to women who face gender-based violence on a daily basis, is not easily forgotten. One such person is Raynon Palmer, who has dedicated his life to advocating against gender-based violence and promoting equality for all. It’s his bread and butter, the reason he wakes up in the morning. Born in the Solomon Islands and raised in Papua New Guinea’s Central Province by parents who are both teachers, Palmer is a project officer for Equal Playing Field; a Papua New Guinean nongovernmental organisation that delivers a whole-ofcommunity approach to violence prevention. He oversees the delivery of the Equal Playing Field for Schools program, which includes Respectful Relationship education aimed at children between

It is the best feeling teaching children about their rights and how a healthy relationship should look. 24 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

the ages of 12 and 15, teaching them various topics like ‘knowing your boundaries’ and ‘defining consent’. “It’s a passion of mine to be part of an organisation and program that gives back to communities,” Palmer says. “We work with children from different backgrounds. We have kids who come from broken homes as well as kids who come from privileged families. “It is the best feeling teaching children about their rights and how a healthy relationship should look; and having them come up to me after the session and tell me that they learnt so

Left and above: Raynon Palmer, a field officer for Equal Playing Field who has dedicated his life to promoting equality for all.

much or that they enjoyed it. It reminds me why I do this.” Rather than working in an office, Palmer is on the front line. He’s often in the school yard with the kids working through his sessions, or even playing rugby tag under the often-unbearable Port Moresby sun. And it doesn’t end when the kids are on school holidays. During this time, he’s meeting the teachers and forming new relationships at new schools to expand the program. Palmer and his team have carried out the program at schools in some of the most high-risk areas in Port Moresby where children live in surrounding settlements. It’s a sacrifice that he’s willing to make for no reward other than to impart knowledge to children who otherwise may not know that they matter. “I wish we could go to more schools and teach more students, because I know we can effect positive change to millions more,” Palmer says.

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PNG Now photographer Godfreeman Kaptigau has taken this issue’s photo essay of Papua New Guineans doing the things they enjoy, from rugby to marbles to yoga.


SWIMMING Abigail, 12, swims regularly at the Taurama Aquatic Centre. She started swimming in 2018 when she joined the Boroko Amateur Swimming Club, with the encouragement of her family. LIFTING Elite power lifter Anderson Magela represented PNG in the Pacific Games in 2015 and has won competitions nationally and internationally. The strongman holds the PNG record for the bench press and is snapped here doing a workout at his home gym.



STREET RUGBY The courts are rough, and the footwear is flimsy, but there’s no holding back these enthusiastic players who typify PNG’s passion for the game. They throw the ball around daily but wish there were lights so they could play at night. FISHING Raylene fishes regularly near Koki Fish Markets. She either takes her catch home for dinner or sells her fish at the market to make a few kina. Either way, it’s a relaxing pastime.


MARBLES Eight-year-old Mary is absorbed in a game of marbles. Asked what she likes about the game that is played by children all over the world, she simply said “it’s fun”. KICKBOXING Kaymala Kome trains five days a week. He started in the sport five years ago when he joined Gimabo Boxing Club at 9 Mile, and he hopes to one day be like Stanley Nandex or Jonathan Tuhu, who have risen to the top ranks in kickboxing.



SNOOKER Shannon has been sinking snooker balls for about 15 years. She’s a dedicated pool player, seen at the Ben Moide Soldier’s Bar in Hohola with friends on weekends. YOGA Gilchris is a yoga instructor at the Southside Fitness Centre. He says yoga keeps him flexible and light, and helps him focus his mind. “It keeps my mind at peace,” he says. When he’s not on a yoga mat you may see him performing with the PNG Circus.

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☛ Edge by the Sea, marina outlook, alfresco, at Harbour City, ☛ 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 must be signed in by a member, ☛ Mojo Social, a hip spot for after-work drinks any night of the week, facebook. com/mojosocialeatdrink.


☛ 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, pg. The Sanctuary Hotel also does a mean burger,


The rib eye seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper at Bacchus Restaurant at Airways Hotel.


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

Medium-rare rib eye at Rapala Restaurant at Crown Hotel.



A scotch fillet with bone (pictured) called the Rib Cowboy and smoked in a wood oven, at Silver Leaf at the Stanley Hotel.


The 1kg tomahawk with gravy and crispy garlic flakes at Alibi Bar & Grill. (See our review on Page 42).


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


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


☛ The new Daikoku at Harbourside has a sizzling-hot teppanyaki menu, tel. 7111 0425.


☛ C t L ( m T ( I S M


☛ 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, facebook. com/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.


☛ Duffy (pictured), three locations in POM, excellent coffee, bakery items,

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

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,


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).

OUT OF TOWN STAY & EAT ☛ Port Moresby: On the outskirts of the city, along the Sogeri Road, the Kokoda Trail Motel has rooms and cottages perfect for a weekend break. Tours include picnics at waterfalls, and there are bikes to use, Tel. 323 6724.

☛ Port Moresby: Nestled in the forests of the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA), Kuriva Teak Plantation is a wonderful picnic park, about 45 minutes out of town along the Hiritano Highway.

☛ Lae: The Lae International Hotel has two restaurants, a bar, swimming pool and gym, ☛ 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: Beside the sea, Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort has an open-air haus win style restaurant (pictured), volcano views and a big list of activities, including diving,

Guided tours through the plantation are available and there are plans to establish trekking paths. The vast property is ideal for cycling, kayaking, camping and fitness boot camps for sporting teams or team bonding camps for corporates. The recreational area can cater for large outdoor events such as birthdays and weddings. The river may be the best part of the place; refreshing crystalclear water in deep sections running into rapids over smooth stones. Fees are from three kina for individuals, 20 kina for sedans and 30 kina for station wagons and four wheel drives. Camping is 50 kina per head and bungalows 150 kina a night.

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

See the Kuriva Teak Plantation Recreational Park Facebook page for more information.


☛ For traditional localstyle PNG cuisine try the Mumu restaurant (pictured) at the Hilton Hotel,, and the Sanctuary Hotel and Spa where Chef Donald David is cooking up a storm with his aigir, thesanctuary

There are five hauswin bungalows, barbecue facilities, a mumu pit and stone wall and steps to the river.

☛ 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,

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


Life Lessons



Lady Aivu Tauvasa, from Lalaura in Marshall Lagoon, Central Province, was born in 1950. She grew up in Kaugere, Port Moresby, with her maternal aunt, Lady Unuba Guise, and uncle, Sir John Guise, from the age of five. For her high school education, she was sent across the country to Catholic boarding schools in Oro, Milne Bay and Morobe provinces. In 1973, she completed a Bachelor of Arts and in 1976 she won a Commonwealth scholarship to do a Diploma in Primary Education at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Three years later, she obtained a Masters in Business Administration in aviation management from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Miami, Florida. Lady Tauvasa took up her first job as teaching fellow in English in the literature department at the University of Papua New Guinea. Her next job was as a sales representative at Air Niugini, where she met her late husband, Sir Joseph Tauvasa. She later became the airline’s marketing and administration manager, and then planning and research manager. She was forced to move on from Air Niugini when the National Executive Council disallowed spouses to work together for the airline. Along with eight other women, Lady Tauvasa challenged this decision in court and won, however she decided to move to Trans Australia Airlines (now Qantas) and spent two years as regional sales manager to PNG and the Solomon Islands. In the mid to late 1990s, she was managing director of the PNG Investment Promotion Authority, then trade commissioner of the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission in Sydney, Australia. She was later permanent representative to the Delegation of the Pacific Islands Forum to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland. She is now with Abt Associates as senior trade and business advisor and is also on the board of Air Niugini. 34 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

First memory The level of discipline my uncle, Sir John Guise, would demand – from how to behave at the dinner table to feeding goats. Advice you would give to your teenage self Show the respect and care that you would want other people to give you. In this day and age, this is very important. Plus, it is okay to ask questions if you don’t know the answers or if you want to learn and grow as a person. In fact, asking questions, admitting to being wrong and saying sorry are true signs of strength and character. Role models My father and mother were my role models – they were all about integrity, faith, hard work, generosity and kindness. Both of them made sure all of their children knew about and appreciated

Asking questions, admitting to being wrong, or saying sorry are true signs of strength and character. why they were strict and quality conscious (from housework to homework to going to church). My father, particularly, taught us patience and sibling love. Advice Have faith in yourself. Trust in your better judgements. Importantly too, use other people’s positive influence to grow to make good use of your individual self. Sometimes it can also be about humility in the way you lead your life. Reading An important lesson for me over the years has been reading, reading and more reading.

Reading is very good for knowledge building and your intellect. What’s important Knowing the difference between right and wrong, or good and bad. I have always used this in my personal and professional life and, of course, maintaining my Christian principles. Change If you ask me if there is one thing I could change now, I think the answer would be promoting the virtues about what care and respect for people and property can bring about in terms of the quality of life of our people.






Hailing from Tubusereia, 20-yearold Papua New Guinean Gari Guru is the hot new RnB/alternative pop sound on the streets of Sydney in Australia. “I started writing songs when I was in fifth grade, but at the time I didn’t know song writing was a job or that anyone could just be an artist,” he says. “I assumed musicians and painters came out of the womb glowing, and everyone knew that they were special and that’s just the way it was. One day I started taking it really seriously and slowly people have realised that.” Guru has just released his latest song, All My Friends, which he wrote two years ago at the end of high school. “I laid down the guitar elements for it back then, but never got

around to recording the lyrics and melody. It was supposed to be a reflective song but the experience I wrote about was fresh at that time, so I waited. I felt the recording would work better in the future because of lived experience and that turned out to be true. “I edited the lyrics, changed the style and (I think) it works better than what I started with.” Are you aware of the Pacific fashion industry? Do you wear Pacific designs? I am aware of the Pacific fashion industry, but not as well as I should be. The designers I admire share a common trait in terms of the characteristics of their brand, and it’s colour and strong material. Colour, or lack of colour, for me has to

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be used intentionally without compromising function. How would you describe your personal style? I collect pieces more than I do outfits, so I don’t choose by designer, I do have a lot of pieces just from friends and family that I wear all the time. Do you dress differently when you are in performance mode? I like to carry my style with me on and off stage. I think presence is important, but there is a time and place for different

fits. I think style and fashion say something, so I dress according to what I’m trying to say at the time. Has the pandemic slowed you down or created a sense of urgency? The pandemic completely stopped the direction I was travelling at the time, and I am thankful because it’s exactly what I needed. I got caught up in the rush of life and wasn’t moving the way I would have liked. In order for my life to start again I had to choose when and

how, and then I got to control the speed at which it was moving. So I would say I’m coming out of the pandemic a lot better than when I went in. What motto do you live by? ‘Cry now, party later or you party now and cry later.’ It’s a saying from my dad. It’s not really a morbid statement about how life will always require maintenance or that it’s a constant struggle. I interpret it as work is a constant in life and it doesn’t take away from the party ... but if it’s a constant you may as well do something that fulfills you. You’re not stronger if you cry less, you just have to make sure those tears count. To listen to Gari Guru’s new song, view the video at y8Z2i1YYBAY.





When the short-lived EMTV comedy program Funny Tasol aired in 2016, in-house band The Vibe was formed to perform between comedy segments, much like The Roots band on popular US program The Late Night Show. At that time, group members Tinzey Mau, Theresa Miria and Billie-Jean Kubul were also producers and hosts at the TV station. “We would come up with intros and outros, which would play before and after the commercial breaks. We would collectively brainstorm and come up with songs,” Miria says. Mau adds: “We were New Noize on the show but when the show ended, our band manager, Nicole Jeune, said, ‘Why don’t we take this outside and see where it goes?’ That’s when The Vibe was born.”

By then, Mau and Miria were household names, first introduced to Papua New Guinean audiences as contestants on the popular music competition Vocal Fusion. Both singers made it to the final rounds and made a mark on the PNG music scene. Lesser known Kubul, on the other hand, had her music roots in her church choir. When the comedy program wrapped up, the three women wasted no time stepping into the studio and starting work on their first single, all while continuing their television careers. It wasn’t long before the group started gaining traction, being invited to perform at gigs across the country and in Australia.

The Vibe (from left) Billie-Jean Kubul, Tinzey Mau and Theresa Miria.


While female musicians and singers aren’t unusual, all-female musical groups are a rarity in the PNG music industry. This helped skyrocket the group’s popularity. Taking advantage of its newfound popularity, the group released their debut single, Change, in September 2017, coinciding with the country’s 42nd independence anniversary. The song was treated to a heavy rotation on radio stations across the country due to its positive message of unity. The group followed this up with bigger gigs and collaborated with some of their contemporaries, including Sprigga Mek and EstaPacific. They took a hiatus in 2019–2020 to focus on their personal lives. Mau took time off to study, became engaged to her long-time partner, had a baby and moved away from Port Moresby. Miria had a baby, while also looking after her siblings. Kubul resigned from EMTV and started working at the Next of Kin production house. Although their lives changed significantly, their love for music remained. Miria and Kubul continued to perform around Port Moresby, often with Miria’s brother standing in for Mau.

All-female musical groups are a rarity in the PNG music industry. But late last year, the trio announced they were back from their break and ready to hit the studio with new songs in 2021. True to their word, The Vibe released a second single and accompanying music video, Family, in June. The music video, filmed by Six8eleven, is the group’s first official video. “We are surrounded by our family, all the time, they’re always so supportive so we wanted to appreciate them and make this song for them,” says Kubul. The Vibe is hard at work on another single, which is expected to feature popular artists and be released later this year. An EP is also in the works.

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Restaurants are a rare business venture for Papua New Guineans, and one that specialises in a niche Asian food is even more uncommon. This hasn’t stopped young local chef De’Bono Paraka from daring to dream. With Sushi Fix newly opened at the Wellness Lodge in Boroko, De’Bono is confident of success despite hospitality businesses being under stress due to COVID-19. “During the pandemic is when the inspiration to push the sushi came about. This is a light food that doesn’t require much preparation and is stored easily,” De’Bono tells PNG Now. “Existing businesses were built to run pre-pandemic and during this time, when people are rethinking their operations, I’m building a space that is more flexible and dynamic,” he says. As De’Bono’s focus has always been promoting healthy food, the idea with Sushi Fix is to encourage a healthy fast-food culture in PNG. “This is a healthy alternative to the usual and it’s a great light choice for workers who don’t want to feel tired and heavy after lunch,” he says. The menu has a Western influence, with affordable and top-quality options packed with all the flavours of traditional Japanese sushi, and a few surprises hidden in between. The chicken and avocado rolls are a favourite, garnished with 40 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

The idea is to encourage a healthy fast-food culture in PNG. DE’BONO PARAKA

toasted sesame seeds, and a variation called the Pini Roll, named after champion PNG swimmer Ryan Pini, includes his personal added preference of cream cheese. “The balance of flavours in sushi is very delicate and it gets quite technical, but we’re still learning and improving,” De’Bono says. De’Bono manages an all-local

team of three chefs and three administration staff. Starting from humble beginnings only four months ago, De’Bono was initially assisted by Emstret Holdings, which provided him with a point of sale at its SME resource centre. Opening at the Wellness Lodge in June was unexpected, however. He says it came as a timely


Opposite: De’Bono Paraka at his Su�hi Fix restaurant. Above: A crunchy California crabmeat maki roll. Right: Crumbed chicken and avocado in a ‘roll’.

opportunity to fully test the market and get used to running operations. The ambitious chef is determined to go even further with his sushi bar dream and hopes to one day own his own space with an automated restaurant where customers receive their meals via a ‘sushi train’ (conveyor belt) – a hit in

sushi bars around the world and certainly a vision that will provide a unique dining experience for Papua New Guineans. Sushi Fix is at the Wellness Lodge at Boroko, open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm. Vegan aubergine and avocado sushi rolls are 12 kina for six, chicken 15 kina, salmon 16 kina and crab 17 kina. See the Sushi Fix Facebook page or call 7419 7202.

Master these terms and you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert in Japanese cuisine. SUSHI Seafood, 01 vegetables or meat with rice. SASHIMI Thinly sliced 02 raw fish, usually tuna or salmon, served without rice. It can be rilled (maki) in a seaweed sheet (nori) or served on the rice (nigiri). WASABI A very spicy 03 green paste served with sushi and sashimi. Beware! FUTOMAKI Futo means 04 ‘thick or fat’ and is the biggest sushi roll, sometimes with several fillings. It’s the one most commonly seen at restaurants and takeaway shops. HOSOMAKI Small or 05 shortened sushi rolls with one filling. NIGIRI Thin slice of 06 a seafood on a layer of rice. RAMEN A noodle 07 soup dish. TEMPURA Battered 08 and deep fried seafood and vegetables. YAKITORI Grilled 09 chicken, often served on skewers.





I wandered into Alibi Bar & Grill midweek and was immediately greeted by friendly staff and the classic smell of steak on a grill. Alibi is an unusual but timely choice for Port Moresby, planted in the magnificent Harbourside precinct. It has been dubbed as the steak house of Port Moresby for serving some of the most divine but simple steaks, local and imported. This was my second time here, and on this visit I ordered rib on the bone, also known a tomahawk, as well as baby back ribs. The restaurant has its steaks on display, so you can choose your steak and size from the counter. The 500-gram tomahawk, medium rare, was served with a side of chips and mixed vegetables. It was well seasoned, accompanied by Alibi’s gravy and crispy garlic flakes – a perfect trio.



TEL. 7320 7777 SOCIAL Alibipng OPEN Sunday to Thursday 11am to 10pm; Friday and Saturday 11am until late. STYLE Steak house. GO TO DISH Tomahawk steak (500g and 1kg) priced at 120 kina and 220 kina.

The baby back ribs followed. They were juicy and tender, and the marinade was the perfect romance of spicy and sweet. A new item on the dessert menu is the classic chocolate pudding,

so in the name of research I ordered that as well. The pudding had a nice cocoa aroma with a buttery and smooth texture. The aftertaste had me wanting more. Alibi has a wide variety of dishes, including appetisers such as oysters (natural and Kilpatrick), and old-fashioned prawn cocktails. Apart from the steaks, the main menu has burgers, seafood and pasta. Platters for two are also available. There’s a surf and turf, a meat lovers and a fisherman’s basket to choose from.




Here are six world-famous sandwiches that you can make at home. But look away if you’re counting your calories.



This is a grilled delicatessen classic from New York on rye bread loaded up with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian-style dressing. To make the dressing (for four), whisk half a cup of mayonnaise, 3tbsp tomato sauce, 2Tbsp horseradish, 2Tsp Worcestershire sauce, pinch of sugar and paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Thousand Island dressing can be used as a substitute. Serve with a dill pickle on the side.



Another New York masterpiece is the club sandwich, made from three pieces of bread (usually toasted) that are buttered on each side. ‘Club’ stands for ‘chicken and lettuce under bacon’. A hard-boiled egg, tomato and mayonnaise can also be added to this stack of goodness, while turkey can be substituted for chicken. Cut into triangles and hold each sandwich together with a wooden skewer or cocktail sticks.



A banh mi is a VietnameseFrench creation from the streets of Saigon that consists of a baguette (but any crispy roll will do), carrot, cucumber, chilli, mayonnaise and coriander. These base ingredients are supplemented by a protein such as roast pork, shredded chicken, smashed meatballs or ham. A dollop of Hoisin sauce adds interest.



This is a peculiar American favourite in white bread. The ‘jelly’ is actually jam, so spread your favourite jam on the bread along with a generous amount of peanut butter. One survey claims that the average American eats 1500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before graduating from high school!



Equally peculiar, this is an English working-class sandwich filled with hot chips. Butter the bread and whack in some chips from your favourite burger shop, or straight out of your oven. The esteemed newspaper The Guardian says the bread must be white, while the chips must be salted and not too thin like French fries, or too thick like potato wedges. To add some interest, sprinkle with vinegar, or bathe with tomato sauce, gravy or mayo.


06 MONSIEUR It’s French and it’s good. It’s simply a hot ham and cheese toasted sandwich with Dijon mustard and bechamel sauce. Bechamel sauce (for four) is made by slowly combining and warming 2Tbsp butter, 2Tbsp flour, 1.5 cups of milk, a quarter-cup of grated Parmesan cheese, a quarter-cup of grated Gruyere cheese and a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper. Layer the mustard, sauce, ham and some sliced Gruyere cheese, then grill. Should be eaten crisp (croque means ‘crisp’). Gruyere is preferred, but you can substitute any cheese that melts well. AUGUST 2021 PNG NOW 43



With more than 181 million cases and almost four million deaths globally, COVID-19 is one of the worst infectious disease outbreaks in history. This is how it has affected Papua New Guinea and some other countries, and how they have reacted.

Papua New Guinea Total cases: 17,079 Deaths: 173

At the time of writing, authorities in Papua New Guinea were becoming increasingly concerned about the Delta variant of COVID-19. The Government was considering banning international flights in and out of the country in response to the rapid spread of the variant in Australia and Fiji. Travellers arriving from overseas were also facing 21 days in quarantine at an approved facility. The Delta variant was first detected in India last October and is becoming the dominant variant worldwide. Police Commissioner and Controller of National Pandemic Response, David Manning, has said: “If necessary, we will consider closing our borders and banning all flights into and out of the country. We are aware that COVID-19 has affected our economy since the first case was recorded more than a year ago, but we would rather be proactive than reactive.” People are still testing positive for the virus, with over 180 new cases reported per week, and authorities are urging more testing and vaccination. But people are hesitant. Authorities blame the misinformation on social media. “Papua New Guinea has a real risk due to the high vaccine hesitancy, which exposes the majority of our people to the virus and leaves us without a lot of options,” Manning says. He says vaccination will offer protection from the highly contagious variant, but people must continue to wear face masks, maintain social 44 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

distancing, use hand sanitisers or wash hands regularly, and avoid crowds. “Citizens must also be responsible during this period. If they have not been vaccinated, then they must do so. This is important if we as a country are going to defeat the pandemic.” The dangers are still very real, with less than 1% of the country’s population having the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine given to PNG by Australia. Even though PNG launched a ‘sleeves up’ campaign to get people to vaccinate, many remain sceptical. Some authorities have looked for creative approaches by going into villages near Port Moresby to get people vaccinated. Motu-Koita villages were given access to the vaccine through a mobile vaccination program using a big, bright yellow bus with the help of Steamships, the World Health Organisation and New Zealand government. The program started early in June at Pari Village, where the Motu-Koita Assembly Chairman and Deputy Governor of Port Moresby, Dadi Toka, told people to get protected and prevent deaths in the village. “We need to get creative,” Toka told Radio Australia. “The bus allows us to take the vaccine to the community. It also gives the opportunity for everyone in the village to come out and see what’s going on, see how easy it is, and that it’s not as scary as the social media that’s been going around.” Prime Minister James Marape has had his second shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine to show the country that it is safe to get vaccinated, but it may take more awareness campaigns to get people to roll their sleeves up.


Health Australia


Total cases: 30,562 Deaths: 910

Total cases 62,563: Deaths: 36

Australia has controlled COVID-19 better than most, largely attributed to aggressive restrictions and excellent contact tracing. The country is also faring well economically, indicators surpassing pre-pandemic levels after around $500 billion in government subsidies helped keep industry afloat. Lockdowns, social distancing, restrictions and mask-wearing were first imposed on March 18, 2020, and slowly lifted by mid-year. Since then, sporadic outbreaks have continued, in many cases linked to cases in hotel quarantine. All overseas travel, except to New Zealand, remains on hold. Domestic travel has resumed, but is often hampered by snap border closures, especially those of Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, forcing travellers into two-week quarantines and preventing people joining seriously ill loved ones. At the time of writing, Melbourne, in Victoria, remains worst hit of all capitals following several severe outbreaks blamed largely on inadequate hotel quarantine security. Australia’s vaccination rollout has been stepped up since coming under fire for being too slow.

US Total cases: 33,317,808 Deaths: 599,089

COVID-19 ran rampant in the US after being detected in Washington in January 2020. By mid-March, the national health department was warning people to avoid large gatherings and the virus was officially recorded in all 50 states. By March 26, the US led the world in COVID-19 cases with 82,000 and more than 1000 deaths. The government announced $US2 trillion in stimulus the day after. Densely populated New York became the early epicentre of the disease, later surpassed by Florida. In January this year, COVID-19 flared in Los Angeles, with three times more cases reported daily than in any other part of the US. In a marked turnaround, California now has one of the country’s lowest virus rates – and in direct contrast to its initial COVID-19 response the vaccination rollout in the US has been swift, with the majority of citizens now vaccinated.


Singapore aggressively and quickly enforced restrictions when the virus arrived in January 2020. Within days of the first recorded death from the virus in March 2020 the government imposed a ‘circuit breaker’ – a month-long lockdown during which workplaces with the exception of essential services were closed, schools moved to home learning and reusable masks were distributed to households. Although the city is still battling small outbreaks, Singapore has since joined the ranks of those regions to have managed COVID-19 well and kept case numbers low. Travel has long been restricted, officials stating in June that “open and free” air travel within Asia in the short term is unlikely due to regional outbreaks. For now, Singaporeans remain mostly working from home and meeting virtually. Mask-wearing is obligatory. Vaccinations are on track with a target of 75% or more of the population vaccinated by October.

China Total cases: 118,503 Deaths: 5490

January 11, 2020 was the day of China’s first COVID-19 death, a 61-year-old man who had visited the live animal market in Wuhan, the city now renowned for being the epicentre of the worldwide outbreak. Later that month, some of the strictest containment measures the world has seen were imposed on Wuhan, shutting it down completely. By March 18 last year, no new local infections were reported, raising hopes of containment. These were dashed by a serious outbreak in Beijing in June that was met with a quick and forceful response involving social restrictions, travel bans, compulsory maskwearing and disinfection. China’s reported infection rate is around 0.006%, well below the world level of 0.31%. By June this year, one billion doses of domestically produced vaccine had been administered across the country.

Japan Total cases: 798,159 Deaths: 14,740

At the time of writing, Olympic country Japan is one of the worst-affected places in the world. Most recently a fourth wave driven by a deadlier and more contagious strain hit Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo the worst. Japan’s COVID-19 alarm first rang in early February 2020, when the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, neighbouring Tokyo, carrying positive cases. A week after the country’s first recorded case on March 17, 2020, Japan postponed the 2020 Summer Olympics due to start July 24 in Tokyo. By April, a state of emergency had been declared. Infection rates initially fell throughout May despite no mandatory lockdowns. Authorities were simply requesting, instead of ordering, people to avoid going out and attending workplaces. Severe outbreaks have continued, especially in Tokyo.

Taiwan Total cases: 14,804 Deaths: 648

Villages have been given access to the vaccine through a mobile vaccination program using a big, bright yellow bus.

Despite close proximity to mainland China, Taiwan has stood out for its good management of the pandemic. It has one of the lowest per capita COVID-19 rates in the world and the population has largely been able to continue life as normal. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a combination of case-based and populationbased policies, along with widespread adherence, led largely to Taiwan’s success in containing the pandemic. The study, conducted by health authorities in Taiwan and the US, defined case-based measures as detection of infected people through testing, contact tracing, enforcing the isolation of positive cases and 14-day quarantining of close contacts. Populationbased measures considered in the study were face mask policies, personal hygiene and social distancing. Vaccinations have been taking place across Taiwan since March. Figures quoted in this report were current on June 30. For the most recent statistics, see the World Health Organisation COVID-19 dashboard,






There has been some reluctance in Papua New Guinea for people to get a COVID-19 vaccination, however a chorus of leaders from the Prime Minister down has urged people to roll up their sleeves. The government started a nationwide roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine on May 5, and many corporates have supported the free program, including Steamships. Getting vaccinated is voluntary, but Steamships has highly recommended to its workforce to get the jab. The company’s General Manager for Corporate Affairs, David Toua, who is also chairman of the NDC Provincial Health Authority, says there is nothing more important to PNG right now than to get the COVID vaccination. “It has been proven around the world that when the vaccine is

introduced into the population the incidence of COVID cases and COVID-related deaths reduces dramatically,” he says. The Managing Director of Steamships, Rupert Bray, recently told employees that the chances of falling seriously ill with COVID-19 are much higher among people who do not get vaccinated. He said it is likely that certain jobs will require a vaccine passport at some stage. “For example, entry to our customers’ sites may well require proof of vaccination, and for anyone travelling internationally it is almost certain that a vaccine passport will be required (just as you need a Yellow Book to show you have the Yellow Fever, Polio, and Jap B Encephalitis jabs to visit certain countries).”



Marie Kaipu is Papua New Guinea’s football golden girl. The 24-year-old from Gulf Province is a prolific goal scorer at the national and international level of her sport. Kaipu was the Golden Boot Award recipient in 2020 in the PNG Women’s National Soccer League’s (WNSL) Southern Conference. She scored 29 goals in 10 games, playing for the Hekari United Football Club. Kaipu is part of an 80-player squad preparing for the 2022 Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Women’s Nations Cup. This tournament is a qualifier for the 2023 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup (see story on Page 52).

Marie Kaipu on … The teams I play for are the FC Wantoks in the local Public Servants Soccer Association’s (PSSA) competition in Port Moresby and Hekari United FC in the WNSL. I started playing soccer in 2007 for Souths United. The club changed its name to FC Wantoks in 2009. I made my debut in the WNSL in 2012 and I am the current team captain. My international tournaments have included the 2014 OFC U20 Women’s Championships in New Zealand, the 2015 South Pacific Games in Port Moresby, the 2016 FIFA U20 World Cup in Port

FOR THE RECORD Name: Marie Kaipu Age: 24 Positions: Striker or midfielder Local teams: FC Wantoks, Hekari United FC


Moresby, the 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup in New Caledonia and the 2019 South Pacific Games Apia. My soccer idol is PNG champion footballer and national team captain, David Muta. I admire the way he plays because he is skilful and leads his team well. I try to imitate his style. The people who have helped me achieve so much in football include the team manager of Hekari United FC, Vonnie Kapinato. She has provided her time and resources to help me become who I am today, and I am thankful to her for that. Also my parents have been my number one fans since day one and their support has allowed me to thrive in football. Before a big game I drink a lot of water and have a good rest. Thinking positively about my role also helps me prepare. When I’m not training or playing I like coaching children in my community to learn basic football skills. Every Saturday I help out at the Hekari School of Excellence Program where we teach schoolaged children the skills. My message to girls who want to play top-level football is to believe in yourself but be disciplined to do the little things right. That has been a key to my success. My favourite food is fried fish and sago, either pan-baked or roasted.

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The PNG Football Association (PNGFA) is confident that the national women’s team, the Lakatois, will qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia. The Lakatois will have to win two tournaments to qualify, which would be the first time for the team. The team has an unbeaten winning streak in the Pacific Games, finishing first in the last five tournaments (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019). PNG has also finished second in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Women’s Nations Cup three times (2007, 2010 and 2014), losing to Fiji in the last tournament in 2018. The Lakatois can be considered number one in the Pacific and the second-best team in the OFC, after New Zealand. PNG will have to finish first in the 2022 OFC Women’s Nations Cup and then proceed to the Inter-confederation play-offs in February 2023, against nine teams from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The Lakatois will have to finish first in their pool to secure one of the three available World Cup spots. As host for the 2023 World Cup, New Zealand has direct entry and therefore will not play in the 2022 OFC Women’s Nations Cup, giving PNG a huge opportunity to secure first place and proceed to the play-offs. 52 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

We need to continue thinking positively and make the players believe. PIUS LETENGE

“We are very confident, but other Pacific countries and their football federations have increased funding into their football development pathway, and they also want to qualify just like us,” says PNGFA General Secretary, Pius Letenge. The PNGFA announced a squad of 80 players in May that will be based in two regional camps. The northern camp is in Lae and the other in Port Moresby. Both camps will have three national coaches. Letenge says the PNGFA is, at this stage, mobilising training equipment and other needed resources to prepare the squad. “The PNGFA will be making a proposal to the executive board

to bring in an international coach,” he says. “We have a registered list of coaches that have expressed their interests from as far as Brazil, Europe, the US, Asia and our neighbours Australia and New Zealand.” “Looking at the last Women’s National Soccer League (WNSL), we have very good players who could make a great team for us,” Letenge says. “If we can combine that team with the experience of an international coach, we have a great chance. “We need to continue thinking positively and make the players believe in their self, that they can do this, we can do this …”

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Rugby league player Justin Olam and tennis player Abigail Tere-Apisah have been named as PNG’s male and female athletes of the year at the SP Sports Awards. The 28th presentation night was, for the first time, in a virtual format. Some winners attended the presentation at Crown Hotel, but viewers and listeners joined the ceremony virtually via EMTV, Facebook and on FM100. The awards presentation night is usually attended by 250 guests. But due to COVID-19 restrictions, the organising committee resorted to a live-stream format. The event reached more than 4000 viewers and listeners. Olam, who plays for Melbourne Storm in Australia, has a long list of sporting achievements, including playing in the team’s NRL grand final win last year, in which he scored the first try.

Tere-Apisah plays on the international circuit and won gold at the ITF 2019 World Tennis Singles in Singapore, a first for any Pacific woman. Cricket PNG was also in the spotlight, winning three awards in the categories of team of the year, junior male athlete of the year and people’s choice. SP Managing Director, Ed Weggemans, said: “The past year has been tough for many sporting federations, athletes and sports administrators, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important we recognise the athletes who aspire to achieve their sporting dreams, while at the same time, showcase PNG’s sporting prowess. “They are the reason we celebrate every year – not only to highlight their achievements, but also to inspire young athletes throughout the country to do their best as well, as this is the only prestigious sports awards system in PNG.”

SP AWARD WINNERS 2021 Far left: Charles Amini from Cricket PNG accepts the team of the year award for the Barramundis



Left: Stephen Abraham accepts his award for best sportsperson with a disability.

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Justin Olam rugby league



FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Abigal Tere-Apisah tennis

Patricia Apisah tennis





STAN JOYCE AWARD Trukai Industries Limited PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD Norman Vanua cricket

Money & Business/Superannuation


DID YOU KNOW? Super members can increase their employee contributions from 6% up to a maximum of 15% of their fortnightly gross salary as a voluntary contribution – and after contributing for five years can access these contributions to buy their home through Housing Advance.

Nambawan Super is the largest superannuation fund in Papua New Guinea. We spoke with four of the fund’s executives and senior managers for the inside scoop into super. Superannuation is a way to save money while you are working, so you have money to spend in retirement. The fund manager invests your money in a range of products such as shares, property and bonds to achieve maximum savings growth. The Nambawan Super managers polled by PNG Now are Chief Investment Officer David Kitchnoge, Manager of Branch Operations Evangeline Taunao, Chief Financial Officer Pochon Lili, and Company Secretary Beverley Malken. What would you like to tell people about superannuation? DK Super is long term. While there will be ups and downs (in investment growth), over the long term super should grow. ET I’d encourage all people to build their super balances so they can live comfortably when they retire. PL People should understand that fund performance is closely tied to economic conditions. Sometimes you have a bad year, but the good news is that when economies recover, we expect to see improved investment returns. What did you learn about super when you started working in the industry? ET I discovered super features that I didn’t know existed, like housing advance. If I was aware of housing advance, I may have already bought my own home. PL I learnt that super funds in PNG are subject to very strict rules and regulations, which are in place to protect the interests of members. The Bank of Papua New Guinea ensures regulations are followed. Also, all investment decisions are carried out in consultation with an independent licensed investment manager. In short, there are strong 56 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021





controls in place to ensure that members’ savings are safe. BM I learnt that Nambawan Super is a nation builder because it invests in infrastructure and human capital, which are key economic pillars in PNG. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self about savings and super? DK If you can save your money in super, then you can also save your money outside of super. Have the discipline to put away a small amount of money every fortnight. BM Maximise your voluntary contribution. What are your hottest savings tips? DK Make your savings hard to access by using unlinked bank accounts or separate savings and loan accounts that you can’t simply access through your card or internet banking. ET Live within your means. PL Avoid getting into debt and increase your voluntary contributions as your future self will thank you for it. BM Set a budget for daily expenses and stick to it. To find out more about superannuation, see

Money & Business/Marketing

HOW SWEET IT IS PNG COMPANIES AND PRODUCTS ON SHOW AT WORLD EXPO A Belgian chocolate maker using Papua New Guinean cocoa beans is among the companies that will be highlighted at PNG’s pavilion at Expo 2020* in Dubai later this year. Meurisse Chocolate NV, established in 1845, has been invited to the pavilion to tell the company’s story about using PNG cocoa. The European chocolate company is using 100% PNG cocoa to make its dark PNG chocolate brand. The company also mixes the PNG cocoa with nuts and other ingredients to produce other chocolates, including dark caramel and almond. PNG’s Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union (EU), Joshua Kalinoe, says it is satisfying to see that PNG now has its own brand of chocolate being sold in the EU market. He says the PNG embassy in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, has been actively promoting PNG products, including cocoa. Kalinoe, who is also PNG’s Commissioner General to Expo 2020, says that he invited Meurisse Chocolate to join the PNG pavilion to tell the PNG cocoa story from the manufacturer’s perspective. Among other companies invited are Queen Emma Chocolates, headquartered in Port Moresby, and Highlands Honey. “Apart from telling their stories, the idea is to expose them to niche market opportunities in their respective products,” Kalinoe says. 58 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

EXPO 2020 WHERE Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The expo site is the size of 613 football fields, or 4.3 square kilometres. WHEN For six months from October 1. WHO 190 countries will be there, and 25 million visitors are expected.

The PNG dark chocolate that will be on show at the World Expo at Dubai.

He says that the PNG Expo 2020 team is facilitating a win–win atmosphere. The manufacturers are able to create demand for their products, which in turn creates more demand for PNG farmers, therefore boosting exports as well as creating more jobs. According to Kalinoe, Expo 2020 is about sharing ideas and learning from each other, as well as creating opportunities for trade and investment. “This opportunity of bringing participants from the world

WOW Uber is expected to test flying cars at the expo site. WEBSITE expo2020dubai. com

together in one village to connect and tell their stories on innovation, technology, culture, and wealth creation happens once every four years,” he says. He says the potential benefits for PNG from Expo 2020 are “overwhelming” and he has urged government bureaucrats and policy makers in Waigani to invest adequately in the event. *Expo 2020 has been rescheduled from last year because of COVID-19. It will now run from October 1, 2021, until March 31, 2022.

A happy and secure retirement? It’s your Choice. Nambawan Super is for everyone, no matter who or where you are. If you’re an employee of a company of less than 15 people, or a small business or local PMV operator, or a land owner in mining and LNG projects, Choice Super from Nambawan could be for you. You can contribute as much or as little as you like – the choice is yours. Find out more details today.

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Money & Business/News


Online shopping portal teams with Kina Bank One of Papua New Guinea’s key online shopping portals, Jungle, has joined forces with Kina Bank to provide a secure and reliable payment system. Jungle ( was launched earlier this year and sells a range of goods, including electronics, hardware, clothing, books and furniture. Jungle says Kina Bank’s Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) provides shoppers with peace of mind. “Kina Bank’s IPG will ensure a safe transaction process between the customer and the store, every time.” Demetri Allayialis, co-founder of Jungle, says: “We want all Papua New Guineans, regardless of their location, to have access to the same quality products as people in the cities.” He says introducing online shopping to the PNG market has made Jungle a significant part of the nation’s ongoing digital development. “E- commerce will enable cross-border trade and active economic participation for Papua New Guinean SMEs for the first time. “Online shopping will give everyone the chance

Meat ban in 2025 PNG has nominated 2025 as the year to stop importing meat products into the country. The Livestock Development Corporation is planning to revive rundown cattle, piggery and poultry farms in different provinces to achieve this goal.


to receive quality products straight from the Highlands, such as our local honey or a popular meri blouse. This emerging new digital landscape will put PNG on the international e-commerce map and open up a world of new business opportunities,” he says. Kina Bank’s IPG platform is the first in PNG to accept locally issued cards, meaning customers have the freedom to browse and shop across the site using a standard local bank-issued card of their choice. Visa and Mastercard are also accepted.

Signs of optimism There are signs of optimism in the Papua New Guinea business community, according to a survey of market conditions by the Business Council of Papua New Guinea. It suggests that, while the pandemic has exacted a severe financial toll, businesses have now “settled”

and are navigating the challenges of the new environment. Although 60% of businesses did not meet their projected results in the last quarter of 2020, 44% are expecting revenue growth in the next six months, while only 25% are expecting revenue decline.

Fast-track for foreign workers A single application process for visas and work permits for foreign nationals is being developed by the country’s Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA). The move is one of a number of innovations planned to improve international labour mobility. It can take up to six months currently for foreigners to get the necessary paperwork to work in PNG. The ICA is also looking at waiving the requirement for workers to leave PNG when they need to renew their visa. Instead, visas will be reissued in-country on a case-by-case basis. The ICA is also considering a premium service for larger employers. The ICA believes that when people move, the economy thrives and that when borders are closed, it affects the economy negatively.

Help for SMEs The BSP Financial Group is stepping up to help the operators of SMEs. The Group General Manager of Retail Banking for the BSP, Daniel Faunt, says financial literacy is one of the “biggest challenges” for the SME sector. He says that the lack of basic financial knowledge, combined with the perception of it being “difficult to deal with banks,” are two of the main reasons SMEs find it hard to access loans. BSP is trying to address these hurdles. The bank has dedicated SME centres in Lae, Goroka and Port Moresby, and has partnered with entities

such as the Asian Development Bank and the United States Embassy to deliver financial literacy programs. Since 2013, the bank has delivered the program to 135,000 people. BSP is also trying to create an environment where SMEs can access bank loans more easily. This includes using bank statements, which are easier to obtain and track, instead of audited and unaudited financial reports as the basis for loan applications for a small business. The bank also recently reduced its equity requirement on SME loans from 30% to 10%. AUGUST 2021 PNG NOW 61

Money & Business/CV



Molly Vaieke started her career at Airways Hotel nearly 15 years ago and has risen through the ranks to become the company’s signature chef. Airways draws business travellers and tourists to its restaurants Vue Restaurant and Lounge Bar, looking across the Owen Stanley Ranges, fine diner Bacchus and casual Italian eatery Deli KC. The pandemic poses many challenges to the hospitality sector, and Vaieke says that the Airways kitchens all have added safety measures to make sure that customers are safe. The signature chef is now mentoring the next generation of Papua New Guinean hospitality workers, a role she takes very seriously.

Molly Vaieke on … The Airways culture I have always felt supported to grow in my various roles at Airways and for me the company has always been a place where locals are encouraged to be who they want to be. The next generation Currently we have chefs that don’t have a lot of experience, but when they come to us we help them to broaden their knowledge and become better chefs. It is like a college. When new chefs come and we train them, they often move on to somewhere else, but we are still happy because it is like having our Airways product somewhere out there because they are taking the skills they learned with them. We learn and they learn, and it can lead to new local dishes on the menu for guests to enjoy. Celebrating local food The hotel has a long history of great Indian and modern-Australian dishes and I cook a lot of the dishes for the Indian buffet. Recently we have put a lot more local Papua New Guinean dishes on the menu. Previously , we would put dishes like aupa with coconut chicken 62 PNG NOW AUGUST 2021

on the menu for Papua New Guinea’s Independence Day, but there is now a local menu all the time. The dishes, like grilled local prawns with papaya salad or a puff pastry stuffed with sautéed aibika leaves, can change a bit, depending on what the suppliers bring us. Sometimes they deliver it to us and sometimes we just get what is at the market, but it is always fresh.

Why she loves her work My husband is also a chef, so it is something of a family business. You create something that looks perfect and then when someone eats it and enjoys it, it makes you feel good too.



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