PNG Now Magazine: June 2021

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ISSUE 04 | June 2021




Inspiration! Whether we’re looking for job, starting a new project, pursuing a goal or setting off on a personal journey, we all benefit from that energy we get from someone or something else that helps us generate our new and creative ideas. Inside this issue of PNG Now, you’ll meet people who have found inspiration in all sorts of places (and not always the most obvious places either). Sometimes, as in the cases of TV presenter Emma Ramsdale (Page 08) or accountant Alu-Veuga Tongia (Page 12), inspiration comes from a special boss or teacher. Other times, it can come from a personal hero, as in the case of Grade 12 student Walter (Page 12), singer Kali-D (Page 48), or PNG’s rising AFL star, Hewago Oea (Page 52). It can come from far away, such as when Mohone Coffee’s Georgina Benson tasted the best coffee of her life in New Zealand (Page 46) or when a young Zara Wong watched a style guru on CNN (Page 22). Or it can come close to home. If this issue of PNG Now shows anything, it is that you don’t need to go far from home to find inspiration: PNG is full of inspiring individuals. It’s a pleasure to tell their stories. As well as special people, this magazine is also about celebrating the best of PNG – cafes, restaurants, hotels, resorts, businesses and more. At the moment, a lot of places and activities are 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 the photographers 06 The best places to pick up PNG Now 06 Breakfast with Emma Ramsdale, TV host 08 Vox pop 10 Wisdom, our new column about life’s lessons 12


What’s happening 14–19


Two amazing women reflect on their childhood memories of PNG 20


Restaurants, bars, hotels and more 32


Style File, thoughts on fashion by women’s rights advocate Diane Kambanei 36



Behind-the-scenes with the Hunters rugby league team in Australia


Can you identify the mystery PNG resort? 38


A cake walk in Lae 42 Restaurant review 44 Recipe, nasi goreng 45 A new way with coffee 46


PNG and the Toyko Olympics 54


How COVID-19 is affecting property 56


Business news in brief 60 At work with graduate architect Vanessa Kagena 62



Kali-D, the kid with talent

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


Lewa Kanah’s beauty tips



We reveal POM’s best steaks

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 Aluvula, Dean Arek, Mary Aseari, Penny Burns, Hal Dente, Dusk Devi, Zana English, Bronwen Gora, Peter Harrison, David James, Leanne Jorari, Amy Jones, Godfreeman Kaptigau, Matthew Konilio, David Kirkland, Lemach Lavari, Gabriella Munoz, Carmel Pilotti, Peter Schofield (designer), Russell Wai, Daniel Wala, Sally Woollett (proofreader) COVER Social media influencer Lewa Kanah, photographed by Daniel Wala. See our story, Page 34.

AFL hopeful Hewago Oea close to senior selection

Proudly printed in Papua New Guinea by BizPrint


How and why the world wants to buy PNG pillows and other artisan goods JUNE 2021 PNG NOW 5

The Talent


Daniel Wala has taken the wonderful cover shot of Lewa Kanah for this issue, as well as her striking portrait on Page 35. Wala started shooting professionally three-anda-half years ago. “I am a naturally creative person, so photography was the outlet I chose to express my creativity,” he says. “I’d like my photographs to inspire people to find their purpose, whatever it may be. My words of encouragement to everyone out there would be to discover what you are good at, master it, and opportunities will come to you one day. But never give up, keep striving to be better.”

DAVID KIRKLAND David Kirkland spent a day with the SP Hunters on the Gold Coast for our behind-the-scenes look at how the team is living in Australia for the Intrust Super Cup season. Kirkland is well known throughout the South Pacific for his photography – though particularly for the photographs he has captured of Papua New Guinea. He has worked for more than two decades with the country’s national tourism authority and has produced several coffee table books on the country, including his most recent, Papua New Guinea – The Last Great Frontier.

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.

Audit tAx Advisory 6 PNG NOW JUNE 2021



Bubbly Emma Ramsdale is the host of the long-running children’s entertainment show, Kids Kona, on EMTV. We catch up with the 20-year-old over coffee, toast and eggs at Paddy’s Hotel in Boroko.

can keep the kids entertained with something new, but also being safe while we’re doing it.

What do you usually eat for breakfast? I like a good omelette with toast on the few occasions I eat breakfast. Coffee or tea? Coffee, of course. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I had a pretty normal childhood, growing up in Milne Bay and Australia. My dad passed away when I was young, so my mum brought me up. I was fortunate enough to go to some of the best schools in Port Moresby. I was at Korobosea International, then moved to Port Moresby International and ended up at Port Moresby Grammar School; and that is where I completed my Grade 12. How did you end up on TV? I took a gap year after school and during that time I decided to go into the media industry. I saw an advert on EMTV looking for hosts and I was like, “oh, I might as well apply. And so here I am.” As the host of Kids Kona, what does your job entail? Kids have a very short attention span, so I aim to keep it interesting 8 PNG NOW JUNE 2021

I’m still getting used to the attention. Sometimes I walk into the shop and kids start smiling and say hi. and bubbly. I try to keep the energy at a level as if I’m directly interacting with them through the screen. So every week, I have something new and different. Every month, we (Kids Kona team) change around the themes, go to different places and to schools. However, COVID-19 has really slowed us down. So we’re trying to look for more ways in which we

You are the newest host within a program that has been around for years. How has the audience embraced you? I’m still getting used to the attention, really. Sometimes I forget, and I walk into the shop and kids start smiling at me and say hi. Some parents ask if they can take photos with me and their kids. It is fun. I love what I do. I’m really a talkative and interactive person, so I just love it. What sorts of challenges do you face as a public figure? I have been stalked on social media, so I’ve had to adjust my account privacy settings. People recognise me everywhere I go, and many call out. That’s a bit strange when it’s adults calling out and not kids. As a female, you always have to watch where you’re going. And in addition to being female, I’m on TV so that’s one of the biggest challenges I face. Besides that, there are challenges within the media industry. When I started, I was 19, and I had to learn on the job how to script and present. I have a great boss and mentor. He sent me reading material about things like camera angles and writing scripts. So that really helped me and pushed me to learn. I was always reading and always asking questions in my first

Emma Ramsdale, the host of Kids Kona on EMTV, with omelette and coffee at Paddy’s Hotel.

was my first time filming in front of a big crowd of kids, who were loud and excited. So, I’m saying hello to everyone but at the same time I had to find good camera angles, I had to do interviews. I was shaking, I was probably more terrified than the people I was interviewing. So, it was definitely an experience. What do you see yourself doing in five years? What does the future look like for Emma Ramsdale? I’ve always seen myself going into the tourism industry. I’ve always been wanting to travel, meet new people and stuff like that.

few months … so a big shout-out to Paul for helping me through everything. He gave me a great platform and set me up to own it. Speaking of platforms, television is a massive platform to have. Kids look up to you as a role model. How do you choose or pick what issues to speak on, or what not to speak on? Yes, I was told early on in my career to watch what I say and do because kids will be looking up to me. I don’t take that lightly, so I

try to steer clear of issues I don’t understand or don’t want to speak on. And I do that by restricting what I say or share on social media. And when I do feel the need to speak about something, I generalise. I state that it’s just my perspective or opinion on a subject. What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in your career so far? The most memorable thing was my first ever on-location shoot. It was for World Ice-Cream Day. It

What advice would you give to young kids who want to venture into television and hosting? My advice would be … be you. When you go into television everyone’s like ‘oh, she’s a big thing or a star’ and sometimes it gets to your head or causes you to have a very big ego. But always be yourself, be down to earth. When you’re meeting new people, always be friendly and nice. Without them you wouldn’t be where you are today, so always be kind towards anyone and everyone. Emma Ramsdale can be seen on Kids Kona daily on EMTV from 3.30 to 5.30pm. Paddy’s Hotel is in Boroko and open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tel. 323 3202. JUNE 2021 PNG NOW 9

Vox Pop


If you could go to dinner with someone famous, who would it be and why?


19, Grade 12 student, Hanuabada, Port Moresby

I would like to have dinner with Dan Lowes, aka D Low, a famous beatboxer in the UK. It is my desire to meet him because he was the inspiration behind my journey in beatboxing. It would be a dream come true to get to know his style of beatboxing and possibly discuss a collaboration with him over dinner.


25, software developer, Tokarara, Port Moresby


High school teacher, Rainbow, Port Moresby

I would be honoured to have dinner with our founding father, the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare. I have come to learn so much about this great man and would like to listen to his personal account of some of the challenges that he had overcome in bringing this beautiful country to where it is today.

I would love to have dinner with Linus Torvalds, a Finnish software engineer. I’d be keen on hearing first-hand about his experiences and challenges in contributing to the development of Linux Kernel. This is something that most people wouldn’t know of, but it is an operating system powering some of the things we’ve grown to be dependent on, like Android.


22, customer service officer, Gerehu, Port Moresby

I am obsessed with DC comics, so I would definitely want to have dinner with my favourite DC character, Grant Gustin, because of his role in The Flash. He is a real hero and seems to always see the good in everyone. It would be nice to have dinner with him to see if his character in the movie is the same as his character off screen.

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23, final-year English communications student, June Valley, Port Moresby

Meeting a celebrity has always been a dream for me. If I could get a chance to meet and have dinner with any known personality, it would certainly be Jason Momoa (Aquaman). I have been a huge fan of his since high school and would love to have a chance to meet him. He seems like a great party guest, and a great conversationalist. Plus, I could tell people about the time I had dinner with the hulking 6-foot4-inch Hawaiian actor.

“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.”


Life Lessons



Alu-Veuga Tongia is father to nine children, the eldest 50 and the youngest 30. He was born in Kalo Village, Central Province, and from the age of five grew up along Kalo’s Kemp Welch River with his paternal grandfather, after the death of his father. He graduated with a degree in economics from the University of PNG (UPNG) in 1974 and in 1977 obtained a degree in accounting from the University of Technology. He has worked at H.R. Holdings in Port Moresby as financial controller for the past 21 years and will retire in September to return to Kalo to live out his retirement years. 12 PNG NOW JUNE 2021

First memory One of my first memories is standing on a massive sand dune on Kalo Beach, looking towards Keapara, because that is where my big brother Solo was going, to be adopted after our father passed away. I was about seven years old. The sand dunes in those days were probably 25 metres high. I wanted to impress him; show him that I was grown up and I could run down the big dune. Secret to a happy life I think it is being satisfied with what I have. I set my goals and I achieved them. I’ve done what was required of me, which was to ensure that all my kids were brought up the right way and put through school – that took from 1976 to 2009! Another secret is to give to others who are in need; while you may not have much, there’s always enough to share. Important lesson in life Sometimes I was a bit of a Robin Hood when I was a kid – if there was nothing I could give, I would pinch something to give to a person in need, to help them live another day, or plant before the rains came. Or I’d be of help to a poor lady with no children. This is what my grandparents taught me – to help others. One event that stands out Being school captain at Walaroi College in Orange, NSW, Australia. Many of the younger children in grades below came from broken homes. They would cry at night (they were at boarding school), so I’d switch on the lights, get my guitar and play some of the choruses I’d learned at the Salvation Army church back in Papua New Guinea. It was amazing because so many parents would come to the school, bringing cakes and other gifts to say thanks for looking after their children and tell me that their kids had told them about me. That was heart-warming. Biggest influence In Australia, they were the headmaster of the school, David Prest, and a friend of mine from Thailand, Jacob Zeephonsekun. In PNG, all of my uncles – they taught me how to sail, make gardens, how to shoot an arrow from a bow and all the knowledge necessary to live a good life in the village.

Give to others who are in need; while you may not have much, there’s always enough to share. Anything you would change Looking back, maybe just more discipline with my social life (laughs). Advice Seeing that I’m a finance person I would say to have a steady job, make sure you budget and live within your means. Never borrow, that’s a bad habit. Everybody likes money, but money also creates burdens and can lead people to make the wrong choices. Children My children are all individual, they are intelligent, and they’re better than me. They have their own little traits that I love; some are funny,

some moody, some wait for me to tell them what to do and others don’t always have time for me (laughs). A funny story I enrolled in medicine at the UPNG school of medicine campus at Taurama, where my elder brother Solo was in his third year. We went for the orientation and there were all these little things like foetuses and organs in jars. Come 1 o’clock, I ended up going back to the main UPNG campus and changing my course to economics and everyone, including Solo, had no idea where I was.

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A big hit in POM Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium hosted a major fight night on April 25 with the World Boxing Association (WBA) Asia Super Featherweight Title being contested for the first time on Papua New Guinean shores. In the title fight, PNG’s Junior Kauko Raka went up against Roldan ‘The Cobra’ Aldea of the Philippines – the current Philippines Games and Amusement Lightweight Champion with 24 fights and 15 wins. Raka, with just two fights for two wins before this match, went the full 10 rounds, but lost to Aldea by unanimous decision. Leading up to the main bout were six local undercard fights, including a welterweight bout in which PNG’s Andrew Kape Aisanga defeated Mark ‘The Slam Man’ Sales of the Philippines. Local promoter Solomon Jerram manages Aisanga and says that PNG boxers have heart and toughness, but their talent is still untapped. “It is my hope that soon these fighters will have support from the government and private industry so that they can dedicate themselves to a

Johnson Kapus (facing camera) with Xavier Mapai (pinned against the ropes) in action at the recent fight night in Port Moresby.

PNG boxers have heart and toughness. full-time training routine,” he says. “That’s when we will start seeing that untapped potential start to shape up, and one day soon we may have our first world champion.”

If you missed the title fight but would like to see some boxing action, Tru Warrior has amateur boxing events coming up with some of the country’s best talent. Fighters from boxing clubs around POM – such as Rabao Rocks, Defence Boxing Club, Legend, IMMA and Tru Warrior – face each other in the ring at the Lamana Gold Club. Contact Tru Warrior at for details or see Tru Warrior’s Facebook page for event updates.

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 JUNE 2021

Pacific music festival warms up wintry Melbourne Travel between the Pacific and Australia won’t be back to normal for some time, but Pacific – and PNG – culture was able to pay a visit to Australia anyway, due to Pasifix, a special musical event held in Melbourne. Headlining the event, at Melbourne’s iconic outdoor arena, the Myer Music Bowl, was PNGborn sensation Ngaiire, who not only performed her powerful original songs with her full band but also showcased a video featuring Goroka in Eastern Highlands Province, from where her family comes. Co-hosted by the broadcaster Namila Benson, herself a Tolai meri from Rabaul, Pasifix also featured energetic Polynesian drumming group Drums of the Pacific, the Pasefika Vitoria Choir and colourful dance troupe, Maidens of Polynesia. A special guest was rising Australian singer Adrian Eagles, who is of Fijian heritage. The event was well-supported by members of Melbourne’s 35,000-strong Pacific community but one thing the performers couldn’t do was improve Melbourne’s cold, wet autumn weather. While it was Pacific sunshine on stage, the umbrellas were up due to torrential rain.

Runway season Papua New Guinean fashion and art will be showcased during PNG Fashion Week from June 17 to 26. There will be 13 runway events staged at three locations during the week. PNG Fashion Week director, Philma Kelegai, has also revealed that there are plans for a show in Lae, as well as Wabag during the Enga Show. PNG Fashion and Design Week, a separate event, will be staged during June as a totally virtual fashion runway, believed to be a PNG first. Production of the show has started, with filming in various locations, and it will be broadcast nationally and overseas. More information can be found on the Facebook pages for each event.

Nagaiire on stage in Melbourne. The PNG-born singer also recently announced that she has signed her first EU deal, with German label Majestic Casual Records.

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Tee off for animals A charity golf day hosted by the RSPCA of PNG, to raise funds for animal education and adoption programs, is coming up. Organisers are hoping to register 15 teams, of four players each, for the 11am tee-off on June 18. The events had to be cancelled last year because of COVID-19, so organisers are hoping for a strong turnout this year. Players of all abilities are welcome.

Musician Steven Kairi got into the swing of things during the recent International Jazz Day celebrations in PNG.

If you’re interested, contact the organisers on 7526 8508, or email The RSPCA social calendar has more for animal lovers in October, with the annual Paws Walk and dog show.

Jazzing up POM In its 10th year, International Jazz Day was celebrated across nearly 200 countries on April 30, including Papua New Guinea. The celebration of jazz in Port Moresby was led by the community arts company Cals Pacific Jam (CPJ), in partnership with UNESCO. CPJ organised jazz workshops and shows for local media, a school program with the Port Moresby International School, a community program with the Cheshire Disability Services in Port Moresby and ‘Jazz in the Park’ at the Port Moresby Nature Park. Executive music producer and trainer at CPJ, John Ani Murray, says the sessions were something new and enjoyed by many. “We are definitely looking to host more jazz events. Next year’s International Jazz Day is going to be bigger and better,” he says. For the celebrations, a jazz day ensemble was put together of musicians from several bands. The ensemble included John Ani Murray from Warian Echo and Chanted Groove, Jerry David and Steven Kairi from Cool Talking Jazz Band, and Peter Kailap from Pacific Fusion Band. Sponsors of this year’s event included PNGFM, NCDC, the National Cultural Commission, the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, TVWAN, Port Moresby Nature Park, The National newspaper, TVWAN and the University of PNG Arts School. JUNE 2021 PNG NOW 17

Get vaccinated! Protect PNG. Our people are our most important asset and keeping them safe is a number one priority. Sleeve up and get your covid vaccination. We are joining the rest of the nation in its effort to protect the people of Papua New Guinea.

We don’t just do business in PNG. It’s our home.

HEAD OFFICE | Level 5, Harbourside West, Stanley Esplanade | Port Moresby, NCD 121, Papua New Guinea | P: +675 313 7400 |

Village markets take off The Moresby South MotuKoitabu Market (MSMK) held at Kirakira Village in conjunction with the Karuka Festival in May was a huge success. Organised by Pascoe Promotions in partnership with the Moresby South Motu Koitabu Women’s Association, the women of Kirakira opened more than 50 stalls to sell a range of products, including handmade craft, clothing and food. The traditional Karuka Festival is a celebration of sharing of the first harvest – the best produce from the gardens, best meat from the hunt and the weaving of baskets and handicrafts for distribution.

Traditional dancers at the Karuka Festival.

The MSMK market at the village was the second in a series. The first MSMK market was held at Pari and others will follow at Vabukori, Mahuru and Taurama villages during June, July and August. MSMK representative, Anna Skate, says the idea of the

markets is ‘Come See my Village’ or ‘Aoma Emai Hanua’. Pascoe Promotions director, Sylvia Pascoe, says family businesses are celebrated and enjoyed at the markets. She says the markets are reinvigorating the excitement for tradition and culture.

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:




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Mumu Bar & Grill Ground Level, Kutubu Convention Centre

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PNG Now meets two remarkable women doing amazing things in Australia. One’s a model and media celebrity and the other a cosmetic industry executive. One thing they have in common? They have fond memories of growing up in PNG. critter failed to be the kind of playful pet ideal for entertaining a little girl. “I didn’t realise they (cuscus) were nocturnal,” Hutton says. “So this wasn’t great for a kid who wants a pet to play with. This pet slept during the day and climbed the curtains at night and kept us awake running around. “I’d try to wake him up during the day to play with me and he didn’t want to know about it. “But he was very comfortable I guess, being looked after and having nothing to prey on him and he stayed.”

DEBORAH HUTTON MODEL & MEDIA CELEBRITY Former international modelturned-media personality Deborah Hutton is one of Australia’s most famous and well-recognised faces, and she will be forever grateful for being able to spend a part of her childhood in Papua New Guinea. As an adult, Hutton went on to model in New York and Sydney before becoming a household name as the face of major Australian department store group Myer Grace Bros. Roles as a television host and magazine editor followed, and Hutton now runs her own homewares line. She credits her interesting career path and life to the broad perspective gained from growing up in several different cities as her parents moved around for work. “I think I must have attended 12 different schools,” she says. But it was the four years she spent in PNG when 6–10 years of age that rank among the most interesting and eye-opening. Hutton, 59, first set foot in PNG in 1967 after her mother packed their belongings into tea chests and they sailed by cargo ship from Brisbane to Port Moresby. They were travelling to join her stepfather, who was working in property development in PNG. The years that ensued gave the young Hutton some of her most indelible childhood memories. 20 PNG NOW JUNE 2021

Here she shares those she cherishes most about living in PNG.


While Hutton cannot remember exactly how she came to have a cuscus as a pet, she surmises the creature must have first lived in the dense bushland surrounding her family’s small Port Moresby house. Wherever it came from, once the cuscus found its way into the home the native animal quickly relinquished life in the wild for the cosy comforts of domesticity. But while it lapped up the luxury of not having to hunt for food or fight off predators, the cute little


“I remember when we lived in PNG there was nothing other than radio and only one radio station,” Hutton says. “The day of the moon landing (July 16, 1969) we went to the big open space in the town square near the town hall, which I remember being a very elaborate building. It was 1969 and no one had ever seen any moving pictures before. “I remember my mum, stepfather and myself walked into town and went to where they had erected a giant projection screen. They were projecting the images of the lunar landing in black and white and I

The day of the moon landing (1969) we went to the town square where they had erected a giant projection screen. No one had ever seen moving pictures before. recall standing there trying to comprehend that this was the first time man had landed on the moon as well as the fact that it was possible to see these moving images on a screen. It’s one of those things I’ve always remembered, standing there, because it was just so surreal.”


Hutton says some of the most amazing experiences of her young life in PNG were the family’s trips into the Highlands to visit villages. “We used to go on excursions to Goroka and I do remember the

extraordinary dances and meeting all these Papua New Guinean chiefs with their fabulously colourful clothing and elaborate tribal headwear,” she says. “I found it incredibly fascinating and would think to myself ‘this is really something’. I thought it was just wonderful.”


“The heat – it was just so hot – and I don’t remember any of the language except for the word for food – kaikai,” she laughs. “Back then I had a very healthy appetite. “And of course as I was blondhaired and blue-eyed I do remember being in the minority at school.”

Left: Deborah Hutton lived in PNG as a child before her international modelling and media career. Opposite: Deborah Hutton as a child in PNG.

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ZARA WONG HEAD OF CONTENT FOR BEAUTY GIANTS MECCA COSMETICA AND MECCA MAXIMA Cosmetic industry executive Zara Wong’s successful career in fashion magazines, and now beauty, came about from doing what she loves. Fresh from university and with no insider connections, Wong cold-called and emailed to land internships in New York on leading US magazines Vogue and WWD (Women’s Wear Daily). On returning to Australia, the same approach also led to roles at leading titles, the first as assistant fashion features editor at Harper’s Bazaar and then a job at Vogue Australia. Here, Wong quickly ascended to Vogue magazine’s fashion features director and content strategy director, an enviable position that saw her travelling to international fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris and interviewing world-famous designers and celebrities. Wong is now head of content for cosmetic giant Mecca, overseeing all the words, videos and photography for the company, which sells world-class brands in stores and online across Australia and New Zealand. The Melbourne-based executive credits many experiences she had growing up in Papua New Guinea between the ages of three and eight for igniting her love of beauty and journalism. 22 PNG NOW JUNE 2021

While Wong is of Chinese descent, her ancestry is deeply entrenched in PNG. Her grandparents migrated to PNG about 120 years ago, settling on Rabaul to work as storekeepers, while Wong’s parents owned a successful coffee plantation, which they still operate. Her father also headed the Consulate of Switzerland in PNG for several years.

Fresh from university and with no contacts or insider connections, Wong coldcalled leading US magazine Vogue and landed an internship.


Wong was born on Queensland’s Gold Coast, and when her parents returned to PNG their three-yearold daughter was plunged into a new world of curious foods, lush greenery and vividly coloured flowers. “We ate amazing mangoes and amazing passionfruit all the time,” she says. “The fruit was so perfect, tropical fruits so fresh and flavoursome, and they were absolutely everywhere. “You only realise later that you took being there and everything we had for granted. I remember when we were getting ready to move to Sydney in 1994 and mum warned us that there would be no fruit of the quality that we had at the time. Then when I came to Australia I remember how very sad I was to see what I thought were sad little passionfruit in the shops. It was similar with paw paws – we grew paw paw in our backyard in Port Moresby and they were so plentiful and delicious. The vibrant colours of PNG’s natural landscape also left an indelible impression. Images of tropical jungles teeming with the most brilliant green plants she had ever seen are seared in her memory. “We’d fish in a remote creek

Left: Zara Wong on the stairs of her childhood home in Port Moresby with brother Dion. Note the orchids in the background. Right: Wong has travelled to New York, London, Milan and Paris for fashion events and interviewed world-famous celebrities and designers.

surrounded by such rich, fertile land that everything struck me as especially beautiful,” Wong says. It was such an idyllic place. Among other cherished memories are weekend outings to swim in the pool of the Travelodge. The family outings were quite a big deal for Wong and her little brother, as swimming was always followed by the excitement of a meal in the hotel’s restaurant. Exotic orchids were a source of huge enjoyment. “There’s a massive array of orchids in PNG and Dad had a friend who worked in the industry identifying new species of orchids,” Wong says. “He gifted my father all types of orchids. Dad threaded them through the stair rails so now I always remember going up the stairs to our house and walking past brightly coloured purple and pink orchids. They were unlike any you would see anywhere else. They were so rare and so special. We had at least 15 different types of orchids.”


While the great outdoors opened the little girl’s eyes to the wonders of natural beauty, indoors it was the attraction of television and international news channel CNN that grabbed her interest. “We only had a few channels and somehow we received CNN, which is why I learned all about things like OJ Simpson and Tonya Harding. “Then I became obsessed with watching Style with Elsa Klensch.” Wong was not alone: at the time, Klensch was a leading fashion and design guru whose show

was watched by millions globally (2.5 million households in the US alone) and went on to become CNN’s highest-rated weekend feature-news program. Wong, 34, firmly believes that both CNN’s 24-hour feed of international news plus Klensch’s show acted as the catalyst to where she is now. “That is truly how and why I went into media – because in PNG there was nothing else to watch except CNN,” Wong says. “I’d come home from school, have a snack in the kitchen, ride my bike around the backyard before dinner and then watch CNN every night. On weekends I’d watch CNN even more often. “If I’d grown up somewhere like Sydney where there was more to do outside I may not have become so fascinated with news and interviewing people. I grew to love all news journalism and media, not just fashion.”

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PNG Now photographer David Kirkland goes behind the scenes with the SP PNG Hunters. The team has relocated from Port Moresby to Australia’s Gold Coast for up to eight months to play in this season’s Intrust Super Cup. The relocation to Queensland was necessary because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Staying at home would have forced the side to sit out the entire season.

Above: A show of strength in the gym by Hunters prop Sylvester Namo. Right: Striking a pose on the main beach at Surfers Paradise are players (from left) Emmanuel Waine, Ila Alu, Judah Rimbu and Enoch Maki. The players sometimes head to the beach on their days off.

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Above: Assistant coach Paul Aiton (foreground) and player Benji Kot on the training track at the Gold Coast Performance Centre where the Hunters are living and training. The centre is open to the public, as well as highperformance sporting teams or athletes. Right: The players eat together as a team every day, sometimes starting at 6.30am with breakfast. Their diets are based on advice from performance staff.

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Above: Speed and power coach Mong Tavol (left) and head of performance Solomon Kuliniasi (right) supervise a gym session with Emmanuel Waine and Samuel Yegip (with kettle bells) and Edwin Ipape (back to camera).

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Above: Boys just want to have fun. Mucking up for our photographer are (from left) Judah Rimbu, Brandon Nima and Charlie Simon. Left: Room-mates Mark Piti (left) and Ila Alu. Each player shares an ensuite room with one other, and they have a common lounge area and kitchen. The players are housed in two separate lodges. Right: Among the high-rise buildings on the Gold Coast are (from left) Enoch Maki, Ila Alu, Emmanuel Waine and Judah Rimbu.

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Top: Head of performance Solomon Kuliniasi makes a point. Above: Centre Emmanuel Waine in a boxing session. Right: At work, five eighth Judah Rimbu (left) and winger Junior Rau.

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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, 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 need to be signed in by a member, pg. ☛ Mojo Social, a hip spot for after-work drinks any night of the week, facebook. com/mojosocialeatdrink.


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

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


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

☛ 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, three locations in POM, excellent coffee, bakery items,

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

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☛ 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. ☛ 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, kbb.

☛ 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, ☛ Alotau: East n Sea is a backpacker retreat at East Cape, about an hour’s drive from Alotau. Bungalow accommodation and tours are available to historical and cultural sites, see East n Sea on Facebook. ☛ Mount Hagen: The Highlander Hotel is set in tropical gardens and has a range of room styles, right up to apartments, ☛ Mount Hagen: Spacious and comfortable rooms close to the airport are available at the McRoyal Hotel. The hotel’s Pine Restaurant includes mumu on the menu, mcroyalhotelpng. com. And don’t miss the nearby Banz Kofi cafe. A great setting and great coffee.



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

☛ Kokopo: The Gazelle International Hotel has great sea and volcano views, and is close to the golf course and Kokopo War Museum,

☛ 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.

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Body & Spirit


Lewa Kanah is a Papua New Guinean social media influencer, television personality and entrepreneur with a passion for beauty and inner wellness. PNG Now featured her in a story about influencers in our November 2020 issue, and here she shares her tips for looking and feeling good.




We were all created as beautiful human beings and I believe that beauty goes deeper than skin; it encompasses much more than meets the eye. Having said that, each of us has different beauty needs; you may have seen the natural hair, beauty and lifestyle hacks I share on my platforms. My natural hair journey has been enriching in so many ways. I love the beauty in natural hair and the different textures and versatility in Papua New Guinean hair is endless. My go-to weekly hair regime is a wash ’n’ go style using natural hair products like the range from Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils. To keep my hair healthy, I incorporate a natural oil scalp and strand treatment in my deep condition routine, which I try to do every couple of weeks. Embracing your natural hair is one of the greatest self-care decisions you can make It was difficult in the past to obtain natural hair products in PNG. We relied on travelling overseas to buy supplies, or on the help of friends and family. But now it’s possible to get these products through Trends Beauty International, in store or online.

Style is such a personal notion; it’s different for everyone because it will appeal based on individual taste. My style has evolved with time, experience and exposure. For me it’s a form of expression and an art in some ways because my style will depend on where I’m going and what I’m trying to achieve. For example, at home you’d find me in a casual tee, shorts, wild hair (lol), and if I have to run errands I’ll throw on my slides. During the week when I’m on the go I am more inclined to dress chic and if I’m somewhere in between I delve into a bohemian look. My mood also affects my style and that’s what I love most about fashion: it’s a form of expression. Style incorporates accessories too and I’m a lover of PNG gold. I’m blessed to be the brand ambassador for Kara Jewellers. I can wear a picture of my culture in the form of art through the different pieces of jewellery I wear. The distinct KJ pieces are a conversation starter and a way that I can share PNG with the world.

As they say, there is no health without mental health. I couldn’t agree more: my faith in God comes first and I keep my mind active by being self-aware, present and exercising healthy mind habits every day, including prayer journalling, exploring my creativity, taking note of new opportunities, challenging myself academically, physical exercise, eating clean and drinking lots of water. Not every day goes to plan and sometimes it’s hard to stay on track but ensuring I have a routine keeps me grounded and focused. Being positive is so important, and positive reinforcement daily is necessary. Choosing to surround myself with positive people and practising positive, healthy habits allows me to manifest that positivity in my reality. The mind is a powerful tool and we have to be intentional about what we feed it because it sets the course of our lives.

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To see more about Lewa visit

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Diane Kambanei is an advocate for women’s rights and adolescent sexual reproductive health in Papua New Guinea. She’s the former host of the TV program PNG EXTRA which focused on stories that empower women and youth in PNG. She is currently an executive with the Oil Search Foundation and sits on the National Capital District Provincial Health Authority Clinical Governance Committee. How aware are you of the Pacific fashion industry? Do you support and wear Pacific designs? Yes, I am aware of the thriving Pacific fashion industry. Over the years this sector has really grown, and I buy and support local designers in my country.

Pacific designers stand out. There’s a meaning behind every design.

What do you think makes Pacific designers stand out? The unique motifs and colours used to represent the abundant flora, fauna, land and sea make

What fashion advice can you offer? Don’t be into trends, don’t let fashion own you, but you decide who you are and what you want

How would you describe your personal style? I like wearing unique pieces and standing out from the crowd, so I would describe my style as eclectic.

Don’t let fashion own you, but you decide who you are and what you want to express by the way you dress. to express by the way you dress. Who are your favourite PNG designers? I love Sarah Haoda-Todd’s and Genevieve Igara -Falevai’s labels, Iyara’s pieces.

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Poolside luxury never looked so good. Best of all, this oasis of bliss is within easy reach of Port Moresby. The boutique resort has 68 rooms, some of them overwater, a day spa, restaurants and, of course, the stunning pool with waiter service. You can visit as an overnight guest or purchase a day pass. The resort even provides a shuttle service from Port Moresby’s CBD. You’ll be travelling by road, then ferry. To find out where the resort is, turn to Page 62. JUNE 2021 PNG NOW 39





STEAK SCHOOL The most tender cuts of beef include rib and tenderloin.


Wagyu is a breed of 02 Japanese cow. It is considered to be the best steak in the world and tastes so good because of its fat marbling. Wolfgang Puck, one of the world’s great chefs, says steak should be well seasoned and at room temperature before being placed on a really hot grill. Don’t turn it too often, and let it rest after cooking.


Grass-fed beef is considered to be healthier than grain-fed.


Steak tartare is raw ground beef, often eaten with a raw egg on top and Worcestershire sauce.


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OPEN 6–10PM DAILY STEAKS 110–200 KINA FOR BOOKINGS, TEL. 324 5200 ext 3400

Chef Amid Vkhan says the rib eye steak is the best on the Bacchus menu. It is seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper and then brushed with butter and cooked on a grill. You can choose from either potato wedges or mashed potato with vegetables or onion rings on the side. Bacchus serves two steak categories, either wagyu or grassfed. The cuts include strip loin, rib eye (the chef’s favourite), T-bone, tenderloin and master kobe. To see the menu, go to pg/dining/bacchus-restaurant.




Recognising that not all steak enthusiasts want beef, Rapala also has lamb and salmon steaks. Chef Milind Dhonsekar says the rib eye makes the best steak; however, his personal choice is the lamb rack, medium rare. He marinates it in garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. A butter and oil mix is then applied to it and then it’s put in the oven. “Having any kind of steak medium rare is the best way to eat it because this is when there is more flavour and natural juices in the meat,” says Chef Milind. To see the menu, go to crownhotel.

Having any kind of steak medium rare is the best way to eat it because this is when there is more flavour and natural juices in the meat. – CHEF MILIND DHONSEKAR, RAPALA RESTAURANT




Silver Leaf has aged beef in three cuts: the oven-prepared Rib Cowboy (scotch fillet with bone), bone-in strip loin and the T-bone. Chef Royce Archie says the ageing process makes the beef more tender and gives it a lot more flavour. “Ideally the beef is aged for 120 days, but for us locally we find that it is too strong of a flavour for our customers, so we try to keep it between 30 to 60 days,” he says. He recommends the Rib Cowboy. “It is the ideal steak for the ageing process because it has a high fat content that keeps the meat moist and stops it from drying out.” It is dipped into an herb oil of rosemary, thyme, garlic and olive oil, rested, and before it’s smoked in the oven it’s seasoned generously with salt and pepper. The wood oven incorporates earthly and charred tones to the steak, which makes for a pleasant eating experience. To see the menu, go to

This picture: Chef Royce Archie from the Stanley Hotel’s Silver Leaf. Above left: The Rib Cowboy steak from Silver Leaf. It’s seasoned generously with herbs, salt and pepper and smoked in a wood oven. JUNE 2021 PNG NOW 41



Whether you are eating cake to celebrate a birthday or simply to indulge, chances are you’ll find a sweet treat in Lae to satisfy your taste-buds. Lae artisans are producing some of the best cakes in the nation. Here are three places to go if you want your cake and to eat it too.



something more unconventional, such as the hotel’s light Japanese cheesecake. Buy by the slice or get an entire cake to share for a special occasion. CAFE 411

Brian Bell Home Centre, Mangola Street, Lae Tel. 7217 1966

Open since 2006, Chigi’s has established a leading presence within Lae’s cafe and cake scene. Its tapioca cake is widely thought to be the best in town. The treacle topping provides an indulgent sweetness that has locals and tourists returning for more. Combine that with a neat fit-out and a relaxed environment, and you have the perfect location for morning tea or an after-work snack. LAE CITY HOTEL


3rd Street, Lae Tel. 472 0138

Regardless of your dessert preferences, Lae City Hotel is likely to impress. Its range of cakes provides a big choice of flavours and alternatives. Even the pickiest of eaters will find something delicious here. The cake options include black forest


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A tray of the delicious donuts at Lae’s Cafe 411.

and chocolate mud cakes, which have quickly become the most popular among visitors. If these richer options don’t appeal, then you may be inclined to try

Sect. 177, Lot 1&2 Coronation Drive, Lae, Tel. 479 0100

Named after Morobe’s official postcode, this centrally located cafe provides a fusion of great atmosphere and western-style cuisine. With its picturesque views of Lae, Cafe 411 allows you to feast your senses on both delicious desserts and gorgeous scenery. You can devour a slice of the cafe’s cake alongside a cup of quality coffee, or as dessert after a burger and chips. If you are looking for the sweetness of cake, but with a bit of a twist, then perhaps a doughnut would better suit you. They are very highly recommended, especially when eaten on the day they were made.

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Port Terrace Restaurant & Bar is one of the city’s newest casual venues and is turning out quality food from local markets. It’s at the Crowne Plaza Residences in the heart of the CBD, and commands panoramic views of Fairfax Harbour. For my entrée, I chose salt and pepper squid with the restaurant’s signature sweet chilli sauce. It was the perfect combination of crunch from the squid, together with the slight sweetness and hint of heat from the sauce. I then moved on to my main

dish of lobster tail thermidor with a side of jacket potatoes and garden salad. It was rich and creamy, and the garlic sauce was a perfect topping. To finish off, I had a warm chocolate brownie with vanilla bean ice cream. The brownie had a perfect density and went well with the ice cream. Other options on the menu include Atlantic salmon, garlic prawns, burgers, grain-fed sirloin and rib eye, and homemade pasta. There are vegetarian and gluten-free options. I ended the night with a glass

of lime soda on the outside deck while taking in the beautiful harbour scene. This is a dining experience that makes me want to return. The restaurant is also perfect for early birds, opening at 6.30am, with breakfasts including waffles, wraps, French toast, Bircher muesli, eggs done many ways, porridge and much more. The lunch menu includes quick bites such a burrito bowls and caesar salad. TEL 308 3130 ONLINE OPEN 6.30am to 10pm daily STYLE Continental and Western cuisine GO-TO DISHES Lobster tail thermidor, and the slow-braised beef short ribs PRICES Salads 30–35 kina, homemade pasta 50–70 kina, dinner mains 60–65 kina, on-the-grill meals 65–120 kina






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NASI GORENG Serves 4 Easy to make


3 cups cooked white long-grain rice 200g chicken breast or prawns (or a mix of both) 1 tbsp oil 3 tbsp kecap manis 2 tsp shrimp paste (or fish sauce as a substitute) 1 small chilli finely chopped, or chilli flakes 2 cloves garlic finely chopped 1 diced onion 1 cup frozen peas 1 small carrot diced 4 eggs Garnish with cucumber, tomato, crispy fried onions or prawn crackers, and sunny-side up eggs.


01 Cook the rice to packet instructions the day before and refrigerate. (If you use just-cooked rice the dish will turn out soggy.) 02 Heat oil on high heat and add onion, garlic and chilli. Stir for about 45 seconds. 03 Add the carrot, stir for another minute. 04 Add the peas, chicken or prawns, and 1 tbsp of kecap manis. Stir until chicken or prawns almost cooked.

English celebrity chef Rick Stein has labelled nasi goreng as “one of the world’s great comfort foods”. The simple Indonesian dish is a favourite among street stalls and is basically the country’s version of fried rice. The name is Malay: nasi means ‘rice’ and goreng means ‘fried’. The variations to nasi goreng are many, but the basic ingredients of rice, frying oil and soy sauce remain the same. Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) is often listed in recipes, but if you can’t find it you can use soy sauce mixed with sugar.

05 Add the rice, 2 tbsp kecap manis and shrimp paste and stir constantly for a few minutes until cooked through. 06 Serve garnished with an egg for each person, cucumber, tomato, and crispy fried onions or prawn crackers.

BIG TICKS FOR NASI GORENG ✔ It’s affordable.

✔ Vegetarian versions are just as delicious as nasi goreng with chicken or seafood. ✔ You can make it super-healthy, depending on which ingredients you choose. ✔ It’s good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. ✔ It keeps well in the fridge for a day or two.

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Like a tea bag ... but for coffee. Yes, you read that right. Beautiful, ground coffee from the mountains of Eastern Highlands Province is now available in heatresistant porous bags. Mohone Coffee has an ambitious goal to normalise Papua New Guineans drinking strong and delicious pure PNG coffee, instantly, instead of instant threein-one coffee imported from overseas. Georgina Benson, owner and general manager, has been a coffee lover all her life and got the idea to start Mohone while holidaying in New Zealand, where she says she tasted the best coffee of her life.

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“No sugar. It was black, pure black. And it was the best ever,” she says. “That was my first time drinking really nice coffee. So I thought to myself, we in Papua New Guinea produce quality coffee, but I’ve never tasted it like that. I was upset that we don’t drink that quality of coffee that we farm.” On her return to PNG, she made it her mission to change the coffee culture in the country. Unimpressed by the fact that the Papua New Guinean go-to is imported three-in-one sachets of dehydrated coffee seeds mixed with sugar and milk,

rather than the organic coffee beans PNG is well known for, Benson studied the industry and local market for three years. “I found that coffee is the second-largest traded commodity in the world, second to oil and gas. And we farm some of the world’s best, however our market is flooded with imported instant threein-one coffee.” According to her research, a single packet of three-in-one coffee is 70 percent sugar. Many instant coffee drinkers then add sugar again. “So I asked myself, how can we change this? How can we satisfy customer demand for convenient, instant coffee while using our own coffee and keeping the money in the country?” Enter Mohone Coffee. Mohone, meaning ‘my daughter’ in Benson’s Eastern Highlands dialect, is sourced from organic green beans from small-hold farmers in the Eastern Highlands Province. Benson says that if people can spend 5 kina for

betelnut and cigarettes in a day, they can afford local coffee from brands like Kongo Coffee, which sells small coffee packets for 4 kina. “It’s a mindset issue. We need to change our mindset about coffee. The argument about instant three-in-one coffee being more affordable is invalid because we have suppliers like Kongo who sell their sachet for 4 kina.” Currently Mohone Coffee supplies the PNG hospitality industry, catering services and schools, and is distributed to shops like Andersons in Lae. Plans are in place to introduce the product to shops in Port Moresby, where the bulk of Papua New Guinean coffee enthusiasts are based. People who have tasted the coffee have raved about it. One reviewer said: “It’s got a distinct taste. It’s very smooth, not overpowering and it’s just an easy way to enjoy coffee, instead of going through the process of grinding your beans and processing it in a coffee machine.”

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Dion Kombeng grew up as a regular kid, singing songs at church and uploading covers on YouTube for his friends and family to enjoy. Little did the unassuming, smooth crooner know that his covers would garner him a massive following, with fans across the Pacific. He is now more well known by his stage name, Kali-D, an ode of sorts to his middle name, Kalimat. Kali-D first gained prominence with a cover of the Luis Fonsi sleeper hit, Despacito, adding a twist of his own by singing it in the Misima language. This was followed up by a couple of other covers, but it wasn’t until 2018, when he took some time to record at the renowned CHM studios, that he pleased fans by releasing original content. The first song from his discography, Ride My Lane, featuring Chris Young, was released in 2019 with Solomon Island producer Baka Solomon. The catchy track, with varying influences from rhythm and blues and Caribbean music, had his now-signature smooth vocals and harmonies to complement the melodic beat. Ride My Lane was an instant hit, with heavy rotation on radio stations in Papua New Guinea as well as several countries around the region. Without skipping a beat, Kali-D followed up with an accompanying music video, which was well received by his growing fan base. The video currently has more than two million views on YouTube. This new-found fame could’ve gotten to his head, but he laughs it off, saying: “In my family, I’m the weakest singer. My other family members sing way better than I do.” It’s not all rainbows and butterflies for the singer though, who has seen his fair share of criticism, not all constructive. “I mean it’s what happens when you put yourself 48 PNG NOW JUNE 2021

out there. Especially in the performing arts industry. I hear or read the comments, but what can you do? Everyone has a right to their own opinion. You just have to have thick skin and shrug it off.” The popularity of his first single paved the way for other releases, Be My Love and Island Girl Dedication, also featuring DJ Dirty Fingerz and Ro’Tee. The video for the former was filmed in Suva, while he was in Fiji to open for British Virgin Islander Iyaz, popular for the hit songs Replay and Solo. In the video he pursues a love interest, chasing her around the Fijian capital, while taking a few dance breaks in between his pursuit. In the end, his confidence and winning smile get the girl. More recently, Kali-D released a single titled PNG, featuring rapper Kronos, just in time for Independence Day, 2020. To say it did well would be an understatement. The song was once again a charttopper, heavily rotated on radio stations around PNG and the region. It helped that the song’s official video featured impressive dance moves by equally popular dance crew Wan Squad. The song was an homage to his beloved PNG, featuring picturesque scenery from around the country, traditional sing-sing groups and videos sent from fans around the world, proudly bearing the PNG flag. Wearing an iconic ‘Tribe Has Spoken’ T-shirt, Kali-D sings about the vast beauty of the country, from the highlands to the islands. His latest single, Noqu Lewa, featuring Solomon Island artist Sean Rii, was released early this year with overwhelming success. But it’s the music video for the song, released in April, that has everyone talking.

To say the music video is a masterpiece would be an understatement. It elevates the standard of music videos in the country, daring other musicians to step up their game. JUNE 2021 PNG NOW 49


Kali-D in a clip from his latest music video for his song Noqu Lewa. The video, about forbidden love, has everyone talking.

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Holding nothing back in the production, the video tells the story of a forbidden love between a down-on-his-luck kid (Kali-D) and a young, beautiful kingpin’s associate. The two share stolen glances and a private rendezvous while trying to avoid the evil kingpin (played by Kabbage Gang’s Emmanuel Tipi) and his muscle. To say the music video is a masterpiece would be an understatement. It elevates the standard of music videos in the country, daring other musicians to step up their game. “I wanted to push the boundaries on storytelling with the music video. I wanted it to be something that a lot of people weren’t expecting. We had a really good time working on it.” When told his fans often call him the ‘Chris Brown of PNG’, he shrugs it off. “I grew up listening to R&B music like Neyo and the first time I saw the music video for Chris Brown’s With You I was blown away. I knew I wanted to sing. I wanted to sing like Chris.” Kali-D has transitioned from YouTube covers to soldout shows and hit songs. We can expect more from the talented singer before the year ends.




This Papua New Guinean youngster is on the verge of playing for the Gold Coast Suns in the Australian Football League (AFL). Oea, 19, is from Gulf Province, and first impressed the Suns when he played for the PNG national team in a Queensland Under-16 State Championship in 2017. The Suns signed him last November and he has been playing in the Victorian Football League, a second division league, waiting for his chance in the big time.

Hewago Oea on … Life with the Suns They have been amazing in their support of my journey. The coaching staff, the players and the welfare team have encouraged me to keep improving my skills and assist me in achieving my AFL dream. Training It’s of a high standard. All the players work very hard, and the coaches expect consistent effort and results. Motivation My family in PNG is my biggest motivation. I hope to give back to them. Their support has been great. My love of the

FOR THE RECORD Name Hewago Oea Age 19 Height 174 centimetres Weight 65 kilograms Position Midfield, forward Nickname Ace (given to him by an uncle) What the Suns say Oea boasts elite speed and has impressed coach Stuart Dew.

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game motivates me to become the best I can be. Being away I miss my family in PNG but I’m lucky to have my Aussie family. I speak to my family back home regularly, and I know they’re proud of me and they want me to succeed. Focus I always aim to play a consistently high level of footy every week. I work hard in training, developing my skills, craft, goal-kicking and speed. Pre-game routine I usually go to the beach for a swim and walk, have a big breakfast then head off to the club. I listen to music to get pumped for the game. An AFL idol Michael Walters from the Fremantle Dockers. I admire his passion for the game, his determination and his natural talent. Favourite foods in Australia and PNG My favourite food in

Australia is chicken parmigiana and, back home, boiled fish and rice and anything from Paradise Foods. Learning English I have worked hard to improve my English. I did have a tutor until COVID-19 hit. I hope to continue soon. Valuable lessons I would encourage youngsters to work hard and continue with their education.

Mi Lukim

Em i Nambawan



Papua New Guinea has participated in the past 10 Olympic Games and has plans to take part in the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to start on July 23, presuming COVID-19 doesn’t delay the event again.

Main picture: Dika Toua will compete in her fifth Olympic Games if she makes it to Tokyo.

Teams from more than 200 countries are expected in Tokyo. PNG is among 60 countries yet to win an Olympic medal. Arguably, PNG’s best result in the Olympics has come from swimmer Ryan Pini, who qualified for the final of the men’s 100-metre butterfly in Beijing in 2008 and swam against American superstar Michael Phelps. How many PNG athletes have qualified for Tokyo? As PNG Now went to press, two athletes had qualified for the Games – sailors Teariki Numa and Rose-Lee Numa. The siblings are first-time Olympic competitors, with Teariki to compete in the men’s laser and Rose-Lee in the women’s laser radial. Who are the others in contention to go to Tokyo? Athletics: Rellie Kaputin (long jump), Toea Wisil (100m); boxing: John Ume (57–63kg); rugby 7s: women’s team; shooting: Danny Wanma (DTL single); swimming: Georgia Leigh-Vele (50m freestyle), Judith

John Ume Boxer

Morea Baru Weightlifter

Meauri (50m freestyle), Ryan Maskelyne (200m breaststroke); table tennis: Geoffrey Loi; triathlon: Rachel Sapery-James; weightlifting: Dika Toua (49kg), Morea Baru (61kg). How many coaches and support staff? Generally, there is the chef de mission (Tamzin Wardley), supported by medical and administrative 54 PNG NOW JUNE 2021


Teariki Numa 21, Sailor

Teariki: “I’m anxious about it, but it’s all I’ve wanted to do as a kid and now that I’ve gotten my time to shine, I’m looking forward to it with all I have. I hope for nothing but the best in my sport and fair play.”

Rose-Lea: “I’m excited as this is the peak of our sport, and even more excited that I get to do it with my brother. It’s an opportunity we’ve been working towards for so many years. I started racing competitively in 2011. We have come a Rose-Lea Numa long way as a sport and 23, Sailor this will be the first time PNG sailing will be at the Olympics in 29 years. A lot of personal and family sacrifices have been made to get us here.” staff. The exact number won’t be known until athlete numbers for Tokyo are finalised. What are some of PNG’s best Olympic results? 2004 – Dika Toua (weightlifting, 53kg) 6th 2008 – Dika Toua (weightlifting, 53kg) 7th 2008 – Ryan Pini (swimming, 100m butterfly) 8th 2016 – Morea Baru (weightlifting, 62kg) 6th

Who are the major sponsors of PNG’s Olympic team? Trukai, Air Niugini, ExxonMobil, SP Brewery, Brian Bell, The National, Coral Sea Hotels, IBSU, Blue 7 Team, Media Partners, Theodist, Trophy Haus, CPL Group, PacificAus Sports.

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Real Estate


Edai Town is one of Port Moresby’s hot spots for affordable housing. Home ownership is growing among Papua New Guineans.













56 PNG NOW JUNE 2021

The mass exodus of expats from Papua New Guinea because of COVID-19 has had a knock-on effect on the country’s real estate sector. Vacancy rates in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, have skyrocketed, especially at the higher end of the market, and rents have fallen by up to 50 per cent. According to Brian Hull, Executive Chairman of Century 21 Siule Real Estate in Port Moresby, vacancy rates currently range between 30 and 90 per cent. “There are vacancies everywhere (residential and commercial) and the prices are being driven down,” he says. “We manage 130 units for one landlord whose rents from two years ago have come down from 3500 kina to 2000 kina per week,” says Hull, whose business has offered realty and property management services in PNG since 1973. “Lesser units that were fetching 1500 kina are down to 900 kina or 800 kina,” he says. “The smart landlords are following the prices down. They’ve probably got a 30 per cent vacancy rate. We’ve got others (landlords) who won’t follow the prices down and they have a 90 per cent vacancy rate. Previously, there were waiting lists.”

Less than 500,000 kina buys a townhouse or a duplex. You can get a very pleasant house on land for that amount of money. Hull isn’t confident that expats will return in any great numbers any time soon. “The exodus of foreigners occurred due to fear of COVID-19 and their non-return can be attributed to ongoing concerns about the pandemic,” he says. However, a positive side effect of fewer expat workers is that home ownership is growing among Papua New Guineans, especially those who have been promoted into positions previously filled by expats.

The biggest take-up is being seen in the affordable housing sector at places such as 8 Mile and Edai Town, where less than 500,000 kina buys a townhouse or a duplex. “You can get a very pleasant house on land for that amount of money,” says Hull. He says Bank South Pacific’s 40-year First Home Ownership Scheme Loan, with four per cent interest and 10 per cent deposit, is popular. “It’s just wonderful, if you qualify for it,” he says.

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Money & Business/SMEs


New life is being breathed into Papua New Guinean art and craft with local artisans selling their work worldwide, thanks to a campaign called Thousand Tribes. The campaign is a partnership between USAID and REAL Impact. USAID is an international development agency and REAL Impact is a ‘profit-for-purpose’ company that partners, nurtures and grows SMEs into commercial success. The campaign offers product development assistance for international markets, access to essential business resources, including capital, sustainable PNG certification, inclusion on an international e-commerce site and international tradeshow market access. It’s a business model that is financially empowering PNG communities by reimagining and aligning their production with global supply chains and fashion trends. The business model also leverages the new awareness of consumers around the world that

their purchases have the potential to positively impact developing communities. Among the artistans involved with the campaign is Marjorie Toyamina from Pacific Primitive Arts in the Trobriand Islands. She works with weavers from her community to produce deep-fringed cushions, made from a combination of pandanus and coconut fibre, that perfectly capture the relaxed feeling of Pacific Island life. The product appealed to highend designers and retailers when showed at the SHOPPE OBJECT trade fair in New York and was bought by designer Michelle Farmer, who has four retail outlets across New York and Florida.

REAL Impact CEO, Virginia Bruce, says: “The finished products, which connect centuries-old techniques with contemporary style, transport the end buyer on a journey to this remote corner of the world.” Port Moresby-based designer Ian Jiji is another artisan involved with the campaign. Jiji specialises in screen printing and is the community leader of four women’s artisan groups in Oro Province. REAL Impact has worked with Jiji for two years, initially developing a cushion range using original tapa cloth artworks. The cushion range was also taken to SHOPPE OBJECT, with all samples sold. Jiji and REAL Impact are now working on new colour approaches for the cushions, such as a simple black and natural palette, to appeal to the international market, while being respectful of the origins of the work. Jiji says: “Seeing our tapa cloth turned into contemporary homewares empowers our community and instils great pride in the women creators.” From over 550 applicants, the Thousand Tribes program is working with 29 SMEs in Madang, East Sepik, Southern Highlands, Enga, Milne Bay and NCD. Papua New Guinean consumers can access the exciting new items at Brian Bell outlets.

Top: A ‘hippy chair’ by weavers in Ialibu is among the products being marketed overseas. Left: Ian Jiji’s tapa cushions were sold out at an international trade fair in New York. 58 PNG NOW JUNE 2021


Now you can register on your mobile and get straight to banking whenever, wherever. Kina Konnect is the simple, mobile-based banking system that saves you heaps of time because you can do the majority of your banking whenever, wherever – even if there’s not a Kina Bank branch nearby. It works on any kind of mobile phone, so if you have an active Kina Bank account, all you have to do is register through your phone by dialling *525#. Then, whenever you dial *525# and follow the prompts you’ll be able to do your common banking activities like account enquiries, top-up services, make payments, transfer funds and more! Register for Konnect today and start banking whenever, wherever. To find out more, visit

Money & Business/News


Economy on the mend 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 (BCPNG). 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. The BCPNG’s survey found that, despite a continued trend of financial decline, business leaders in PNG are showing a hint of optimism when it comes to their short-term business prospects. Although 60 per cent of businesses did not meet their projected results in the last quarter of 2020, 44 per cent are expecting revenue growth in the next six months, while only 25

per cent are expecting revenue decline. “This is a significant improvement from the previous quarter when only nine per cent anticipated revenue growth in the next six months and 74 per cent anticipated a revenue decrease,” the survey says. The survey detected signs of optimism amongst business leaders, with 32 per cent expecting their companies to grow this year and 70 per cent of respondents saying they will be able to operate in the current environment for at least a year. The survey says that reduced consumption and market demand are the top challenges that businesses face. The lack of foreign currency and the inability to get the right skills

Loi Bakani, has forecast a recovery of 2.5 per cent for the country’s economy

in-country at the right time are also consistently nominated as obstacles. Meanwhile, the Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea, Loi Bakani, has forecast a recovery for the country’s economy of 2.5 per cent after the sharp contraction of 2020. But he says the national budget and PNG’s foreign exchange reserves will remain under pressure.

A PNG first in e-commerce Papua New Guinean entrepreneur Vani Nades has launched Shopsmart PNG (, the country’s first e-commerce marketplace. The site makes it possible for SMEs and informal markets to connect to a wider customer base nationally and globally. Nades and her team liaise with business owners to help them register as vendors. She says registration is a simple process and that the site is for businesses of all sizes. She notes that recently there has been increased interest from artisans, honey and coffee producers, spice sellers and clothing

60 PNG NOW JUNE 2021

vendors wanting to join up. Shopsmart applies best online practices and has integrated Kina Bank and Bank South Pacific’s internet payment gateways to facilitate payment in PNG and around the world. It is also working with PNG Air, Post PNG, FedEx and DHL to address PNG’s logistical challenges and guarantee the delivery of goods door-to-door anywhere in PNG and around the world. Nades says customers receive a tracking number once their purchases are dispatched and that Shopsmart makes sure customers receive their goods.

The cloud is coming









Using the cloud means business can use operating capital rather than have to make large capital expenditures on their own IT systems, he notes.

Fee-free bank account Kina Bank has introduced a fee-free account, Kina Everyday, which can be opened with a minimum balance of 10 kina. “We want to take banking back to basics with better customer service and no unnecessary fee gouging. We think this is morally and ethically the right strategy,” says Greg Pawson, Kina Bank’s CEO.

A cruise blow

Cashless payments

One of the hardest hit sectors of the PNG economy has been tourism, which has slowed to a crawl because of COVID-19. In a further blow to the sector, P&O Cruises Australia has cancelled all cruises to PNG and the Solomon Islands for the remainder of the year.

Bank South Pacific has launched its new service, No Card Just Pay, a cashless payment option that only requires the client’s BSP number and registered mobile number to purchase products and services on any registered BSP pay merchant website. No Card Just Pay is a first for PNG and the Pacific.

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MARS Services/GoFood/10001/20

The adoption of cloud technology will be the big gamechanger for Papua New Guinea-based businesses, enabling them to reliably store and access data and programs over the internet. So says Steve Hillyard, whose company Pronto Software is a regional ICT provider that helps PNG businesses maintain their computer systems. He says there is great potential, but at the moment in PNG the technology is “not quite there yet”. Hillyard believes that PNG businesses are already well-informed about the advantages offered by the technology.

Money & Business/CV



Vanessa Kagena is a graduate architect with Pacific Palms Property, which is the property development arm of the Steamships Trading Company. She recently won a prestigious Steamships award that recognises employees for performing above and beyond their duties and responsibilities.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania in the US.

Vanessa Kagena on … My proudest architectural achievement was to be given the lead role in the exterior rehabilitation of Burns House into @345. It is a building dear to my heart because it was my dad’s office when I was just six years old. Walking through the corridors during my first site visit brought back childhood memories of hide and seek with my older siblings so, yeah, I was honoured to work on it. Currently I’m working on concepts for the refurbishment of Grand Papua Hotel Bar and Restaurant, which is quite exciting because I’m mainly focusing on the interior part of things. I’m also working on a 3D rendition of a local church. Winning the Steamships 2020 Managing Director’s Excellence Award made me feel appreciated because I love what I do. When given a task at work, or outside work, I make sure that I do my best. I believe that when I do my best, God will do the rest. Growing up, I always played, as the kids would call it, ‘househouse’, where I got to build an Answer: The mystery destination on Page 38 is Loloata Island Resort. See 62 PNG NOW JUNE 2021

imaginary castle with books or something with off-cuts on the mango tree outside. I also loved watching television shows about houses. This sparked an interest and I ended up studying architecture for five years at the PNG University of Technology, graduating in 2019. Architecture, to me, is the art and science of enhancing the human experience. I joined Steamships about two months after graduating when the uni recommended me to Pacific Palms Property (a Steamships company). The most important qualities of an architect are the ability to solve problems, accept criticism and have good communication skills, both verbally and through designs. Port Moresby’s architecture is changing, especially in the downtown and Waigani CBD areas. It is evolving and adapting to the modern era. However, architecture in other parts of the city still needs improvement.

My most admired architectural work is Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater. The reason why I admire this architecture (in Pennsylvania in the US) is because the architect fully enhanced the surrounding nature. It was designed in a way that did not harm or destroy nature, but merged into the natural flow of the river and the trees. This, to me, is special because it represents what I stand for when designing, and that is to ‘respond to nature’.

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At work with graduate architect Vanessa Kagena

pages 62-64

How COVID-19 is affecting property

pages 56-59

Business news in brief

pages 60-61

PNG and the Toyko Olympics

pages 54-55

A new way with coffee

pages 46-53

Can you identify the mystery PNG resort?

pages 38-41

Restaurants, bars, hotels and more

pages 32-35

Recipe, nasi goreng

page 45

Restaurant review

page 44

Style File, thoughts on fashion by women’s rights advocate Diane Kambanei

pages 36-37

Breakfast with Emma Ramsdale, TV host

pages 8-9

Two amazing women reflect on their childhood memories of PNG

pages 20-31

Vox pop

pages 10-11
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