the faces of nepal

08 May
May 8, 2015

In February 2015 I had the great privilege of travelling to Kathmandu, Nepal. Going there to cover a meeting on the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, I arrived several days early to experience at least a small bit of the country, the colours, sounds, textures and tastes that had tantalised my imagination since I was a child. Read more →

like people you see in a dream: adventuring into the heart of papua new guinea

03 Mar
March 3, 2015

The pilot’s voice crackles over the headset, snapping me out of my entrancement: “You can just see the village in the clearing.” I’ve been mesmerised by the hundreds of kilometres of natural rainforest blurring together below, the steady drone of the helicopter’s swirling blades soothing me into calmness. Now my heart leaps into my throat. My eyes search the landscape and, just when it seems impossible, there appears a small settlement among the thousands of trees. Read more →

Samoa: a hidden treasure in the South Pacific

28 Jan
January 28, 2015

“It’s time for Zumba, are you coming?”

The book delicately balanced on my face to block out the afternoon sun slides off to the side as I stretch out lazily on the beach. “Zumba?” I ask, yawning. “Here? Really!?”

Tau laughs. He’s one of the employees at this small resort and throughout the day he’s only seen me move once, to refill my bottle of cold water and pick bananas directly from the tree. Aside from that, I’ve been like a lizard baking in the sun all day.

“Yes, it’s on the deck,” he replies. “Come on!”

I sit up in the sand and look around. The ocean is a perfect blue, calm and so clear that I can see small fish swimming below the surface. The sun is warm and the coconut palms are gently swaying in the breeze. I feel like I’ve woken up on a movie set of a tropical island paradise and it takes me a moment to realise that all of this real: this paradise is Savai’i, the largest island of Samoa. Read more →

The Moresby Arts Theatre: 100 years of artistic celebration in Papua New Guinea

19 Jan
January 19, 2015

The great poet and writer Oscar Wilde once said, “I regard theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human.”

Throughout history and across all cultures, theatre, music, dance, writing and art have been central to the progression and development of societies. Art is about storytelling, about finding and sharing a common identity, a sense of meaning, and of making sense of the world. The arts help to create a dialogue that broadens understanding and builds bridges between differences.

This year, the Moresby Arts Theatre (MAT) in Papua New Guinea is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. Read more →

Celebrating 39 years of Independence in Papua New Guinea

20 Nov
November 20, 2014

On 16 September 1975, the Papua New Guinean flag was raised on Independence Hill in Port Moresby to the sound of the new national anthem, signifying Papua New Guinea’s first moments as an independent state. For the 39 years which have followed, Papua New Guineans have remembered this day through a celebration of culture, traditional sing-sings and festivities that are unmatched around the world. Read more →

The Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival: Celebrating Cultural Diversity

15 Oct
October 15, 2014

As we walk through the large, wooden gates of Constitution Park in Port Moresby, there is excitement all around. Artists are enthusiastically selling their wares from the traditional huts that line the walkways, a sing-sing group with bright colours and long feathers takes it place on the stage, and a traditional long haus looms over the hundreds of people walking by. This is the 5th Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival, hosted for the first time by Papua New Guinea.  Read more →

From the gravesite to the stage

19 May
May 19, 2014

Nori Vagi Brash speaks about her life as a Papua New Guinean poet, writer, and social activist

You probably haven’t heard of Nora Vagi Brash, and you might need a map to locate Papua New Guinea. But tucked away in this exotic island of the South Pacific, Nora is respected as one of the most outstanding playwrights and poets in the region, and the only female playwright published in the country.  Read more →

the spectacular kikori river

26 Apr
April 26, 2014

The Kikori River is one of my favourite places in the world. At almost 230km long, it stretches over almost 23,300 km2 through the western part of Gulf Province in Papua New Guinea, forming a magnificent delta that reaches down to the Gulf of Papua. It is intensely remote, with dense mangrove forests lining the interweaving waterways, and small villages appearing in places that seem impossible. The river, and its people, inspire a certain awe, one that is unmatched in the places I have visited on my travels around the world. Living predominantly off of fish and sago, the people here live humble lives, their stilted wooden huts line the river banks and their dugout canoes paddle softly along the water. Their trials of poverty are as real as the crocodiles they fend off almost daily, and yet they have survived like this for countless generations. There is certainly magic in these waters, a calmness, a soothing, and it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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a garden of happiness

16 Apr
April 16, 2014

One of my goals this year is to grow a vegetable garden. To be honest, I’m not very good with plants. I’m good at admiring them, speaking to them, and generally loving them, but growing them has always been a daunting task. The great irony is that I’ve spent most of my life around farmers, whether in lecture halls at university, working with specialists on international development projects, or covering articles on women’s agri-business associations in Papua New Guinea. I should be a person well placed for knowing what to do, but the tragic tales of my dead cacti say otherwise.

I decided to take on the challenge.

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going local at malaoro market

14 Apr
April 14, 2014

Despite the fact that PNG is an extraordinarily lush country, good quality local fruit and vegetables are hard to come by in Port Moresby. Most of us shop at supermarkets where a wide variety of beautiful, but expensive, imported vegetables can be found.

A more exciting shopping experience, however, can be found at Malaoro Market, a fresh fruit and vegetable market located at Gavamani Road. The aisles are a little rougher than those in the air-conditioned supermarkets, but the abundance of staple vegetables is just as good, the prices reasonable, and the colours and experience worth every minute. Produce ranges from lettuce, to carrots, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and corn, as well as an array of fruits including bananas, pineapples, and watermelon. There is also a seafood section, where fresh fish and crabs are in abundance. Read more →