Happy Birthday Stella!

On Friday afternoon, a number of invited guests including family, friends and business associates gathered to celebrate Stella’s 1st birthday at the Nature Park, near the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.  It was a beautiful afternoon, a lovely breeze and friendly conversation flowed. New friends made and others reunited.

Who is Stella?

Good question. And the answer is…here. Stella is a magazine that is wholly owned by Papua New Guineans. A brainchild of another very enterprising young Papua New Guinean woman, Amanda Donigi. Together with a top team of writers and thinkers and doers  they are the movers and shakers behind this PNG magazine. Within its first 12 months, Stella’s readership reads like a who’s who here in PNG and globally.

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In my humble opinion, Stella has set the standard and I know that those following in its footsteps will also find the niches where they too can shine through.

From the first issue of Stella, I fell in love with the magazine because it was featuring contemporary Papua New Guinea. A very, very refreshing change. I can recall it was breaking news! When I read the first issue, I knew that this was going to be the magazine for me and thereafter forsook all others,…especially the gossip magazines, you know what type I mean. We are thinking women and we want to read stuff that uplifts our spirits,  learn from its pages, and instill in its readers a strong feeling of national pride.

Stella showcases PNG achievers from all walks of life and shares their stories through its pages. One reads about good news stories of other PNG women, about women in the Pacific and interesting people. When I read Stella it reassures me that PNG women are a force to be reckoned with in this country and internationally. I like!

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My own collection of Stella magazines. A treasure trove of wonderful stories. A source of inspiration.

What I like most about Stella is that it represents a growing part of our population that we are quite slow on the uptake to acknowledge. Yes, folks, the young breed of educated Papua New Guineans who are daring to be different, to embrace the changing times and apply their knowledge and experiences to help other like-minded Papua New Guineans…especially women across all levels of PNG society not to be afraid of change. I share Stella’s pioneering spirit. Keep on keeping on guys!

In the cool of the evening at the Nature Park next to the UPNG campus, we gathered to hear Stella’s journey delivered by Amanda Donigi, the woman behind PNG’s first women’s magazine promoting the grace and intelligence of PNG women. The content is varied, fresh and young, and inspirational.

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Stella’s ‘mom’ shares with us Stella’s journey whilst Stella’s ‘grandpa’ looks on.

I must say I was slightly confused when the ever effervescent Sharlene Gawi introduced Amanda as Stella’s Mom followed by Peter Donigi as Stella’s Grandpa. After a short while, and thank goodness it was a short while, I kinda saved myself from what could have been another embarrassing moment of my life and you guessed it… the penny dropped. Stella, the magazine is indeed as they say ‘Amanda’s baby’! Ewa….det wan how, late bus.com, honestly.

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PNG’s First Lady, Ms Linda Babao-ONeil delivering words of encouragement and inspiration.

The birthday reception was also graced by the presence PNG’s First Lady, the lovely Ms Linda Babao-O’Neil. Wonderful encouraging and uplifting words. Absolutely identified with struggle to succeed and to ride the waves of many challenges and go after the things you are passionate about and win. Great uplifting message. She also shared with us the experiences of her two heroes and people that she looked up to. Another penny dropped…Linda comes from one of the most illustrious families in Milne Bay.

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With Elizabeth Omeri, one of the PNG designers at the reception. The outfit she has on is her own design. Love the addition of tapa cloth. Cool.

As always, I get to meet and make new friends. I met another creative person, Elizabeth Omeri, one of the designers who was going to showcase their work the following day, Saturday, 10th August.  She designed the outfit she has on in this photo. Elizabeth is also from Milne Bay.

I felt so privileged to be among so many achievers and felt absolutely blessed by the presence of so many women who are breaking glass ceilings practically everyday. We’ve got to hand it to them for the triumphs they experience and can share with us. No doubt they also experience adversity and challenges which have helped them to be strong and successful.

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A collage of some of my shots at the birthday celebration.

As my cousin, another powerful woman in her own right, and I walked away from the Park to other commitments that evening, I couldn’t help thinking about Stella magazine and how it is demonstrating in a very powerful way, and sending out a strong message that the women of PNG are no doormats, nor should they be regarded as inferior, in any form, shape or intellectual capacity, to their male compatriots.

The initiative and passion that is Stella is the power to be able to find so many unsung heroes in PNG and in the Pacific and to create the platforms and avenues that will empower them to share the things that matter to them in their lives, their journeys and their triumphs. I find so many good news stories of fellow PNG and Pacific women in Stella…’a thinking woman’s magazine from Papua New Guinea’.

Well folks, I intend to continue reading Stella. I wish them many more successes. Salute to Amanda and her team of talented, creative and energetic people.

One thing I’ve learnt through my limited association with Stella thus far is that because we live in a very communal society, all success is based on collective effort. Stella is a classic example of that. Congratulations!

Thank you so much for the kind invitation to share in Stella’s 1st birthday celebration. Definitely, a wonderful way to start the weekend. But more importantly, I took away a lot of good vibes that will surely add value to my life.

Author: IslandMeri

I am based in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea. The purpose of this blog is to share my magic moments in Papua New Guinea, elsewhere in the Pacific and the world. I have many creative pursuits - singing, songwriting, amateur photography and blogging.

3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Stella!”

  1. Oh, there’s me in one of the pictures! 🙂 If I had known it was you behind this blog I would have said hello! Lovely afternoon – and congrats to Amanda and the team!

  2. thanks for such a comprehensive summary of STELLA…I’m a subscriber and look forward to every issue way on the other side of the world in Boston….thanks

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