About Me

This is still my blog site but I have moved back to Papua New Guinea from the United Kingdom since August 2010.

I like writing about stuff and people who interest and inspire me. I try to capture the spirit of my memorable moments in PNG and elsewhere in the Pacific and the world.

You can read about my musical pursuits on my website. I will be updating this site from time to time so watch this space.

36 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Eni egu Aunty,

    Was just surfing the web on few samarai stuff and came across your blog. Palapa taiyede,,,,nice photos and didnt know you’re a pro photographer..hehehe …eni saha sabidi…take care na


    1. Eni….natugu sorry for the delay in responding
      To your compliments and kind words. Agutoi lailai for visiting my blog. Will be blogging again soon. God bless. Aunty Mari

  2. Hi,

    I have just come across your site islandmeri.wordpress.com and would be really interested in chatting to you further about some advertising opportunities and partnerships that would be mutually beneficial for us.

    We work with a wide range of publishers in your niche and would like to also begin working with you.

    Please get in touch if you would be interested in chatting further about possible partnerships.

    Look forward to hearing from you soon,

    Jacqueline Rosales

    1. Hi Jacqueline, thank you for your message and I am so sorry I was not able to respond sooner. I like your idea and would like to find out more about the possible partnerships etc. My email address is: mari.ellingson0412@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you. Best, IslandMeri

  3. Pingback: Japan Guide
    1. Thank you daddykuri for visiting my blog and it’s great to know that you have enjoyed my pictures. PNG is a great place to visit if you are in an adventure mode. Have a super day.


  4. Hi JKL,

    Its Mark Shorrock here from your local Ray White Bellbowrie office. I thought you may be able to benefit from using some of the local community Facebook sites and business Nnub. If you are interested please let me know and I will send you some of the links to have a look at.

    Personal regards,

    Mark Shorrock
    0418 743 390

    1. Good morning Angela,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. Are you Carol’s friend. She is a colleague of mine.

      Have a great day. Lukim yu.


      1. Hey Tadi Davida,

        Many thanks for visiting and for your words of encouragement. Will try to be as current as I can but you know always hekwarai.


  5. Sogeri eh? I’ll tell you a little tale about Sogeri and myself, Island Meri. Ah! A memory of an old bus loaded with student teachers from ASOPA chugging up the steep climb to Roana Falls on the way to Sogeri High School where we were all to undertake our final teaching practise session before graduating and being given our postings. Must have been 1967. The bus engine overheated. The PNG driver tried to change to a lower gear but the overheated engine would not allow him to complete the gear change. It slipped out of gear and he could not force it back into any gear. The bus began to roll back down the mountain, a precipice on the right of the bus and a sheer drop to the valley on the left. The brakes would not hold it! I was out the door in a second but nobody else followed. I watched, expecting my entire group of classmates to go over the edge any second. But the PNG driver was a cool customer. He gently steered the bus into the cliff on the right. With a bit of bumping and scraping, it ground to a halt. Damn! No quick promotions for me after all…
    We walked to the Roana Hotel for a rum and coke or two to settle our nerves – and I copped a ribbing for being such a fast-moving coward.
    Next day, it was Sogeri High School and meeting and teaching the kids of PNG for the first time. It was such a thrill! And how polite and respectful they were compared with the brats we too frequently faced in our own decaying culture. There was a dam at the school, built by the kids for a water supply, under the supervision of somebody called Frost (was it David?) – a great teacher who had been working in South Africa and knew all about building dams, roads and latrines. And educating kids in his towering, self-sufficient image.
    There was a mad Scotsman there too – a colourful character with a flashing smile. He had a strong accent and a lovely wife, but at the welcome party that first night he danced with every woman in sight, sang songs like a wild man and told lots of uproarious jokes. Everyone obviously adored him.
    I was to learn that Papua New Guinea attracted exotoc characters.
    Then our postings. Kwikila for me, with the rest scattered all over the country.
    More joy at Kwikila, a mixed boarding school with delightful students. An unforgettable experience in that dry, dry savannah dust-bowl. Then the “mad Scotsman” turned up – minus his wife – to join our staff. But soon there was a bit of a storm when his eye fell on the most beautiful coastal girl in the boarding school. She liked him too. We teachers were alarmed and wanted to put a stop to it, but in the long run, the two left Kwikila and we heard they married and they must have lived happily ever after because thirty years later I heard from someone that they were still together. There was a bit more to the story, but the best bit was love winning out in the end and an exotic Scot was presumably tamed by a slip of a Papuan girl from Hula.
    Then I joined the ABC in Port Moresby and was probably there about the time you were at Sogeri in the early 70s…
    Our paths crossed, but we we clearly didn’t.
    It’s fascinating to see the sophisticated products of the PNG secondary school system writing bloggs these days, when in our day, we had to confront “B4s” (old-timers like plantation owners and managers who had been there since before (B4) the war. They would scoff at us and sneer that “natives” could not be educated. They were right in a way. I never managed to educate a PNG national to be as bigotted as they were. How the PNG nationals tolerated them I shall never know. Such sweet-natured, patient people. Until, like the rest of us, they blow up when provoked sufficiently. But no darned different to anyone else when it came to absorbing the 20th century.
    I guess my brushes with white racism up there left me traumatised. I still feel uncomfortable when I remember how politely I tried to talk the racists out of their attitudes – and continued to drink with them.
    Perhaps I’m not a “fast-moving coward” but a slow one.
    Cheers and happy memories,

    1. Hi Sean,

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your Sogeri story. I reckon everyone who has had the opportunity to go to there as a teacher or student has a memorable moment – a few perhaps and certainly a Sogeri story. Thanks for sharing yours.


    2. 1966 myself and Neil Mathews worked for the PNG electricity comminson and put the power on at Sogeri David Funnell 0415656791

  6. Hi IslandMeri: I just realised that I have a copy of your tape of beautiful music from home given to me by a very good friend as a gift & always play it when we have social get together with all our friends here in QLD, gorgeous voice & the voice of PNG. You inspire me on what you do for the children of PNG. Mary

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much for your compliments on my music and voice. I am so glad you enjoy our island tunes and that the music has blessed you and wantoks in Qld. Thank you for finding my work inspiring.

      I will be recording again at the end of this month with a Gospel album which I had long been waiting to record.

      I will be updating my website: http://www.mariellingson.com soon and will include my recording programme and what am doing with my musical pursuits.

      Glad to meet you on my blog. Please visit again.


  7. Hello Mari I stumbled onto this site & have already sent my earlier comment on the PNG new fashion. I have alsonoticed in the blogs a very good friend of mine & her hubby Reg Renagi. I would like to get in touch with Lulu if Ican obtain their contact email. I was so sorry to read of the passing of their loved one & would like to chat to lulu or reg. thanks a lot – great site of yours. Mary

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Am so pleased you stumbled on to this site. I went to Sogeri Senior High in the early 70s with both Reg and Louise. Am so glad you used my blog to connect with good old friends.

      Please visit again.


  8. hello,
    i have been looking for more information on a short doc by j. young from 1999. i found links to both j. and the subject of the doc (his father??? DJ l. young) on your blog. hoping to be put in contact if at all possible. please forward my email if you can…
    all the best,

  9. Hi islandmeri,

    Cooool greetings from Goroka to you in UK, did not expect your noticing my attempt to get into Blogsphere…

    was nervous picking up your blog address and …wow! islandmeri blog is real tops…

    Magnificent …I’ll be following islandmeri from now on know UK through you

    Thank you for the welcome to the Blog Family

    makalai bel

    1. Good morning Makalai,

      Great to hear from you. Thank you very much for your compliments. I am glad you visited my blog and enjoyed my posts.

      Once you get the hang of blogging you’re enjoy it immensely. I wish you the very best for 2010 and I’ll add your blogsite address to my growing number of PNG and Pacific links on my blogsite.

      Have a blessed day.


  10. Hi Island Meri,

    Mari. I do enjoy browsing through your blog from time to time to relax through my daily stress routine (overwork???).
    Anyway, here’s wishing you and all our readers and friends of Island Meri, a very Merry Christmas & a Prosperous New Year.

    Till next year.


    Reg Renagi
    Port Moresby

    1. Hi Reg,

      Great to hear from you again. Am glad you browse through my blog to relax – that’s what it’s all about. I trust you and the family are well.

      I posted a video of George Harrison singing ‘My Sweet Lord’ and dedicated that to you and all the class of 71-72 (Sogeri) – hope you enjoyed it. It’s still in the videos on the sidebar.

      I wish you and family and all the readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too.

      Have you seen Malum’s report on the ‘tourism ambassadors’ initiative. I posted my comments. Take a look in Malum’s posts – interesting development.

      Keep smiling. God bless.


    1. Hi Johnson,

      Thank you so much for your compliment. I reckon it is a good attempt to try and showcase my other talents. I am so grateful for IT and Online endeavours at work which got me really interested in venturing into having my own blog and website. Thank you so much for visiting.

      Have a great day. God bless.


  11. Hi Island Meri,

    Your blob site rocks! I took a quick peek at your blogsite and found it to be a very interesting site whilst browsing through Malum Nalu’s blog site. Saw your name and clicked on a link I recognized to be a an old sogeri school pal of mine. Well long time no hear and its great to see you again through your blog site pages.

    I still listen to your beautiful voice on Salima and hope to hear the new sounds you will put out as I heard you have gone solo. How are you and the other half D in London, UK. When do we expect you two back in PNG?

    M, I am writing this on the fly as I am surfing several websites simultaneously and will post you a longer comment next time, so its bye for now and keep up the good work you are doing there as a PNG ambassador. I am very proud of a school mate of mine doing her country proud.

    Well friend, see you when I next post on your blog site. God Bless.

    Warm regards,

    Reg Renagi
    Sogeri Class of ’70-71

    1. Hi Regie,

      Thank you so much for you compliments and thanks for visiting my blog. I try to put in new content as regularly as I can. I am so glad you got in touch. I am still singing but am hoping to do some recordings sometime next year. Am working on that – need to hook up with people. I should be back in PNG at the beginning of 2011.

      My recent post on my encounter with a Hare Krishna group has something for you and all the other ex-Sogeri schoolmates of ’70, ’71 and ’72. You’re going to have to go there to find out…hehehe.

      Should bring back some fond memories of that era in PNG when co-ed schools were not yet the norm and Sogeri set the mold! Weren’t we fortunate then, a little confused and uncertain but we survived those years. Are you still in the PNG Navy?

      Are on Facebook? You can also email me on mjellingson@rocketmail.com


      1. Hi Island Meri,

        Thanks for your reply. Hey b4 I forget, you still have your young girlish looks from your blog photo. Still as beautiful as ever while some of us are getting on in years! Ha! Ha!

        I am replying this at about 8.30am PNG time in the office before I go to conduct classes. I am the Director of Training and Master Trainer conducting maritime training at a private but a newly established school, “Pacific Maritime Training College”. Have some of my former navy pros to help me teach classes in seamanship training, then go back to the job behind the desk when I am not in front of a group of eager seaman trainee students. The principles of this school were desperately looking for me since last year and located me early in 2009 so I’ve just started in March.

        Yes I left the service (PNGDF) in Sep 2004 after 34 years of long, dedicated service to God, Queen & Country. It was a nice sea change and a breath of fresh air from working for so long as a state agent. Have tried a sprinkling of anything that got my interest. I was into a bit of freelance consulting in just about anything that took my fancy: security, small biz entrepreneuring projects, mail order marketing, some home biz stuff, community advocasy interest groups to help others in need of some professional support (gave my time freely & at no charge) who could not afford the high fees from those who charge them an arm and a leg, small family PMV biz, etc

        I also worked for the former Opposition Leader (Peter O’Niel, MP) as Chief of Staff to the Opposition Leader & at the same time being the 1st Sec PNC Party in 2007 b4 the national elections.

        After the elections did my own thing but mostly stayed home to look after my second daughter Jeannie who was very sick for 7 years, to nursed/care for her as during the day no one was at home. Lulu was forced to sell off her small mobile phone service business off at a loss to stay home & help me care for our daughter in the last 2 months being diagnosed terminal.

        Two months after that our beautiful daughter could not respond anymore to the long term regime of medicinal drugs, special diet, family’s love and support and left us to meet her maker in Oct 2007. I miss her so terribly and still mourn for her in my quiet moments & say a short prayer for her b4 I start my day & b4 I go to sleep each day. The healing will take some time as she was my favourite girl since she was a baby.

        I am thinking of writing a story about her one day as it was an odeal that took its toll on the family in time and resources, but we have weathered the storm. I praised our Lord for giving us the strength to provide the best for our little girl with what small resources I had at the time to make her final moments a little comforting. It was such a gut-renching experience for a father who just watched her beautiful daughter slowly slip away and the anguish of being helpless watching in despair.

        On another note, you may have read some of my letters and special social commentary articles in the media from time to time (Post Courier, Weekend Courier, National & the Sundauy Chronicle) online. I write about certain key strategic issues our govt needs to adress in PNG’s national interest. They don’t so concerned citizens have to keep reminding them. I also get invited at times to go on NBC special talk-back programe or give radio interviews by phone on air.

        M, you might be interested in this. I am the Deputy Chairman of the Papua Focus Group and we are launching our first Papuan newspaper next month called “Papua Gadona” and I have circulated an invitation widely in my email network to encourage papuans to contribute anything of interest to raise our people’s awareness of what being a Papuan is like today in PNG.

        I will send you contact details to the Editor (who is my Treasurer and may be your suai cousin, Kelly Cook of Strickland real estate & Pres of PNG/Aust Allumni Assoc). President is another Suai, Novay Mesia. I will ask to have your blog link to our website when its set up so Papuans and PNG people arounbd the world can also click on your link to add blog posts. You can be a regular contributor to the Papua Gadona to add: …experiences of a PNG expatriate in London?? What do you say?

        M, this should do for a while , but have many more exciting news to tell the next time I go blogging on the beautiful Island Meri’s site.

        Lastly, we should revive the Sogeri Reunion of our old alma mata both online and offline, and have regular BBQ get-togethers in Pom when we can get the numbers going. It went for some time by those who came after us but stopped for some reasons. I will contact the old organsers to try and get them interested again to reactivate it.

        Please give my regards to Dennis E. Take care and keep safe. God bless you, Dennis & family.

        Warm regards,

        Reg Renagi


  12. Gudi Tim & Josie,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes it is a long way from Kone and you’re more than welcome to share in my wokabaut in this great country. I hope I will be able to reccord my next album with CHM next year. See you in POM.
    Have a great afternoon.

  13. Hi Mari,

    It is a long way from the Office of Transport in Konedobu to your life in the UK. Thank you for sharing some of it with us.

    Gudi, but our life seems to have gone the other way! Come and cut another musical asdventure. Let the world go by. See you in POM

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