A Passion For Fashion: Showcasing PNG Designers and Designs

Meet Yaku’sau. The brains behind PNG Fashion Week and the woman who is spearheading the creation of a new industry in Papua New Guinea.

Meet Yaku! the brains behind the concept of PNG Fashion Week.

She is an inspiration to all of us and to all who have a dream and a passion that nothing can keep you away from. Today marked the start of an exciting journey for Yaku and associates plus family and friends who helped and supported them along the way with the unveiling of their awesome logo. I always believe that a logo is the best motivator to drive any plan or idea to fruition and success.

Yaku with the unveilled logo at the Nature Park, University of Papua New Guinea.

Yaku speaks about her passion with much empathy and conviction and clearly expresses her vision for PNG designs and designers who would make a world of difference to the way we look at fashion in Papua New Guinea.

Yaku hails from Morobe and is well-travelled, quietly well-spoken and has a great personality. She is passionate about her vision and dream and what she and like-minded others can do for young talented people and for PNG fashion.  Yaku to me is a true PNG visionary when it comes to talking about her journey with PNG fashion to the development and capacity building of young designers in the not-too-distant future. Particularly to capitalise on PNG’s rich cultural diversity and create a unique product that can be enjoyed and treasured by Papua New Guineans and showcased to the rest of the world.

Elsie, the designer with the two models modelling her tapa dresses. Awesomely creative and talented.

In the media release, Yaku says, “PNG Fashion Week is all about recognising talents, promoting these talents and at the same time see commercial opportunities for these talents. We want to be able to provide a platform to empower the creative efforts of local designers and artists through support system and assistance to help them on their journey to create beautiful garments drawing their inspirations from the vast diverse heritage of PNG through their garments and fashion designs.”

Yaku flanked by the two beautiful young PNG lady models.

Dave Conn in his remarks said that Yaku and her fellow collaborators and associates are at the embryonic stages and humble beginnings of a brand new industry. He also said that what we need is not money and more money on SME development but to support and invest in the efforts of young entrepreneurs like Yaku and many more like her out there who are doing something positive and taking a pro-active approach to seek support for their endeavours .

Dave Conn, gave a great encouraging speech and also saying that what Yaku and others are doing is creating a new industry. He also issued an invitation to all entrepreneurs and potential ones that the Chamber is also there to help and support new endeavours. Well done, Yako and co..

Yaku said, “As developing economy the fashion week provides a unique opportunity to create sustainable economic and cultural investment for the designers and artists. PNGFW would use the fashion show events to showcase these designers’ collections not only to PNG market but with a potential of marketing these designers globally with potential international partners. We will be providing different workshop and clinics to designers , emerging designers and models throughout the calendar year in Lae and Port Moresby.”

Tapa skirt…love the tapa designs which come from the Oro Province of PNG.

Yaku is indeed spearheading this great endeavour and this new industry which potentially has so much to offer PNG artistically and culturally in the development of young talent in design and fashion.

The shell encrusted strap of the tapa dress is really creative and looks stunning with the shells sewn on to the bodice of the dress.

Today I was so proud to discover that the designer of the beautiful tapa-wear hails from Milne Bay so she is a wantok. I am also very proud of Yaku and her collaborators for pulling off the unveiling of the logo for PNG Fashion Week this afternoon. Well done guys, you’ve done us proud. Congratulations.

Infront of the logo are, left to right, Yaku, models, Elsie the designer and Sharlene the event coordinator.

One thing Yaku said which sticks in my mind is that they want to make PNG Fashion Week a showcase for young talent .

So if you are thinking seriously about fashion the PNG way, then come to the PNG Fashion Week to be held in Port Moresby from 27th – 30th November, 2013.

Me cutting the ribbon…holding up the ribbon is Dave Conn, CEO of the PNG Chamber of Commerce and looking on are Yaku, and Sharlene who was the events coordinator for this significant event.

Thank you Yaku and Sharlene for giving me the honor of cutting the ribbon. You are on your way in the race for a new unique fashion, a  ‘made in PNG’ brand in and at the front of your game.



Port Moresby Stirs…


Sunrise in Port Moresby is a rarity for me as I live in another part of the city surrounded by flywire – an absolute must to keep the mosquitoes away – and steel bars across the window to deter the urban wildlife with an unsavoury interest and keep bigger critters at bay.


It’s not everyday that one sees this side of Port Moresby. It’s peaceful, beautiful and you moreorless wake up with the day. That’s what I love most about the tropics.


I woke up early about 7.00am-ish and these were some shots I took to remind me that amongst the negative publicity surrounding life in Port Moresby, it is still one of the most peaceful and progressive (albeit slow) cities in the South Pacific. 


I count myself lucky not to have to change my wardrobe with the seasons. This Saturday was one such day when you could venture into the city in a pair of shorts and T-shirt – in fact an all-year-round garb.


Remembrance Day Today: My Thoughts


23rd July is Remembrance Day in Papua New Guinea. An island nation in the South Pacific.

I am glad that we as a nation can remember our fallen heroes and although sad it is also a day that we should set aside to celebrate their lives.

Of course Papua New Guineans around the country will have mixed thoughts on this day about events that have happened long before they were born. But others like myself have had the privilege and fortune to listen to some of the heroic deeds of relatives.

My grandfather’s job as a printer during the war and a grand uncle who was a coast watcher or a ‘spy’ for the allies, and the story from another grand uncle about the Japanese coming ashore in his village and many more.

Also stories from my late Mom, Aunt and uncles about peace time and the American jazz band and jitter-bugging nurses on our island home, Kwato. Some evidence of WWII – crockery, Bibles and the servicemen and women’s service books which had the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ and ‘Yellow Rose of Texas and many more folk songs and hymns.


Our Milne Bay war heroine’s name unfortunately has been misspelt – how disrespectful! I hope they amend her name. Her correct name is MAIOGARU.

I looked through my photo collection and found a few shots I took of WWII memorials in my province  (Milne Bay Province) based in the township Alotau and surrounds.


So to add to the significance of today, I am posting a few photos of the war memorials I’ve visited.


Today we also remember: COURAGE, SACRIFICE, MATESHIP and ENDURANCE…the motto of the Kokoda Trail campaign. Because of these noble characteristics that underpinned the war in this part of PNG, we must now more than ever before as a nation, recognise the Kokoda Trail as part of our heritage to be celebrated as a legacy of the freedom so bravely fought for and so selflessly defended so that we can prosper at our own pace and be masters of our own destiny. “O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, a shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home”. Thank you so much.


The day ended like any other day in Port Moresby, but I this time I guess I really thought seriously about Remembrance Day even if I did not make it to the dawn service at Ela Beach.

Lunch Yesterday With Raqs

ImageMy friend Raqs and I seldom have lunch together, but when we do, we go to our favourite hotel cafe here in Port Moresby because of their sweets bar…yesterday was no exception.


Here are a couple of photos of what was on offer yesterday (22nd July, 2013).


We enjoyed our buffet (international) lunch with lots to share. I was so happy to meet up with one of my best friends for a leisurely lunch and an opportunity to update eachother on our latest news.


Usually with the buffet lunches one doesn’t really know what to go for especially when one is spoilt for choice. Of course at this cafe, there is always a basket of freshly baked bread rolls.


Testing My Camera Buttons


Today, 23rd July, is Remembrance Day so for most it is a holiday to be enjoyed or a day to catch up on chores and stuff postponed over so many other days. I had lunch with my sister and niece at one of our more upmarket hotels then returned home to a rather quiet afternoon. 

ImageI decided to go out and test the ‘A’ on my Fujifilm X10 by taking a few shots of the flowers around the neighbourhood where I live in the capital city, Port Moresby.

A couple more of my test shots.




Bali: On Ethical Tourism

Waiting for the meeting to start. We were all in a good mood it seems with lots of smiles around. It’s always an honor to sit behind the country’s name.

All day Saturday was spent at the conference. We met many professionals from government, the private sector and civil society.

H.E. Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) delivering his address at the Conference.

From the presentations, it became clear to me that ethical development is a  key issue in tourism development.

Ms Tricia Barnett, Director, Tourism Concern, United Kingdom making her presentation. She had a powerful message on the plight of and disadvantages faced by workers in tourism establishments. The exploitation through tourism.

Many countries are now making a paradigm shift from a bigger profit margin to sustainable development which is inclusive and innovative.

We heard about how one hotel in East Java, Indonesia has very successfully banned smoking in their hotel rooms and still able to operate at capacity. The significance of this is that Indonesia is within the top 5 heaviest smoking nations in Asia and 2nd to the Philippines within the ASEAN region. However, despite this, the hotel in Surabaya became the flagship for ethical development in tourism in that area. There were cynics who said the hotel will not make it but it proved them absolutely wrong.

Some smoking trivia, the Jakarta Post reported on 31st May, 2012 that, ” Sixty-five million Indonesians spend Rp 100 trillion (US$10.4 billion) to buy 225 billion cigarettes every year, doctors say.

Even worse, the number of smokers in the nation has risen by 0.9 percent every year between 2000 and 2008, according to the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI).”

Some of the speakers at the Conference.

The conference concluded with the declaration of a Global Code of Ethics in tourism development for Asia and the Pacific region.

Details of this regional conference can be read on the the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) website. You can also download the ‘Spirit of Bali Statement’ which was the major outcome of the Asia Pacific regional meeting:  ‘UNWTO Seminar on Tourism Ethics for Asia and the Pacific: Responsible Tourism and its Socio-Economic Impact on Local Communities’.

The meeting was jointly hosted by the UNWTO and the Government of Indonesia.

The quality of speakers and the material presented at this meeting was very high. Services and the hospitality we experienced was absolutely A-1.

It appears that countries in Asia are moving towards sustainable tourism but they may be a lone voice in the wilderness of luxurious hotel development and the vagaries of tastes of the touring public. But am also encouraged by the show of support for sustainable and more inclusive tourism development at this meeting in Bali.

This is an indication that PNG’s tourism offer is one that should include the collaboration and cooperation of all service providers who will underpin the growth of the tourism industry in PNG. The service providers span a cross section of the society and the development sector which includes by and large, infrastructure, law and order, agriculture, health and education.

Participation of local communities depends very much on the time dedicated to making them aware of the cost of tourism and how it will impact on their lives and their livelihoods. What are their views on such things as water usage, land usage, the impact on their tribal and traditional practices and so on. We  need more anthropological data and support that will underpin ethical development.

The speakers with their gifts at the conclusion of the seminar.

The use of technology for ethical tourism development is inevitable and can drive awareness amongst/of tourists/the touring population as well as the tourism product owners.

A fortuitous opportunity this was to cultivate the necessary regional and international networks that have the potential to provide much needed technical and strategic advice and support for capacity building and so on and so forth.

Bali: Gracefulness And Colour

Balinese dancers at the hotel entrance entertained us as we waited for our bus. I wasn’t sure whether it was specifically for our benefit or the usual Saturday night entertainment for hotel guests and visitors.

A burst of gracefulness and colour took me by surprise as two Balinese girls swayed onto the entrance of the Hotel Melia Bali, Nusa Dua. It was so refreshing.

This is my fourth post on the regional conference on ethical tourism that took me to Bali, the tourism mecca of Indonesia.

After the meeting we were bus-sed back to our hotel to get ready for the evening’s programme. Then back to the Hotel Melia Bali for the evening’s programme at the neighbouring Museum Pasifika also in Nusa Dua.

The elaborate headdresses or tiaras are beautiful as are the hand movements.

Whilst waiting for our bus at the entrance and hotel foyer, Balinese dancers gracefully swayed to Balinese gamelan music.

I was not able to get a good picture close up of this gamelan orchestra albeit a smaller one unlike the one at the cultural evening, ‘Desa Kala Patra’ on Friday evening.

The haunting sounds of the gamelan orchestra accompanied the graceful movements of the two Balinese dancers.

I wondered about the potential for these sorts of cultural performances at our hotels in Port Moresby in the evenings so guests can enjoy glimpses of our rich cultural heritage and diversity as well as the growing interest in more contemporary artistic endeavours in PNG especially among the younger generation.

Now that would be something. I think we may turn to more contemporary performances at hotels simply because of the logistics and fees perhaps. Anyway, it would a great way to showcase some of PNG’s rich talent.

The headdress or perhaps an elaborate golden tiara on the dancers head and the fan in her right hand must be the theme of the dance.

This was a cultural interlude and what a beautiful way to start our Saturday evening programme. Again I forgot to ask what kind of a dance this was.

There are many types of Balinese dance. What we saw was one type of dance. The costumes and headdresses or tiaras are quite ornate. With the colorful costumes  red seems quite prominent and am not sure if the colour red has some cultural or religious significance to the Balinese.

The expressive eye movements adds to the mystique of Balinese dance.

I enjoyed the performance although they were still dancing when we left for the Museum Pasifika.

I wondered whether we were going to witness another cultural performance or Balinese dance whilst in Bali as we were herded into two long lines in preparation for the short walk to the Museum Pasifika.