Digital entrepreneurs push Papua New Guinea forward


They’re creative, they’re tech-savvy and they’re keen to share their stories. In the first of a three part series, Lisa Smyth speaks to six Papua New Guineans who are at the forefront of the digital push in PNG.

Film maker Katherine Reki

Papua New Guinea’s digital revolution may seem slow compared to other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less exciting.

According to the latest instalment of Hootsuite’s annual world report, Digital in 2018, there are over 900,000 internet users in PNG, which accounts for 11 per cent of the population.

‘Hetri describes himself as a ‘typical village kid’.’

PNG bloggers, podcasters, filmmakers and social media gurus are making waves both inside and outside the country with their homegrown approach to digital creation, education and storytelling.

Village kid

Digital marketing strategist Ian Hetri

Ian Hetri is Brand and Digital Marketing Strategist for Linkpad Technologies and Publishing.

He is based in Port Moresby, but was originally from Morobe.

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Hetri describes himself as a ‘typical village kid’ who was selected under the Pacific Island Leadership program to study at the University of Hawaii in 2014.

On his return to PNG, he started his own branding and marketing agency, LinkPad Technologies & Publishing.

‘Companies like my own, and others such as Blockchain Pacific and groups like the PNG ICT Cluster, are doing lots to advocate and drive change in this country,’ he says.

‘Young, vibrant, industrious leaders are emerging.’


Hetri has really made his mark as a content creator and thought leader on LinkedIn.

He has surpassed 10,000 followers since he began posting original articles and engaging on the platform eight months ago.

‘My choice to be active on LinkedIn was as a result of Facebook tweaking its algorithm and my business page getting hit hard.

‘Now, I generate high-quality leads every week on LinkedIn using content marketing.

‘I was pretty surprised I got picked.’

In November 2018, Hetri organised the first ever LinkedIn Local PNG event, with over 300 attendees.

LinkedIn Local is a global networking series that has occurred in 150 cities around the world.


Film maker Katherine Reki is based in Madang.

She says she has dreamt of having her stories made into a film, but never thought she would be the one writing, directing and editing a movie from start to finish.

In 2015, however, she entered the Commonwealth Foundation Pacific Shorts competition ( and won.

‘I was pretty surprised I got picked. I had a lot of self-doubt, but after going through the process of making the film I realised I can do this sort of work.’

Reki’s digital short film, My Mother’s Blood, shines a spotlight on sorcery-related violence in PNG and how women are valued in society.

‘A Divine Word University graduate and the mother of four children, she has had her film screened in Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, the UK—and, finally, in her home country at the 2018 PNG Human Rights Film Festival.

‘A lot of people have thanked me for making the film and encouraged me to do more movies to highlight social issues in PNG. It was important to make this film,’ she says.

Read the second part of our series here.

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