By ELIAS LARI
AFTER 33 years of public service, Margret Potane thanks God for helping her throughout.
She received the Queens Diamond Medal from Governor-General Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae on Nov 22 in Wabag, Enga. She was among the 21 people who received their medals at the Enga Teachers College hall.
“I thought that what I did for the people had not been recognised. But someone was there who watched all my contributions. And that is God.”
Mother-of-seven Margaret is from Pipi village in Wabag, Enga. She also dedicated her medal to husband Pato.
“I owe it to my husband Pato Potane and to my seven children.”
She is now the chairlady of the Enga cultural show and holds various positions.
She was recently appointed secretary to the PNG Tourism Industry Association.
Margaret began her career in the public service in 1986 in Chimbu.
She served there for three years before joining the Enga provincial government as the women project officer.
She oversaw the development of the hospitality industry and promoted the province as a tourist destination.
In 1993 she became director of commerce, culture and tourism.
In 1994, the first Enga cultural show was held.
She also helped set up projects to empower women in the small and medium enterprises.
She also helped formed the museum and gallery called the Enga Taekanda in Wabag town.
Promoting culture and tourism has helped Enga in the development of its hospitality industry and the business sector.
Since starting the Enga cultural show in 1994, there has been a growth in visitor arrivals in the province requiring the expansion of the hospitality industry.
In 2011, she started the Enga women finance to support women wanting to venture into business.
She also helped women in Porgera which is known for tribal fights. They formed the Porgera women and agro business. Her next plan is to start the cottage industry project to help women generate money while at home.
There is also agriculture, fishery and poultry projects to look into.
She is grateful to Governor Sir Peter Ipatas and the provincial government for supporting her work.
“ I thought that what I did for the people had not been recognised. But someone was there who watched all my contributions. And that is God.”
The latest is the establishment of the Israeli farming team stationed at Surunki and working on the strawberry project.
Margaret wants to give hope to orphans, widows and the less fortunate in society.
She believes more can and should be done for them by developing agriculture, tourism and business impact projects.
“My advice to the people in the past 33 years is to know that money is in the land. They have to work hard to earn it.
“Many people are lost because they do not know what to do and wait around doing nothing.”
After 33 years of service, she sees hope in the tribal war-torn province.
“It’s all about tribal fighting in Enga. But I see that the future is brighter.”