P&O Cruises Helps PNG Princess Find Her ‘Voice’

A bright future in show business can await The Voice Australia contestants even if the celebrity judges don’t necessarily turn at the blind auditions.

Just ask Melanesian princess, Samantha Clark, who didn’t turn any chairs during her audition on the hit show but has been spurred on to cut her first album by guests on P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn.

The 22-year-old was invited to sail as a guest entertainer on a Pacific Dawn cruise from Brisbane to Papua New Guinea in April, which included calls to exotic destinations in the beautiful Milne Bay district including Samantha’s home, Kiriwina Island. She will sail again on the 10-night September itinerary this year.

“It was one of the most amazing times I have ever had with so many lovely people onboard the ship,” Samantha said.

“I had a great response from the passengers and many asked me if I had a CD. Their encouragement gave me the motivation to keep going and to put an album together so I have been writing some songs and working on some ‘covers’ to record.”

Currently based in Cairns, Samantha is a princess in the Trobriand Islands’ matrilineal society where birthright and tribal influence flows from the mother’s side.

“In our clan everything is taken from our mother’s side,” Samantha said. “My grandfather is a very well-known chief on Kiriwina Island and that means my mother is a traditional royal princess -- but it’s nothing like the British Royal Family.”

A P&O Cruises’ team that visited Kiriwina ahead of the cruise line’s return to Papua New Guinea last year played a part in ‘discovering’ Samantha and her singing talent. She did such a great job entertaining the local community that when the Today Show arrived on Kiriwina for a series of live weather crosses, P&O Cruises Destination Director Michael Mihajlov suggested they showcase Samantha to their national audience.

“Samantha grew up on Kiriwina speaking the local language and English and learning traditional songs and dances,” Michael said. 

“When we arrived she was jamming informally with just her guitar and we were all mesmerised by her voice as she sang both in English and her traditional language. I also saw her play at the Kenu and Kundu festival in Alotau where she was the local star.

“Fast forward to last September when we shot the Today Show weather from PNG and I asked for Samantha to participate. She did a traditional dance and then ended the show with a solo performance. Everyone was impressed, no one more so than (weather presenter) Steve Jacobs. I forwarded Samantha’s details to our entertainment team and then she joined Pacific Dawn as a guest entertainer and was given a star’s reception. That's the story so far and I am sure she will be a big star.”

And that is certainly the view of Pacific Dawn’s guests who were more than happy to ‘turn their chairs’ for the Trobriand Islands singer.