by Assoc. Prof. Paul Sharrad, University of Wollongong.
Dr Regis Stella died April 18. He had been teaching at UPNG since 1988 and was a leading figure in literary scholarship and creative writing in Papua New Guinea. Regis was born in Bougainville. His origins surface repeatedly in his work, his first publication being in musicology, Forms and Styles of Traditional Banoni Music (1990) and the Banoni language supplying the titles of his two novels, Gutsini Posa (Rough Seas, 1999) and Mata Sara (Crooked Eyes, 2010). Gutsini Posa deals with the secessionist war, and Regis was greatly troubled during that period, always wanting to return to his home island and take part in political change.
Nonetheless, he pursued his academic career, completing a Masters at the University of Wollongong (UOW) and a doctorate at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), both in Pacific literatures, and returned to Port Moresby to continue his teaching there. Regis could be a very genial companion and remained committed to promoting Pacific writing amongst students. This cause he supported by adding to scarce teaching materials, firstly with the anthology Moments in Melanesia (1994) and latterly with Unfolding Petals: Readings in Modern Papua New Guinea Literature. Unfortunately, Regis did not live long enough to see its impending launch. His doctorate has appeared in book form from the University of Hawai’i (Imagining the Other: the Representation of the PNG Subject 2007). Regis’s quiet dedication to Pacific Literature will be greatly missed.
[Ed: Paul Sharrad supervised Regis Stella's Masters Thesis at UOW, titled: "Tempers unchained": politics and meaning of pre-independence Papua New Guinea drama (1991). This thesis is in the process of being digitised.]
Other obituaries to Dr Stella online include:
- UPNG mourns passing of senior lecturer Dr Regis Stella (Kairu Laho, UPNG Pub Rels)
- Condolence message (Prof. Edward P. (Ted) Wolfers)
- PNG mourns passing of novelist Regis Stella (Keith Jackson & Co.)