“I was in a class of only boys and had to leave without completing Form 3 because I could not tolerate the bullying ; I was too young to defend myself and the urge to be with my parents became too immense.”

Maria‘s parents and their support and continuous encouragement towards attaining her formal education was always a priority as they were not able to acquire similar privileges as she was.
When Maria was finally able to go to High School, she was encouraged by her deputy headmaster and his wife who were Australian Kiaps at that time to contemplate the idea of taking up Medicine, an idea that eventually transitioned into her future goal.

Maria was then accepted into the Nursing Papuan Medical College where she went through intense training to becoming a nurse. After years in the clinical areas, she moved into the training section and acquired her position as an Educationist within the health profession.

This was the beginning of Maria’s life long journey in the Nursing Profession. In 1972, Maria was acknowledged by the Papuan Medical Research (PMC) as the Dux of her batch whilst conducting her Post Basic Midwifery at the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH).

In 1990 Maria was awarded an Australian Government scholarship and she embarked on her first academic challenge overseas at the Flinders University, Southern Australia. Maria successfully graduated with her Bachelor of Nursing. Maria explains that despite the excitement of the opportunity to enhance her education, she was also met with the challenges back home.

“It was during the Bougainville Crisis (1989-1990), it was a very challenging time for me and my family being that they were back home in the village and with the GoPNG‘s total blockade, I suffered psychological trauma, however, I was fortunate to receive great assistance, support and counselling from other colleagues and friends at the University and in Australia‖, she adds.