The Sea Women of Melanesia is an Incorporated not-for-profit Association registered in Papua New Guinea, with all indigenous female Directors.
The award-winning Sea Women of Melanesia training program is facilitated by the Association in Papua New Guinea with support from the Coral Sea Foundation in Australia and its international partners.
The SWoM program empowers indigenous women in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands with the training, skills, equipment, and resources they need to take an active role in helping indigenous communities create and manage marine protected areas on their own coral reefs.
Wherever we work, we acknowledge First Nations people as the original inhabitants and custodians of the land and sea country around the Coral Sea Arc, and we recognise their enduring traditional knowledge and wisdom.
The SWoM program supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Gender Equality, Sustainable Communities, and Life Below Water.
Lorie’s family are subsistence farmers and fishers and she was the first-born daughter her family. She spent her formative years exploring the tropical rainforests, streams, and coral reefs of her traditional country, and was captivated by the wonders of the natural world. In her own words “I’ve always embraced nature, and spent all of my life just wondering, breathing, and at some point, screaming so loud just so I could hear my voice echo through the forest”. Lorie’s love for the sea was inspired by her Grandfather, who was a master mariner and participated in the famous Kula trade around the Milne Bay province.
In 2012 Lorie met Coral Sea Foundation Director Dr Andy Lewis and was inspired to follow her passion for marine science and conservation. She visited the outer Louisiade Archipelago with Dr Andy in 2015 aboard True North and completed her first free dives on the outer wall of the Deboyne Atoll, and she went on to complete diploma courses in Conservation and Marine Biodiversity at Hope Academy in Alotau. In 2016 and 2017 Lorie travelled to North Queensland and completed her Advanced Scuba diver certification and studied reef survey methods with the Coral Sea Foundation team at Yunbenun (Magnetic Island). Upon returning home, Lorie held community meetings and mustered local support for the creation of the Nua Marine Reserve Network in the sensational marine biodiversity area of the Sanaroa Channel.
Lorie is a mother of two children and continues her work as an advocate for marine conservation in her clan area, educating and empowering other Indigenous women to speak up for the natural environment.
Watch Lorie's story - click the button below.