PARTICIPANT LIST

Tiahni Adamson (Australia)
Tiahni Adamson (Australia)
Lead Community Engagement Officer
CH4 Global
Tiahni Adamson is a Torres Strait Islander woman descended from the Kaurareg Nations of Thursday Island. She is a Wildlife Conservation Biologist and works on a variety of projects to nurture country, find solutions to our climate crisis and advocate for First Nations justice and land rights. She works full-time as the Lead Community Engagement Officer for CH4 Global - which researches and fosters sustainable seaweed aquaculture to positively impact climate change and has a goal of zero methane agriculture. Her role includes project management, research, animal health assessments, processing, and most importantly, engaging with First Nations communities. She also lectures casually for UniSA, embedding First Nations knowledges into STEM careers, and is the state coordinator for Seed, a First Nations-only-run climate youth activism group. In 2019, she was trained by Al Gore as a Climate Reality Leader and regularly speaks to a variety of audiences on decolonising systems; the severity of our climate crisis; impacts of climate change on First Nations communities; opportunities to decolonise science and nurture country using traditional land management practices; our individual ability to affect change; and how to be an ally to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Amber Kukuileiwilimomi Afelin (Hawaiʻi)
Amber Kukuileiwilimomi Afelin (Hawaiʻi)
MPH Candidate
Harvard University
Amber Kukuileiwilimomi Afelin is an MPH Candidate at Harvard University interested in community-based marine management for improving food security.

Yolarnie Maria Amepou (Papua New Guinea)
Yolarnie Maria Amepou (Papua New Guinea)
Director
Piku Biodiversity Network
Yolarnie Maria Amepou graduated with a bachelor's degree in science, majoring in marine biology from the University of Papua New Guinea in 2011. She began her master's program in applied science at the University of Canberra, Australia, working with the declining pig-nosed turtle in the Kikori river of PNG. She shelved the master's program in 2017 to cofound the Piku Biodiversity Network. Today, she helps facilitate community environmental education, conservation action, and fosters sustainable management of our land and sea resources from the community up. She currently facilitates work to prevent the local extinction of two river dolphins; six species of turtles, of which four are freshwater; and 41 species of sharks and rays, where they work with some of the last healthy populations of sawfish in the world.

Evangelista Apelis (Papua New Guinea)
Evangelista Apelis (Papua New Guinea)
Researcher and Treasurer
Coastline Care Project
Hailing from Papua New Guinea, Evangelista was an Archer Leadership Scholarship recipient in 2019 prior to joining the Sea Women of Melanesia Inc. as one of the directors and Team Leader for the Port Moresby chapter. She was born and raised in Madang Province, a biodiversity treasure trove with well over 1,300 different species of reef fish and a diverse range of coral. She graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Papua New Guinea and has always been passionate about marine conservation and climate change. She led a group of aspiring young women at the University of Papua New Guinea through the Sea Women of Melanesia training program in 2020 and continued to oversee administrative and public relations/partnerships roles within the organization until September 2022. She is currently actively involved in a mangrove rehabilitation project called the Coastline Care Project.

Mere Bainimarama (Fiji)
Mere Bainimarama (Fiji)
Senior Environment Officer
Ministry of Environment
Mere Rosi Komailevuka Bainimarama is a Senior Environment Officer specializing in environmental impact assessments. She has worked for the Fiji Ministry of Environment for the past 12 years, taking a 2-year gap to undertake her master’s program. She graduated from the University of Western Australia with a master's degree in environmental science, specializing in land and water management. She has practical experience in conducting field experiments and assessments, as well as project management. She has a wide range of experience in the conservation space and is a keen learner. She is also part of the main core technical working group for achieving Fiji’s 30% by 2030 MPA work. She is currently a prosecutor for the Ministry of Environment.

Absalom Edwards (Republic of the Marshall Islands)
Absalom Edwards (Republic of the Marshall Islands)
Communications Officer
Republic of the Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission
Absalom D. Edwards is Marshallese and enjoys working with local communities at the grass-root level. He has had the honor of gaining experience in the RMI's marine sector as the Education and Awareness officer at the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, all of which pertains to coastal communities and support of coastal community resources management. Also, as the National Nuclear Commission's Communications Officer, he has the honor to work with displaced communities in the RMI, due to the nuclear legacy and issues that come with it. This is one of many issues which tie very closely to the marine environment. He is passionate about his work and looks forward to learning more ways to help his community and the people of the RMI.

Hulita Fa'anunu (Tonga)
Hulita Fa'anunu (Tonga)
Principal Marine Nautical Officer
Ministry of Infrastructure
Hulita Lamasialeva Fa'anunu is from the beautiful island of Tonga. Her area of expertise is marine management. She graduated from the University of the South Pacific with a Bachelor of Arts degree, double-majoring in geography and marine affairs in 2016, followed by a Master of Science degree specializing in ocean sustainability, governance, and management from the World Maritime University (Sweden) in 2019. She resumed work again with the Ministry of Fisheries, Tonga in 2016 in the Fisheries Science Division looking after the implementation, management, monitoring, and reporting of coastal resources, including biological-ecological baseline monitoring surveys for special management areas (SMAs) and all coastal resources assessments. Its aim and purpose are to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, sea, and marine resources to benefit current and future generations with the view to pass on our inheritance that is well preserved and improved. She was recently promoted as Principal Marine Officer under the Ministry of Infrastructure. She oversees the marine technical day-to-day operations, including ensuring an appropriate system of rules, regulations, and enforcement consistent with Tongan law and international treaties to guide safe and secure maritime services.

Mibu Fischer (Australia)
Mibu Fischer (Australia)
Marine Scientist
CSIRO
Mibu is an early career marine ethnoecologist within the multi-use ecosystems tropical coastal group, in CSIROs Oceans & Atmosphere, in Brisbane. She is an Aboriginal scientist with engagement skills for strengthening partnerships between First Nations communities and the research sector. Her specific interests are around Traditional Knowledge (science) and management practices being considered within modern day fisheries, coastal and conservation management. She joins with other Indigenous and Traditional practitioners to strengthen the global indigenous voice and leadership in areas of marine research and coastal indigenous livelihoods. Her goal is to bridge a gap that draws attention to the indigenous communities facing the frontline of impacts and changes to coastlines, ecosystems and livelihoods from climate change impacts.

Masasinge Hideos (Palau)
Masasinge Hideos (Palau)
Communications and Outreach Officer
Palau International Coral Reef Center
My name is Masasinge T. Hideos and I’m 24 years old. I currently reside in Ngerbeched, in Koror. My current position is a Communications & Outreach Officer at Palau International Coral Reef Center. Some of my Duties & Responsibilities: is to bring the work of PICRC to the people of Palau so that it can be utilized for conservation and adaptive management; work closely with researchers to translate research results and communicate them in an appropriate format for the different relevant stakeholders, including the students of Palau; take part in creating innovative and interesting educational displays for students and community members at the Palau Aquarium; Oversee the external and internal communication including website design, press releases, social media, and maintenance of the Center’s library.

During my years in achieving my educational accomplishments, I always hoped to return home to give back to my community, my Belau. As of now, I reside here in Palau, starting my journey as a young professional, but I hope to further my education to achieve a Masters Degree in Environmental Sciences and/or Natural Resources Management one day. I wish to achieve my goals and return to Palau, and contribute to the conservation and preservation of our Natural resources and work with the people of Palau, the resource owners and users. He hope to work and embed the Palauan Traditional Culture and Practices to my future plans in the conservation arena.

Te Maire Hoskins (New Zealand)
Te Maire Hoskins (New Zealand)
Policy Analyst
Te Ohu Kaimoana
He uri whakaheke nō Te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi me te Awa Tupua. Te Maire is a descendant from the tribes of Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hāua ki Taumarunui.
Te Maire is working as a Policy Analyst at Te Ohu Kaimoana, a tribally owned trust supporting 58 iwi (tribal) organisations to determine their own aspirations and relationships with their oceans.
From a young age, gathering kaimoana (the oceans bounty) has been an all-time favourite activity for Te Maire. Turning this passion into a way of life has led her to working in both Government and Community spaces where Iwi and the ocean intersect and interact.

Bobby Kunda (Papua New Guinea)
Bobby Kunda (Papua New Guinea)
Lecturer
University of Papua New Guinea
Bobby is a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Papua New Guinea. He is passionate about research on environmental economics, and development policy in the Pacific, especially Papua New Guinea.

Priscillasydney Maa (Samoa)
Priscillasydney Maa (Samoa)
Senior Policy Analyst
Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Samoa
My name is Priscilla Maa and I am employed within Samoa’s Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as a Senior Policy Analyst. We operate on a whole of government approach in which adapts an overarching view that encompasses the whole government of Samoa. Some highlights of my work experience so far are the establishment of Samoa’s National Security Policy (2018) as well as the establishment of the Samoan Diaspora Team (2019) under the Policy Division.

Casidhe Mahuka (American Samoa)
Casidhe Mahuka (American Samoa)
Invasive Species Coordinator
Coral Reef Advisory Group
Talofa, my name is Casidhe Mahuka. I recently graduated with my Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies and am currently putting my degree to work as the Invasive Species Coordinator at the Coral Reef Advisory Group. I am currently working on 5 projects involving marine invasive species around the island of Tutuila. These projects assist with the detection of different marine invasive species such as phytoplankton, harmful algal blooms, invasive invertebrates and fungi. After completing my contract at CRAG, I am planning to pursue my Masters in Marine Science.

Broderick John Mervyn (Fiji)
Broderick John Mervyn (Fiji)
Coordinator
Ignite4Change
Broderick Mervyn is an avid practitioner in the field of youth and community development in Fiji and is also the Coordinator and Founder of a youth-led initiative called Ignite4Change which is based in the Western Division of Fiji. He was also an Online Course Facilitator for the Professionalising Youth Work in the Pacific Modules offered by the University of the South Pacific.

He has strengthened Fiji’s youth participation in key youth policies and has lobbied for youth and grassroot community causes. Breaking the barriers being a youth, he pushed for the Fijian Parliament to engaging youths in decision making spaces, impose plastic bags levy to safeguard the dangers of climate change and strengthen cultural preservation on dying languages and cultures.

As a practitioner, Mervyn has led the helm in Fiji and Pacific Youth Engagement in decision making spaces and has represented Fiji extensively at both national, regional and international platforms.

Among his many achievements. Broderick has received the distinguished Commonwealth Youth Award for the Pacific Region, received the Member of the Order of Fiji and also becomes a Certified Online Course Facilitator accredited by the Commonwealth of Learning.

Willy Missack (Vanuatu)
Willy Missack (Vanuatu)
Founder & Executive Director
Learn to Serve Vanuatu
Currently Founder & Executive Director of Learn to Serve Vanuatu, a community-based organization led by youths and Secretariat Advisor to the Vanuatu Climate Action Network, a network of more than 70 organizations in Vanuatu. Graduated with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science at the University of New Caledonia in 2016. In 2015, was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II as one of the first ever Queen Young Leaders Awards for community service, especially to ensure communities in Vanuatu have access to clean drinking water. From 2017 until now, serve as a Negotiator on Loss and Damage and Adaptation at the UNFCCC for the Vanuatu government.

Lily Muller (Republic of the Marshall Islands)
Lily Muller (Republic of the Marshall Islands)
Economic Intern
Parties to the Nauru Agreement Office (PNAO)
Lily Muller graduated from The University of Queensland with a Masters Degree in Environmental Management with a focus on Natura resources and worked for Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority as the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) Manager. The VDS is a management system under the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) designed to sustainably manage the tuna fishery and maximize economic returns through the control of fishing efforts based on scientific advice on the status of the tuna stock.

Lily is now currently undergoing an internship program at the Parties to the Nauru Agreement Office (PNAO) in the Marshall Islands, providing economic advice on the tuna fishery profitability in the collective and individual EEZ of the member countries to the Parties to the Nauru Agreement.

Teuru Passfield (Cook Islands)
Teuru Passfield (Cook Islands)
Foreign Service Officer - Ocean Governance
Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration
With a BSc in Marine & Coastal Ecology, and MPhil in Conservation Leadership, Teuru has worked in both civil society and the public sector of the Cook Islands. She is currently a Foreign Service Officer within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, focusing on the Cook Islands' international engagement on ocean governance issues.
Teuru began her career in the oceans space as a 19 year old intern with the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources. Rotating through the various divisions of MMR allowed Teuru to discover a particular interest in coastal fisheries and aquaculture, which guided her subject choices at the University of Auckland.
Since graduating, and before her current role, Teuru has worked as a: pearl biologist on the atoll of Manihiki; coordinator for the GEF Small Grants Programme, and; campaign coordinator for environmental NGO Te Ipukarea Society.
While working with Foreign Affairs, Teuru has developed a keen interest in multilateral agreements, including UNCLOS and the potential development of an international & binding treaty to address plastic pollution. In order to satisfy her more practical ocean interests, Teuru spends her free time in the sea either with her daughter, or outrigger canoeing.

Fiafia Rex (Niue)
Fiafia Rex (Niue)
President
Oma Niue
Fiafia Rex is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific (USP) specialising in maritime and environment. With her passion for learning, Fiafia has also graduated with certificate papers from USP and the Australian National University in the areas of climate change adaptation and resilience. She has multi-sectoral experience having had roles with Niue’s Fisheries Division (DAFF), Reporter with Niue’s Broadcasting Corporation, and is a current Director for Niue Entrepreneurial Women. Fiafia’s passion is in community and environment exemplified having founded Oma Niue (to treasure whales) and Aliutu Conservation for biodiversity preservation, ecosystems protection for future generations. Fiafia has her own consultancy Eco Niue and demonstrates her baking flair also with side business Taste of Happyness. Fiafia has been employed with several projects in Niue such as the Ridge to Reef Project and the Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation Project (SUPA) – USP. She has had the privilege of research work alongside National Geographic, NZ Geographic, Conservation International and USGS.

Kenley Rudimch-Kenneth (Palau)
Kenley Rudimch-Kenneth (Palau)
Staff Assistant
Climate Change Office, Republic of Palau
Having been born and raised on the island of Palau, Kenley Kenneth’s passion for ocean conservation and research stems from his experiences as a proud Pacific Islander. Kenley sees the ocean as a means of sustenance for future generations, a solution to the impacts of climate change, and a home to incredible marine biodiversity. In his free time, he enjoys sharing his country’s rich culture and traditions, and discussing ways to amplify Pacific and indigenous voices on the global stage.

Maria Fiasoso Sapatu-Kennar (Samoa)
Maria Fiasoso Sapatu-Kennar (Samoa)
Consultant
Eco Current Consultancy
Maria Sapatu-Kennar (she/her) is a Samoan consultant running Eco Current Consultancy since 2019. She graduated from the University of the South Pacific (USP-Fiji) in 2006 with a Bachelor of Environmental Science. She also received a Vice Chancellor and President’s Prize from USP in 2018 for the most outstanding certificate graduate in Fisheries Enforcement and Compliance. She has also completed various training and capacity building in policy writing, marine research and monitoring, fisheries statistics and stock assessments, database fundamentals and climate change impacts, adaptations and climate risk management.

She has about 13 years of working experience as an employee at the Government of Samoa within the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (Fisheries Division), Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Conservation International and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. Within these 13 years, she wore many hats from engaging at the grassroots level collecting data in the field, community consultation up to regional level as lead delegate voicing Samoa’s interests in regional forums such as the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. She is well versed in building trusts, professional and dynamic relationships, and good communication skills across cultural and interdisciplinary groups or parties. Some of the milestones achieved were co-authored local and regional published marine assessment reports

Alumita Sekinairai (Fiji)
Alumita Sekinairai (Fiji)
Research Assistant
The Asia Foundation
I am currently doing consultant work with the Asia foundation as a research assistant on Pacific RISE CTIP and also with Talanoa consulting around sustainable tourism. Just recently graduated with my Masters of Science in Maritime Affairs specialising in Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management from The World Maritime University in Sweden. I am also the President of a newly developed women-youth led group named iTaukei Women in Conservation focusing on blue and Green carbon incorporating nature based solutions and indigenous knowledge in Fiji.

Tony Seleznick (Hawaiʻi)
Tony Seleznick (Hawaiʻi)
Central Assignment Coordinator
U.S. Coast Guard
Lieutenant Seleznick currently serves as a Central Assignment Coordinator for Enlisted Personnel Management at Personnel Service Center in Washington, D.C.
Previously he served as the Commanding Officer and Plank Owner onboard USCGC MYRTLE HAZARD. In this position he was responsible for 24 personnel, acceptance, operation, and commissioning of $45 M Fast Response Cutter during global COVID-19 Pandemic. The first of which homeported in Guam and serving Oceania. His previous afloat assignments include Operations Officer onboard USCGC SYCAMORE homeported in Cordova, AK and Deck Watch Officer & Navigator onboard USCGC THETIS homeported in Key West, FL. His previously served as the Aide-de-Camp to the Thirteenth District Commander based in Seattle, Washington.
Born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Lieutenant Seleznick graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Government and the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University in 2022 with a Master of International Policy and Practice. He is grateful for the professionalism, dedication, support, and mentorship of the sailors and officers he has served with.

Sabrina Kelani Suluai-Mahuka (American Samoa)
Sabrina Kelani Suluai-Mahuka (American Samoa)
Founder & Board President
Finafinau
Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka, the 2021 Territorial Teacher of the Year for American Samoa, has served as an educator for the past 11 years. Sabrina was the first American Samoan to win the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators from the US Environmental Protection Agency for all of Region 9 and was the first Pacific Islander to win an EE 30 Under 30 award for the North American Association for Environmental Education. Sabrina also represented American Samoa at the 2019 Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) program, became a winner for the 2019 YPL Small Grants Program, and selected for the YPL Civic Engagement Program as a workshop participant and also a keynote speaker. Sabrina is the founder for Finafinau, which began in 2017, which focuses on youth advocacy for the environment. In this capacity, she works with over 50 youth each year to coordinate coast clean ups, tree planting, and school outreach visits, with the hope to promote environmental conservation and resilience. In 2022, Finafinau earned its nonprofit status and now has student chapters in three districts in the territory. Sabrina earned her Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she also serves as a graduate instructor.

Tiein Taebo (Kiribati)
Tiein Taebo (Kiribati)
Project Administrative Support Assistant
Food and Agriculture Organization for Kiribati offices
An islander who cares about the ocean and is interested in collective climate action for a better future of my people and our Pacific family who are on the frontline of climate change impacts. Additionally, I feel that youth voice and action is vital NOW to lead adaptation and mitigation activities in our different communities working with our local communities to the contemporary issues we are facing, no matter which geographic area we are representing.

Marguerite Taiarui (French Polynesia)
Marguerite Taiarui (French Polynesia)
PhD student
CRIOBE
Marguerite was born and raised in Tahiti and has always been passionate about the marine environment. This is why she decided to leave Tahiti to study marine sciences in New Zealand and Australia, from 2012 to 2016. She managed to get a Diploma in Marine Sciences, a BSc in Applied Biological Sciences and a MSc in Fisheries Biology and Management. During her MSc research project, she realised how important but complex small-scale fisheries are in French Polynesia. At this point, Marguerite’s only motivation becomes to participate to the better understanding and management of the lagoon fisheries of her country. She works for the Direction of Marine resources of French Polynesia for two years (2019 – 2021), where she helps putting in place restricted fishing areas with local communities’ participation. Marguerite has now engaged in a PhD because she wants to seek innovating solutions for better fisheries management in French Polynesia and in the Pacific.

Josh van Lier (New Zealand)
Josh van Lier (New Zealand)
Environmental Strategist
City of Newcastle
Josh is currently working to develop a Coastal Management Plan for the City of Newcastle in Australia and has experience across the Indo-Pacific. Prior to his current role, he was a Senior Scientist with Fisheries New Zealand and led the Non-target Catch and Chondrichthyans portfolios, while also holding office as an elected member on the Greater Wellington Regional Council. Josh received his PhD from the Australian National University in seascape ecology, and published several peer-reviewed articles based on the results. This work contributed to Marine Protected Area design in Western Australia and New South Wales, and garnered him the John Holliday Student Conservation Award. He also received a First Class Honours Award for his Bachelor of Science in Ecology that focused on establishing a baseline dataset for coral reef fishes in the Kingdom of Tonga. Josh has volunteered for a number of organisations over the years and is an advocate for citizen science, effective science communication and forward-thinking governance.

Marino-O-Te-Au Wichman (Cook Islands)
Marino-O-Te-Au Wichman (Cook Islands)
Fisheries Scientist
Pacific Community
Marino works under the Stock Assessment and Modelling section for oceanic fisheries SPC, and provides fisheries science advice to SPC member countries, to assist them in managing the pelagic fisheries in their zones and at the regional level. This involves reacting to individual country requests, contributing to regional and sub-regional workshops, assisting other CROP agencies with fisheries science support, and providing capacity training to member countries.