Maria has been farming for as long as she can remember, and from an early age she realized her passion lies with the soil and what she can produce from it. She comes from a family who planted rice and vegetables for their own consumption, and she built on those skills by studying agriculture at the Sabah Institute of Agriculture at Timbang Menggaris in Tenom. After her studies, she went on to work for various organisations including the welfare department for special needs children. Since 1996, she has served as the Managing Director for Hinompuka Cafe, specializing in traditional ethnic cuisine. The cafe is located on her family land near Kivatu in Penampang and she grows produce for the cafe at Kivatu Nature Farm. Through a partnership with Forever Sabah, Maria has created a 'model farm' with the intention of educating the local community and sharing her wealth of experience. In return, she also learns from local farming traditions and acts as a conduit to pass these new found skills on to others.