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Samoa weeps at the death of a great woman chief

23 November 2007 Media Statement

Samoa weeps at the death of a great woman chief and leader

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban extended the New Zealand government’s condolences and sympathies to the people of Samoa at the loss of Samoa’s first female MP and former High Commissioner to New Zealand, La’ulu Fetauimalemau Mata’afa.

“It was with great sadness that I received the news today of the death in Samoa of La’ulu Fetauimalemau Mata’afa. She was a great woman leader, intelligent, courageous and full of grace.”

Luamanuvao will be travelling to Samoa to represent the New Zealand government at her funeral.

“La’ulu – or Fetaui as she was known to her friends around the world - was a leading figure and role model for women not only in Samoa but the wider South Pacific. She was greatly respected for the contributions she made in education, politics and womens and community affairs. Her distinguished career of service to her country included her role as Samoa’s High Commissioner to New Zealand from 1993 to 1997, having previously served as Samoa’s Consul-General in Auckland.”

“Only last week she was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Samoa National University. She was one of the first Samoan women to receive a university education and she maintained a close association with education in Samoa and the wider Pacific, including through her roles as the first Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University of the South Pacific (USP) Council.”

“She was loved and will be greatly missed in Samoa, New Zealand and throughout the wider Pacific region.”

La’ulu was the wife of the first post-independence Prime Minister of Samoa, the Hon Fiame Mataafa Faumuina Mulinu’u II. She is survived by her daughter, the Hon Fiame Salaevalu Naomi Mata'afa, the USP’s current Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council. She died at the age of 79.

La’ulu Fetauimalemau Mata’afa funeral will be held on Saturday morning at the EFKS Church, Lotofaga, in Apia.

ENDS

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