Naomi Mata’afa first female prime minister of the Independent State of Samoa
Prime Minister Mata’afa is a hardworking and seasoned politician, and now is the first female Prime Minister of Samoa. She served her country since 1985. She was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Samoa in the 1985 election, representing the constituency of Lotofaga previously held by her mother. She has been re-elected in every election since, and is one of the longest-serving members of Parliament. In May 1991, she was appointed Minister of Education, becoming Samoa’s first female Cabinet Minister. She held that position until 2006, when she was appointed as Minister of Women, Community & Social Development. From 2011 to 2016 she served as Minister of Justice.
In March 2016 Mataʻafa was elected deputy leader of the Human Rights Protection Party, defeating Faumuina Tiatia Liuga in a caucus vote. On 19 March 2016, she was sworn in as Samoa’s first female deputy prime minister. She was also appointed Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.
Mataʻafa has represented Samoa on the executive board of UNESCO. From 2006 to 2012 she served as Pro Chancellor and Chairperson of the University of the South Pacific. She is currently President of the Samoa National Council of Women.
In 2018 while Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, she launched the Women in Climate Change Initiative (WiCC) of which she is the Patron.
Mataʻafa was educated at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School and Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
On 24 May 2021, Samoa’s Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa was locked out of the Pacific nation’s parliament after her political rival refused to cede power despite losing a general election in April.
Mata’afa arrived at the Pacific nation’s parliament on Monday, accompanied by judges, ready to form a new government and take the oath as the country’s first female prime minister.
These events are part of a bitter power struggle, with Malielegaoi – who has governed Samoa for 22 years – refusing to relinquish power, even though the courts have confirmed Mata’afa’s narrow election win in last month’s vote.
Barred from entering the legislative chamber, Mata’afa and members of her FAST party held an ad-hoc oath-taking ceremony in a large marquee in the gardens of parliament, as supporters sang hymns and police looked on.
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