Fiame Naomi Mata’afa made history as the first woman Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa after the 2016 elections.
She first entered politics in 1985 as a member for Lotofaga under the Human Rights Protection Party. She became a Cabinet Minister in 1991 and held the Education, Youth, Sports, Culture and Labour portfolios from 1991 to 2006. After the March 2006 General Elections, Honourable Mata’afa continued in cabinet with a new set of portfolios: Women, Community and Social Development; Public Service Commission, Salaries Tribunal; and Office of the Ombudsman. Following the 2011 General Elections her portfolios changed to Justice and Courts Administration. Mata’afa currently holds the portfolio for Natural Resources and the Environment.
Internationally, Fiame Mata’afa has represented Samoa and the Pacific Islands on the Executive Board of UNESCO and the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth of Learning. She has served as the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University of the South Pacific (USP) and also the Pacific Regional representative on the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
Fiame Mata’afa is a keen advocate for women’s development especially in the area of women in politics. She has been a longstanding member and is the current President of the Samoa National Council of Women and has previously chaired the Inailau Women’s Leadership Network. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa leads the Women in Leadership Advocacy ( WinLa) network of women parliamentarians, chief executive officers and public service commissioners in Samoa.
“Fiame” is the chiefly ranking title of the Lotofaga district. Naomi Mata’afa was conferred the title in 1977.
Photo credit: Pacific Leadership Program
The 70 Inspiring Pacific Women campaign has been produced by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with Australian Aid and Pacific Women. The campaign marks the 70th anniversary of SPC, and leads up to the 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 6th Meeting of Ministers for Women in Suva (Fiji) from 2nd to 5th October 2017.