23 Nov 2007

Tributes paid to Samoa's first female MP

4:00 pm on 23 November 2007

Tributes are being paid to Samoa's first female MP Masiofo La'ulu Fetauimalemau Mata'afa, who died in Samoa earlier this week.

She was 79.

La'ulu was the widow of Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II, who led Samoa to independence from New Zealand in 1962.

She was also one of the first Samoan women to receive a University education

The first Pacific female to take a portfolio in New Zealand is Luamanuvao Winnie Laban - the newly appointed Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.

Luamanuvao says La'ulu was a great female leader, intelligent, courageous and full of grace.

"When we think of her, we see this powerful Samoan woman, leading, speaking, articulating our position on all issues, totally fearless and had a huge love and alofa for her country."

Luamanuvao says La'ulu says was a leading figure and role model for women not only in Samoa but the wider South Pacific.

La'ulu's funeral will be this weekend.