Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Samoa swears in first female deputy PM

Fiame Naomi Mata'afa's (pictured) appointment was announced today by the country's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, as he revealed his Cabinet Ministers. Photo / Getty Images
Fiame Naomi Mata'afa's (pictured) appointment was announced today by the country's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, as he revealed his Cabinet Ministers. Photo / Getty Images

Samoa has elected a woman as its new Deputy Prime Minister, the first time a woman has been awarded the position in the island nation's history.

Fiame Naomi Mata'afa's appointment was announced today by the country's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, as he revealed his Cabinet Ministers.

Ms Mata'afa's appointment confirms ongoing speculation in the country that she would be given the role.

It follows the island's election early this month, in which the Human Rights Protection Party confirmed a landslide victory.

Ms Mata'afa, one of four women in Samoa's Parliament, attended Victoria University in 1976.

She is well respected among locals and Samoans overseas, hailing from one of the country's most prestigious families.

Her father, the late paramount chief Mata'afa Fiame Mata'afa, became Samoa's first Prime Minister in 1959.

In 1962, when the country gained independence, he was tasked with lowering the New Zealand flag at a special ceremony as the Samoan flag was raised by then Head of State, the late Malietoa Tanumafili II.

- NZ Herald

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