OUR MINISTER AND ASSOCIATE MINISTER
About the Minister
Her Honourable Minister is a proud daughter of Methodist Church Minister parents, the late Rev Tauvela Suafo’a from Salelologa and Salelavalu, and Peisepusi Racheal Leota nee Suafo’a from Avao. She’s a sibling of seven (7) brothers and sisters, and widow to the late Member of Parliament for Salelologa Constituency, Afioga Sili Pulufana Saunoa. She’s a dedicated mother of nine (9) children, six (6) sons and three (3) daughters and grandmother of twenty (20) grandchildren. Her life story reflects a journey of her parents’ calling at different church ministries and her dedication and commitment in paving her own pathway from being a wife, mother, an entrepreneur, business partner, grandmother, deacon and matai to now a member of parliament and cabinet minister.
She started schooling at Eva Primary School before her family moved to American Samoa where she spent most of her primary years at St Theresa School, Leone. She was then educated locally at Leifiifi Intermediate School, Samoa College, Wesley College and Aorere College in NZ. She completed University Entrance and entered Secondary Teachers College where she qualified as a Secondary School Teacher. She upgraded her teaching qualification at the National University of Samoa and completed a certificate in Community Service with Bradford Institute of Advanced Education, Australia. Her Honourable’s other educational achievements included training in social accountability human rights based, community research, practical financial skills for NGOs, Civil Society Management, Strategic Planning, Project Monitoring and Evaluation, Values based leadership & Management, Financial Planning & Budgeting for NGOs, Financial Policies & Procedures and Good Governance. She is currently a qualified and registered trainer with SUNGO – Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisation.
Afioga Matamua is a trained teacher and her work experience started with her teaching career at Secondary School level at Wesley College, Vaiola College, Tuasivi College and Palauli Secondary School in Savaii. She moved into the private sector to work as Agent and Manager of the Samoa Air airline direct services to Pago Pago as well as flights between Savaii and Upolu for 8 years before she started her own business with her late husband and became Co Managing Director of Lady Miriama Co. Ltd. She ran multiple businesses including Trucks and Bus Transport, Petrol Station, Road Construction, Rubbish Collection, Fishing Alias, Water Trucks, Vailima Agent and Savaii Distributor and many others. She was a farmer and plantation owner and they employed more than 30 Savaii residents for more than 10 years. Some of her businesses are still ongoing. Her most previous work experience was at SUNGO as a Trainer for 10 years, and 3 years on the Board of Assessors at CSSP, representing SUNGO.
Her tautua to her family, village and church was validated with the bestowed Chiefly Title of Matamua and Seumanu from the village of Salelologa of which she now represents in Parliament and a member of the 17th Cabinet of the Government of Samoa as Honourable Minister of Justice and Courts Adminstration. She also holds the Leota title from the villages of Gataivai and Avao. She also serves as deacon for the Methodist Church at Salelologa and EFKS Church Nuufou-Faleata.
Her life journey is complete when she travels overseas to see her family, children and grandchildren and through serving her villages, Church and the people of Samoa. Her past time hobbies are reading and also researching through both of her parent’s family background, through the ancestors of Salelologa/Salalavalu and Avao villages.
Her Honourable Minister is considered to be a reflection of her late father, who is very humble and open hearted to anyone who is in need. She does not take sides or favours anyone’s situation but believes in empathy and wisdom to understand why the situation occur, rather than how. Her up-bringing in church together with teaching and training skills has equipped her to communicate with respect and understanding. She believes that being a true leader is about humility, where leaders serve together with the people, so that they can be empowered to move forward. Being a leader is not only to lead, but to guide, to protect and to serve. With God as our Leader, we are His servants to serve in faith, honesty, wisdom and love for our people, our government and our country.