Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II bigraphy, stories - Samoan politician

Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II : biography

August 5, 1921 - May 20, 1975

Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II, C.B.E. (August 5, 1921 – May 20, 1975) was a paramount chief and the first Prime Minister of Samoa. He was Prime Minister from October 1, 1959 until February 1970 and again from March 1973 until his death in 1975. He was bestowed the paramount matai chief title of Mata'afa in 1948, following the death of his father, Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinu'u I, a leader of Samoa's pro-independent Mau movement.

In 1957, he entered national politics in the general election from the electoral constituency of Lotofaga in the Atua district at the east end of Upolu island.

Personal life

Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II was the son of Paramount Chief Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinu'u I (died 1948) who had great influence with the colonial administration and a president of the Mau movement.

Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II was educated at the Marist Brothers school in Apia. He married Laulu Fetauimalemau Mata'afa, a teacher educated in New Zealand and who later became Samoa's High Commissioner (1993–1997) to New Zealand. After their marriage, Laulu was referred to as Masiofo. On his death in 1975, his wife ran for his vacant seat in the Lotofaga Electoral Constituency. She won and entered parliament, under the chief title of Laulu, also bestowed from Lotofaga, becoming only the second woman in Samoa to become a Member of Parliament. His daughter Fiame Naomi Mata'afa now holds the high chief of title 'Fiame and has been a Member of Parliament for many years, holding senior positions on cabinet.

Paramount Chief & Titles

Mulinu'u II (first name) held a number of important chief titles in Samoa. His highest title was Mata'afa which made him one of the four most important Paramount Chiefs in the country. The title Mata'afa is part of the Tama-a-Aiga ('Sons of the Families') Tradition versus democracy in the South Pacific: Fiji, Tonga, and Western Samoa by Stephanie Lawson, p. 146 a quartet of chief titles, which were of national Paramount rank at the time. The other three Tama-a-Aiga Paramount Chief titles are Malietoa, Tupua and Tuimaleali'ifano.

His other names Fiame and Faumuina are also individual chief titles. As one individual can hold a number of different chief titles in Samoa, the exact order of an individual's 'names' can sometimes change. For example, he is referred to as Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinu'u II in Democracy and custom in Sāmoa: an uneasy alliance by Asofou Soʻo. Individual chief titles (i.e. Mata'afa, Fiame, Faumuina) are designated by consensus of extended families and kinship ties under Samoa's traditional 'matai' system, and in relation to a particular village or political district. A 'matai' title is collectively 'owned' by families through blood ties and kinship., Lagaga: a short history of Western Samoa by Malama Meleisea, Penelope Schoeffel Meleisea, p. 27 The bestowal of a chief title upon an individual is done by traditional ceremony and ritual, marking the support and approval of an entire extended family and kin group for that person to take on the responsibilities of a leader of their family., Elite communication in Samoa: a study of leadership by Marie Margaret Keesing, p. 39 Only 'matai,' those with chief titles can become a Member of Parliament in Samoan politics. This still exists today.

The high ranking chief titles of Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II played an important part in his entrance into parliament on the cusp of Samoa's political independence where a European political system would exist alongside Samoa's traditional socio-political structures.

Apart from the paramount chief title Mata'afa, he was also a descendant from another high ranking Tama-a-Aiga title, Malietoa, adding weight to his selection as the country's first prime minister. Mata'afa Iosefo, a previous holder of the paramount chiefly title had played a key role in the rivalry for kingship of Samoa during the country's colonial era.

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