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Winnie Laban

1969 - 1971


New Zealand’s first Pacific Island woman Member of Parliament and first Pacific Island woman Minister of the Crown Laban was born in Wellington to Samoan parents. Before entering politics she was a family therapist, Probation Officer, School Counsellor and community development worker, focusing particularly on the Pacific Island community of New Zealand.  Laban graduated with a degree in Social Work from the Victoria University of Wellington and later in Development Studies from Massey University. In 1992 she was bestowed the Samoan matai chiefly title Luamanuvao from the village of Vaiala, Vaimauga, in recognition of her work.

  She resigned from Parliament in October 2010 to take up the new position of Assistant Vice Chancellor (Pasifika – Victoria University, Wellington, NZ).
  Highlights & Awards:
  In 2011 Luamanuvao Winnie Laban was honored as a Companion of the Queen's Service Order (QSO).
 First Samoan and Pacific Island woman elected to New Zealand Parliament becoming Minister of Pacific Island Affairs