* Cover image - a young Fiame Naomi Mata'afa with her father Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II
Fiame Mataʻafa Faumuina Mulinuʻu II CBE was born on the 5th August 1921, the son of Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinuu I, a leader of Samoa's self-determination movement, known as the Mau.
He did his schooling at the Marist Brothers school in Apia and later married Laulu Fetauimalemau Mata'afa who at the time was a teacher.
In 1970, she was appointed the first Pro-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P) until 1976 and received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University in 2004.
Laulu was appointed Consul General to New Zealand before being promoted to High Commissioner to New Zealand in 1993.
She was well known for her roles in enhancing the status of women, for which she was awarded the Order of Tiafau in 1993.
Mata'afa was bestowed with the Fiame title in 1948 and also became a Faumuina. When Mat'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinuu I passed away the same year, he took the Mata'afa title, one of the four Tama Aiga chiefly titles. He was also a descendant from the Malietoa family.
In the early 1950'a he showed little interest in politics but showed a keen interest in the youth of Samoa and became President of the Samoan Branch of the Boys’ Brigade.
He was also a Senior Grade rugby player.
After it was agreed in the 1954 Constitutional Convention that two of the four paramount chiefs, Tupua Tamasese Meaʻole and Malietoa Tanumafili II, should be made joint heads of state for life, he announced that he would withdraw from public life.
However, he later backed down and contested the 1957 elections to the Legislative Assembly, winning the Lotofaga seat.
Following these elections he was appointed to Executive Council as Minster of Agriculture under the then Leader of Government Business - Eugene Paul.
His only daughter Fiame Naomi Mata'afa was born on the 29th of April 1957.
In 1959 he became the first Prime Minister of Samoa. Prior to the election of Prime Minister in 1959, the Samoan members had already decided that their first Prime Minister would be a full Samoan, and Mata’afa was their choice.
Eugene Paul and Tualaulelei Mauri were defeated.
Mata'afa was one of the framers of the Constitution of Samoa and was honoured with a Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1960 (CBE)
Mata'afa was re-elected Prime Minister following the 1961 elections, leading the country to independence in 1962.
He was re-elected again following elections in 1964 and 1967.
However, after the 1970 elections, he was defeated by Tupua Tamasese Lealofi IV by 25 votes to 20 in the third round of voting.
It was reported that he would have probably won in the second round (which was tied at 23 votes each) if one of his supporters, To'omata Lilomaiava Tua, had not died the previous week.
Following the 1973 elections, Mata'afa returned as Prime Minister, defeating Lealofi and Tupuola Efi in the first round of voting.
He served as Prime Minister until his death in 1975. Fiame's mother Laulu Fetauimalemau Mata'afa won the subsequent by-election for Mata'afa's Lotofaga seat when he passed away,
Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinu'u II died on the 20th of May 1975.
His only daughter Naomi was just 18 years old at the time and was then bestowed with the Fiame title.
She followed both her parents footsetps into politics taking the Lotofaga seat as a HRPP member, which had been previously held by her mother. She became the first female Cabinet Minister in Samoa when she took up the role of Minister of Education Sports and Culture. Years later in 2016 she became Samoa’s first female Deputy Prime Minister
100 years after Mata'afa was born and 46 years after his death, his daughter Fiame Naomi Mata'afa would become Samoa's first female Prime Minister.