Hon Naamal Maheu Latasi
Political Status: Minister for Health, Education and Community Services
Ms Naamal Maheu Latasi is the first and only Tuvaluan woman to successfully contest an election in the Nanumea constituency and to win a seat to Parliament from 1989 to 1993. Ms Latasi is the daughter of a prominent Nanumea politician and her mother was from the island of Kiribati. The support from her own family, women and especially her husband is key to her being success in the political arena
Ms Naama Latasi was accorded a Ministerial portfolio of Health, Education and Community Services. Prior to this historical moment, Naama was heavily involved in the development of island communities, especially in the advancement and development of women. Ms Naama was a member of the Nanumea Women’s association, the Kiribati women’s association and she also made sure that she participated in the Funafuti Women association (Funafuti is her husband’s home island). All this time she was also the Girl Guides’ Commissioner and was the mentor of many upcoming young women leaders. At the national level, she was the vice-president of the newly established Tuvalu National Council of Women. Therefore Ms Naama Latasi had vast experience in women’s affairs and was proven to be a capable leader in her involvement in the various women’s associations and organisations.
Her invaluable experience in women’s affairs, education and exposure to developments in the outside world through conferences, deeply assisted her in managing her Member of Parliament role and her Ministerial Portfolio. Ms Naama lives on very strong principles, where the welfare of family and a nation is paramount. During her term she was well respected by her male colleagues in both Cabinet and Parliament. Her views are also very well respected outside Tuvalu especially on the advancement of women in small island Tuvalu.
Raising the standard of women, the participation of women in national development within the perimeters of culture and tradition, rights for women as equal to men in the decision making arena and income generating projects for women are the major achievements she managed to accomplish during her term in office. Naama Latasi identified that disadvantages of women have more to do with adherence to traditional roles and conventions and believes that women’s representation is necessary.
This summary is taken from PIFS (2006) A woman’s place is in the House – the House of Parliament: Chapter 5 – Advancing Women’s Political Participation in Tuvalu, p.228.