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Continuing to serve New Zealand through its work in Samoa

Wednesday 26 May 2021 8:36am

New Zealand Health Adviser to Samoa Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga Dr Trevor Matheson and his wife Nuannit image
New Zealand Health Adviser to Samoa Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga with the New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, His Excellency Dr Trevor Matheson and his wife Nuannit at an event in the University Staff Club to acknowledge the achievements of international students sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 13 May 2021.

Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga has been appointed to the role of NZ Health Adviser, Samoa with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

The University of Otago recently signed a two-year contract with MFAT, allowing Professor Sopoaga, Director of Va’a O Tautai, the Division of Health Science’s Centre for Pacific Health, to support the work of New Zealand in Samoa.

Professor Sopoaga is a medical doctor with public health and primary care expertise. She was in Samoa during the 2009 Tsunami, and more recently for the measles epidemic and for Covid-related support. She says of her appointment, “I am delighted with the opportunity to continue to serve New Zealand through its work in Samoa”.

The Division of Health Sciences supports Samoa and many Pacific countries through the work of its staff, including the training of health professional and biomedical students from the Pacific. Many University alumni have since returned and taken up senior leadership positions in their respective countries.

“I am very grateful for the ongoing support from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Health Sciences and divisional leaders as well as collaborations across the University with other academic divisions and external engagement,” Professor Sopoaga says.

She will continue to support her team at Va’a o Tautai while working for New Zealand in Samoa.