The study of law as well as its practice fosters a particular type of individual and personality – one Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa (PhD) calls "adaptable, flexible and creative...one that finds a way to spin gold from straw!"
Fanaafi graduated in December 2009 with her Otago PhD in Law. She first came to Dunedin in 1991, when she was awarded a Vice Chancellor's scholarship to attend the Secondary School of her choice in New Zealand. Otago Girls' High School and Dunedin were chosen as her older brother studied and sister were both at Otago Medical School. She was subsequently offered a Scholarship in 1996 to study a double degree in Law and History at Otago.
During her undergraduate studies, Fanaafi was invited to do honours in History, Classics and Economics. By the third year of Law, Fanaafi was in the honours programmefor Law. Fanaafi graduated with double honours in Law and History in 2001. She became a candidate in the PhD programme for Law in 2003. Fanaafi was supported by her family for the first two years of the PhD Programme after which, she returned to Samoa from the end of 2003-mid 2006 and worked for the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration and the Office of the Attorney General while she carried out her field work. Fanaafi then received an Otago Maori and Pacific Islands PhD Scholarship, enabling her to return to Otago for the completion of her PhD.
Since graduating, Fanaafi returned to Samoa in May 2010, and has found employment with the Samoan Government as the Sector Coordinator for the Samoa Law and Justice Sector. The Sector Wide Approach is a fiscal management model the Samoan Government is utilising to ensure efficiency in the use and allocation of resources and to avoid duplication in improvement project activities that concern different services officered by the Government to the Samoan people.
Fanaafi attributes any achievements and successes she may have attained to the faithfulness and grace of God, the love of her parents and siblings, the strength of the Samoan culture and the eye-opening, mind-blowing, power of education.