National Executive 2021-2023

At the annual National Conference and AGM held in Christchurch April 16-18 2021,  the members elected a new National Executive Committee to lead the organisation for the next 2 years:

Rev Alofa Lale

National President

Rev Alofa Lale is a first generation NZ born Samoan, who was born in Wellington and grew up in Cannons Creek, Porirua. She is the eldest daughter of Letoa Levine and Galumalemana Vaotupuo Samoa Ta’ase.


Alofa is a trained Primary school teacher who also taught at secondary level and has over 15 years’ teaching experience. In 1999-2002 she was the Pacific Liaison Officer at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW).  In 2003 Alofa and her husband moved with their young family of three children to Dunedin to train for Presbyterian Church ministry at the School of Ministry, Knox College. In 2007 Alofa was ordained minister of Otago Peninsula Presbyterian Parish and ministered there until 2015 when the parish was dissolved.  From July 2016 to the present day Alofa is the current Mission Coordinator at Mercy Hospital, Dunedin.  She originally joined Porirua PACIFICA with her mother in the 1970s and rejoined PACIFICA in 2017 and since then, has been Dunedin Central Branch's President.


Rev Alofa believes, “There is a beauty and richness in our pacific women that is unique. I want to affirm this uniqueness and encourage our women to be comfortable in their own selves. Let’s value our uniqueness to forge new pathways into the future whilst never forgetting where we come from. We are women of the moana. We are PACIFICA.


Maureen Tukaroa-Betham

National Vice-President Central 

Kia orana tatou katoatoa i te aroa maata o te Atua. I am a proud Maori Kuki Airani Vaine Toa, who has been an active  P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A. Inc. member for over 12 years through the Wellington Central Branch (WCB). I have previously held WCB executive positions of Assistant Secretary and President.


I have been married to my college sweetheart for 35 years and we have been together for 38 years. We currently live and have both been raised in Porirua. Toku tane, tamariki, kopu tangata, peu, e reo noku - are all very important parts of my life.  I am the eldest daughter (1 of 6 tamariki; 1 of 2 tamaine). My late parents were Elizabeth (Peta) Akanoa  Tukaroa of Puaikura, Rarotonga/Tumutevarovaro & Taura Atua o te maka Tukaroa of Areora, Atiu/Enuamanu.

I work at the Ministry for Pacific People’s as the Director Regional Partnerships Central and have been in this role for close to six years. The CVP role will be complimentary to my own, and will enable me to continue to build on the relationships I have already forged in this region. My vision for this Central Vice-President (CVP) role is to strengthen and grow the Central region branches/members for our Pacifica Vaine - Vouvou, Mama, mature and young alike!

‘Te maata i taau ka oronga ko te maata rai ia i taau ka rauka.’ - The more you give the more you receive.  Kia orana e kia manuia 


Saunima'a Josephine Sasa

National Vice-President Northern 

Saunima’a Josephine Sasa hails from Wellington.  Her father is from Apia and mother from Papa Sataua, Savai’i – Samoa.  She’s a proud mum of 2 amazing young people – Malachi and Lana.  Saunima’a has worked in the health sector for a number of years as a NZ Registered Nurse and Pacific Advisor to the MoH National Screening Unit. 


During the initial Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown, she was a Nurse responder at the CBAC stations across Auckland and also helped out at the new South Auckland Covid vaccination clinics.  She is currently an Academic Nurse Lecturer at the Manukau Institute of Technology and enjoys teaching and training the future Pāsefika nursing workforce.  


Saunima’a became a member of Pacifica Manukau branch in 2016 and held positions of branch President from  2017 - 2018, 2019 to April 2021 and  Vice President 2018 -2019. She is proud to have served in these positions alongside a strong executive team to empower and enable Pasefika women to achieve their dreams and aspirations. 

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Melissa Lama

National Vice President Southern


Savieta Lea

National Youth Rep

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Leitu Tufuga

National Secretary

Leitu is of Samoan (villages of Vailoa – District of Aleipata, Apia & Asau in Savai’i) and Tongan descent (village of Houma, Tongatapu). Samoan born and raised in South Auckland, Leitu is passionate about growing capacity of people so that families and communities can lead change and contribute to effective policies that can improve their health and wellbeing.


Leitu joined the Tamaki branch in 2010 and has been involved with P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A. to lend her voice ,advocate on issues that affect pacific communities in the areas she serves and nationally. She brings with her experience from libraries, local government, community and youth development, NGO sector and in Public health. She currently works for Hāpai Te Hauora, the largest Māori Public Health organisation in the  National lead for Tobacco control advocacy.


Leitu re-joins P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A. Inc's National Executive in the National Secretary role to support the movement of the organisation and the strategic direction led by National President Alofa Lale.  It is an an exciting time and she looks forward to working with the new National executive members in this coming term.  "We can only build on the amazing work that has been laid before us. It’s important that we continue to grow our organisation, to move strategically and progress outcomes that will benefit our pacific families and communities. We need to ensure that our branches are supported in the local activities. Pāsifika women continue to be the backbone of our families, I want to be part of nurturing & growing that backbone. Our Pāsifika women a big contributors to shaping our families. It's important we stay in action and aspire for better outcomes for the benefit of our pasifika families across Aotearoa"


Marie Schmidt

National Treasurer

Marie Schmidt is Samoan and is currently a member of the PACIFICA West Auckland Branch.  She has held former positions of Secretary for the Whitireia Branch in Porirua, National Communications Officer (2017) and Assistant National Treasurer (2020) for the National Executive. 


Marie is a working group member on the Auckland Government Women’s Network (AGWN) and has been co-opted on the committee for the Porirua Pasifika Community Patrol. She has worked for the Ministry of Social Development for 34 years and is currently the Lead Advisor for Pasefika Proud in the Pacific and Community Capability Team in the Ministry.


Marie has a post graduate diploma in Public Management from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), is a strong supporter of the BLUES rugby team and a proud Westie.  Her daughter Tyla and three grandchildren are Samoan/Māori and they live in Porirua.


Natia Tucker

National Assistant Treasurer

I'm a proud New Zealand-born Samoan and call both Papauta, Apia and Papatoetoe, Auckland home. A founding member of PACIFICA Manukau, I've been branch secretary for the past three years and thrive in the sisterhood that PACIFICA offers.


I work in capacity building for Pacific organisations and help mainstream organisations better serve their Pacific clients. I am an experienced community capacity and capability builder with a strong focus on collaboration and equity. I actively seek to understand community aspirations and work collaboratively to empower their achievement. I have specialist knowledge in injury prevention, community engagement, working on complex strategic initiatives, and facilitation. 


My elder daughter, Leina, is in her final year of medical school, my younger daughter, Sophia, is in her first year of university, and I have just graduated with a Masters of Philosophy with my thesis 'Tātou o tagata folau. Pacific development through learning traditional voyaging on the waka hourua, Haunui'.


Marie Laufiso

National Communications Officer

Mālō e lelei, Tālofa lava, I’m the first-born of 6 Dunedin-born Sāmoans with Tongan ancestry through our Mother’s Grandmother. Our Parents are Eti Ivala (passed on, 2009) and Mikaele Laufiso. Phillippa, Cesilia and (raised in Sāmoa) Filomena are my sisters. My brothers are Michael (1967-2016) and Mafutaga. Rosalie and Nāomi are our younger Ivala cousins – also born-and-raised in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Brockville has been our “nu’u” since 1965 - and now, 56 years on, while only a couple of us now live here with our Dad – this will always be home. Our Parents raised us with the expectation that we’d always serve whether in Brockville or Ōtepoti, regionally or nationally. We were supposed to succeed in the school system and graduate with a good university degree so we might meet the needs of Pāsifiki families through service in government jobs. Our Mum (unintentionally) raised us to be mavericks – so, while we served in many ways, we didn’t graduate until in our late 20s, early 30s, late 40s or 50s.

I was a founding member of the Dunedin Young PACIFICA Branch (1983-1989) and after decades away from PACIFICA, joined the Dunedin Branch in 2008. Prior to this term, I’ve been very privileged to serve on the National Executive Committee as Southern VP (late 2015-2016) and National Secretary (late 2017-2021).