Matatumua Maimoana Vermeulen (born 1936 in Samoa – died January 12, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a Stateswoman, Nurse and Environmentalist of Samoa. Her chief title, Matatumua, is an orator’s title from the village of Faleasiu. She is married to Dr. Walter Vermeulen, who is a Surgeon, Farmer and Environmentalist.
Vermeulen is the daughter of Le Mamea Matatumua Ata; he was one of the framers of the Constitution of Samoa who held senior positions under the New Zealand Trusteeship of Samoa and in the Independent State of Samoa. Her older sister Laulu Fetauimalemau Mata’afa, who was a chief and a politician herself, was the wife of paramount chief Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II, the first Prime Minister of Samoa. Another sister Eni was also a founding member of HRPP and the wife of politician Aiono Nonumalo Sofara who left HRPP in 1993 and subsequently formed the Samoa Democratic Party.
Vermeulen passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand after a lingering illness. She is survived by her husband, children and grandchildren.
Vermeulen was a former Superintendent of Nursing who was instrumental in the founding and development of Samoa’s School of Nursing. She was an active member of Samoa’s Public Service Association (PSA) at the time of the 1981 PSA General Strike that brought down the government of Tupuola Efi.
She was a former member of parliament in Samoa and the founder of the Samoa All People’s Party (SAPP) – the first political party to be founded and headed by a woman..
Vermeulen had also been involved in farming projects and environmental issues with her husband Dr. Walter Vermeulen. She was a board member of Matuaileo’o Environmental Trust Incorporated (METI) in Samoa.
In 2004, she was elected for the first time as South Pacific representative in the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) Executive Council. Vermeulen served a second term when she was re-elected in 2008; and held this post until she passed away on January 12, 2012.
Source – Savali News, Wikipedia