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Luamanuvao Dame Winifred Alexandra Laban DNZM QSO (born 14 August 1955) is a former New Zealand politician. She served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Mana electorate, representing the Labour Party, and was the Labour Party's spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs and for interfaith dialogue.

Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban

Winnie Laban.jpg
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
In office
5 November 2007 – 19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Mana
In office
2002 – 15 October 2010
Preceded byGraham Kelly
Succeeded byKris Faafoi
Majority6,155 (2008)[1]
Personal details
Born (1955-08-14) 14 August 1955 (age 64)
Wellington, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Peter Swain[2]

Early life and familyEdit

Laban was born in Wellington on 14 August 1955 to Samoan parents, Ta'atofa Kenneth Laban and Emi Tunupopo.[2] She was educated at Erskine College, and Wellington Girls' College from 1969 to 1971.[3][4] Before entering politics she was a family therapist and community development worker, focusing particularly on the Pacific Island community of New Zealand.

Laban graduated with a diploma in social work from the Victoria University of Wellington,[2] and later in development studies from Massey University. In 1992, she was bestowed the Samoan matai chiefly title Luamanuvao from the village of Vaiala, Vaimauga, in recognition of her work.[2]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1999–2002 46th List 33 Labour
2002–2005 47th Mana 20 Labour
2005–2008 48th Mana 20 Labour
2008–2010 49th Mana 11 Labour

Laban was first elected to Parliament in the 1999 election as a list MP, becoming New Zealand's first Pacific Island woman MP. In the 2002 election she successfully contested the Mana electorate, formerly held by Labour MP Graham Kelly. In 2005 she was re-elected by a majority of 6,734 votes[5] She was Minister of Pacific Island Affairs (5 November 2007 – 19 November 2008).[6] Labour was defeated in the 2008 election, depriving Laban of her ministerial role, but Laban retained her electorate seat and most of her majority.[1]

In December 2009 her Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Bill, which would grant greater rights to the families of those seeking or undergoing treatment, was drawn from the member's ballot.[7][8] The bill was defeated at its first reading.[7]

On 10 August 2010 Laban announced she would resign from Parliament to take up a position as an assistant vice-chancellor at Victoria University of Wellington,[9] leading to a by-election in the Mana electorate. She ceased being a member of parliament on 15 October 2010.[6]


In the 2011 New Year Honours, Laban was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for services as a Member of Parliament.[10] She was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to education and the Pacific community.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Official Count Results – Mana". Elections NZ. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Taylor, Alister, ed. (2001). New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa 2001. Auckland: Alister Taylor Publishers. p. 526. ISSN 1172-9813.
  3. ^ Nichols, Mary (27 September 2013). "The road to Erskine College". The Wellingtonian. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  4. ^ School Ties: Wellington Girls' College alumnae newsletter. Issue 16, December 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Official Count Results – Mana". Chief Electoral Office. 1 October 2005. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  8. ^ "Member's Bill a step forward for mental health". Scoop Media. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Laban resignation to force Mana by-election". Three News. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  10. ^ "New Year honours list 2011". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2018". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.

External linksEdit