Long Serving Educator Awarded Queens Service Medal in New Zealand

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A long serving Samoan educator and St Mary’s Old Girl Associaton (SMOGA) veteran is one of 56 New Zealanders named on the 2020 Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) honors list, for services to education and the Pacific community.

Afamasaga Agnes Rasmussen has taught at all levels of the primary, intermediate and secondary school. In the early years in Samoa, she taught at Leifiifi Intermediate School in the late 1960s when Mr Bishop was Principal, and at Apia Primary School in the early 1970s when Mrs Lisi Vaai was Principal.

She returned to New Zealand in the late 70s and worked various schools across Auckland including Jean Batten Primary and Kingsford Primary in South Auckland, Tangaroa College, and Nga Tapuwae College.

In Samoa Afamasaga also taught a few years through 2004 – 2007 at Samoa’s Robert Louis Stevenson High School where she was Assistant Principal for a short time.

Still going strong after 50 years of service, Afamasaga currently teaches at St Mary McKillop Catholic School in Mangere.

She has been a committee member of St Theresa’s Catholic Church for the past 52 years and was a founding member of the Mangere Writers’ Group in 2017.

Afamasaga has been instrumental in training Sunday School teachers for Samoan Catholic Schools in Auckland, organising seminars and training sessions over the years.

On the administration side of education, Afamasaga has been a member of the Post Primary Teachers Association’s Multicultural Education Advisory Committee and the Hillary Commission Women’s Task Force for Recreation and Sport. She has also volunteered for PACIFICA Inc. for more than 40 years and is a Life Member of its Manukau branch.

Afamasaga Agnes has volunteered to provide training and English lessons to new Samoan migrants in Auckland and was the first Pacific woman to be appointed to the Social Welfare Commission.