WEDNESDAY 29th MAY 2013: Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel, the Honorary Consul of France in Samoa, will be awarded and decorated with the high ranking President of the Republic of France award “Ordre national du Me`rite (National Ordre of Merit), for distinguished services to France.
The special ceremony will be held at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum on Thursday, 30th of May, 2013 and will be blessed by Archbishop Alapati Mataeliga. The prestigious President of France Award, will be presented by His Excellency Francis Etienne, Ambassador of France to Samoa.
Vaimasenu’u Zita Sefo-Martel was officially appointed by the government of the Republic of France as their Honorary Consul on the 4th December 2000, making her the first woman Consul in Samoa.
At her initiating ceremony, her late father Tago Sefo Aloalo Ioane spoke about how their French parish priest Father Huto predicted – in the early 1960s at St Theresa’s Catholic Church Lepea – that Zita will have something to do with the government of France. Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel has held the post of Honorary Consul of France for 14 years.
Zita is married to French Canadian, Mr Francois Martel, and they have 4 sons: Xavier Paulo Martel, Thierry Faitala Martel, Guillaume To’osavili Martel and Yannick Vaelenoatia Martel.
She is well known for being the first and only female skipper of fautasi since 2001, has captained and won many races in Samoa and American Samoa and made history by winning last year’s 50th Independence Fautasi Race.
Apart from consistently winning longboat fautasi races, Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel is a gold medal winner in Archery when she represented Samoa at the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia, and is a strong supporter of Judo for Rugby and outrigger canoeing.
Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel’s legacy is her excellence in leadership and mentoring of the young people of Samoa, who are empowered by her positive and “can do” attitude.
Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel attended St Mary’s School at Savalalo, St Mary’s College at Vaimoso and was a Head Prefect of St Mary’s College in 1979. She won a scholarship to study in New Zealand and attended 7th form in New Plymouth Girls High School in 1980 and was elected a school Prefect there too. She then went on to study at the University of Canterbury in 1981 to 1984. In 1994 she moved back to Samoa after having travelled the world and set up her tourism business Polynesian Xplorer Ltd, a destination management company, which has helped market and develop Samoa’s tourism industry.