Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Samoan physician elected vice dean of Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists 

Fuimaono Dr Leinani Aiono-Le-Tagaloa. Photo: LinkedIn.

Auckland-based specialist pain medicine physician Fuimaono Dr Leinani Aiono-Le-Tagaloa has been elected vice dean of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists’ (ANZCA) Faculty of Pain Medicine.

According to ANZCA, Fuimaono Aiono-Le-Tagaloa is the first indigenous woman to take on the role.

Dr Aiono-Le-Tagaloa who is of Samoan descent said her career journey had not been an easy one, but she was now hoping to make a difference.

“As a woman of colour, I would love to be able to lend my voice to (ANZCA’s) Reconciliation Action Plan.

“To increase the number of fellows of First Nations origin in particular, and of Māori, and improve and strengthen the relationship with Pacific peoples.” says Dr Aiono-Le-Tagaloa.

“I am happy and excited, but I feel very much like I’ve got a lot of learning to do.”

Dr Aiono-Le-Tagaloa said practising pain medicine was a unique challenge.

“Pain medicine strips you back to the most vulnerable place as a physician. But you get to validate someone and witness their story, that is extremely hard.”

“You haven’t got a quick fix.

“When we’ve been able to do that, I’ve had the intense satisfaction of watching people reclaim their lives.”

Photo: ANZCA.

After being nominated she spoke to her father, he reminded her of her custom and said someone has given you this honour; do not dishonour them, you accept the nomination.’” says Dr Aiono-Le-Tagaloa

“In Samoan tradition, when someone honours you, you do not refuse it.

She began her medical education at Otago University, but also completed an obstetric anaesthesia fellowship at Stanford University in the United States, before returning to New Zealand.

Dr Aiono-Le-Tagaloa was grateful for the support of her mentors and colleagues throughout her career, as well as her family and ancestors.

“It is my name on the nomination, but the credit goes to those who have lent their tapuai, their thoughts and prayers, and those who have believed in me.

“So, to my parents, my siblings, my family and my Pacific community, faafetai tele lava! And to my Faculty of Pain family; o lau pule lea. It is all of you that I carry.”

The faculty is responsible for the training, examination and continuing education of specialist pain medicine physicians (fellows) and for the standards of clinical practice for pain medicine in Australia and New Zealand.



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