'Otenifi Afu'alo Matoto

Afuʻalo Matoto
Minister of Finance
In office
20 March 2008 – 3 January 2011
Prime MinisterFeleti Sevele
Preceded byFeleti Sevele
Succeeded bySunia Fili
Minister for Public Enterprises
In office
October 2006 – 3 January 2011
Minister for Information
In office
24 July 2007 – April 2009
Preceded bynone (portfolio established)
Succeeded by'Eseta Fusitu'a

ʻOtenifi Afuʻalo Matoto, styled Lord Matoto of Tuʻanekivale, is a Tongan civil servant, politician and former Cabinet Minister. He was Minister of Finance in the government of Feleti Sevele from 2008 to 2011.

Early life[]

Having obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Auckland, he became an assistant teacher at the Tonga High School in 1968. He later obtained a Master of Arts degree from the University of Durham in 1971,[1] and was appointed Assistant Secretary at the Tongan Ministry of Finance that same year. He was Secretary of Finance from 1977 to 1983, then became the Bank of Tonga's Manager for Development and Planning. From 1999 to 2006, he was Managing Director of the Tonga Development Bank.[2]

Matoto was also Treasurer of the Tonga Rugby Football Union from 1975 to 1982, and Chairman of the TRFU Referees Association "from the early 80s to the early 90s". He is the current President of the Nuku'alofa Rotary Club, of which he has been a member since 1974. He is, in addition, an ordained Minister of the Free Church of Tonga.[2]

Political career[]

Matoto was appointed to Cabinet as Minister for Public Enterprises in October 2006.[2] He was appointed Tonga's first Minister of Information in July 2007.[3] As Information Minister he claimed that the Prime Minister was being targeted by a 'hate campaign" run by the Kele'a newspaper,[4] and drafted new guidelines for political reporting by the Tonga Broadcasting Commission.[5] In March 2008 he was appointed Finance Minister.[6][7] As Finance Minister he oversaw a series of privatisations,[8] including selling the government's 40% share of Westpac Bank of Tonga to Westpac.[9] He also oversaw an unpopular Ministerial pay increase in 2009[10][11] and a series of budget cuts in 2010.[12] He lost his position when Tonga moved to an elected government after the 2010 Tongan general election.

In December 2010, he was one of the first people to be named a Life Peer in Tonga's heretofore solely herary nobility, by King George Tupou V. As a Noble of the Realm, he is known as Lord Matoto of Tuʻanekivale.[2][13]


National honours


  1. ^ "Higher Degrees". Durham University gazette. Vol. XIX, no. 1. 31 December 1971. p. 18. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "Lord Matoto of Tu'anekivale". Government of Tonga. 30 December 2010. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Tonga's first Minister of Information appointed". RNZ. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Tonga government claims hate campaign being run by Kele'a newspaper". RNZ. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Tonga to get guidelines to lift ban on political reporting". RNZ. 20 November 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Tongan king appoints new finance minister". RNZ. 21 March 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Former Ministers | Ministry of Finance and National Planning". August 31, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-08-31. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  8. ^ "Tonga Post Office to be corporatised". RNZ. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Tonga sells Westpac stake". RNZ. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Tonga Finance Minister defends new arrangement for Ministers' pension". RNZ. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Tonga Government denies claims of extravagant salary increase for cabinet members". RNZ. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Tonga govt cuts spending in military and foreign affairs sectors". RNZ. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  13. ^ "Five life Peers announced in Tonga". RNZ. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Royal orders presented at Palace". Matangi Tonga. 1 August 2008. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2022.