Nahau Rooney

Nahau Rooney (1948- ),┬ápolitician and businesswoman. Rooney was born on Manus Island and educated on Manus and at Busu High School Lae and Port Moresby Teachers’ College where she completed a teacher-training course. In 1976 she joined the PANGU Pati and from 1977-87 represented a Manus electorate in the House of Assembly. Rooney was Minister for Corrective Institutions and Liquor Licensing (August 1977-March 1979), Minister for Justice (March 1979-September 1979), Minister for Decentralisation (January 1980-March 1980) in Michael Somare‘s Governments. In 1985 she joined Paias Wingti and other members of his faction in defecting from PANGU and founding the People’s Democratic Movement of which she became the first secretary. She served as Minister for Culture and Tourism in Prime Minister Wingti‘s Government from November 1985-March 1987.

In 1979, while Minister for Justice, she was sentenced by the Supreme Count to eight months in jail for interfering with the administration of justice. When Prime Minister Somare assumed the Justice portfolio and overturned the decision there were mass outbreaks of prisoners and student demonstrations, and five judges, including the Chief Justice, resigned. In 1987, when she failed to be reelected to the House, she became a successful businesswoman. Rooney is one of only three women who have been elected to the House of Assembly and the only woman to have been a Minister.

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