Being a Samoan sometimes means you have to sacrifice your dreams for your family. Ruta Masinalupe had to put her studies on hold to care for her grandmother and mother who were both sick.
But she never let her dream of becoming a lawyer go.
Last week, the daughter of Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe and the late Apaula Solomona-Masinalupe, took the oath of admission before Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu.
She and another lawyer, Nina Tala, who works for the Electric Power Corporation, were admitted together.
Ruta, the daughter of Masinalupe, former C.E.O of M.J.C.A, is from Alafua and Safa'ato'a Lefaga. She was one of the first female students at Avele College when they finally allowed girls to attend the all-male school back in the 90’s.
A member of the E.F.K.S Church at Safa'atoa-tai, Lefaga, Ruta is currently working for Apia Finance Company in the Loans and Policies Division.
A proud Masinalupe told the Samoa Observer his daughter was born to be a lawyer.
“Due to family obligations, she had to put her law degree courses on hold twice,” he said.
“First when her grandmother was ill, Ruta put her schooling on hold. I know it was very difficult decision to make, but as a Samoan girl, Ruta knew she had to make that sacrifice.
“Then she turned to teaching for a while after her grandmother passed away. “But all along she wanted to be a lawyer and she returned to school.”
Then Ruta’s mother got sick. Again she put her school on hold and returned home to care for her mother.
“My heart went out to my daughter, but she knew it was the right thing to do. “Her morals and what we instilled in her as a person, that she had to return home for her mom.... then her mother passed away.
“I thought she had given up her dream but that never crossed her mind and she returned to school to complete her law degree. She set her goals and she achieved it.”
For Ruta, her admission into Samoa’s Law Society and her law degree is dedicated to her parents.
“My parents wanted me to study Law,” she said.
“I was mostly encouraged by my father who dedicated over 40 years of his life serving at the Ministry of Justice, Courts and Administration.
“Hearing about his daily work and what he tries to offer to help the people of Samoa gave me confidence and that extra drive to pursue this degree.
Ruta is not the first lawyer in the family. Her brother Ryan Masinalupe is also a lawyer and is currently Principal State Solicitor at the Office of the Attorney General.
There were challenges but for Ruta, she is an overcomer.
“There were some very challenging times along the way but I had my parents and brother pushing me to keep going,” she said.
“Studying law is very challenging but it has taught me a great deal of discipline which is incredibly valuable to myself and wherever life may take me.”
Ruta added she chose this pathway to be of service to people.
“I wanted to become a lawyer so I could help people,” she said. “I chose law as I thought it would be a great way to use my skills in languages and communication to help people.
”I like to interact with others and help in any way I can. I am an organised person and I like structure and order as well.”
Ruta studied at the National University of Samoa prior to pursuing her education in New Zealand.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Pacific Studies from University of Auckland. She pursued her law degree at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, in 2012 and completed her Law degree in 2015.
She completed her course of Professional Legal Studies at the College of Law in Auckland.