Born in Apia, migrated to NZ at the age of 11. Loretta has Chinese heritage through her maternal great-grandmother who was half Chinese/Samoan.
In January 2006, Loretta started her career in the public sector at Housing New Zealand Corporation’s (HNZC) Auckland Policy Office where she worked until May 2012 when she moved to Wellington to take up a role as Senior Policy Analyst with the newly established Ministry for Primary Industries, which combined the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; Ministry of Fisheries; Biosecurity NZ and the Food Safety Authority. Loretta started as an Assistant Policy Analyst, then a Policy Analyst in July 2007, before progressing to Senior Policy Analyst by July 2010.
In her role at the Ministry, Loretta was the policy lead negotiating a Government Industry Agreement with primary industries which was successfully concluded in June 2013 with an agreed Deed which was endorsed by Cabinet in December 2013. Loretta was policy lead for the two 2014 fruit fly discoveries in Whangarei which involved briefing Ministers daily. She was also involved in the Foot and Mouth Disease Preparedness Programme of work.
Currently, Loretta is leading the Ministry’s policy work on water policy development and implementation particularly in managing with environment limits while also achieving economic (production and profitability) and social outcomes. She is the Ministry’s lead on policy work to address Maori iwi/hapu rights and interests in the context of freshwater. She is also leading the provision of advice on behalf of the Ministry and the Ministry for the Environment to the Land & Water Forum, and supporting a national collaborative primary industries group looking at ways to identify pragmatic solutions to achieve improved holistic outcomes through using farm plans.
Loretta is a Graduate Scholar of the School of Geography and Environmental Science, at the University of Auckland. She holds a Master of Arts degree with First Class Honours in Geography and as part of her Masters completed a thesis on: “Rethinking Environmental Justice: Otara”. This was a multi-disciplinary thesis which explored the disproportionate exposure of particular groups of people to landscapes or environments of injustice. Loretta has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Political Science and Geography with supporting papers in History and Pacific/ Development Studies. Her main areas of specialisations are: resource and environmental management and protection, environmental justice, sustainability & land use, regions/networking & governance, distributive/procedural justice, participatory processes, rights, places & transformations.
In 1999, Loretta gained a Distinction for the Young Enterprise Scheme Examination conducted under the University of Cambridge’s International Examinations and entrance to the University of Auckland.
Loretta was recipient of numerous scholarships – University of Auckland Graduate Scholarship for my Masters degree, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade scholarship for Post Graduate students, Auckland City Council Queen Elizabeth II scholarships for two consecutive years, Pacific Business Trust Special Awards Scholarship, Pacific Islands Polynesian Education Foundation Scholarship and University of Auckland Access Awards for three consecutive years. During her studies, Loretta worked numerous jobs at the University of Auckland to support herself and her family back in Samoa. This included working as a Student Ambassador/ Advisor for the Faculty of Arts Student Centre; tutoring at the School of Geography & Environmental Science; an Assistant in the School of Geography and Environmental Science Student Centre, tutoring for the Centre for Pacific Studies, and working as a clerk for the Calendar & Regulations Office at the University.