|O le Ao o le Malo of Samoa|
11 May 2007 – 21 July 2017
Acting: 11 May 2007 – 20 June 2007
|Prime Minister||Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi|
|Preceded by||Tanumafili II|
|Succeeded by||Va’aletoa Sualauvi|
|3rd Prime Minister of Samoa|
18 September 1982 – 31 December 1982
|Preceded by||Va’ai Kolone|
|Succeeded by||Tofilau Eti Alesana|
24 March 1976 – 13 April 1982
|Preceded by||Lealofi IV (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Va’ai Kolone|
|Born||(1938-03-01) 1 March 1938
Motootua, Western Samoa (now Samoa)
|Political party||National Development Party (1985–1988)
Christian Democratic Party (1988–2003)
|Spouse(s)||Masiofo Filifilia Imo|
|Alma mater||Victoria University of Wellington|
Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi, also known as Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, and formerly known as Tupuola Efi , is a Samoan political figure who was Samoa’s head of state from 2007 to 2017. Previously he was Prime Minister of Samoa from 1976 to 1982 and again later in 1982.
On 16 June 2007 he was elected as O le Ao o le Malo, Samoa’s head of state, for a five-year term. He was sworn in as O le Ao o le Malo at Samoa’s Parliament (Fono) on 20 June 2007.
He is a member of one of the paramount Families of State (Aiga Tupu) where he holds the Tupua title of the SaTupua ‘royal’ family. He also holds the Tama-a-Aiga Tamasese title and the title of “Tui Atua“.
Tupua first entered parliament and became Prime Minister under the title Tupuola.
Early and personal life
Tupua was born on 1 March 1938 at Moto’otua in Samoa. He is the son of O le Ao o le Malo Tupua Tamasese Meaʻole (1905–1963) and Irene Gustava Noue Nelson, of Samoan, Swedish and British descent.
Tupua attended primary school at the Marist Brothers School at Mulivai in the Samoan capital of Apia. He continued his education at St. Patrick’s College in Silverstream, Wellington, New Zealand. He was also educated at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand’s capital city.
Tupua is married to Masiofo Filifilia Imo, who is also known as Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese.
Prime Minister of Samoa
Tupua began his political career in 1966 when he became an MP in Samoa’s Fono, or Parliament. He represented the Anoama’a East constituency as MP as a member of the Christian Democratic Party. He served as Samoa’s Minister of Works from 1970 until 1972.
Tupua served as Prime Minister for two consecutive terms from 1976 to 1982. He also served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1985 to 1988. It was during his second term as Prime Minister that the Public Service Association went on a general strike in 1981, paralysing the country for several months and paving the way for the opposition Human Rights Protection Party’s entry to government in 1982; the party was in power as of 2013.
Tupua became Leader of the Opposition following his Christian Democratic Party’s election defeat in 1982. He also headed the Samoan National Development Party. He continued to serve Anoama’a East as MP until 2004 when he became one of the two members of Samoa’s Council of Deputies along with Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II. Both Efi and Va’aletoa served as temporary acting heads of state (O le Ao o le Malo) following the death of Malietoa Tanumafili II in May 2007.
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of state)
On 11 May 2007, following the death of Malietoa Tanumafili II, Samoa’s head of state since independence in 1962, Tupua became one of the two acting heads of state alongside Tui A’ana Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aleto’a Sualauvi II. Tupua was elected Head of state on 16 June 2007. His was the only nomination put forth in Samoa’s Fono (parliament) and thus the decision was unanimous. His election was welcomed by many Samoans in New Zealand. He was sworn into office on 20 June 2007.
He was re-elected in July 2012 but was succeeded by Tui A’ana Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aleto’a Sualauvi II as of 20 July 2017 after a legislative assembly vote of 23 to 15, done every 5 years as set forth by the Samoan Constitution.
Tupua held a number of academic positions during and after his political career as an MP and Prime Minister.
Tupua served as an adjunct professor for Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in New Zealand. He later became an Associate Member of the Matahauariki Institute at Waikato University. He was a PhD examiner at Australian National University in Canberra for Pacific and Samoan history.
Tupua was a resident scholar of the Pacific Studies Centre of the Australian National University and the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
Tupua helped to begin excavations at Samoa’s important Pulemelei Mound archaeological site. Samoans, under Tupua Tamasese, carried out a ceremony to honour Thor Heyerdahl for his contributions to Polynesia and the Pulemelei Mound excavations in 2003.
In late 2007 Tupua established an overseas boarding school scholarship to St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream, which allows one student per year to live and be schooled in New Zealand for all their college years, beginning in 2008.
Tupua wrote three books, and articles in scholarly journals and publications.
He holds the following titles:
- Tupua title of the SaTupua royal family;
- Tamasese title of the Tama a ‘Aiga;
- Tui Atua Faʻasavali title of Tafa’ifa;
- Tupuola title of Leulumoega;