His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi

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Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi, also known as Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi and formerly known as Tupuola Efi (born 1 March 1938), 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.

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.

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.