1957 Western Samoan general election

General elections were held in Western Samoa on 15 November 1957.[1]


A Constitutional Convention was held in 1954, which recommended the merger of the 41-member Fono of Faipule and the 29-member Legislative Assembly into a new 48-member Legislative Assembly with 41 elected Samoan members, five elected European members and two ministers (the Minister of Finance and Minister of Justice),[2] with the number of Samoan members rising to 45 in future in line with population increases.[3] The 41 Samoan members would be elected from the same constituencies used for the Fono of Faipule, with voting restricted to matais.[2] The five European members would be elected from a single nationwide constituency by universal suffrage for people with European status; of the 1,432 people with European status, around 175 were European, 125 Chinese and 1,100 mixed-race.[4]

The proposals also introduced cabinet government, with a Premier chosen by the Legislative Assembly, and proposed making the two Fautuas, Tupua Tamasese Meaʻole and Malietoa Tanumafili II, joint heads of state for life, which was approved by the vast majority of the 170 delegates and opposed by only around six. The decision provoked a furious response from Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II, one of the other four paramount chiefs alongside Tamasese and Malietoa, and on the final day of the convention, Mata'afa announced that he would withdraw from public life in protest at the decision.[2]


In 31 of the 41 Samoan seats, there was only one candidate, resulting in no vote taking place and the candidate being returned unopposed. The five European seats were contested by 11 candidates, including all five incumbent MLAs. Five of the European candidates (incumbent Peter Plowman and four others) ran as the Progressive Citizens League, with the rest standing as independents.[4]


In the Samoan seats, six of the incumbent MLCs were re-elected.[1] In the European seats, the Progressive Citizens League won four of the five seats, with three of the five incumbents losing their seats.[1] Around 1,100 of the 1,432 European voters voted.[1]

European seatsEdit

Candidate Party Votes Notes
Eugene Paul Progressive Citizens League 811 Elected
Frank Nelson Progressive Citizens League 614 Elected
Fred Betham Independent 592 Re-elected
Peter Plowman Progressive Citizens League 563 Re-elected
Hans Joachim Keil II Progressive Citizens League 562 Elected
Harry Moors Independent 561 Unseated
Kurt Meyer Progressive Citizens League 518
Arno Max Gurau Independent 278 Unseated
Percy Morgan Independent 235 Unseated
July Ah Mu Independent 171
Z.F. Betham Independent 170
Source: Pacific Islands Monthly


Following the elections, Luafatasaga Kalapu was elected as the first Speaker.[5] An Executive Council of six ministers was appointed.[5] Despite his previous announcement that he would withdraw from public life, Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II was amongst its members.

Position Minister
Minister of Agriculture Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II
Minister of Economic Development Eugene Paul
Minister of Education Tuatagaloa Leutele Te'o
Minister of Lands Tualaulelei Mauri
Minister for the Post Office and Radio Faalavaau Galu
Minister for Public Works and Road Transport Frank Nelson

Formal cabinet government was introduced in 1959, with the new government sworn in on 1 October 1959, headed by Mata'afa as Western Samoa's first Prime Minister.[6]

Position Member
Minister of Agriculture Tualaulelei Mauri
Minister of Education Tuatagaloa Leutele Te'o
Minister of Finance Eugene Paul
Minister of Health Luamanuvae Eti
Minister of Justice Anapu Solofa
Minister of Lands To'omata Lilomaiava Tua
Minister for the Post Office and Radio Faalavaau Galu
Minister for Public Works and Road Transport Frank Nelson

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d New Blood In Samoan Assembly Pacific Islands Monthly, December 1957, p23
  2. ^ a b c W. Samoa Adopts Self-Government Plan for Submission to NZ Pacific Islands Monthly, January 1955, p23
  3. ^ Samoan self-government will be based on Samoan tradition Pacific Islands Monthly, April 1956, p51
  4. ^ a b W. Samoa Elections: 11 Europeans for Five Seats Pacific Islands Monthly, November 1957, p18
  5. ^ a b New Assembly Sworn In Pacific Islands Monthly, January 1958, p99
  6. ^ Lauofo Meti (2002) Samoa: The Making of the Constitution, pp47–48