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Sir Toaripi Lauti GCMG PC (28 November 1928 – 25 May 2014) was a Tuvaluan politician who served as chief minister of the Colony of Tuvalu (1975–78), as the first prime minister following Tuvalu's independence (1978-1981) and governor-general of Tuvalu (1990-1993). He was married to Sualua Tui.

Sir Toaripi Lauti

3rd Governor-General of Tuvalu
In office
1 October 1990 – 1 December 1993
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterBikenibeu Paeniu
Preceded byTupua Leupena
Succeeded byTomu Sione
1st Prime Minister of Tuvalu
In office
1 October 1978 – 8 September 1981
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralFiatau Penitala Teo
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byTomasi Puapua
1st Chief Minister of the Ellice Islands
In office
2 October 1975 – 1 October 1978
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralThomas Laying
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byPosition Abolished
Personal details
Born28 November 1928
Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Died25 May 2014(2014-05-25) (aged 85)
Funafuti, Tuvalu
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Sualua Tui


Lauti was born in Toaripi Village of Papua New Guinea. His father was Pastor Lauti of Funafuti. He studied at Elisefou (New Ellice) primary school in Vaitupu for 6 years from 1938 to 1944. In 1945 he was sent to study in Fiji at the Londoni Provincial School and in 1946 at the Queen Victoria School, before moving in 1947 to Wesley College in Auckland, New Zealand. From 1948 to 1951 he finished his schooling at St Andrews College in Christchurch 1948. He attended the Teachers' Training College in Christchurch in 1952 and 1953, at the same time he was a House Master at St Andrew's College.

Pre-Independence careerEdit

Toaripi Lauti was a teacher at King George V Secondary School in Tarawa from 1954 to 1962.[1] From 1962 to 1974 he was an industrial relations officer with the British Phosphate Commissioners in Nauru.[1] In 1974 he entered politics and because a member of parliament for the constituency of Funafuti.[2]

He was the chief minister of the Colony of Tuvalu, the former Ellice Islands, from 2 October 1975 to 1 October 1978.[2]

Prime Minister of Tuvalu, post-independenceEdit

When Tuvalu became independent in 1978, he was appointed as its first prime minister. He was appointed as a member of the Privy Council in 1979.[3]

The first elections after independence will not held until 8 September 1981. At that election Dr. Tomasi Puapua, was elected as prime minister with a 7:5 majority over the group a members of parliament headed by Toaripi Lauti.[4] The administration of Toaripi Lauti had become involved in controversy, as a result of his decision to invest nearly all of the government's money with an American real estate salesman who promised 15 percent returns from the purchase of land in Texas.[5] The investment turned out to be a fraud.[6] While the funds were recovered by US agencies,[7][8] the controversy resulted in a loss of confidence in his judgment and was an important factor in the election of Dr. Tomasi Puapua.

Toaripi Lauti also served as the President of the Funafuti Town Council and as a member of the Tuvalu Language Board.

Governor-General of TuvaluEdit

His reputation was redeemed from the circumstances that ended his time as prime minister, he was the Governor-General of Tuvalu, representing the monarch as head of state, from 1 October 1990 through 1 December 1993.[9] In 1990 he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG).

See alsoEdit

Preceded by
Prime Minister of Tuvalu
Succeeded by
Tomasi Puapua
Preceded by
Sir Tupua Leupena
Governor-General of Tuvalu
Succeeded by
Sir Tomu Sione


  1. ^ a b Enele Sopoaga, Hugh Larcy (ed) (1983). "Chapter 19, Post-War Development". Tuvalu: A History. University of the South Pacific/Government of Tuvalu. pp. 146–152.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Tito Isala, Hugh Larcy (ed) (1983). "Chapter 20, Secession and Independence". Tuvalu: A History. University of the South Pacific/Government of Tuvalu. pp. 153–177.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Members of the Privy Council". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Palamene o Tuvalu (Parliament of Tuvalu)" (PDF). Inter-Parliamentary Union. 1981. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  5. ^ Trumbull, Robert (16 August 1981). "U.S. deal embroils tiny island nation". New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  6. ^ Finin, Gerard A. (2002). "Will Trust Funds Sustain the FSM and RMI? Lessons from the Tuvalu Model" (PDF). EWC Pacific Islands Congressional Study Group 5/3/02. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  7. ^ Crocombe, R. G. (1985). The Pacific Islands and the USA.
  8. ^ Finin, Gerald A. (April 2002). Small is Viable: The Global Ebbs and Flows of a Pacific Atoll Nation (PDF). East-West Center Working Papers: Pacific Islands Development Series No. 15.
  9. ^ Craig, Robert D. (2010). Historical Dictionary of Polynesia. Scarecrow Press.