Tofilau Eti Alesana

Tofilau Eti Alesana, AC, born Aualamalefalelima Alesana (4 June 1924 – 19 March 1999) was a Samoan politician who served as the fifth prime minister of Samoa from 1982 to 1985, and again from 1988 until his resignation in 1998.

Tofilau Eti Alesana
Tofilau Eti Alesana 1983 (cropped).jpg
Alesana in 1983
5th Prime Minister of Samoa
In office
8 April 1988 – 23 November 1998
O le Ao o le MaloMalietoa Tanumafili II
DeputyTuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi
Preceded byVa'ai Kolone
Succeeded byTuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi
In office
31 December 1982 – 30 December 1985
O le Ao o le MaloMalietoa Tanumafili II
Preceded byTupuola Efi
Succeeded byVa'ai Kolone
4th Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
8 April 1988 – 23 November 1998
Preceded byVa'ai Kolone
Succeeded byTuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi
In office
1984 – 30 December 1985
Preceded byLauofo Meti
Succeeded byVa'ai Kolone
Minister without Portfolio
In office
23 November 1998 – 19 March 1999
Prime MinisterTuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi
Personal details
Aualamalefalelima Alesana

(1924-06-04)4 June 1924
Vaitogi, Tutuila, American Samoa
Died19 March 1999(1999-03-19) (aged 74)
Apia, Samoa
Resting placeLalomavala, Savaii
Political partyHRPP
Spouse(s)Pitolua Alesana



Alesana was born in Vaitogi, Tutuila, American Samoa into a Samoan upper-class family. At the age of 24, he became a clan chief.[1]

Political careerEdit

In 1957 he was elected to the legislative council, and in 1958 he became health minister. He helped draft the constitution for the newly independent state of Western Samoa. Alesana helped form the Human Rights Protection Party which won power in 1982. Alesana served as prime minister for the first time from 1982 until 1985 when he was deposed by Parliament with the help of disgruntled members of his own party. He regained control of the party in 1988 and became prime minister. Alesana led the party to almost complete control of the country, with more than a 2/3 majority in the Parliament. In 1997 Alesana's government changed the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa.[2]

Alesana began to suffer from health problems in the 1990s, finally resigning as Prime Minister in November 1998 but remained a member of Cabinet as Minister Without Portfolio until his death in the capital, Apia. His party would go on to hold power until 2021.[3][4] Alesana was also Minister of Foreign Affairs of Samoa from 1984 to 1985 and from 1988 to 1998.[5]


Tofilau was born to Samoan upper-class parents, Reverend James Alesana Fai'ivae and Vaoita Iosefa Mala'itai. He was the first of a prominent political family in both Samoas. He was the uncle of former Governor of American Samoa, Tauese Sunia[6] as well as the former U.S. Congressional Representative Fofō Iosefa Fiti Sunia, the former Lt. Governor of American Samoa, Faoa Aitofele Sunia and a second cousin of former American Samoa Congressional representative, Eni Faleomavaega.[7]

His wife was Pitolua Alesana. Alesana's son, Tautua Samoa Party President Va'aelua Eti Alesana, died in 2011.[8]


Alesana was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal in 1953, and the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[9] On 6 July 1994, he was appointed an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia, for "eminent service to Australian/Western Samoan relations and to South Pacific multilateral relations".[10]


  1. ^ Fraser, Helen. (25 March 1999). "Pacific reformer and conciliator." The Australian. p. 016.
  2. ^ Constitution Amendment Act (No. 2) 1997 (No. 15)
  3. ^ "Tuilaepa concedes, welcomes F.A.S.T. government". Samoa Observer. 26 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  4. ^ "Outgoing Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Gives Farewell Speech". Samoa Global News. 26 July 2021. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  5. ^ "Foreign Ministers of Samoa" – via
  6. ^ "SAMOA'S TOFILAU DIES". Pacific Islands Report. 22 March 1999. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  7. ^ "PRAYER HAS RESTORED FORMER SAMOA PM TOFILAU'S HEALTH: ENI FALEOMAVAEGA". Pacific Islands Report. 2 December 1998. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Tautua Samoa president dies". RNZ. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  9. ^ Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 43. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
  10. ^ It's an Honour: AC

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