Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi [1][2] 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.[3]

Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi
Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi 00.jpg
O le Ao o le Malo of Samoa
In office
11 May 2007 – 21 July 2017
Acting: 11 May 2007 – 20 June 2007
Prime MinisterTuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
Preceded byTanumafili II
Succeeded byVa'aletoa Sualauvi
4th Prime Minister of Samoa
In office
18 September 1982 – 31 December 1982
PresidentTanumafili II
Preceded byVa'ai Kolone
Succeeded byTofilau Eti Alesana
In office
24 March 1976 – 13 April 1982
PresidentTanumafili II
Preceded byLealofi IV (Acting)
Succeeded byVa'ai Kolone
Personal details
Born (1938-03-01) 1 March 1938 (age 81)
Motootua, Western Samoa (now Samoa)
Political partyNational Development Party (1985–1988)
Christian Democratic Party (1988–2003)
Spouse(s)Masiofo Filifilia Imo
RelationsMeaʻole (Father)
Alma materVictoria University of Wellington

On 16 June 2007 he was elected as O le Ao o le Malo, Samoa's head of state, for a five-year term.[4] He was sworn in as O le Ao o le Malo at Samoa's Parliament (Fono) on 20 June 2007.[1]

He is a member of one of the paramount families of Samoa where he holds the Tama-a-Aiga Tupua title of the SaTupua 'royal' family. He also holds the honorific title of "Tui Atua".

Tupua first entered parliament and became Prime Minister under the title Tupuola.

Personal lifeEdit

Tupua was born on 1 March 1938 at Moto'otua in Samoa.[1] He is the son of Samoa's first co-Head of State, O le Ao o le Malo Tupua Tamasese Meaʻole (1905–1963) and Irene Gustava Noue Nelson, of Samoan, Swedish and British descent.[1]

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.[1] He was also educated at Victoria University of Wellington,[1] in New Zealand's capital city.

Tupua is married to Masiofo Filifilia Imo,[1] who is also known as Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese.[1]

Prime Minister of SamoaEdit

Tupua began his political career in May 1965, when he was elected to the Legislative Assembly from the Vaisigano No. 1 constituency.[5] He served as Samoa's Minister of Works from 1970 until 1972.[1]

Tupua served as Prime Minister for two consecutive terms from 1976 to 1982.[1] He also served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1985 to 1988.[2] 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.[1] He also headed the Samoan National Development Party. He continued to serve Anoama'a East as MP until 2004[1] when he became one of the two members of Samoa's Council of Deputies along with Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II.[2] 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.[2]

Head of State - "O le Ao o le Malo."Edit

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.[2] 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 both in Samoa and abroad.[6] He was sworn into office on 20 June 2007.[7]

He was re-elected in July 2012 by a majority vote of the Legislative Assembly. However, he was not re-appointed as of 20 July 2017 after a controversial move by the current administration which saw a legislative assembly vote of 23 to 15. This was after an initial vote that was taken, which saw the Tama-a-Aiga gain the majority of support from the ruling HRPP caucus. This was seen as but a mere formality and that Tupua would again be elected to office to serve as Head of State. However, owing to years of tension with the current Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Tupua was instead replaced by another Tama-a-Aiga, Tui A'ana Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aleto'a Sualauvi II. This is done every 5 years as set forth by the Samoan Constitution.[8]


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.[1] He later became an Associate Member of the Matahauariki Institute at Waikato University.[1] He was a PhD examiner at Australian National University in Canberra for Pacific and Samoan history.[1]

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.[1]

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.[9]

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.[10]


Tupua wrote three books, and articles in scholarly journals and publications.[1]


He holds the following titles:

  • Tupua Tama-a-Aiga title of the Sa Tupua royal family, which is bestowed by the Aiga Sa Fenunu'ivao of Falefa and Salani.
  • Tui Atua title of the Atua, one of the 4 Tafa'ifa titles of Samoa.
  • Tupuola title of Leulumoega;
  • Ta'isi title of Asau, Savaii


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Jackson, Cherelle (20 June 2007). "Two men make history in Samoa". New Zealand Herald. The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e Sagapolutele, Fili (18 June 2007). "Samoa Head of State Announced". Pacific Magazine. Pacific Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 June 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  3. ^ Genealogy
  4. ^ New Zealand Herald (16 June 2007). "New head of state for Samoa". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 June 2007.
  5. ^ Western Samoa's Parliament under fire Pacific Islands Monthly, July 1966, p13
  6. ^ Niu FM. "Samoans in NZ welcome Tupua Tamasese as new head of state". Archived from the original on 28 June 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  7. ^ Radio New Zealand. "Samoa swears in new head of state". Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  8. ^ Samoa’s parliament reappoints Tui Atua as head of state Radio New Zealand, 19 July 2012
  9. ^ "Kontiki". Archived from the original on 9 September 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  10. ^ "Boarding Scholarships". St Patrick's College.
Political offices
Preceded by
Lealofi IV
Prime Minister of Samoa
Succeeded by
Va'ai Kolone
Preceded by
Va'ai Kolone
Prime Minister of Samoa
Succeeded by
Tofilau Eti Alesana
Preceded by
Tanumafili II
O le Ao o le Malo of Samoa
Succeeded by
Va'aletoa Sualauvi
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Lealofi IV
Tupua Tamasese