His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi (born March 1, 1938 in Apia, Samoa) is Samoa’s Head of State, known as ‘O le Ao o le Malo’. He is also an experienced former Politician, a Writer, an Academic Historian, and a Cultural expert.
His Highness is a descendant of notable family roots from the paramount family of Sa Tupua. He is the Tama-a-Aiga and holds the paramount chiefly titles of Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi. He is the son of the late Head of State Tupua Tamasese Mea’ole and Noue Irene Gustava Tai’si Nelson.
His Highness is married to Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese (nee Imo), the daughter of the late Rev. Elder Iupati Imo and Mauinuuese Tofaeono Imo.
In the early 1960’s, His Highness attended Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Sadly, with the death of his father, Tupua Tamasese Mea’ole, His Highness had to abandon his law studies in 1963, returning to Samoa to manage family affairs.
In 1966, His Highness started his political career in Samoa as a Member of Parliament (MP). He was representative of the Anoama’a East constituency and also a member of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP). From 1970-1972 he was Minister of Works. His Highness was elected as Prime Minister for Samoa for two consecutive terms from 1976-1982. In addition he also served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1985 to 1988 and was also Leader of Opposition.
Outside of politics, His Highness has held several academic posts. He was Adjunct Professor for Awanuiorangi in New Zealand and later an Associate Member of the Matahauariki Institute at Waikato University. In 2005, he became an Assessor for Samoan Language and Culture at the National University of Samoa. His Highness was PhD examiner of Samoan and Pacific History for Australian National University Canberra. Furthermore, he was a former Resident Scholar for Pacific Studies Centre for the Australian National University.
In 1990, His Highness was Commissioner of the South Commission, and in 2005 he was the Oceanic Representative for the Pontifical Inter-religious Commission.
In December 2004, His Highness became a member on the Council of Deputies. Following the death of Malietoa Tanumafili II, he was elected Head of State 16 June, 2007 for a five-year term. On 20 March 2008, he was invested as Chancellor for the National University of Samoa.
His Highness is a leading authority on Samoan culture, language and tradition and has published extensively in both Samoan and English. He is also a patron for various organizations which include the following: Samoa Tennis Association, Samoa Golf Association, Samoa Rugby Union, Marist Old Boys Association, Pacific Leadership Foundation, and the Polynesian Society
Highlights & Awards:
1989 Ia faagaganaina oe e le Atua fetalai: o nisi o lauga ma tatalo o Tupua. Commercial Print, Samoa.
1994 The Riddle in Samoan History: The Relevance of Language, Names, Honorifics, Genealogy, Ritual and Chant to Historical Analysis. Journal of Pacific History 29 (1) 66-79.
1995 Englishing my Samoan: selected speeches and letters. University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.
1995 Gagana Samoa: o le a lona taua i le seneturi 21. Rainmaker Hotel, Pagopago.
1995 Tamafaiga: Shaman, King or Maniac? Journal of Pacific History 30 (1) 3-21.
2001 Talanoaga na loma ma Ga’opo’a. Pacific Printers and Publishers: Apia, Samoa.
2003 In Search of Meaning, Nuance and Metaphor in Social Policy. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand 20 49-63
2004 Resident, Residence, Residency in Samoan Custom in Symposium on Concepts in Polynesian Customary Law, Te Matahauariki Institute, University of Waikoto. Auckland, New Zealand, 12 October, 2004.
2005 Clutter in Indigenous Knowledge, Research and History: A Samoan Perspective. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand 25, 61-69
2007 In search for Tagaloa: Pulemelei, Samoan Mythology and Science. Archaeology in Oceania, Volume 42 Supplement, October 2007
2007 (Eds) Pacific Indigenous Dialogue on Faith, Peace, Reconciliation and Good Governance. Government Printing Press, Ministry of Women and Social Development, Apia, Samoa.
2009 (Eds) Suesue Manogi: In Search for Fragrance Tui Atua and the Samoan Indigenous Reference. Government Printing Press, Ministry of Women and Social Development, Apia, Samoa.
Source – Samoa Government website