Tufuga Efi

Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi, also known as Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, and formerly known as Tupuola Efi, is a Samoan political figure who has been Samoa's head of state since 2007.

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Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi, also known as Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi,[1][2] and formerly known as Tupuola Efi, (born March 1, 1938) is a Samoan political figure who has been Samoa's head of state since 2007. Previously he was Prime Minister of Samoa from 1976 to 1982 and again later in 1982.

On 16 June 2007 he was elected as O le Ao o le Malo, Samoa's head of state, for a five-year term.[3] He was officially 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 State (Aiga Tupu) where he holds the Tupua title of the SaTupua 'royal' family. He also holds the Tama-a-Aiga Tamasese title and the title of "Tui Atua".

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

Early and personal life

Tupua was born on March 1, 1938 at Moto'otua in Samoa.[1] He is the son of Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole and Noue Irene Gustava Ta'isi Nelson.[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 Her Highness Masiofo Filifilia Imo,[1] who is also known as Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese.[1]

Tupua has been described as a defender and proponent of the Samoan language.

Prime Minister of Samoa

Tupua began his political career in 1966 when he became an MP in Samoa's Fono, or Parliament.[1] He represented the Anoama'a East constituency[1] as MP as a member of the Christian Democratic Party. 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, paralyzing the country for several months and paving the way for the opposition Human Rights Protection Party's entry to government in 1982. The Human Rights Protection Party still governs Samoa today.

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]

O le Ao o le Malo (Head of state)

On May 11, 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 as a member of the Council of Deputies.[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 in New Zealand.[4] He was officially sworn into office on 20 June 2007.[5]

He was re-elected unopposed in July 2012.[6]


Tupua has held a number of academic positions during and after his political career as an MP and Prime Minister.

Tupua has served as an adjunct professor for Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in New Zealand.[1] He later went on to serve as an Associate Member of the Matahauariki Institute at Waikato University.[1] Additionally, he has held a position as PhD examiner at Australian National University in Canberra for Pacific and Samoan history.[1]

Tupua is a former 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 has helped to begin excavations at Samoa's important Pulemelei Mound archaeological site. Samoans, under Tupua Tamasese, carried out a ceremony to honor Thor Heyerdahl for his contributions to Polynesia and the Pulemelei Mound excavations in 2003.[1]

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 the entirety of their college years, beginning in 2008.[7] Reaction to this saw a media storm as well as a flurry of Samoans living in Wellington to assemble at at the college. Attendees included Prime Minister Helen Clark, Catholic Archbishop John Dew and Victoria University of Wellington professor Galumalemale Hunkin. His visit back to Silverstream was timely as this was also the first year that a Samoan student was appointed Head Boy, Sofara Aiono and student leaders Johnson Taeao and Lafaele Mapusua-Faitoto'a.


Tupua is a writer and author drawing on his experiences in government and academia. He has written three books, as well as numerous scholarly journals and publications.[1]

Family tree

Muagututi'a Fenunuivao
Tupua Fuiavalili Toelupetu
Tafa'ifa Galumalemana Galuegapapa
Leasiolagi Moegagogo
Tupua Tamasese


Tupua Tamasese

Lealofi I

(d. 1915)
Tupua Tamasese

Lealofi II

(d. 1918)
Tupua Tamasese

Lealofi III

Tupua Tamasese


Tupua Tamasese

Lealofi IV


(b. 1938)