Tupua Tamasese Meaʻole

Malietoa Tanumafili II Tupua Tamasese Vaimoso

His Highness

Tupua Tamasese Mea’ole

Tupua Tamasese Meaʻole.jpg
Head of State of Samoa
(O le Ao o le Malo)
In office
1 January 1962 – 5 April 1963
Serving with Malietoa Tanumafili II
Prime MinisterFiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II
Preceded byJohn Bird Wright
(As High Commissioner)
Succeeded byMalietoa Tanumafili II
(As sole Head of State)
Tupua Tamasese
Preceded byTupua Tamasese Lealofi III
Succeeded byTupua Tamasese Lealofi IV
Member of the Legislative Assembly
In office
Member of the Legislative Council
In office
Personal details
Born3 June 1905
Vaimoso, German Samoa
Died5 April 1963(1963-04-05) (aged 57)
Spouse(s)Noue Nelson
Children4 including Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi
Samoan high chiefs Tupua Tamasese Meaʻole (second from right) and Malietoa Tanumafili II (fifth from left) welcomed to Christchurch in 1945 by Mayor Ernest Andrews (fourth from left) and Deputy-Mayor Melville Lyons (right)

Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole CBE (3 June 1905 – 5 April 1963) was a Western Samoan paramount chief. He held the royal title of Tupua Tamasese from 1929 to 1963, and O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) jointly with Malietoa Tanumafili II from 1962 until his death the following year.


He was born in Vaimoso 1905 as the one of three sons of Tupua Tamasese Lealofi II. He was educated at the Marist school in Apia.[1] In 1929 he became Tupua Tamasese when his elder brother Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III was assassinated by colonial police during a Mau parade in Apia.[1]

He married Noue in 1934, a daughter of Olaf Frederick Nelson.[1] The couple had four children; two daughters and two sons.[1] In 1936 he was appointed to the Legislative Council, and in 1938 he was appointed as one of the Fautua (advisor to the Administrator). In the same year he became president of the Mau.[1] As a Fautua, he continued to serve in the Legislative Council and its successor, the Legislative Assembly until 1957.[1] He was also a member of the Council of State and the Executive Council until 1959.[1]

Away from politics, Tamasese was involved in business, serving as chair of the board of the Western Samoa Trust Estates Corporation, a director of the Bank of Western Samoa and a member of the Copra Board.[1] In the 1957 New Year Honours he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[2]

In preparations for independence, Tamasese chaired the constitutional conventions of 1954 and 1960.[1] When Western Samoa attained independence in 1962, the new constitution made Tupua Tamasese and Malietoa Tanumafili II (the two Fautua) joint heads of state.[1]

Upon Tamasese's death in April 1963, Malietoa continued to serve as sole head of state, whilst the title of Tupua Tamasese was passed to his eldest nephew, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi IV, who would go on to become the second Prime Minister of Samoa.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tamasese: Architect of West Samoan Independence Pacific Islands Monthly, May 1963, pp41–47
  2. ^ "No. 40962". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1957. p. 46.