|51st Lavelua of Wallis (Uvea)|
|Reign||July 25, 2008 - Present|
|Coronation||July 25, 2008|
|Predecessor||Tomasi Kulimoetoke II
Council of Ministers
|Successor||To be determined|
Kapeliele "Gabriel" Faupala (born in 1940 ) is the 51st Lavelua (King) of Wallis Island (Uvea), one of the three traditional kingdoms which comprises the French overseas territory of Wallis and Futuna. Faupala was officially crowned Lavelua on July 25, 2008, succeeding Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, who died in May 2007.
Faupala is locally known as Kalae Kivalu before his coronation, by Wallisians. He was chosen by the late King of 'Uvea Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, to become the holder of the "Kalae Kivalu" Title (Prime Minister). He is from the village of Ahoa, which is located in the center of Wallis Island. Faupala is a retired public servant, who worked for the French administration of Wallis and Futuna as well as the local Wallisian public works department until his retirement in 1995.
As Kalae Kivalu, Faupala was head of the Customary Council of Ministers for four years from approximately 2004 until his coronation in 2008. The Customary Council of Ministers enjoys a certain level of official recognition from the government of France under the 1961 treaty signed by Tomasi Kulimoetoke II which made Wallis and Futuna a French overseas territory (Territoire d'Outre-Mer).
Faupala's predecessor as Lavelua of Wallis, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, died in May 2007. Kulimoetoke had served as the King for 48 years since his coronation in 1959. A six-month period of mourning was held after Kulimoetoke's death, when it was considered taboo by Wallisians to discuss a possible successor to the throne. Kulimoetoke had a sometimes strained relationship with French authorities during the final years of his reign.
The period of mourning officially ended in November 2007, at which time discussions for a possible successor formally began. A Council of Ministers had taken up the role of royal duties after Kuliemoetoke's death and was charged with finding his successor. Two main feuding royal families of Wallis had been engaged in a behind the scenes fight for the previous three years to secure the throne of Uvea. Their struggle to succeed Kulimoetoke had begun before the previous King's death in 2007. The royal Wallisian families, or clans, were from the North (Hihifo) and South (Mu'a) of Wallis Island. Each offered their own candidate to succeed Kuliemoetoke. Each royal clan also claimed to be the rightful next-in-line to the throne, which led to an impasse in negotiations for months.
Ultimately, after months of deliberations, the traditional Council of Ministers chose Kapiliele Faupala to become the new King of Wallis (Uvea) in an announcement held in mid July 2008. Kuliemoetoke had originally chosen Faupala as his hand-picked successor before his death in May 2007. The candidates from the other feuding chiefly clans and royal families on Wallis were rejected by the Council. The announcement of Faupala as the new King sparked protests by the other royal families and clans across Wallis. Critics charged that the Council of Ministers should have more actively worked toward reconciling the different arguing clans on Wallis before announcing a final choice for King of Uvea. The North and South royal families also claimed that they should have been actively consulted by the Council in choosing the new monarch for the island.
The Kulitea of the minority called "Rénovateurs", Po'oi Fotofili, called for calm and denounced calls for violence saying, "We have decided not to move for the time being. We will let this crowning take its own course. We are calling on our people to remain calm in order to maintain peace on the territory. But this doesn't mean that we will just sit back and watch." He hinted at future action by the disgruntled royal clans following the coronation, including the possibility of appointing additional, new rival Kings on Wallis Island who are not endorsed by the Council of Ministers. As Fotofili said to the three main royal family clans on Wallis - Mu'a, Hahake and Hihifo - "Should we have one King for each district, or just one King for all three districts? Should the current situation be reviewed? All this will be put on the table and discussed with all the great families."
Kapiliele Faupala was formally crowned the 51st Lavelua of Wallis on July 25, 2008. He chose to retain the title and name of Lavelua. His coronation took place in Mata-Utu, the capital of Wallis and Futuna, on the main grounds of Malae Sagato Soane and gathered more than 3,000 persons, where Faupala's predecessor, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, is buried. The coronation ended several days of formal traditional Wallisian celebrations, which included a kava ceremony and the presentation of gifts to the new King. Faupala was 68 years old at the time of his coronation.
The coronation took place in the presence of the French Secretary General to the Administrator Superior of Wallis and Futuna, since the current Administrator Superior, Richard Didier, was traveling outside of Wallis and Futuna at the time. A large delegation from New Caledonia, which is also a French overseas possession, also attended the coronation. There are currently over 23,000 citizens of Wallis and Futuna residing in New Caledonia, which makes them an important community. New Caledonian dignitaries included Marie-Claude Tjibaou, the current Chair of Agency for the Development of Kanak Culture. A number of pro-French New Caledonian political parties were also represented including the president of Future Together, Didier Leroux. Other New Caledonian political and traditional figures, such as the Chairman of South Province Philippe Gomès and the High Chief of Lifou Island, Evanes Boula, also attended Faupala's coronation on invitation.
The New Caledonian delegation was careful not to become involved with the internal Wallisian royal succession dispute. Didier Leroux said in an interview with the local Réseau France Outre-mer television station that, "We were invited to attend the ceremonies. But I'd like to point out that we come as external observers and I would not like to take sides in the current quarrel between one side or the other."
Tomasi Kulimoetoke II
Council of Ministers
|King of Wallis (Uvea)
July 25, 2008 – present
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- Duval Smith, Alex (2007-05-08). "King Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, King of Wallis obituary". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
- "No new king in Wallis for six months". Radio New Zealand International. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
- "New King Chosen For Wallis, But Protests Continue". Ocean Flash (Pacific Magazine). 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
- "Wallis awaits moves to elect new king". Radio New Zealand International. 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
- "Kapiliele Faupala crowned new King of Wallis". Island Business. 2008-07-26. Retrieved 2008-07-27.