Ionatana Ionatana

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The Right Honourable
Ionatana Ionatana
Prime Minister of Tuvalu
In office
27 April 1999 – 8 December 2000
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor-General Tomasi Puapua
Preceded by Bikenibeu Paeniu
Succeeded by Lagitupu Tuilimu (acting)
Personal details
Born 05 November 1938
Funafuti, Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Died 8 December 2000(2000-12-08) (aged 62)
Funafuti, Tuvalu

Ionatana Ionatana, CVO, OBE (November 05, 1938 – December 8, 2000), was a political figure from the Pacific nation of Tuvalu. He represented the constituency of Funafuti in the Parliament of Tuvalu. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Tuvalu from 27 April 1999 until his death on 8 December 2000.[1]


He joined the police and rose to become the chief of police in 1976.[1] In 1977 he was appointed the government secretary and adviser to the cabinet.[1] Ionatana was elected to Parliament in the 1981 Tuvalu general election. Ionatana was noted for his republican leanings.

He held three portfolios in the 2nd government of Bikenibeu Paeniu (1996 to 1998): the Minister for Health, Women and Community Affairs; Minister for Education and Culture; and the Minister for Tourism, Trade and Commerce;[2] and after the 1998 election he retained the first 2 portfolios in the 3rd government of Paeniu.[2]

Prime Minister of Tuvalu[edit]

In 1999 Ionatana succeeded Bikenibeu Paeniu as Prime Minister of Tuvalu. Ionatana was elected as prime minister on 27 April 1999.[3] Among the prominent issues of his period of office, he oversaw Tuvalu's entry into the United Nations on September 5, 2000.[1][4] Also during his term, Tuvalu obtained the lucrative .tv internet country suffix.[5]


On 8 December 2000, shortly after the UN entry was completed, Ionatana suddenly collapsed and died. He had been giving a speech at the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel on Funafuti, and was 62 years old.[5] He was the first prime minister to die in office since Tuvalu became independent.[1] After his death Lagitupu Tuilimu took over as acting prime minister until 24 February 2001.

Preceded by
Bikenibeu Paeniu
Prime Minister of Tuvalu
Succeeded by
Lagitupu Tuilimu (acting)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Craig, Robert D. (2011). Historical Dictionary of Polynesia. Rowman & Littlefield. 
  2. ^ a b "Paeniu Re-Elected Tuvalu Prime Minister". Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i at Manoa /PACNEWS/ 8 April 1998. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Lansford, Tom (2015). Political Handbook of the World 2015. CQ Press. 
  4. ^ Mason, Moya K. "Tuvalu: Flooding, Global Warming, and Media Coverage". Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Field, Michael (9 December 2000). "Tuvalu's Prime Minister Ionatana Dies After Giving Speech". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 

External links[edit]