Tauese Sunia

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Tauese Sunia
55th Governor of American Samoa
In office
January 3, 1997 – March 26, 20031
Lieutenant Togiola Tulafono
Preceded by A.P. Lutali
Succeeded by Togiola Tulafono
5th Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa
In office
January 4, 1993 – January 3, 1997
Governor A. P. Lutali
Preceded by Gaioi Tufele Galeai
Succeeded by Togiola Tulafono
Personal details
Born (1941-08-29)August 29, 1941
Fagatogo, American Samoa
Died March 26, 2003(2003-03-26) (aged 61)
En route to Hawaii
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Fagaoalii Satele Sunia (1969–2003; his death)
Children Ten
1. Togiola Tulafono was Acting Governor from March 26–April 7, 2003

Tauese Tuailemafua Pita Fiti Sunia (August 29, 1941 – March 26, 2003) was the Governor of American Samoa from 1997 until his death in 2003. He was the second Governor of American Samoa to die in office.[1]


Personal life[edit]

Sunia married Fagaoalii Satele Sunia in 1969.[1] They moved back to American Samoa in 1981 after living in Hawaii and settled in Leone, American Samoa.[1]

Political career[edit]

Sunia was a member of the Democratic Party. He won the election of 1996 in a close runoff with Lealaifuaneva Peter Reid (51%-48%). The runoff was caused by a split in the Democratic Party in American Samoa between Sunia and incumbent governor Lutali Aifili Paulo Lauvao, who received third place, with no candidate gaining a majority. Sunia won another close victory against Reid in the 2000 election, 50%–48%, with no runoff.

During Sunia's term of office a protest was issued against Samoa, formerly named Western Samoa, for changing its official name to the shorter form. The official view in American Samoa is that such a form detracts from the Samoan identity of American Samoa, and public officials and documents from American Samoa still refer to Samoa as "Western Samoa".

Sunia died during his second term, on March 26, 2003, while on a flight to Hawaii to receive medical treatment, becoming only the second governor of American Samoa, and the first civilian one, to die in office. In 2012, the Utulei Convention Center was remodeled and renamed for Sunia.[2] His wife, Fagaoalii Satele Sunia, died on September 5, 2015.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Feagaimaalii-Luamanu, Joyetter (2015-09-09). "Former First Lady "Faga" Sunia, passes away". Samoa News. Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  2. ^ "State of the art ocean center dedicated to Tauese Sunia". Samoa News. August 20, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Former First Lady Fagaoalii Sunia passes away". Talanei. September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
A.P. Lutali
Governor of American Samoa
Succeeded by
Togiola Tulafono
Preceded by
Gaioi Tufele Galeai
Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa