Walter Lini

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Walter Lini
1st Prime Minister of Vanuatu
In office
30 July 1980 – 6 September 1991
President Ati George Sokomanu
Frederick Karlomuana Timakata (Acting)
Ati George Sokomanu
Onneyn Tahi (Acting)
Frederick Karlomuana Timakata
Preceded by Position Established
Succeeded by Donald Kalpokas
Personal details
Born 1942
Pentecost Island, New Hebrides
Died 21 February 1999 (aged 56–57)
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Political party New Hebrides National Party
Vanua'aku Pati
National United Party

Father Walter Hadye Lini (1942 – February 21, 1999) was an Anglican priest and the first Prime Minister of Vanuatu, from independence in 1980 to 1991. He was born on Pentecost Island. During the era when Vanuatu was a condominium ruled by the United Kingdom and France, Lini formed the Vanua'aku Pati, which was principally backed by English-speakers. He became the colony's Chief Minister in 1979 and ascended to the position of Prime Minister upon Vanuatu's independence in 1980.

Lini's administration was very controversial in the West because of its ties with the Communist Bloc, Libya, and other socialist countries viewed with disdain by the United States and Europe, and its staunch opposition to nuclear testing in the region. He was the primary advocate of Melanesian socialism. Vanuatu provided support to the Kanak indigenous independence movement in New Caledonia and was the only country in the region to support the independence of East Timor, then under Indonesian occupation, to self-determination. His term ended in 1991, due to factionalism within his party. He joined the National United Party, of which he was leader at the time of his death. He died of an illness in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila. His sister, Hilda Lini, and brother, Ham Lini, are also politicians in Vanuatu. His sister Heather Lini-Leo Matas was the first indigenous female lawyer in the country.[1]

See also[edit]


  • Stuart, Andrew. Of Cargoes, Colonies and Kings: Diplomatic and Administrative Service from Africa to the Pacific, Radcliffe Press, 2009.
  • Robie, David. Blood on their Banner : Nationalist Struggles in the South Pacific, Zed Books, 1990.
  • Premadas, Ralph R. Melanesian socialism: Vanuatu's quest for self-definition (Discussion paper series / Centre for Developing-Area Studies), McGill University, 1986.
  • Lini, Walter. Beyond pandemonium: From the New Hebrides to Vanuatu. Asia Pacific Books, 1980.
  • Lini, Walter, ed. Vanuatu: Twenti Wan Tingting Long Team Blong Independents, Institute of Pacific Studies, 1980.
  • Shears, Richard. The Coconut War: The Crisis on Espiritu Santo, Cassel, 1980.
  • Tabani, Marc. 2000. "Walter Lini, la coutume de Vanuatu et le Socialisme Mélanésien". Journal de la Société des Océanistes 111(2): 173–195.


  1. ^ "Vanuatu Digest". Vanuatu Digest. Retrieved 2017-11-11.