14 January 2010
The Honourable Lord Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano becane Tonga's fifthteenth (15) Prime Minister of Tonga. He is also responsible for three other portfolios as Minister for Defence, Minister for Foreign Affairs and as Minister for Information and Communications.
Honourable Lord Tu'ivakano was born on 15th January, 1952 in Niutoua, Hahake, Tongatapu. His parents were Siaosi Kiu Ngalumoetutulu Kaho (16th Tu'ivakano) and Fatafehi-‘o-Lapaha Liku of Niutoua. His birth name Siale ‘Ataongo Kaho and he succeeded to the hereditary title of Tu'ivakano (literally: King of the borrowed boat) in January 1986, three days after the burial of his father. Hon. Tu'ivakano is the grandson of former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Chief Justice Siosiua Niutupuivaha Kaho (15th Tu'ivakano). His grandfather‘s older brother Polutele Kaho (14th Tu'ivakano) was Prime Minister from 1912 - 1923. Hon. Tu'ivakano is married to Joyce Robyn Kaho (nee Sanft) and they have six children:- Fulifua'atonga Fatafehi-o-Lapaha Kaho, Siaosi Kiu Tau-ki-Vailahi Kaho, Herriot Kaho, Paula Nunufa'ai Kea Kaho, David Uluaki Tangata ‘o Tonga Kaho, and Jordan ‘Ataongo Kaho.
Between the age of eight and eleven he attended Tonga Side School and Tonga High School. In November 1963 he left for further study in New Zealand and completion of the 1963 school year, he attended Three Kings School, Epsom. In 1964 he enrolled at Wesley College, Paerata as a boarder. After achieving his university entrance in 1971, he pursue a teaching career by enrolling at Ardmore Teacher's College in 1972. In 1974 he graduated with a Teaching Diploma. In 1988 he entered Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor Degree with Honours in Political Science.
Work & Professional Background:
Upon returning to the Kingdom, Honourable Tu'ivakano joined the Teaching Staff of Tonga High School as an Assistant Teacher in 1975, and also taking up the position Head of the Physical Education Department. In 1980 he went for a 3 month training Course in Youth Development in Malaysia and Singapore. Returning to the Kingdom he was promoted to Education Officer Supervising the Youth, Sports and Culture Division within the Ministry of Education. Between 1982 and 1987 this new division came to life with participation in activities not only within the Schools but from within the Communities, and in particular youth organizations. In 1982 he was a part of a team from the Curriculum Developing Unit. He was involved in writing up a Health syllabus and Physical Education Manual for Primary School and the Teachers Training College.
In 1992 he was promoted to Senior Education Officer for Youth, Sport and Culture. With the responsibilities given to him, the Ministry witnessed improvement and development in co-operation between his division and the Non-Governmental Organizations (i.e. Churches, Youth and Women Groups). That same year he moved to the Community Developing Centre where he implemented many training programmes for youth organization and communities such as Youth Leadership, Small Businesses Management, Cottage Industries and Marketing etc. and any other requested workshop from the Community or Outer Islands. Between 1992 - 1996 he was instrumental in reviewing Traditional Dances in the Primary Schools. This became an Annual Festival towards the end of every school year until his resignation in 1996. During this period he was also involved in a number of National Sports by being their President such as Tonga National Rugby League, Tonga Sumo Association, Tonga National Taekwando Association and Senior Vice President of the Tonga Amateur Sports Association and National Olympic Committee.
His responsibilities as an Estate Holder have never interfered with his Ministerial portfolios before and now as Prime Minister. He still conducts monthly meetings with his Four Estates in the Western District of Tongatapu, dealing with land issues, social problems, new projects and reports from each village council. Under the umbrella of each village council there are sub-committees responsible for environment, marketing, sports, youth, policing, women's development group, land etc. Although Lord Tu'ivakano is the patron of these village councils, his show of support encourages each council member to work co-operatively and enthusiastically for the overall development of the villages.
Hon. Lord Tu'ivakano was elected as a noble representative for the island of Tongatapu in 1996 election. He was appointed Speaker by His Majesty on 1st July 2002 and is one of the most experience members of the Legislative Assembly.
As the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga (from 2002-2004), Hon. Lord Tu'ivakano bought about many reforms to the Legislative Assembly, including revising and updating the Standing Orders of the House, restructuring the office of the Legislative Assembly and bringing about reforms to the parliamentarian pensions scheme to align with other Commonwealth countries.
In March 2005 he was appointed to Cabinet as Minister for Works. His appointment was due to the new constitutional arrangement extended by His Majesty whereby 2 Ministers would be appointed from the people's and noble's representatives respectively. A reshuffle in May 2006 saw him holding the portfolios of Minister for Training, Employment, Youth and Sport.
Hon. Lord Tu'ivakano was re-elected as a noble representative for Tongatapu in the November 2010 election. On 21 December 2010 Tu'ivakano was elected Prime Minister in a secret ballot in Parliament. Following constitutional reforms, this was the first time the Prime Minister was elected by Parliament, rather than appointed by the monarch. He was sworn in on 22 December 2010.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.