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High Chief Tauiliili Lauifi Nunu Paopao was one of a kind

Government and Traditional leaders, Judiciary and Legislature officials gathered at the Lee Auditorium this morning to farewell the late senator, High Chief Tauiliili Lauifi Nunu Paopao.

The Veteran died on July 9th.

He was 79. Police’s Honor Guard escorted the casket during the ceremony to celebrate his honorable and extensive service to his family, military, government, Manu’a district, and the American Samoa Territory.

This week, the Senate approved a Resolution outlining his life’s work.

Acting Governor Talauega E. V. Ale spoke on behalf of the government, citing Tauili’ili’s exemplary service to his family, village, church, and government. Talauega noted that the Senator was well versed in his family affairs, where he grew up in Fitiuta.

A pillar in his family, Tauili’ili was one of a kind. The Acting Governor also spoke of his familial ties to the Late Senator. He was a father figure in their extended family in Fitiuta, an impressive Chief, and led their family with dignity and pride.

Tauili’ili never shied away from controversial issues when they gathered, knowing they had to be addressed.

Senator Tauiliili was born on October 27, 1944, to parents Tauiliili Lauifi Nunu Paopao of Fitiuta, Manu'a and Vaipunalagi-le-alo-fiso-au’o-tuimanu’a Tuifea Namulauti of Ta'u, Manu'a.

Tauiliili began his education at Papatea School and proceeded to higher education and graduated from Samoana High School.

Tauiliili’s public service started in the 1960s as an educator with the American Samoa Government during the ASG’s TV Teacher program. He taught art. Not long after, Tauiliili enlisted in the United States Navy in 1969, and by November of that year, he was serving in the Vietnam War.

He dedicated 23 years of active service to his country. Tauiliili retired as a Chief Petty Officer, earning various awards and astute recognition of exemplary service, meritorious achievements, and outstanding contributions to Navy missions.

Retiring from the US Navy in 1991, Tauiliili returned to civilian life and re-invested in his education. He attended Fresno City College, receiving his Associate of Arts in Business Administration. He furthered his education at Fresno State University, earning a Business Management degree.

Tauiliili was employed as a Tax Examiner/Auditor for the Internal Revenue Service and as Chief Executive Officer for Goodwill Incorporation.

He eventually moved back home to American Samoa in 1997, where he devoted his experience and knowledge in community by working with various local organizations. Tauili’ilii served and worked in many capacities as an advocate for the people of American Samoa and most especially his village of Fitiuta.

He was a member of the American Samoa Community College Board Of Higher Education and the Humanities Council Board.

He was a former President of the American Samoa Veteran's Association and the American Samoa Navy Association. An American Samoa Disaster Planning Council member and a public representative for the Department of Human and Social Services.

Tauiliili was also active in the Fitiuta Village Council and the Manu'atele District Council. In 2008, Tauiliili was bestowed the High Chief family title of Tauiliili from Fitiuta, Manu'a. He loved and cherished his family and district and dedicated his life in service to them.

His village council selected High Chief Tauiliili to serve as Senator for Manu’a District #1 in two terms, the 37th and 38th Legislatures.

The President of the Senate, Tuaolo Manaia Fruean, appointed him as Chairman of the Parks and Recreation committee and as a member of the Samoan Affairs, Retirement, Marine and Wildlife Reservation, and Economic Development Ways and Means committees for the Senate.

A staunch supporter of Non-profit organizations seeking to assist low-income families, Tauili’ili also lobbied for the continued safe practices of virtual learning for the Manu'a students during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a retired serviceman, Tauili’ili was strict on compliance, ensuring rules and regulations, and was always honest about important matters to his constituents.

A faithful servant of God, Tauiliili and his family were members of the Congregation Christian Church of American Samoa of Fitituta and Iliili, where he served as Deacon. He was married to Lise Ane Mase Lealaimatafao from Iliili. Together, they have three children and seven grandchildren.

He was known for his kindness, humility, and quiet strength as a father and leader of the community.

Tauiliili died peacefully on July 9, 2023, at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Legislature and the people of American Samoa celebrate this great statesman's life and legacy and pay tribute to his lifelong service to the people of American Samoa.

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