Pita Fiti Sunia was born on August 29, 1941 and raised
in the village of Fagatogo on the island of Tutuila where his
served as a minister for the Congregational Christian Church in American
Samoa. He attended Fagatogo,
Poyer and Marist schools and graduated from Samoana High School in 1960.
Tauese attended York College in Nebraska and Ottawa University in
Kansas before graduating from Kearny State Teachers College majoring in
history and political science with a certification in secondary
education. He taught high
school students in Nebraska before returning to American Samoa in 1966.
On his return to American Samoa, Tauese taught at various high
schools. In the
mid-1960ís, American Samoa was in the midst of education via
television and Tauese became the first Samoan television instructor and
was subsequently appointed as Assistant Director of Education for
Television Instruction and then as Assistant Director of Education for
Administration. From 1972 to 1974, he was appointed Deputy Director of the
Department of Education. In
1974 he was appointed as the first Vice-President of the newly
established American Samoa Community College.
In 1975 Tauese attended graduate school at the University of
Hawaii and received a Masterís degree in Educational Administration.
While in Hawaii, he worked for the university as a consultant,
writing educational curriculum for Samoan students residing in Hawaii.
He returned to American Samoa in 1981 and was appointed Director
of the Department of Education serving in the capacity from 1984 to 1988
Tauese was awarded an honorary doctoral degree in humanities and letters
by Golden Gate University.
Sunia has served as a deacon with the Congregational Christian Church in
American Samoa since 1971. He
was elected vice-chairman of the Church in 1995.
In 1996 he was elected as chairman overseeing all church affairs
for American Samoa, Hawaii, New Zealand and the United States.
Since 1968, Tauese has served as a counselor for Samoan land and
title cases. He is a member
of the American Samoa Bar Association and served as the Associationís
president from 1991 to 1992. Tauese
Sunia was elected Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa, serving in
Governor A.P. Lutaliís administration.
In November of 1996 Tauese was elected Governor of American Samoa
and became the first Samoan from the Manuía islands to become
governor. He was also the
first incumbent lieutenant governor to be elected governor in the
territory. In November of
2000 Tauese was re-elected and became the first governor elected to two
full consecutive terms of office in American Samoa.