Former Law Lord and Privy Councillor was adviser to king, diplomat and lawyer

The funeral service of Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Tufui of Talaheu will be held on Thursday.

Taniela (Dan) Hoko’ila Tufui died in Ballarat in Victoria on April 19. He was 83.

He is survived by his wife, Dr Kerry James Tufui.

Dan Tufui was one of the first four Law Lords appointed to form a new judicial committee of the Tongan Privy Council in September 2008.

Senior New Zealand solicitor and legal academic Guy Powles described him and the other Tongan appointees as fully deserving the recognition and honour conferred on them.

The other appointees were Baron Fielakepa of Havelu, Lord Tevita Tupou of Kolofo’ou and Lord Ramsay Dalgety of Sikotilani.

Dalgety was later severely criticised by the report into the Princess Ashika tragedy, which described him as dishonest and lacking integrity.

The three Tongan were the first to be created as life peers. The position of Law Lords had not previously existed in Tonga and was directly inspired by a similar institution in the United Kingdom.

Tufui was appointed to the council by the late King George Tupou V as part of the process by which His Majesty relinquished certain of his powers, but sought to keep control of the appointment of Judges and King’s Counsels, clemency and the commutation of prison sentences.

That same Tufui was awarded the Order of Queen Salote Tupou III, Grand Cross.

During his career, Tufui served the Kingdom of Tonga in a number of capacities.

As a barrister, he became the first Tongan to head the Law Department when he was appointed Solicitor General of Tonga from 1965 to 1972.

Tufui served as Chief Secretary to the Government of Tonga and Secretary to Cabinet for many years until his retirement from the Civil service in 2001.

He was chairman of the Higher Salaries Review Committee until ill health led him to resign in 2003.

From 2004 he was a member of the late Prince Tu’ipelehake’s National Committee for Political Reform.

He served briefly as Acting Chief Justice of Tonga in 2006.

He was chairman of the Pacific Forum Line and sat on the boards of a number of regional boards and organisations.

He represented Tonga’s interests in New Zealand on several occasions; fighting the New Zealand Seamen’s Union in the 1970s when it wanted all goods destined for the Islands to be carried on New Zealand-manned ships and leading trade missions in the 1980s to being New Zealand business and manufacturing to Tonga.

The main points

  • Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Tufui of Talaheu will be buried on Thursday.
  • Taniela (Dan) Hoko’ila Tufui died in Ballarat in Victoria, Australia, on April 19. He was 83.
  • Dan Tufui was one of the first four Law Lords appointed to form a new judicial committee of the Tongan Privy Council in September 2008.
  • He was also one of the first Tongan to be created life peers.

For more information

Death notice (The Courier, Ballarat)

Political and Constitutional Reform Opens the Door: The Kingdom of Tonga’s Path to Democracy (Guy Powles, Comparative Law Journal of the Pacific, 2012)

Lord juridique

Dishonest, evasive, lacking integrity – Scots QC damned after ferry tragedy (The Scotsman)

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