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Polynesian Leaders Group
""Location of Polynesian Leaders Group
Seat by rotation
• Chairman
"Samoa Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
Establishment 2011

The Polynesian Leaders Group is an international governmental cooperation group bringing together eight independent or self-governing countries or territories in "Polynesia.

The idea of a Polynesian regional grouping had been discussed for several years, notably in response to the "Melanesian Spearhead Group, a regional grouping for countries in "Melanesia. In September 2011, "Samoan "Prime Minister "Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi initiated a meeting with the leaders of "Tonga, "Tuvalu, the "Cook Islands and "Niue on the margins of the "Pacific Islands Forum summit in "Auckland. These initial talks led to a second meeting in "Apia which, on November 17, led to a "memorandum of understanding formally establishing the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG).[1][2]

The Group does not have a fixed Secretariat at present, despite initial suggestions that one would be established in Apia.[1][2][3] The Group held its first formal meeting in "Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in August 2012.[4]



Announcing the launch, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the member countries would work together "through this group to seek a future for our Polynesian people and countries where cultures, traditions and values are honored and protected. Where sustainable economic prosperity is achieved, where democratic values are observed, human rights promoted and protected as well as upholding the rule of law." It was also announced that the countries would cooperate in the fields of "education, culture and language, transport, environmental conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation, health, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, trade and investment".[3][5]

The fourth section of the Memorandum of Understanding read; The meeting decided that through the PLG, members will work together in the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation to: Encourage sharing knowledge and experiences in awareness and education to promote and protect cultures, traditions and languages; Encourage mutual support of development efforts in areas including but not limited to: transport, energy, environmental conservation, climate change, education, health, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, trade and investment; Encourage respect for the quality of governance, observance of democratic values and human rights rule of law and right to self-determination; Encourage the strengthening of connections with institutions of regional and international cooperation.[6]


There are eight founding members: three "sovereign states ("Samoa, "Tonga and "Tuvalu), two self-governing states in "free association with New Zealand (the "Cook Islands and "Niue), an "unincorporated territory of the United States ("American Samoa), an "overseas country of France ("French Polynesia), and a nation that is also a dependency of New Zealand ("Tokelau). Membership could potentially be extended in future.

Full members [7]


Possible Members[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

In September 2011, Niuean "Premier "Toke Talagi had noted that "we consider "New Zealand and "Hawaii, for example, as being part of the "Polynesian Triangle so they could very well be part of the members of this Polynesian Group". Tuilaeapa, while also acknowledging that New Zealand was geographically part of Polynesia, said there might be "complications" to inviting New Zealand into the Group.


In November, he stated it had been "decided that a state, territory or an indigenous Polynesian population can be invited to become a member or as an observer by a consensus decision of the founding members".[1][2][3] A few days later, discussing the founding of the Group with "Radio Australia, Tuilaeapa said that Fiji could be welcomed as a member in future. Despite Fiji being usually considered a Melanesian country just outside the "Polynesian Triangle, albeit with a culture and political traditions influenced by Polynesia, Tuilaepa argued that "Fiji is within this triangle and its "founding leaders considered themselves as Polynesians. Obviously, the "current leadership is leaning towards our Melanesian brothers."[8]

Founding Leaders[edit]

Country Head of Government Status governing
 "American Samoa Governor "Togiola Tulafono observer member
 "Cook Islands Prime Minister "Henry Puna self-governing
 "French Polynesia President "Oscar Temaru observer member
 "Niue Premier "Toke Talagi self-governing
 "Samoa Prime Minister "Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi sovereign state
 "Tokelau Ulu "Foua Toloa[9] observer member
 "Tonga Prime Minister "Lord Tuʻivakano sovereign state
 "Tuvalu Prime Minister "Willy Telavi sovereign state


PLG Annual Meetings
No Date Location Host Host leader Notes
1st 17 November 2011 Apia  "Samoa "Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi [10]
2nd August 2012 Rarotonga  "Cook Islands "Henry Puna
3rd 30 August 2013 Auckland  "French Polynesia "Gaston Flosse [7]
4th 26 July 2014 "Auckland  "Niue "Toke Talagi [11]
5th 5 September 2015 Auckland  "Tokelau Aliki Faipule Siopili Perez [12]
6th 29 June 2016 "Papeete  "French Polynesia "Édouard Fritch [13]



# Name Country/State Term Office Notes
1 "Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi  "Samoa 2011-2012
2 "Henry Puna  "Cook Islands 2012-2013 [7]
3 "Gaston Flosse  "French Polynesia 2013-2014 [7]
4 "Toke Talagi  "Niue 2014-2015
6 Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa  "Tokelau 2015–present [14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "NZ may be invited to join proposed ‘Polynesian Triangle’ ginger group", Pacific Scoop, 19 September 2011
  2. ^ a b c "New Polynesian Leaders Group formed in Samoa", Radio New Zealand International, 18 November 2011
  3. ^ a b c "American Samoa joins Polynesian Leaders Group, MOU signed", Savali, 19 November 2011
  4. ^ "Polynesian Leaders Group meet in Rarotonga ahead of the Pacific Leaders Forum", "Islands Business, 27 August 2012
  5. ^ "Polynesian Leaders Group formed in Samoa", Samoa Observer, 20 November 2011
  6. ^ "POLYNESIAN LEADERS GROUP FORMED IN SAMOA - November 21, 2011". Pacific Islands Report. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  7. ^ a b c d e
  8. ^ "Fiji welcome in Polynesian bloc: Samoa", Radio Australia, 22 November 2011
  9. ^ "Polynesian Union finally realized 35 years after". Talamua. 2011-11-18. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  10. ^ "POLYNESIAN LEADERS GROUP FORMED IN SAMOA - November 21, 2011". Pacific Islands Report. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  11. ^ Administrator. "Prime Minister of Tonga attends 4th Meeting of the Polynesian Leaders Group". Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  12. ^ Retrieved 2016-05-04.  Missing or empty |title= ("help)
  13. ^ "Polynesian leaders group gathers in Tahiti for climate change update". Asia Pacific Report. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "Tokelau elected to lead Polynesia Leaders Group". Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
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