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  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Hapakuke Pierre Leleivai (bio)

Because no reviews of Wallis and Futuna were published in TCP since 2007, this review covers the 2007-2011 period.

On 7 May 2007, a chapter of the modern history of 'Uvea Island (also called Wallis) closed with the death of Lavelua (King) Tomasi Kulimoetoke. The lavelua's passing also affected the social and political landscape of the whole Territory of Wallis and Futuna (Angleviel 2008). Participating in the funeral procession were the two kings of Futuna, his majesty Tuiagaifo from Alo kingdom and his counterpart, Tuisigave, from Sigave kingdom. In his closing address at the very moving ceremony, Tuiagaifo Soane Patita Maituku reminded the crowd of the late king's work and courage in bringing modernity to 'Uvea as well as his efforts to maintain tradition and local customs. Tomasi Kulimoetoke was native to the southern district of Mu'a on his father's side and from the central district of Hahake on his mother's side. He had been appointed king of 'Uvea in 1959 with the support of Pelenato Pulufegu Fuluhea, an influential personality from Mu'a who was also the former lavelua (1947-1950). Lavelua Tomasi Kulimoetoke's reign was mostly one of political and social stability. After his death, the island remained kingless for fourteen months.

In January 2008, a new health care center, encompassing the existing Sia Hospital and new extensions, was established in Mata Utu, the territorial capital, on 'Uvea. In accordance with the French Ministry of Health's 13 January 2000 mandate, the health center became the Health Agency of the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands. The agency also encompasses another hospital (Kalevele) on Futuna and three dispensaries, in Mua, Hahake, and Hihifo (IEOM 2010, 90-92). The agency is a national and public establishment with administrative and financial autonomy and a primary mission—to protect people's health. The year 2008 also marked the beginning of work extending and improving the runway at Vele Futuna airport, which was undertaken mainly for security reasons. In the economic arena, the Monitoring Committee of the Ninth European Development Fund (EDF) met in Mata Utu on 3 April to discuss the development contract between the territory and the European Union (EU). Among the difficult issues discussed during the meeting was concern over elementary and high school enrollments, which dropped by 5.8 and 5.1 percent, respectively, in 2010; this trend is expected to continue due to low birth rates and youth emigration and may require education system restructuring and class closures in the future (IEOM 2010, 88). Another thorny problem was the extension of Mata Utu harbor, which was delayed not only due to lack of materials but primarily because no local company was able to handle the job. Finally a [End Page 201] French company was hired to undertake the project.

On 25 July 2008, Kapeliele Faupala, former Kalae Kivalu (prime minister) to Lavelua Kulimoetoke, was enthroned as king of 'Uvea. The Royalist camp had to go through long and hard negotiations before making a choice that not everyone agreed with. There had been riots and calls to depose Lavelua Kulimoetoke after he gave refuge in 2005 to his grandson Tomasi Tuugahala, who had been sentenced to prison for involuntary manslaughter following a car accident (Angleviel 2006, 148). The Renovator (anti-royalist) side wanted every pulekolo (chief) and aliki fa'u (king's minister) appointed during and after that crisis to step down in order to allow time for the two sides to set up a peace process before looking for a new king, but this was not done. Thus, from the outset, neither side unanimously accepted the new king. On 28 July, Philippe Paolantoni was appointed prefect of Wallis and Futuna, succeeding Richard Didier. But while former Prefect Didier seemed to have had cordial relationships with politicians and especially with the Lavelua's Royal Palace in Sagato Soane Place, the new superior administrator did not. Tensions were palpable, and a poisonous atmosphere existed between the French administration and the royal palace.

Also in July, the Territorial Statistical and Economic Studies Service published the first demographic results of the 2008 population census, which showed...


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