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Mara, Kamisese Kapaiwai Tuimacilai, Ratu Sir

Born: 1920 AD
Died: 2004 AD
3.4 (67.76%) 85 votes

1920 – Kamisese Kapaiwai Tuimacilai Mara was born on 6 May 1920, in Vanuabalavu in the archipelago of Lau, the son of Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba, head of the chiefly Vuanirewa clan, and his first wife Lusiana Qolikoro, who was related to Tongan royalty and was also descended from an English missionary. Mara’s title, Ratu, which means "Chief," was hereditary; as the hereditary Paramount Chief of the Lau Islands, he held the titles of Tui Lau, and Tui Nayau kei Sau ni Vanua ko Lau.


1942-1945 – Mara was educated first at Knox College, Otago University in New Zealand, where he studied medicine (1942 to 1945). He never finished his medical course, because his great-uncle and mentor, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna (who was then regarded as Fiji’s paramount chief), seeking to groom him for future leadership of the nation, arranged for him to study history at Wadham College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Mara was distressed to abandon his medical studies, but, dependent on Ratu Sukuna for financial support, followed his orders without question, and graduated with an M.A. in 1949.


1961-1962 – He returned to the United Kingdom to pursue postgraduate study at the London School of Economics for a Diploma in Economics and Social Administration, which he was awarded in 1962.


1966 – He succeeded to the Tui Nayau title, following the death of his father in 1966; he was later installed as Tui Lau, inheriting the title left vacant by his cousin Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, who had died in 1958.


1967-1970 – Last chief minister of Fiji


1970 – 1st prime minister of Fiji

In 1973, his old alma mater, Otago University, awarded him an honorary doctorate of laws (LL.D).

Following his graduation from Oxford University, Mara returned to Fiji and married Ro Litia Cakobau Lalabalavu Katoafutoga Tuisawau, better known as Ro Lady Lala Mara. Her title, Ro, is also hereditary and is held by Rewan chiefs; like her husband, Lala Mara was a chief in her own right, as the Roko Tui Dreketi (Paramount Chief) of Burebasaga and Rewa. The marriage was initially opposed by Mara’s family, as Adi Lala was from a rival dynasty with which the Mara clan had a history of strained relations. The marriage proved to be a happy one, however, and in stark contrast to the prevalence of divorce among many of Mara’s relatives, it lasted for more than 53 years. They had three sons and five daughters, two of whom have pursued political careers of their own. Their eldest son, Ratu Finau Mara, was a Cabinet Minister and parliamentary leader of the Fijian Association Party from 1996 to 1998, when he resigned to take up a diplomatic posting. Their second daughter, Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, has also followed in her father’s footsteps and has served her country as a career diplomat and politician. She was Minister for Transport and Tourism in 1999 and 2000, and currently (2005) serves in the Fijian Senate.


1977-1992 – Fijian foreign minister.


1994-2000 – President of Fiji.


3.4 (67.76%) 85 votes