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Robert Rex

The Honourable
Sir Robert Rex
1st Premier of Niue
In office
19 October 1974 – 12 December 1992
Succeeded by Young Vivian (1992- Interim Premier)
Constituency Alofi South
Personal details
Born (1909-01-25)25 January 1909
Anafonua, Avatele, Niue
Died 12 December 1992(1992-12-12) (aged 83)
Halamahaga, Alofi South, Niue
Political party Niue People's Action Party
Spouse(s) Tuagatagaloa Patricia, Lady Rex
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Sir Robert Richmond Rex KBE CMG (25 January 1909 – 12 December 1992) was the first Premier of the Pacific island state of Niue.

Early life and family

Rex was born to parents Leslie Lucas Richmond Rex, a European trader on Niue, and Fisimonomono Tufaina of Avatele Village in the south of Niue. He later settled down in Alofi, the capital of Niue, with his wife of that village, Tuagatagaloa, Lady Rex, QSM (1918–2004).

Rex was the great uncle of the rugby player Frank Bunce.[1]

Political career

Rex was Premier of Niue from its establishment as a self-governing territory on 19 October 1974 until his death in 1992.[2] Upon his death in office, he was succeeded by Mititaiagimene Young Vivian, until General Elections the following year resulted in the election of Frank Fakaotimanava Lui into office. Having served 18 years in office, he is Niue's longest serving Premier and probably the Pacific's longest serving head of a government.

Although Rex was opposed to party politics on Niue, he was supported by the Niue People's Action Party after its formation in 1987. During his almost two decades in office, Rex held virtually all Government ministerial portfolios from time to time. His Cabinet of Ministers included prominent Niuean figures such as Dr Enetama Lipitoa, Mititaiagimene Young Vivian and Frank Fakaotimanava Lui, the latter two also going on to become Premiers of Niue.


In the 1973 New Year Honours, Rex was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for valuable services to the people of Niue.[3] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1977 Silver Jubilee and Queen's Birthday Honours.[4]

Rex was the first Niuean to receive a knighthood, being appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1984 New Year Honours.[5]


  1. ^ South Pacific and Micronesia. Lonely Planet. 2006. p. 358. ISBN 1-74104-304-2. 
  2. ^ Niue Archived 11 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine., country profile, Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  3. ^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 45861, 29 December 1972. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  4. ^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 47237, 10 June 1977. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  5. ^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 49584, 30 December 1983. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
Government offices
New office Premier of Niue
Succeeded by
Young Vivian