The Hon Baron Vaea of Houma was appointed Prime Minister on 22 August 1991, replacing HRH Prince Fatafehi Tu'ipelehake who resigned because of ill health. Baron Vaea is the twelfth Prime Minister of Tonga since 1876.
He was born on 15 May 1921 and educated in Tonga and New Zealand. He served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force from 1942 to 1945. He entered the Civil Service in 1945 and was Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty Queen Salote Tupou III prior to being appointed Governor of Ha'apai in 1960.
From 1969 to 1972, Baron Vaea was Tonga's High Commissioner to the UK. He returned home in 1973 to become the first Minister of Labour, Commerce and Industries. He also acted as Deputy Prime Minister on numerous occasions, and as Minister of Education and Civil Aviation, and of Finance.