Former Cabinet Minister and Paramount Chief, Papu Vaai Vailupe passed away this morning in New Zealand.

His son, Kolone Vaai confirmed this in a brief interview with Radio Polynesia.

Papu Vaai was one of the founding members of the Tautua Samoa Party which he led from 2010 to 2011.

His father is the former Prime Minister Vaai Kolone who co-founded the Human Rights Protection Party; his younger brother Asiata Saleimoa Vaai was the leader of the Samoa Democratic United Party.

Vaai was first elected in Parliament in 1991 and served as Parliamentary Undersecretary for Works, EPC, and the Water Authority. He was also he was appointed to Cabinet as Minister of Justice in 2006.

Between 1998 and 2001, Papu Vaai served as Minister of Agriculture. He ran as an independent in his father's old seat of Vaisigano No.1 in the 2006 re-election and shortly before the election he was shot in the neck in a politically-motivated shooting.

In December 2008 he became a founding member of the Tautua Samoa Party.