He is by no means perfect having caught the flak of 15,000 Samoans who turned out for what was probably the country's largest protest demonstration last year, when he decided to do the unthinkable - change driving from the right hand to the left hand side.
Yet, Sailele Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, the prime minister of Samoa, generally has a reputation for fair government, though critics of the Human Rights Political Party would rush to challenge this.
Tuilaepa's weekend comments about Fiji's illegal government and self-appointed leader, Voreqe Bainimarama, was all the more credible because it came from someone who has mana in the Pacific, someone who, unlike the spokespeople of New Zealand and Australia, has been unafraid to mince his words.
The 64 year old Samoan leader called it as he saw it: Bainimarama is a dictator who has turned Fiji upside down, using hastily concocted legislation to keep himself in power; a despot who keeps putting the screws on the people of Fiji.
Sure, the New Zealand prime minister and his Foreign Affairs Minister, John Key and Murray McCully, have fired at Bainimarama; so too have their Australian peers, Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith.
But none have had the firepower of Tuilaepa, the veteran politician and economist who has the audacity to make fun of Bainimarama. His comments throughout this recent interview on the Fiji military hardman were interspersed with laughter, something only someone from the taro or cassava patch would get away with. Quote: "I wouldn’t be surprised if his next decree is to change the Fiji national anthem. Instead of God Bless Fiji, it will be God Bless Bani. For Bani instead of For Fiji, the all-knowing, the all-enlightening God-sent Bani. All hail Bani!"
Even Tuilapea's insistence he's not criticising Bainimarama had a sting: “It’s not really criticism - its advice. It’s like watching somebody trying to jump over a cliff. So I’m actually consoling my friend Bani. Trying to help him, pointing him out the error of his ways.”
The dialogue New Zealand and Australia (and aid donors) seem determined to maintain with Fiji, needs more of Tuilaepa's bluntness. This archery enthusiast (he won a silver medal in the 2007 South Pacific Games) has quite nicely demystified Bainimarama, cutting the junta leader down to size as just another island boy who needs a good hiding.