Nikolao Pula is the first individual of Samoan ancestry ever to serve as a Career (Senior Executive Service) Director of the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) of the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. As the OIA Director, Mr. Pula carries out the Secretary's responsibilities in the insular areas and the freely associated states. OIA is the Executive Branch's liaison organization with four of the five principal U.S. insular areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and the three freely associated states (the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau).
As OIA Director, Mr. Pula is responsible for the general policies regarding insular affairs and oversight of Federal activities. During his tenure with OIA, he has also served as a policy desk officer (August 1993 - July 2000) and Acting Director (1999 - 2002). Prior to his tenure with DOl, Pula worked for eleven years on Capitol Hill as a special assistant to Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), legislative assistant to Congressman Fofo I.F. Sunia (D-Am. Samoa), staff director of the Subcommittee on Public Building and Grounds of the House Committee on Public Works and Transportation; he also worked for the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms.
A graduate of the Marist Brothers' School in American Samoa and Menlo College in Atherton, California, Mr. Pula has pursued further studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He is the youngest son of the renowned Tofa Pula Nikolao luli Tuiteleleapaga Sr., one of the founders of the public school system in American Samoa.
Memo from James Cason, Associate Deputy Secretary to Nik Pula, Subject: Temporary Designation of Acting Official, January 15, 2009 PDF