The following speech was written for the Samoan Speech Competition in 2015:
“My papa serves today with diligence for a better tomorrow!”
My papa serves you, his church family, his community and his extended family with a willing heart. A seed sown and nurtured by his long line of ancestors who served their aiga and God.
In 1968 my Papa travelled to New Zealand from Samoa in search of a better future. Before he left for New Zealand his mum said to him;
“Work hard, for a better future for your brothers and sisters and more importantly trust in God!”
My Papa’s dad was now very old and his younger siblings needed money to further their own education…. So it was my Papa who decided to help out.
My Papa was one of the many Samoans that were selected by the government on a work scheme arranged between New Zealand and Samoa.
He lived in a town called Masterton which is in the Wairarapa. There was hardly any islanders there…
My Papa faced his first cold Wairarapa winter, his first meal of potatoes, his first taste of home without no aiga.
It was not easy back then to come to a new country. The New Zealand way of life was very hard.
My Papa had to learn to make a connection with others, he knew he had to give new things a go, to pick himself up when he failed
and to never give up.
My Papa knew that if he worked hard and learnt the kiwi way of life... he knew that he had a good chance of living the good life.
My Papa could have chosen a life filled with gambling at the TAB, drinking away his pay packet at the pub
he knew he had to support his younger siblings and his parents back in Samoa… so my Papa chose to serve today with diligence for a better tomorrow.
In 1975 my Papa fell in love … like all young people… and married my Mama. She fell for his skux looks… he looked like a mini Arnold Schwarzenegger … their house was filled with his bodybuilding and weight lifting awards....well that's what my Dad would tell me.
Together they built a strong foundation with God as the head of their household. Not long after they got married they bought their first house. Life back then was very tough. At times it was just toast for tea… I guess that’s why My Papa has such a big vegetable garden…
Being one of the few Pacific Islanders in the Wairarapa, My Papa worked to help other Pacific Island families to settle in. From helping them to get jobs, schooling... to helping out with their finances.
My Papa embraced his new home by …. Answering the following;
“ ...ask not what your country can do for you—but what you can do for your country…”
In 1976 he help set the first Samoan Church in Masterton
1982 became a lay preacher
1983 he helped establish the Masterton Samoan Cultural Group
1986 he was member of the Masterton Community Arts Grants Board
1993 He became an interpreter for the Masterton Courts
1996 he established the first Aoga Amata
1999 he became carer for Pacific Island kids at risk
In 1996 April 6 before the opening of the First Aoga Amata in Masterton, My Mama passed away. My Papa was very sad… he leaned on God’s unconditional love and grace… even through his darkest hours my Papa remembered God’s love.
My Papa was blessed in 2005 January 8 with his first beautiful granddaughter , I was named after my mama.
In July 2013 My Papa had a heart attack. Before his heart operation he said to me;
“Always put God first, work hard so that others may follow you….”
My Papa has now lived in Masterton for over 50 years. His legacy has been passed onto his children . Now his legacy will be carried on with us grandchildren. I now know that I need to carry on the sacrifices my Papa made to give his own children, his aiga and his community a better future.
My Papa’s story is like other Pacific Island Pioneers. It is important that their legacy continues by you and I listening to our parents and elders about the hardship they faced to learn from them in order to understand our path for the future.
That the values of working hard, perseverance and overcoming hard times are the foundations we need to build our own future.
Serve now for a better tomorrow….
“Tautua ma e faamaoni nei mo sou taeao manuia”