HomeSamoaSamoan Community welcomes new Samoa High Commissioner to Fiji

Samoan Community welcomes new Samoa High Commissioner to Fiji

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PRESS RELEASE; Samoa High Commission, Suva, FIJI,

15 March 2021

Samoan Community welcomes new Samoa High Commissioner to Fiji

Samoa’s new High Commissioner to Fiji, Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia was officially welcomed by the Samoan community in Fiji on Saturday, 13 March 2021 at the Havea Latukefu House, Pacific Theological College (PTC), Suva.

The programme commenced with a church service led by Rev. Professor Dr. Upolu Vaai, Principal of the Pacific Theological College, Suva.

This was followed by the ava ceremony. Preparation of the ava was performed by Taupou Miss Tafaoganiu Kuiniselani Elisara. Spokesperson for the Samoan community to welcome the High Commissioner was Lavea Iulai Lavea with Taito Louis Lene as the Chief guest’s respondent.

One of the highlights of the programme was the Fijian Vakamamaca ceremony performed by Samoans married to Fijians in honour of the High Commissioner as a Chief Guest. The ceremony is to provide “dry clothing and mats to the guests to help dry and keep them warm in acknowledgment of their long journey, often across the ocean “

Overall, the welcoming event was well attended by the Samoan community (over 200 people including children in attendance), considering the brevity of the time to organize it and the absence of an existing on-line network amongst the members to connect and share information. Still some found out and travelled from Nadi, Lautoka and outside of Suva to be part of a historical first for the community.

Notable amongst the attendees included 95-year old Mrs. Marion Ah Sam from Faleasi’u and Tuese Vui Falo Keil, 86 years old from Samatau and many of the expatriate community of Samoans in Fiji. Others present included those who have made Fiji their home permanently, namely,  Fuimaono Dr. Rosa Saaga-Banuve, Dr Tauta Perise Maua McGraig, Manusamoa Eunice Simoli Saaga-Gucake, Toleafoa Alfred Schuster, Ula Tiko,  Anae Joel Nilon and Janet Nilon, Tiatia Dan Lobendahn and Tile Maposua-Lobendahn, Asomua Howard Politini and Miriama Politini, Morgan Tuimalealiifano and William Wylie Clark.

The event was also graced with the presence of three Catholic Sisters, Kasileta Leiato, Lasela Kolio and Fualosa Enele.

A sumptuous dinner followed which was prepared by the PTC and USP students and those living in the Suva area, before all present were treated to a fine rendition of the Samoan National Anthem and a lively performance of Samoan cultural items, courtesy of the 3rd year Samoan students at the University of the South Pacific, Suva.

The welcoming event wouldn’t have materialised and enjoyed the success it did had it not been for the “labour of love” put in by members of the Organizing Committee under the leadership of Rev Professor Dr Upolu Vaai [PTC], Rev Dr. Faafetai Aiava [PTC], Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago-Elisara [Pacific Community – SPC], Maiava Lavea Iosefa Maiava [UNESCAP], Lavea Iulai Lavea [International Monetary Fund-Pacific Branch], Tanuvasa Semy Siakimotu [PHAMA Plus] and Taito Louis Lene of the Samoa High Commission.

Managing the programme to ensure it ran seamlessly were the joint responsibility of Masters of Ceremony Leituala Kuiniselani and Tanuvasa Semy.

High Commissioner Elisaia in his closing remarks thanked the Samoan community for the warmth of their welcome and for making him an integral part of Samoa’s community and circle of friends in Fiji. He challenged the Samoan community to use the presence of the Samoa High Commission in Fiji as a magnet to bring everyone and anyone who identifies as a Samoan through whatever connection to strengthen the community, increase contacts more often and to reach out and help each other during the highs and lows in our joint journey in life’s unchartered waters, as through unity the Samoan community will be strong. 

He reminded those present that “today we have planted a seed in Suva. Let’s nurture, care and help make this beautiful Samoan seed grow and blossom so that the fragrance from its flowers can reach every corner of Fiji for everyone to enjoy, appreciate and benefit and feel its presence”

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