Sunday, 22 February 2015

Pule aoao le Atua (Mo'omo'oga alofa). . .

This blog post is dedicated to the memory of +Faimai Tuimauga 

I received some news that a great Samoan mother had gone to meet her Maker yesterday morning.  
A staunch advocate of Gagana Samoa (Samoan language) I knew that I had to pay tribute to her and that only a Samoan song would be a fitting way to acknowledge her work and say goodbye, so I chose Tiama'a and their beautiful pese Pule aoao le Atua (Mo'omo'oga alofa).

O matou mo'omo'oga alofa, 
Faimai ea leaga oe ua e sola
O ā nei ola, ua fa'aletonu
Talofa e, le uo sa fai toatolu

A e alu ea i luga?

Ae tia'i matou lau faigata
Se vaaia ua faanoanoa ai loto
Faimai ea pe toe sau ea se po?

I had the pleasure of working alongside Faimai Tuimauga on the Ministry of Education Northern Regional Pasifika Advisory Group between 2008 - 2012.  She was there to represent Early Childhood Education.  I was there to represent the Secondary sector as I was on the Komiti Pasifika of NZPPTA.  Over this period of time, I had the pleasure of sharing many laughs with this phenomenal woman.  If she didn't greet me with a kiss on the cheek or a huge bear hug, it would be a slap on the arm and a question about when I was going to have children.  In a world where honesty was becoming increasingly hard to come by, I could always rely on Faimai to always tell me the truth.




Ulufafo ae faafefea ea
La tatou Faimai ua e avea
Ua mamafa lenei avega
Ua leai nei saga toe aupega

A e alu ea i luga?
Ae tia'i matou lau faigata
Se vaaia ua faanoanoa i loto
Faimai ea pe toe sau ea se po?

I would run into Faimai at other Samoan or Pasifika events around Auckland.  It would most often be for Pasifika education events or for EFKS church events as we belonged to the same denomination, but different branch.  Every time she gave an opinion from her perspective, it was always with passion and a desire for the best outcomes for Pasifika learners.  She was also an advocate for Pasifika parents and championed the presence of Pasifika parents to be more involved in their children's level through greater participation in ECE services.  For secondary school Pasifika parents - she did one better, and translated a book that explained and unpacked NCEA for Samoan parents.  This great achievement is seen below with Mangere MP Su'a William Sio clutching the book that Faimai is responsible for producing.




Ulufale o mea lelei
U'u ia le alu nu'u lelei
Ofu ea le onosa'i
Faimai ia tatou feiloai ia le lagi

A e alu ea i luga?
Ae tia'i matou lau faigata
Se vaaia ua faanoanoa i loto
Faimai ea pe toe sau ea se po?

Faimai's most recent achievement was being honoured at last year's Queen's Birthday Honours, where she received an Honorary Queen's Service Medal for her contributions to the Pacific community and  education.  A stalwart of the preservation, maintenance and continuation of Gagana Samoa (Samoan language), Faimai always spoke about the importance of making provisions available for children to be able to learn their heritage languages.  This is still a vision that needs to stay at the forefront for Pasifika education if we want to never lose sight of our identity.  

Faimai ea pe toe sau ea se po?

I know we won't see you anymore, in all of the places that we have become accustomed to seeing you - advocating for our people.  I know you won't return to us in the evening, come back to us at night sometime as this final line of the song suggests.  But I will be thankful and forever grateful for the work that you have done for us.  We know we must carry it on and build on your legacy.

Manuia lou malaga Faimai.
Alofa tele atu ia Laine, Peter ma Loma.