<> Flag-raising ceremony celebrates Samoa Independence Day in Hawai'i | Tautalatala.com

Flag-raising ceremony celebrates Samoa Independence Day in Hawai'i

Photo Credit
Faletuiga/Tina Mata'afa-Tufele

(Honolulu, HAWAI'I)--Leo o Tumua ma Pule, a newly formed group of Samoa citizens living in Hawai’i will celebrate Samoa Independence Day Saturday, June 1 with a flag raising ceremony 8:30 a.m. at the Kuhio Park Terrace Community Resource Center in Kalihi.

“We believe this effort is a voice for Tumua ma Pule, and not just for the flag raising, but something for the Samoan community in Hawai’i, especially for our youth,” said Fa’amausili Misa Tauave Galuvao, a U.S. Navy retiree and founding member of the group. “This is a voice for Samoa and a call for everyone from Upolu, Savai’i, Manono and Apolima to unite.”

The flag raising ceremony is the group’s first move in their efforts to highlight and assist in meeting the specific needs of Samoa citizens living in Hawai’i.

Members of Leo o Tumua ma Pule are: Fa’amausili Misa Tauave Galuvao and wife Tina; Ape Fuli Lei Poleki and wife Malia; Leafa Suliveta and wife Lufi and Seumanutafa Fouvale Aetonu and his wife Sele.

“We have plans in trying to set up services for Samoa citizens,” said Ape, a resident of Moanalua and founding member of Leo o Tumua ma Pule. “We are trying to get a Samoa Consulate out here in Hawai’i and we hope to talk to the Prime Minister in asking for a consulate for Hawai’i. Some of the people here have no connection to Samoa, no communication. We want to help set up some services for them in Hawai’i.”

Malofie Samoa Hawai’i, a new Samoan cultural tattooing group based on O’ahu— founded by Master Tattooist Su’a Sulu’ape Peter and Wadalife Executive Producer Tracey Poleki Puaina—will assist Leo o Tumua ma Pule in marking Samoa’s Independence Day.

Along with Radford High School junior Nadezna Leafa, who was born in Samoa, Malofie will perform the ‘Ava ceremony. Nadezna, who will be Taupou on Saturday, is a member of the Radford High School group that won first place at the We Are Samoa High School Cultural Arts Festival hosted early this month in La’ie.

A prayer will open the flag raising and a traditional welcome will be offered by Leo o Tumua ma Pule. Malofie Samoa Hawai’i members will raise the flags of Hawai’i, Samoa and the United States.

The event is at 8:30 a.m. at the Kuhio Park Terrace Community Resource Center on Linapuni Street. The flag raising ceremony will be held outside at the pavilion behind the center’s building.

Leo o Tumua ma Pule says their trade name is registered with the Hawai’i State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and the Internal Revenue Service. The group is working hard to secure a 501c3 non-profit designation.

On the evening of June 1, Leo O Tumua Ma Pule invites everyone to the Puerto Rican Hall for a Fiafia Night, the closing of their Independence Day events. Monies raised will go toward establishing services to assist the group in their plans to serve Samoa citizens living in Hawai’i. Tickets are $10. There will be free entertainment and pupus. It’s BYOB, say event organizers.

Leo o Tumua Pule invites all Samoans in Hawai’i to Saturday’s events and urges all to live in harmony, or “nofo fealofani.”

“This is the hope…that we can unite for the future of our children…to help inspire the children,” said Fa’amausili. “If the Samoa flag is being raised, we hope to see all our brothers and sisters from Tutuila and Manu’a join us. We have one history, one culture, one spirit.”

Expired Samoa passports and requests for copies of birth certificates are among the issues citizens of Samoa residing in Hawai’i face.

Some locals have complained that requesting documents through the Samoa Consulate in Los Angeles, Calif., is difficult and unreasonable.

A few months ago, one Hawai’i resident who sought help in securing a birth certificate at the American Samoa Government Office on Dillingham Boulevard, was turned away. She said she was told her birth certificate would have to be requested at the Samoa Consulate in American Samoa. The request must be made in person by someone acting on the requestor’s behalf, she told tautalatala.com.

Tautalatala.com understands that the last person to serve Samoa citizens in Hawai’i in an official capacity for the Samoa Government (as consul) was late Pastor Fitu Tafaoa who died in 2003. Born in American Samoa, he was a U.S. Marine Corps retiree and leader of the Free Will Baptist Church in Waipahu. He served as honorary consul general for Samoa and Tonga, reported the Honolulu Star Bulletin 10 years ago.

For months, tautalatala.com has been fielding inquiries from Samoans in Hawai’i, on where requests for Samoa birth certificates and other documents can be made in-state.

A tautalatala.com inquiry about travel documents and birth certificate requests out of Hawai’i, received by the Samoa Government in February, was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The inquiry remains unanswered.

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