When you’re a chief, you have to know the way, go the way and then show the way because being a chief is not just about holding the title; it’s about actions that you show to prove you’re worthy to hold the title.
Spoken as the true Village Chief that he is, Lepua Tauapa’i from Falevao said it all about using his title to make a difference.
“I’ve been holding this chief title for quite a while, my time is almost over so I’m just trying to make the best changes I can while I can, for the betterment of this village,” he says to the Village Voice.
The 59-year-old chief just finished cutting the grass when Village Voice caught up with him.
“I don’t like to sit and boss people around to do this and do that, no.”
“If you’re a leader, you got to mingle with everyone and show them exactly how things are done.”
“I usually carry out inspections and assess many issues here in the village just so I’ll know how people are in my village.”
“As you can see we had a competition like last week to see which part of the village did an excellent job in cleaning up their land.”
“We have this competition every month.”
“I even carry out inspections on plantations, to find out if every family is doing their work by cleaning and developing their crops.”
“You see, these crops are for our own people now, we don’t go to the market and sell them off anymore.”
“In my own belief, best to use the gifts of nature to feed your family with it, it can also help in the development of families.”
“By getting food from the land, we are able to save money from buying food. We are also able to re-live in old Samoan ways, that saves our time and ensure that we have food to eat the next day.”
Mr. Tauapa’i went on to say that they also carry out inspections to assess families to see that their children are attending school as it’s a compulsory matter.
“Yes, we are very serious about this issue because I would rather see children in schools than at home doing nothing.”
“If we find out about any child missing school, their families are being fined.”
“As a village chief together with the school principal, my duty is to support what the government is trying to prioritize and it’s good, because the children are our future.”
“Another thing that we have worked on is trying to send all our youths that either dropped out of school or unemployed to overseas by applying for the quota, or maybe find one of those apple picking jobs.”
“That’s more useful than to just roam around the villages doing nothing.”
“So far, our village is performing well and my advice for them is to keep on working harder to make a difference every single day.”