Levaopolo Uitinesi Mata’afa travels frequently between New Zealand and Samoa. He has to.
He may live in Auckland, but he is very much involved with family and village obligations here that he has to attend to. In fact, he now travels home every month – sometimes twice a month - to attend meetings at his village of Saleaula Upolu, also known as Salamumu.
Thanks to Samoa Airways, this has been made easier for him with the availability of affordable airfares at his disposal.
His latest trip to Samoa was on Friday last week.
He came to attend an all-important meeting between Salamumu and Sale’aula, to discuss their response to the proposed Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018, which affects their constituency of Gaga’emauga No. 2.
In fact, when Levao was being interviewed for this article, he was boarding a Samoa Airways flight from Auckland to Samoa on Friday afternoon, so that he can arrive in time for the village meeting yesterday.
“Samoa Airways has made my life so much easier in so many ways,” he said.
“One of those is enabling me to fulfil my village and cultural obligations in Samoa, while still performing my duties as a husband and father for my family in New Zealand.”
“It has helped me travel on a more regular basis between my home in Auckland and my home in Salamumu.”
It is actually the third time this year that he has travelled to Samoa for village-related matters.
“It was hard for me at first to do this especially with the expensive fares on the other carriers before. But ever since Samoa Airways came back into operation, it has made it so much easier for me. I am so glad that we have our own airline again, which understands our cultural, family and church obligations and offer specials accordingly”.
Levaopolo also credited Samoa Airways for making other carriers lower their fares.
“It’s interesting how the other airlines are now scrambling to match or better what Samoa Airways is offering. I understand competition, but what strikes me is that these other airlines have only become ‘caring’ towards us now that they have competition. But before, they never cared. And I tell you, that’s how they will be once again if Samoa Airways is out of the picture”.
It is for this reason that he is imploring other Samoans to lend their support and patronage by flying with Samoa Airways.
“My experience every time I fly with Samoa Airways has always been that of pure satisfaction. The service is always great. It’s the best that I know of,” said Levao.
“I take my hat off to the Government of Samoa for ensuring that we have our own airline again. This is a matter of pride for any Samoan. In fact, that is the main reason why I fly Samoa Airways – because it’s ours.”
Levao said his village has scheduled an appointment with the Parliamentary Committee where they plan to raise their concerns, after which he will fly back to NZ on Samoa Airways.
“But even if this meeting will be postponed to a later date, at least I know I can afford to go back to NZ and return whenever that meeting will happen,” he said.
It is this commitment to family, village and church that Samoa Airways understands very well.
And it is stories like these from valued clients that have fuelled the airline to continue to improve and reinforce their services and offerings to the travelling public.
“As Samoans, family and culture have a huge impact on our daily lives. Whether it’s a reunion, birthday, the passing of a loved one, a title bestowal or blessing of a new church, we do what we do as a family,” said Seiuli Alvin Tuala, C.E.O. of Samoa Airways.
“We recognise that travel is often a necessary part of fulfilling our obligations. As Samoans with that cultural-awareness, being able to respond where we can through the service that we provide our people is a really important part of what we do.”