The man famously known as the People’s captain has fought and won many battles for Samoa.
Yesterday, the former Manu Samoa captain, Mase Mahonri Schwalger, celebrated his latest victory, having endured the pain of getting his tatau at Malua fou.
Mase’s tattoo was done by Tufuga, Li’aifaiva Fesola’i Imo Levi.
And like his playing days, Mase was well supported. Among the supporters were other legendary Manu Samoa figures such as Muliagatele Brian Lima, Galumalemana George Stowers and others.
Mase, a chief from Saleaula Savai’i who now coaches and runs the Rugby Academy Samoa, was a relieved man.
“I am speechless at the moment, I’m just thankful that it’s done,” Mase told the Sunday Samoan.
Li’aifaiva is equally thankful the legendary Manu Samoa player chose him to do his traditional tattoo.
The process went for about a week and a half, said Li’aifaiva.
“I am humbled to be honest,” he said. “We all know him as this superstar who made a name for Samoa through rugby and so I am humbled."
“He’s actually a great guy who is very humble himself and I applaud him for taking up the task of getting his traditional tattoo, it’s not an easy task but he endured it until the end."
“It was a pleasure tattooing him and for me, it was good to actually interact with Mase and he really is a great person."
“Behind the rugby name, I got to know him and his family and again it’s a humbling experience, not only to tattoo him but many other people.”
It was a proud and emotional moment for the Schwalger family, said Stefanee Schwalger.
About 100 family members and supporters along with his proud wife, Molly Schwalger, congregated to congratulate Mase on completing his pe’a.
“I am super proud of my dad; this is actually every man’s dream and worst fear and I am happy that my dad got his pe’a."
“And to be honest I intend to get my malu soon."
“The experience that my dad went through, while being difficult and painful, it is something that every Samoan who has a malu or a soga’imiti, is proud of … our traditional tattoo. "
“The example set by my dad is what I look up to, getting his soga’imiti, because what signifies us and separates us from the world is our pe’a,” she said.
Ms. Schwalger reiterated that she is proud of her dad’s bravery and hope that one day she will get a malu.