The media in Samoa has lost one of its more experienced members with the passing of TV1’s News Manager, Tofilau Merita Huch yesterday.
Tofilau passed away peacefully at the Moto’otua Hospital, surrounded by her family and close friends. She was 47.
Minutes later when the news got around, many of her friends and media colleagues flooded the morgue to pay respect to her and offer their condolences to her family.
Tofilau is known to many as a very passionate woman, who feared nothing and did her best to keep the public informed.
The President of the J.A.W.S, Apulu Lance Polu, said Tofilau would be sorely missed.
“Her death is a major loss not only to J.A.W.S but to journalism and the media in Samoa,” said Apulu.
“Merita is one of the well trained journalists who went through formal training overseas in New Zealand and there are a few of those who went through those training.”
It was not possible to get a comment from the Chief Executive Officer of TV1, Galumalemana Faiesea Reupena yesterday.
But senior Journalist of the government-owned Savali Newspaper, Asenati Semu, was in tears as she recalled the fun times with Tofilau.
“This is a big loss for us the media, and someone that cannot be replaced,” said Mrs. Semu.
“I feel for her family especially her husband and children, she will forever be in our memories.”
Principal Public Relations Officer of the Land Transport Authority, Anelisa Auelua, worked with Tofilau at TV Samoa during the 1990s.
“She motivated us to work hard and to do well in our jobs and what we give to the public,” said Mrs. Auelua. “She’s a great loss to journalism especially her knowledge from print, radio and television. She was multi talented in journalism.”
Many of her colleagues are mourning someone who helped them.
“I tried so hard to remember the last conversation we had, you asked me if I was happy. I shrugged, you laughed it off, lighted a smoke and said, you always land on your feet, no matter where life took us,” wrote Josephine Leaupepe.
Another long time colleague, Tosimaea Tupua remembers Tofilau as a “wonderful colleague” and “close friend.”
“I have been thinking about the great times we shared together whilst working at TV Samoa, the late nights editing the news, preparation for all the live telecasts we did for the Fu’a, the many laughs and tears.
“I remember the day you asked me to interview the King of Tonga and I pretended I was sick and you ended up doing it and I bought you scotch as a compensation. Faafetai mo mea uma.”
Tofilau had been in the media for more than 30 years. She studied in New Zealand as a journalist and started working in the media overseas before she moved to Samoa where she joined the Samoa Observer. Later, she worked for TV Samoa.
Tofilau attended Wellington East Girls College and Auckland Institute of Technology in New Zealand.
She is survived by her husband, Leao James Huch and her five children.