Rest in love, Iokapeta Petaia!

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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FAREWELL: Iokapeta's grandchildren carrying her body for the last time.

FAREWELL: Iokapeta's grandchildren carrying her body for the last time. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

The life of Iokapeta Fualuga Petaia was celebrated yesterday at the C.C.C.S. Vaivase Tai.

Among mourners who turned up to pay their respects were Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama, Cabinet Ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and members of the Samoa Nursing Association.

Her final service was conducted by Rev. Seilala Luamanuvae.

During Tuilaepa’s eulogy, he spoke of how Iokapeta was very proud of her calling as a Registered Nurse.

“Iokapeta was recognized during the celebration of the 100 years of the service of the nursing association in Samoa,” he said.

“I always hear people talk about how these nurses have the warmest hand when they care for a patient.

“Iokapeta was one of the first nurses who had founded the Association.

“I always speak highly of the work done by the nurses which included Iokapeta. She will be sorely missed and her great work in the Nursing Association will always be remembered.”

One of her daughters, Galumalemana Nuufou Petaia, spoke about their mother’s love during her eulogy.

“Our mother is very proud of her date of birth,” she said.

“She was born on February 29, 1924. Her birthday is celebrated every four years because she was born on a leap year.

“And that is how we would do it; it would be a big celebration when it’s time for her birthday.

“Another thing is that she would always say that she is younger than her siblings because she celebrates her birthday every four years.”

The life of Iokapeta Fualuga Petaia was celebrated yesterday at the C.C.C.S. Vaivase Tai.
The life of Iokapeta Fualuga Petaia was celebrated yesterday at the C.C.C.S. Vaivase Tai.
Those who came to pay their respect to a friend, mother, aunty and dearest friend.
Those who came to pay their respect to a friend, mother, aunty and dearest friend.

Galumalemana also recalled how their mother’s job as a nurse was very dear to her heart.

“The people who are more affected in the passing away of our mother are our children, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren,” she said.

“The reason being is that when they needed help in the culture and the fa’asamoa and especially in the spiritual side, she is the right person to go to.

“They really miss her and she was a loving and humble mother.”

Iokapeta Fuāluga Petaia is the daughter of the late Suasua Setu and Aigaletai.

She has one brother and five sisters.

She was married to the late Memea Toafitu Petaia and they have nine children.

She attended the Pastor’s School Manunu, L.D.S. Sauniatu School, Malifa Primary School, Nursing School at Motootua, before she obtained a Certificate in Samoan Studies from the National University of Samoa.

She worked as a Registered Nurse in Samoa, Niue and briefly for work experience in New Zealand.

She was a nurse at Samoa College and Matron of Samoa College Hostel from 1962 until retirement in 1981.

She was a housewife and part-time shopkeeper at a family shop upon retirement while continuing to render tautua to extended families, villages, and her beloved church E.F.K.S. Vaivase Tai.

She won first prize in adults Category Award, Story Writing Competition, U.S. Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Celebrations.

She received the Nurse Best Performance Trophy (circa 1950’s). She was recognizes by the Samoa Nurses 100th Anniversary Celebration this year and was also awarded for her contribution to the education sector by the class of 1981 in 2016.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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