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“Samoa is our home, our heart”

With grey clouds appearing over Apia, the change in weather did not dissuade Auckland couple Carolyn and Graeme Fatialofa from enjoying their last day on the island.

They flew into Samoa last Friday from New Zealand to join family, who had gathered in Samoa to mark five years since the passing of Graeme’s grandfather, Papali’itele Peter Fatialofa. Other family members, who live abroad, were also in town for the commemoration. 

The couple was heading out to Nourish Café for lunch when the Samoa Observer caught up with them. They spoke of their interest and love for their parents and grandparents’ home, which is now theirs too. 

Born and raised in New Zealand, the couple made it their goal to visit Samoa twice this year. They were here in August and flew in again last Friday - their second trip for the year. 

While here they visited the final resting place of Graeme’s great grandfather in Lepea, and basked in the sunshine of the popular Lalomanu Beach. They also attended the Melbourne Cup fundraiser, had breakfast with family at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, and were entertained by the spectacular Faafiafia (show night) in the company of families at the Le Manumea Resort. On Wednesday they witnessed a cousin’s proposal at the world-famous To Sua Ocean Trench.

Indulging in the exquisite culinary dishes was also a highlight for the couple according to Carolyn. 

“We stayed at Taumeasina for two nights and we’d wake up and go straight to the market for breakfast,” she said.

It has not been the first time for Samoa’s local market to woo tourists and visitors. 

But for that homely experience in a Samoan hotel, the couple ranked Le Manumea Resort at the top. 

“Being here at Manumea, we love this connection with the smaller local communities and the networking that happens in the small places. The service here is wholehearted that you can’t get in those bigger places.”

They said the resort’s service and “acts of kindness” included giving Carolyn a handmade hat - which took two hours to make out of material - which she wore at the Melbourne Cup fundraiser. They were touched by the gesture.

“I feel that the Government doesn’t understand that places like this is really promoting Samoa. No wonder this place is really booked out,” Graeme said. 

While the couple run a business in Auckland, they say Samoa has had an impact on their lives and they will visit more often. 

“We may be born in NZ but Samoa is our home, this is our hearts.”

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