Friendly locals a highlight for Kiwi from Wainuiomata

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 15 September 2017, 12:00AM

You would think Daniel Cherry was a local guy the way he was standing in a circle with some local Samoans outside a tattoo shop, just having a yarn, but his pallid and vitamin D deficient arms gave him away as a tourist.

Daniel is from Wainuiomata, Wellington, New Zealand.

It turns out he did know those Samoans outside the tattoo shop and one of them was his father-in-law. It is nine days in to Daniel’s trip to Samoa with his wife and kids. Even though he is married to a Samoan, this is his first time here and it was also a first for his daughters, so it was definitely an eye opener for them.

“I’ve found that Samoa is excellent. I liked the heat you feel when you get off the plane, the locals are so friendly, I can’t believe it. It’s a lovely place. 

“I don’t see why it’s not advertised more for Kiwis to come over and have a good look at it.”

Daniel’s wife is from Falelima in Savai’i and they spent the first part of their holiday there. 

 “It’s beautiful in Savai’i. We did a couple of things there and we went around and toured the whole of the island and visited all of the tourist attractions, like the Taga blowholes and swimming with the turtles, and it’s been absolutely awesome. 

“We came back over and did Upolu. We did the whole island and visited To Sua trench. We also went to the fresh water pools and the waterfalls, it’s been excellent, we’ve done heaps of things.”

His daughters were also finding their time in Samoa to be very memorable.

 “We’ve got three daughters and they are loving it. My middle daughter brought her Samoan boyfriend with her to Samoa and we’re actually just waiting around for her because she is getting a tattoo at the moment, just as a reminder of this trip.”

There is quite a large community of Samoans in Wainuiomata and Dear Tourist wondered if Daniel knew some Samoan or had learnt any on this trip.

 “I’ve been trying to pick up some words while we’re here but I’m not having any luck, at least I knew a few words before I came here. In New Zealand, I play a lot of rugby and I learnt some words from some of the Samoan boys in the team from Wainui (sic).

 “For the first couple of days, I found it quite challenging, trying to adjust to the culture, but now I’ve relaxed a little bit. 

“I think in the beginning I found the markets were a bit daunting, with everybody approaching you because in New Zealand we don’t have that sort of thing, but as soon as you get used to it, it’s pretty easy. You just say ‘fa’afetai’ and that’s it.”

His favourite part of the trip, so far, has been the people and he made an interesting observation between the locals and New Zealand Samoans. 

 “My favourite thing here, so far, is the locals. Everyone is so friendly and smiley and it’s just such a different perspective that I’ve got of them (Samoans) from back home, in New Zealand. I thought they were going to be keeping to themselves but it’s not like that over here. Everybody smiles and says ‘hi’ and is more willing to help you if you need a hand. I’m loving it.” 

Daniel is adamant that they are coming back and before he returns back to check on his daughter at the tattoo parlour, he told us that he wished that Samoa tourism was advertised more in New Zealand. 

 “I don’t know why Samoa is not advertised as much in New Zealand. 

“We’ve been watching a bit of TV at night here and you’ve got lots of ads advertising Samoa to the locals, but we don’t see them in New Zealand and it should be more on New Zealand TV, getting more tourists in.

“We will definitely come back again. We’re planning a family reunion with the father-in-law’s family in 2019. I would even consider retiring over here, to be honest.”

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 15 September 2017, 12:00AM

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