A man on a mission

By Anina Kazaz 27 July 2018, 12:00AM

A journalist has set out on a quest to find information on the life his grandfather who lived in Samoa, with hopes of writing an incredible story about it.

Paul Plowman’s grandfather, Peter Plowman, was elected the European Member of Samoa’s first Parliament under the late Fiame Mata’afa F. Mulinuu II, C.B.E in 1961. 

Part of Paul’s trip to Samoa is to understand why his grandfather chose this small island in the middle of the Pacific, the life he lived here and why he stayed for about 40 years. 

He is in Samoa for two weeks to find out as much as he can about his grandfather who he met a week before he passed away in 1983 in Samoa. 

Paul lives in Perth, Australia.

He flew into Samoa with his partner where he immediately started to find contacts, old friends and people who knew his grandfather.

According to Paul, his grandpa Peter became a well-travelled man when he toured together with Errol Flynn, who later became a famous Hollywood actor.

Peter later went to Sydney, where his family business was booming and then to Perth where he married Paul’s grandmother.

He was born in 1902 and lived to witness both the World Wars.

In World War II, he was a Lieutenant Commander for the Australian Navy in the bomb disposal division where he provided his expertise on disarming fallen bombs in the U.K., Middle East and Italy.

After returning to Sydney from the war, he split up with his wife and decided to leave for Samoa.

According to Paul, he arrived in Samoa around 1949. He married a Samoan woman, Aggie Mann, adopted a Samoan baby girl Gina and became a harbour master in 1955 and a Member of Parliament in 1961.

“I think he had liked the people here a lot. When I was here in Samoa in 1983 it was very clear that he has been a much respected person who made a great contribution to the country,” Paul said. 

“He has been travelling all over the world and after the war he was a high ranking officer, which could have been reasons he was so accepted. From his time in the Solomon Islands, I guess he was used to living in a very traditional country.”

In the book “Palagi Tafaovale: A wanderer in the Pacific” the author, Bob Rankin, who was Peter’s neighbour in Samoa, described Peter in Chapter 43.

It reads: “Peter had lived the most remarkable life of any man I knew. In his eighty or so years there was little Peter had not been … gold miner, fairground boxer, professional footballer, yachtsman, salesman, Olympic swimmer, war hero, planter, trader, crack shot, king of the billiard table, Cabinet Minister and Samoan chief – to name a few – and he had achieved success at them all.”

Bob also wrote to Peter’s son, Bill, in a passage of his book saying: “If you manage to live only half the life your father led, you could still be proud of yourself.”

By Anina Kazaz 27 July 2018, 12:00AM

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