Nation mourns passing of former Cabinet Minister

The body of former Cabinet Minister, Leiataualesa Vaiao John Alailima, arrived to a full traditional welcome at the Fagali’i Airport yesterday.

The former Member of Parliament for Aiga ile Tai passed away in American Samoa. He was 95 years old. 

His body was taken to Hawai’i where he was cremated. He was flown to Samoa yesterday for his final services.

A state funeral will be held today at the Methodist Church in Matafele to honour the life of the former Parliamentarian.  

Leiataualesa was elected as the Member of Parliament for Aiga ile Tai in 1988. 

He was a Minister of Justice, Labour and Public Service and a former Minister of Public Works.

His other ministerial positions include Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister before retiring from politics in 1996. 

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He held three prominent high chief titles; the Amituana’i in Lotofaga, the Leiataualesa in Faleu Manono and Fuimaono from Salani. 

Following his retirement Leiataualesa went on to complete his research on “Our Ancestors”. 

During his time in parliament he had served his constituency through electrification of Manoo Island, securing 58 acres of land for Manono residents and construction of the main district wharf to name a few. 

The former Minister also sponsored many students from the district to attend Polytechnic and National university of Samoa. 

Leiataua was married to renown Pacific author the late Fay G Calkins of, “Aggie Grey, Samoan Saga” and the subject of her book “My Samoan Chief.”

Together with his wife they collaborated on published and unpublished manuscripts and books including his family’s oral history told in stories, genealogies, proverbs and songs, “O tatou Tupuaga: Our Ancestors”.

During the couples retirement years, they served as fellows at the National university of Samoa under the Samoan Studies to continue their research on pre-European Samoan chiefdoms. 

Leiataua is survived by his seven children, twenty two grandchildren and twenty two great grandchildren. 

 

 

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