Story of a boy from Lepa

Hundreds turned up at the Fale o Samoa in Mangere, Auckland New Zealand, on Thursday night to witness the book launch for the Palemia – Memoir. 

Organised by Samoa Stationery and Books, the biography narrated by the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and co-author Peter Swain captures the voice, documents the life, and places in context record of one of the most significant and influential political leaders of Samoa and the Pacific region – for this generation. 

 “This is a story of a boy from an isolated village of Lepa, grew up to become the Prime Minister of Samoa. It follows his journey from Lepa to Apia, Auckland, Wellington, Brussels, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, London, New York, and many other international destinations, always returning to Lepa and the Fa’asamoa that shaped him,” said Peter Swain. 

Swain told the crowd gathered that Tuilaepa said that as a young boy, his father told him that to be taken seriously by his peers among the sitting of the village matai council; he would need to learn the etiquette of Samoan humour. 

 “It is without a doubt a skill that he has refined and maintained throughout his political career, and has earned him popularity amongst his peers,” he said. 

 “When I was approached about this book, I later came to understand and hoped that by telling my story and my experiences as the Prime Minister of Samoa; it may help assist young aspiring politicians to learn from it and take from it something they could make for themselves and their journeys – so I that when I retire in 50 years time, the country and our people will be in good hands,” said Tuilaepa – with the humour that many either dislike or love about him. 

The book tells of the significant events of the Prime Minister’s journey as an ordinary boy, a scholar, a husband, father, and a man of faith, and equally a man well ingrained into the Fa’asamoa that he continues to return to and has morphed him into the leader and man that he is today. 

Two significant achievements that stand out from his numerous accolades as a Political leader according to Peter Swain are the economic and development infrastructure improvements identified by the United National Development Programme report for Samoa, and second when Samoa graduated from the Developing Countries category to Developed countries of the world in 2014 based on economic performance. Only four other countries have achieved this in the last decade – which is a very rare achievement – which Tuilaepa’s leadership steered Samoa through. 

Published by the Victoria University Press – Fergus Barrowman from the university was a guest speaker at the launch. Followed by a review by Labour NZ Member of Parliament, Aupito William Su’a. 

The book is stocked at the S.S.A.B Shop in Mangere Auckland, as well as Shop Samoa online. 

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