Samoan woman excels in U.S. Navy

A Samoan woman can be identified by how she carries herself through the way she speaks and walks.

This is the belief by Marie Mataia Tauai as she was given the opportunity to work as a naval officer in the U.S. Navy on March 6 this year.

During her swearing in ceremony, she used a part of her Samoan culture by wearing a red “Ula Fala” (a necklace made from the pandanus fruit), fue (fly risk) and a to’otoo failauga (orator's wooden staff).

The Chief of Staff of the American Samoa Congresswoman, Leafaina Tavai Yahn gave Ms. Tauai the ula fala and fue while her mother Matauaina Lauano Mataia Vaa Failautusi gave her the to’otoo.

After the ceremony Ms. Tauai extended her gratitude to everyone that took part in the ceremony at Pearl Harbour.

She was born in American Samoa and hails from the villages of Satoalepai, Patamea and Avao and her father is Failautusi Vaa Lua.

She was raised by her grandmother Vaipouli Mataia Toipua.

She attended Falevalu Primary School and Samoa College and is a graduate of the University of La Verne in California with a bachelor's degree in criminology.

She also has a masters degree in social work from the University of Southern California.

It has been 12 years since she joined the U.S. Navy but had to serve 10 years with her new position. 

She is married to Esera Faleni Tauai from the villages of Amanave and Amaua in American Samoa and has two children, Esera Jr. and Marie Jr. Tauai.

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