Kiwi sees bright side of stranding

A New Zealand-based Samoan father currently stranded on island due to closed borders says he is looking on the bright side of the experience. 

Toaigaotumua Ueta Futialo, 40 of Lotoso’a in Saleimoa, said being stranded in Samoa is not much of a hassle for him despite the fact that he misses his children.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, the proud chief said the current state of emergency restrictions were a chance to expand his relationship with his family and plant some taro.

Toaigaotumua was among a group of incoming passengers sent to 14 days of quarantine at St. Therese Accommodation and Retreat two weeks ago.

“When I was informed that my stay might be extended for an unknown amount of time, the first thing that came to mind was my children and how they would take it,”  he said.

“But as I thought hard about it, it’s a very great opportunity to be with my families in Samoa and make plans that have long been postponed because I was too busy in New Zealand.”

Unexpectedly, his barbershop with his younger brother proposed to be opened late was successfully opened and run for business.

Apart from that, he had time to go to the plantation and plant some crops for his parents and sisters in Samoa.

Toaigaotumua earned his New Zealand citizenship 15 years ago but comes back to visit once a year. 

He also owns a small barber shop in New Zealand which is currently closed due to the coronavirus lockdown in that country. 

He says his only worry is for his children and not being with them during this difficult time.

“Thanks to the use of social media that we’re still in contact to lessen my worries,” he added.

But it’s unclear how much longer his sojourn in Samoa will last. 

He was unable to secure a flight on yesterday’s Air New Zealand flight out of the country because the plane was overbooked. 


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