Pizzaman desires to make a difference for Va'a o Fonoti
Businessman and candidate for the upcoming General Elections, Mau’u Siaosi Pu’epu’emai, never wanted to become involved in politics.
But he tells the Samoa Observer that the struggles of his district, Fagaloa, with roads, telecommunication, heath, education and other basic infrastructural developments has motivated him to throw his name in the political ring.
This week, Mau'u, who is better known as "Georgie the pizza man" registered with the Human Rights Protection Party to contest the Va'a o Fonoti electorate. He is among more than 40 new candidates who have signed up with the H.R.P.P.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, the 49-year-old from Samamea in Fagaloa, who is running his his first election race, said he is looking forward to the challenge.
“It never crossed my mind to enter politics because I believe I already have enough in my pocket to feed my family," he said.
“But what inspired me to at least try is the challenges my village as well as the whole of Fagaloa had been facing for so long in terms of roads, rivers, seawalls, education and many other reasons.”
The lack of teachers in schools in Fagaloa which impoverished the educational lifestyle of Fagaloa is one area Mau’u plans to primarily enhance. The same goes for the health of Fagaloa residents.
He said they lack basic access to health care.
“As everyone knows, we are located far away from the main roads. Whenever there’s an emergency, we have to rush all the way to Lufilufi (16.4 km/Google map),” Mau’u said.
But that’s not all. For some reason, Fagaloa which was originally merged with Faleapuna and was a district called Fagaloa ma Faleapuna, were detached as two different districts.
And with this, Mau’u said it is more of the reason why he wanted to represent his district and people as well as serving Samoa.
Rising sea level is another problem wreaking havoc to the homes of the people of Fagaloa.
Asked why he signed up for the H.R.P.P, Mau’u said it’s what his constituency desired.
“H.R.P.P has done a lot of good work for Fagaloa which we acknowledge," he said.
"And so for my candidacy, I had to follow what most of my constituency largely agreed upon and that’s H.R.P.P."
Mau’u is not a stranger to the business community.
He is the proud owner of the 22-year-old Georgie’s Pizza hut in Taufusi. From the proceeds of his pizza business, he managed to put up the Kava Car Rental as well as a massive ava farm in Fagaloa.
From childhood, Mau’u was raised in Fagaloa before he migrated to American Samoa to seek greener pastures.
He returned to Samoa in the 90s to pursue his career in pizza making to give back to his families and the community.
The father of three deems Samoa’s General Election, an event for diligent Samoans who have experienced the strenuous life as a Samoan from childhood which he confidently says suits such candidates like him.
“I started from being penniless to owning my spot in the business industry," he said.
“I’ve struggled to earn money and I was poor and I don’t want to go back to that experience again. And if I was to be elected, I aim to distant people from the same experience I had been through.”