New chairman for A.S.A. Foundation

By Hyunsook Siutaia 14 July 2020, 11:00AM

The A.S.A Foundation, a New Zealand-based charity, has appointed Tuala Tagaloa Tusani as its new Chairman. 

The foundation is based in South Auckland  and helps vulnerable Pacific families connect with Government agencies and services to find help them find assistance.

That assistance could take the form of information about immigration for deported people who had overstayed their visa or needed help with food parcels due to COVID-19 downturn.

The appointment was announced last week on Facebook after the committee and the foundation met to decide for Tuala to be the chairman. 

Tuala is also the chairman of Trade Invest Samoa and is a successful entrepreneur who has founded different businesses. He aims to grow the success of Samoan and New Zealand businesses in his role. He has eight children and three grandchildren and is from the villages of Leauva'a, Levi Saleimoa, Lefaga and Samalaeulu Savai'i.

Tuala acknowledged the A.S.A Foundation for nominating him and said he believed that his appointment will be a chance to serve Pacific communities. 

Tuala says that the A.S.A Foundation will partner with New Zealand chef, Michael Meredith for a trust called "Everybody Eats" to assist the foundation with their fundraising. The dinner will be held on the 25th of July. 

“It’s a dinner experience having a meal prepared by Meredith at Everybody Eats Restaurant where you pay-as-you-feel,” said Tuala 

The foundation assisted Samoa during the measles epidemic where about six containers were brought over to assist affected families. Coffins were also provided by the foundation as they had seen the need for it with many children dying at the time. 

According to Tuala, what had happened during the measles epidemic helped shape their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If we go back during the measles, we brought about 6 containers over to assist families. We had also provided a lot of coffins through the support of our friends," he said 

"So by the time COVID-19 came we had already seen what can happen if we don’t get it right, and we saw a lot of children buried in Samoa. We visited a lot of those families. 

"So as a Foundation, we already knew what would happen if we don’t get it right and we don’t get the information out to our people in terms of staying safe."

Tuala believes that when dealing with people from vulnerable communities, one should have had experienced what it was like and for him, he was able to connect to these communities as he is a suicide survivor and was a deported over-stayer.

Tuala, on accepting the role, emphasised an old saying which he said provided words to live by: "Better the canoe that breaks while sailing than the canoe rotting under the fau tree.”

By Hyunsook Siutaia 14 July 2020, 11:00AM

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