Safotu bestows title upon Japanese Ambassador.
The village of Safotu in Savai'i has bestowed the title Tu-mai-lagi upon Japan’s Ambassador to Samoa, Genichi Terasawa in recognition of his contributions to the development of the nation.
The special presentation was a display of appreciation from village elders after Ambassador Terasawa officially handed over the keys to the village's new school building, which was funded by the Government of Japan.
The Japanese Embassy pledged close to $300,000 to fund the new learning facility for the village.
The new school facilities include eight classrooms, one staff room, one library, and bathrooms for the students.
Following the ceremony to officially open the new school facility, the high chief from the village of Safotu, Lavea Natoe, spoke on behalf of Safotu to express their sincere gratitude to the Government and the people of Japan for their ongoing support and assistance for Samoa.
"As a token of our appreciation, we have decided to give you a matai title from the elders of Safotu," said Lavea.
"But that's not all, according to Lavea, the title would also be a remembrance of the time Ambassador Terasawa visited Safotu for such an important milestone."
Lavea said the title "Tu-mai-lagi" - which can be translated as "standing from the sky" - is a highly distinguished title particularly for the village of Safotu.
He said Safotu's elders would typically never bestow it upon people with no familial connections to the village.
But on special occasions, the title can be conferred as a show of appreciation, he said.
Lavea said it was important that the Japanese Ambassador's work for Samoa's development be acknowledged so that he could return to Japan with a matai title.
An ava ceremony was held to bestow the title upon the Ambassador, which was witnessed by a crowd of hundreds who had gathered to celebrate the occasion.
Upon receiving his ava cup, Tu-mai-lagi Terasawa expressed his sincere gratitude towards the elders and village of Safotu for the bestowal.
Tu-mai-lagi traveled to Savai'i for the opening of the new school building for the village of Safotu. He was accompanied by the caretaker Prime Minister and caretaker Ministers.
Last week, the Government of Japan through its Apia Embassy also handed over two new learning facilities to two other villages in Savai'i.