Famous Samoans (Chapter 1)

KING MALIETOA TANUMAFILI II – O Le Ao o le Malo (Head of State 1963 -2007)

Le Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II

King Malietoa Tanumafili II, GCMG, CBE, (January 4, 1913 – May 11, 2007) (also called Susuga) was the Malietoa, the title of one of Samoa’s four paramount chiefs,[1] and the head of state, or O le Ao o le Malo, a position that he held for life, of Samoa from 1962 to 2007. He was co-chief of state in 1962 and became the sole head of state on April 15, 1963.[2] At the time of his death, he was the oldest national leader in the world.

He was born in 1913 as the son and third child of his parents, Malietoa Tanumafili I and Momoe Lupeuluiva Meleisea. He became the Mālietoa in 1940 following his father’s death in 1939.

Tanumafili was educated at the government run Leififi School in Samoa. He went on to enroll at St. Stephen’s College and Wesley College in Pukekohe, both of which are in New Zealand. Malietoa was an active athlete during his younger years. His favorite sports included boxing, rugby and cricket.[3] Malietoa’s interest in sports continued throughout his life and he was an avid golfer well into his 90s. He could often be seen driving his golf cart around Samoa.[1]

His wife, Lili Tunu, died in 1986.[4] Tanumafili had nine surviving children at the time of his death in 2007: Su’a Vainuupo, Faamausili Moli, Papali’itele Titiuatoa, Papali’itele Ioane, Papali’itele Douglas (sons) and Seiuli Tutai, Lola Tosi and Momoe (daughters). One child died in infancy, while his sons, Papaliitele Eti,died in 2005, Papali’itele Molioo Laupepa, died in 1985.[5] [6]

Malietoa Tanumafili II was a follower of the Bahá’í Faith. He was the second royal (after Queen Marie of Romania) to be a member of that religion. The Bahá’í House of Worship in Tiapapata, eight kilometers from the country’s capital of Apia, was dedicated by him in 1984.

(Infomation courtesy of Wikipedia)

ALBERT WENDT – Poet, playwright, author

Albert Wendt

Albert Wendt was born in Apia, Western Samoa. He studied at Ardmore Teacher’s College and at the Victoria University of Wellington, graduating with an M.A. in history. He returned in 1965 to Western Samoa, becoming principal of Samoa College. In 1974 he moved to Fiji, where he taught at the University of the South Pacific.

In 1977 Wendt returned home to set up the University of the South Pacific Center in Samoa. He worked closely with the literary journal Mana, and edited in 1975 collections of poems from Fiji, Western Samoa, the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), and the Solomon Islands.

Wendt’s epic Leaves of the Banyan Tree (1979), won the 1980 New Zealand Book Awards. He was appointed to the first chair in Pacific literature at University of the South Pacific in Suva. In 1988 he took up a professorship of Pacific studies at the University of Auckland. In 1999 Wendt was visiting Professor of Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. In 2001 he was made Companion of the Order of New Zealand for his services to literature.

EDWARD ‘Eddie’ S. Fatu (UMAGA) – pro wrestler

Umaga

Edward “Eddie” S. Fatu (born March 28, 1973)[2] is a Samoan-American professional wrestler better known by his ring names Jamal, Ekmo, and Umaga. He is best known for his time with World Wrestling Entertainment, where he was a two time Intercontinental Champion.

He is a member of the Anoa’i wrestling family and frequently worked as a part of a tag team – variously named The Island Boyz, the Samoan Gangstas, and 3-Minute Warning – with his cousin Matt Anoa’i.

Fatu was born in American Samoa, a member of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family. His mother, Vera, was the sister of Afa and Sika of the Wild Samoans, and his later Umaga gimmick would be compared to their “wildness”.[5] His two older brothers, Sam (better known as Tonga Kid and Tama) and Solofa Jr. (better known as Rikishi), are also professional wrestlers who have achieved success of their own. Dwayne Johnson, known in wrestling as The Rock, is his cousin.

GREG LOUGANIS – Olympic diver

Greg Louganis -Olympic Diver

Gregory (”Greg”) Efthimios Louganis (born January 29, 1960 in El Cajon, California) is an American Olympic diver who is best known for winning back-to-back Olympic titles in both the 3m and 10m diving events. He received the James E. Sullivan Award from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1984 as the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Louganis is of Samoan/Swedish descent and was raised in California by his adoptive parents, a Greek-American couple.

At sixteen Louganis took part in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, where he placed second in the tower event, behind Italian Klaus Dibiasi. Two years later, with Dibiasi retired, Louganis won his first world title in the same event. In 1978, he accepted a diving scholarship to the University of Miami where he studied theater, but in 1981 transferred to the University of California, Irvine, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.

Louganis is openly gay and tested positive for HIV in 1988. In the years since his diagnosis was made public, Louganis has been an outspoken HIV awareness advocate. Greg currently competes actively in dog agility competitions with his dogs.



RUMORED TO BE SAMOAN

Tia Carrere

* Tia Carrere (Actress, Wayne’s World 2 – True Lies) – She was born and raised in Hawaii and is actually of Filipino descent. However her parents both lived in Samoa for some time before moving back to Hawaii.

* Wesley Snipes (actor, Blade I II Trinity) – Yeah..this is just a rumor. He is actually African American and born in the United States of America to a teacher aide mother and an aircraft engineer father.



AL HARRINGTON – Actor

Al Harrington

Al Harrington (born Tausau Ta’a on December 12, 1935 in Pago Pago, American Samoa) is an American television actor. He is best known as his role as “Det. Ben Kokua” on the CBS television series Hawaii Five-O.

Al Harrington was raised by his maternal grandmother in the village of Mapusaga in Pago Pago until he was three. His mother, Lela Suapaia, sent for him to join her while she was working as a nurse in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. She later married Roy Milburn Harrington a native of Iron Mountain, Michigan, who had come to Honolulu as a serviceman with the US Army. The elder Harrington later became a member of the Honolulu Police Department. However, it was not until Al Harrington’s sophomore year in high school did he take his stepfather’s last name.

Harrington is a Latter-day Saint. He had one of the lead parts in The Testaments.[1] He also played the role of Thomas Trueblood in Light of the World, A Celebration of Life, that was put on by the LDS Church in Salt Lake City during the Olympics there in 2002.[2]

Al’s sons Alema (A news/Sports broadcaster) and Tau Harrington both attended Punahou School and later played football at Brigham Young University.


FIAME NAOMI MATAAFA – Politician (Samoa)

Fiame Naomi Mataafa

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa is a Samoan high chief and politician. She is a Member of Parliament (HRPP) for the constituency of Lotofaga. She is the current Ministry of Women, Community & Social Developmnent in Samoa. Following the March 2006 general elections in which she was reelected for a sixth term she was nominated by Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to her new portfolio at her request. She was Minister of Education for 15 years (three terms). She is one of the most senior members of Cabinet and the only female member of Cabinet. The daughter of Samoa’s first Prime Minister, Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II and Laulu Fetauimalemau Mata’afa. She was pursuing studies in New Zealand when she was recalled by her extended family to take up one of her father’s titles, Fiame from Lotofaga.

Following her father’s death her mother had become the member of parliament for the constituency of Lotofaga. On Laulu Fetaui’s retirement from politics Fiame Naomi contested the seat and was elected. She has held the seat since then.

11 thoughts on “Famous Samoans (Chapter 1)

  1. ooohhh al harrington is the man!! i watched his performance his singing act in hawaii and he has the most marvelous voice!!! i wish he had followed up in that area!!!i even had my photo taken with him after his performance..he is very tall and handsom!!! i bet he could still charm anyone with his deep melodious voice!!!!!

  2. I think Tia’s parents are either in L.A with her or they returned to Hawaii.

    Yes, Greg Louganis did try to distance himself from being ‘Samoan’, claiming (apparently) that he was 100% Greek. However you can see the Samoan-ness in his nose. haha!

  3. yea, tia’s parents had a sewing shop here in pago. my mom, sister and i use to go there and get our puletasis sewn there and saw heaps of pictures of her in their shop. they an awesome couple, tia’s parents.
    and yea, wesley snipes..samoan. oh my word! lol
    and greg louganis..didnt he claim NOT to be samoan? i read that somewhere. that he actually said he’s not samoan. he’s white and proud of it..or somewhere along those lines..but he was adopted by the white couple. ok im blabbing on again..

  4. See the rest of Chapter 1…and then Chapter’s 2, 3 and 4 by visiting my blog site… 1samoana.com/tamavalevale ….(talk about promotional work! hahahaha!) Thanks for reading guys.

  5. Dang I read and heard that Tia’s Pops was still in Samoa a few years back- she is foine az heo though! Love me some Tia C- … Wesley snipes just need to pay his taxes and fines, but maybe he was hiding out in Samoa? lol, good post.

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