88 year old Australian becomes a Samoan citizen

 

88 year old Warren Joblings who never left Samoa since arriving 35 years ago

By Julie Simati Fiu

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2017: It is a moment the 88 year old Australian born Warren Joblings has been waiting and dreaming of for 35 years.

He was the oldest of the 16 candidates who were sworn in as Samoan citizens yesterday.

Aged 36 and single, Warren left Australia in 1952 and traveled around the world and lived in places like Canada, Brazil and Indonesia.

But his dream was to live in a Pacific island. Simple, peaceful and beautiful.

“The reason why I came to Samoa, because I read an article in a travel magazine that Samoa is a beautiful and a wonderful place to visit,” he told Talamua.

He finally arrived in Samoa in 1982.  He spent 10 days in Upolu and wanted to go to Savai’i as well.

“I wasn’t so sure of going to Savai’i because people told me that there were no good places for me to go to and there was nothing to do,” says Jobling.

But it did not stop him because he wanted to know how Upolu was different from Savai’i.

“When I got to Savaii, I went to Safua village, and it felt just like going home,” he says.

“Lagipoiva Moelagi Jackson and the family were the first people who came up to me when I got there, and it has been a very good part of my life ever since I got in Samoa,” he said.

He had been living at the Safua Hotel in Savaii since. Significantly, he had not left Samoa for all those 35 years.

“I ever even returned because I have finally found home.”

According to Lagipoiva Moelagi Jackson, Warren is a loving and caring person.

“He had been sharing and giving so much for those who needed help. He is a loving and very kind,” said one of the pioneering hotel developers on the island.

Warren Joblings with his certificate of Samoan citizenship

For many years, Warren Joblings has been working closely with the Samoa Tourism Authority on the National history side of tourism. Not only that, he had helped out so many schools in Savaii also in Upolu.

“I started helping schools on my third year living in Samoa, Secondary and also the Primary schools,” he said.

“I’ve been given out stationery and books for them not only to read but they could also understand and feel what it is all about,” he added.

Warren has also sponsored some of the students at the National University of Samoa.

So getting his Samoan citizenship yesterday after living in Samoa for 35 years was a significant moment for a palagi who left his home and life in Australia to be submerged in a new home and way of life as a Samoan.