High achieving former Parliamentarian and first Samoan scholarship recipient laid to rest

Leilua’s coffin draped in the state flag carried by police escort to his resting place at Saleilua village, Falealili

Story and photos by Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: FRIDAY 21 AUGUST 2015: One of the first Samoan scholarships to study in New Zealand in preparation of the country’s independence, Afioga Leilua Leiataua Punivalu was laid to rest at his home at Saleilua, Falealili today. A high achiever, he went on to become the districts member of parliament for two terms.

Those days, only a few were privileged to receive such honour.

Returning to Samoa with engineering qualifications, he started working for the Government as a Plant Pool Manager for the Public Works Department.

He also worked for the Ministry of Transport before taking on politics when he was elected to represent Falealili Constituency for 2 consecutive terms.

He was awarded an Order of Tiafau Award for his service to the government and people of Samoa.

The later Leilua Leiataua Punivalu Vaili

The late Leilua Leiataua Punivalu Vaili

Leilua was later appointed as Samoa’s Consul General to New Zealand.

His service to the Congregational Christian Church of Saleilua Falealii was acknowledged by the Elder Reverend Letone Uili as colourful.

He served as a Deacon and a A’oa’o Fesoasoani for Saleilua. He was also a member of several committees of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa where he represented Saleilua parish to many annual conferences at Malua.

“He was known for being a good leader in the village and the church and had spearheaded many changes in the village and district,” said Elder Reverend Uili.

Elder Uili said Leilua was a kind man ready to help anyone.

Leilua also served as the Chairman of the Public Service Commission and later took u a diplomatic post as Samoa’s Consul in Auckland, New Zealand.

Deputy Prime Minister Lauofo Pierre Lauofo represented the Government and presented the state flag to Leilua’s family as recognition of his service to the Government and people of Samoa.

The eulogy on the life of Leilua were presented by Lauofo on behalf of the Government, Muagututi’a George Meredith for the family, Reverend Samuelu Punivalu for the children and Reverend Iakopo Pese for the church.

Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo handing the state flag to Reverend Samuelu Punivalu

Deputy Prime Minister Lauofo Pierre Punivalu handing the state flag to one of Leilua’s sons, Reverend Samuelu Punivalu

His children are high achievers themselves and are successful in their own businesses and despite all the wealth and children residing in Apia, Leilua was always a Falealili man.

He left behind 8 children and 31 grandchildren.

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