Photo: Sympathies and deep affection between old friends – the Head of Sate and Lemalu’s widow Peseta Noumea Simi after the funeral
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: FRIDAY 25 APRIL 2014: Today, Samoa farewell their High Commissioner to Australia, Lemalu Samau Tate as he was laid to rest at his home at Vaivase Uta.
Described by his wife Peseta Noumea Simi, as an “extraordinary man” Lemalu died in his sleep at home on Good Friday.
“Lemalu was blessed with many skills,” said Peseta.
Being a poet, he expressed his love for his wife and family through poems.
“Sometimes he writes things and place them under my pillow,” said Peseta.
Peseta shed humor into their 41 years together.
She remembered when Lemalu was ordered by Government to redesign the container park at the Matautu wharf and she told Lemalu to draw the park and leave the billing or invoice to her.
“It was the first and the last invoice she did.”
She remembered how Lemalu thought he would die young.
“I countered by saying, only those who are afraid of losing their youthful image who are afraid of death.”
Fifty years later, with several children and grandchildren keeping them busy, Lemalu’s “die young attitude” changes to that of “he might not finish what he is obligated to do” before death.
This new attitude kept him on his feet.
Early this year, Lemalu was rushing things as if tomorrow would be the last.
He was trying to finish all his work in Canberra, Australia where he was based, said Peseta.
When he was appointed as High Commissioner to Australia, his wife stayed behind with the children.
Lemalu asked permission from the Samoan Government to visit his family on Easter and was granted.
“He (Lemalu) was not happy in the delay in sending his traveling documents over.”
Peseta was already committed to an overseas conference around Easter holiday which she attended.
When Lemalu was told that she was already committed with other public servants to attend the conference, Peseta said she sensed Lemalu was not happy.
“But he never stops me from serving out my obligations,” said Peseta.
“We have a daily routine of him calling me from Australia in the morning and at night.”
The usual conversation from Lemalu was “I called to see if you are alive…..ok…. bye”
Then followed with the question of whether Peseta loves him.
“In Samoan I said yes, but he wanted me to express my love for him in the English language”
Peseta responded by saying that she was ashamed – matamuli – to speak to him in English.
And Lemalu having the last say would tell his wife that she was lucky she married him.
She remembered one of Lemalu’s poems where he compared her to the “sweetness of flowers, the wind and soft caress of the water.”
At the end of the poem, she was “hard plastic but still sophisticated”.
Peseta recited a poem she wrote to express her feelings for her husband.
His status never changed ‘the loving, caring and humbled man’ Lemalu was.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi gave a eulogy on behalf of the government and the people of Samoa.
“Lemalu was a referee and a judge,” said Tuilaepa.
Being the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (MCIL) he was responsible for solving disputes and problems that arises between employers and employees.
“He was not afraid to make decisions,” said Tuilaepa.
Tuilaepa said he waited for weeks for Lemalu’s answer after being approached to take on the Ambassador’s role for Samoa in Australia.
Trained as an architect, his humour and natural ability as a diplomat is fondly loved by friends and relatives alike. He played a major part in shifting Samoan rugby to the international pedestal it now enjoys and his deep thoughts about life are expressed in his poems and writings.
His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Masiofo Filiilia, Member of the Council of Deputies Afioga Tuimaleali’ifano Sualauvi Va’aletoa11, New Zealand and Australia High Commissioners, Members of Parliament were amongst the dignitaries who attended the funeral.