PHOTO: Manamea Apelu Schwalger who lost her battle to cancer earlier this year
Preston, AUSTRALIA – 22 SEPTEMBER 2018: 65 members of the Sydney based Matavai Pacific Cultural Arts Inc. are traveling to Samoa early October 2018 to host the ‘Love is Bigger than cancer’ fundraising event in memory of the late Manamea Apelu Schwalger, who passed away from cancer earlier this year.
“She was a passionate activist for the fight to find a cure for cancer and to raise awareness within our community,” said a release from the group.
The event will be held at The Orator Hotel and will include Dinner, drinks, a spectacular show by the Matavai Pacific Cultural Arts and music entertainment by Silver Bullet Band. All proceeds will be donated to the Samoa Cancer Society as part of the PINKTOBER cancer awareness events.
The Matavai Pacific Cultural Arts Center was founded in 2013 and directed by former Miss Samoa and Miss South Pacific Maryjane Mckibbin Schwenke (1997/1998) and her husband Frederick Schwenke. The center caters for people of all ages and backgrounds, currently hosting six different cultural arts classes including Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, Maori and Hawaiian, with over 250 students.
Matavai teaches the positive fundamentals of Pacific cultures and was created as a reaction to the negative stigmas surrounding Pacific people in Australia. Maryjane and Fred decided to use their experience in Samoan Siva and the many travels they have had promoting Samoa and the region, by creating a space where people can learn and embrace Pacific culture through arts.
A center to cultivate excellence, Matavai has appeared on television programs such as Play School, Foxtel films, SBS, as well as creating shows for various corporate organizations such as All Black sponsors AIG, Australian Rugby League and the various Art centers in Sydney and Brisbane. Their original productions and showcases have been performed to sold out venues across Sydney as well as workshops and performances in major cities around Australia.
“Our culture teaches us to serve and give, so what better way for our students to really grasp these values than to bring them to Samoa to put what they have been learning into good use,” said Director Maryjane.
“We are very proud of our heritage and are excited to show some of our non-Samoan members what Samoa is all about.”
The group will be visiting the Children’s Ward at the National Hospital, the Home for the Aged at Mapuifagalele and will be part of a cultural day in Afega village.
“Manamea was a person who wore her heart on her sleeve and she did all she could in her final days to bring more awareness and help to people affected by cancer.
“She was full of love and always reminded her loved ones that despite her illness that love could conquer all things including cancer, hence the name of the event.”
The ‘Love is Bigger than cancer’ show will take the audience on a journey of remembering loved ones who have passed on and paying homage to those still here.
The students and families of Matavai have put their hearts and minds together to make the excursion and mission trip happen, and without their love, support and hard work the ability to make it to Samoa and bring a show will not be possible.
Tickets for “Love is Bigger than cancer” can be purchased from EMD at the Lotemau office. Phone contacts 22843 or 7775950 for reservations.