New Zealand’s Prime Minister taking his ava cup as the new chief Leuluaialiiotumua Bill English as his wife Dr. Mary English, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa look on.
By Lagi Keresoma
Apia, SAMOA – SATURDAY 02 JUNE 2017: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Bill English was bestowed the chiefly title Leuluaialiiotumua at the village of Faleula this morning.
Village chief Telea Tuna said the title originated from the first distribution of the titles and lands by king Malietoa among his children – uluai tofiga oSamoa.
“And today we witness the bestowal of the title upon Bill English who is married to a descendant of Malietoa,” he explained.
The Prime Minister’s wife Dr. Mary English extended family is from Faleula village.
“The title we are bestowing on you today is a calling from God to serve with love and kindness,” said Telea.
At the end of his lauga, he humorously asked English to grant him New Zealand citizenship.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi in response applauded the village for the honour bestowed on the New Zealand Prime Minister.
He said as he was pondering what title to honour the New Zealand Prime Minister when he was informed of the village’s intention.
He made reference to the legend of Pili (Samoan for Bill).
“When we talk about Pili and his children Tua, Ana, Tuamasaga and the effeminate looking Tolufale who was named the Sacred one (Tamasā). After all those years, we have an heir of Pili who is named Bill and he has come to the right place as what has been in the beginning,” said Tuilaepa.
In receiving his ava that officiates his title and being part of the village council, Prime Minister Leuluaialiiotumua Bill English acknowledged the village and his wife’s family.
He also made reference to the very close and warm relationship between Samoa and New Zealand.
Struggling to pronounce his chiefly title, English said Samoans traditionally are not National voters and he hopes that will change (referring to the upcoming elections later in the year).
After the ceremony, he performed the Samoan taualuga with his wife, before the presentation of gifts.
English is on his first official visit since becoming Prime Minister and was a guest of honour in the 55th Independence celebrations and he visited various projects New Zealand is assisting such as cocoa development, the national hospital, tourism and the Falealili village project where many have come to work under the viticulture industry in New Zealand. He also watched the first Super 15 match to be played in Samoa between the Blues and Reds under lights at Apia Park in the evening.