Roberta Haynes as Maeva and the late Gary Cooper in the 1953 movie Return to Paradise
APIA: SAMOA MONDAY 25 MAY 2015: Roberta Haynes who co-starred with Gary Cooper in the Hollywood movie Return to Paradise made a special announcement at the Gala Ball in her honour. Miss Hayes announced during her speech that she had received such a wonderful welcome that she realised her heart really belonged to Samoa. She is going back to the USA to tell her family that when she dies, she wants her ashes brought back to the Return to Paradise Resort and scattered in Lefaga.
The homecoming brought back a bountiful amount of beautiful memories for Roberta Haynes. “I am so happy to be back. I remember the beach so well. It is still beautiful and the Return to Paradise Resort that has been built here is absolutely stunning. I really feel this is where I belong and this is where I want to be my final resting place” says Ms Haynes.
“This is such an honour for us that Roberta feels that way,’ says Resort Chairman Hinauri Petana, “She will always be welcome here and we will respect her wishes. We feel she belongs to us too. To Samoa, she will always be Maeva.”
Ms Haynes was welcomed back in impressive style for a weekend of celebration at the Return to Paradise Resort on the beach where the movie was made.
The event was a great success for both the Return To Paradise Resort and Samoa. Ms Haynes received a huge airport welcome from Samoa including singing and dancing that brought her to tears.
She also received a very moving special Ava ceremonial welcome back to Lefaga, along with actors Robbie Magasiva and Terry Dunleavy.
Friday night saw a star-studded red carpet of flowers premiere which was very well attended. Roberta Haynes received a huge ovation when she was presented with a special award by the Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo and signed by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, in recognition of her outstanding performance in the movie and long term friendship with the people of Samoa.
Ms Haynes was the guest speaker at the charity auction and ball event at which high-profile Samoan actor Robbie Magasiva as MC. The Gala was a sold out event and the All Black jersey signed and donated by All Black Captain Richie McCaw sold for a staggering $2400NZD. A total of $16,000 was raised through the Charity auction for the Marist Trust to distribute to the needs of Samoan Spinal Injuries.
It was at the Gala Ball that she made the announcement that this is where she wants to be her final resting place.
The spectacular event couldn’t have happened without the valuable sponsorship from Samoa’s own Pure Sama, and Fiji Airways, showing their commitment to Samoa and the Pacific. Roberta Haynes was flown out from Hollywood business class by the airline to attend the event.
The auction is continuing online with further prizes donated by Richie McCaw, Masterchef Simon Gault, Michael Meredith, Return to Paradise Resort, Toa Samoa and Manu Samoa. Other prizes are about to be added by Victor Vito and the Flying Fijians.
You can access the Charity auction at http://trade.me/pdst