Tuli’apupu Pala Limā – 29 November 1932 – 13 March 2017
BY Lance Polu
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 28 MARCH 2017: A pioneering spirit whose exemplary service in business, church, village and family was honoured as he was farewelled today aged 85.
Well known in the business circles, Tuli’aupupu Pala Limā was a pioneer as the first Samoan to establish an Accounting Firm that spanned over forty years of and served businesses that have become major influences in Samoa’s economy today.
The list of mourners and those who paid their respects included the Head of State, the Council of Deputies, Prime Minister and Cabinet, leaders of businesses, the Congregational Christian Church, family from Samoa and abroad and his village of Letogo and Vaimauga district where he holds a prominent chiefly title Tuli’aupupu addressed as the Fofoga o le Alataua.
Born to a big family of eleven brothers and sisters, the young Pala was a proud product of Avele College and kept life-long friends from school days to adult life.
His second eldest son, Reverend Ma’afala who is the Principal of the Malua Theological College spoke of lifetime friendships his father had that continued on to their own generation. He even inherited the name of his father’s best friend Ma’afala who died prematurely in a road accident that “hurt our father deeply.”
But the young Pala’s nous for figures started when he was a maths student of a church minister Reverend Faulalo of the Apia Congregational Christian Church. He had a passion for study and learning. When he finished school, Pala worked in various jobs that included being a mechanic, packing at Burns Philip store, shipping agent, tax collection agent and a roads worker in Savaii, where he met his future wife.
Married to Talaetau Leota in 1957, they had 14 children.
Pala attended night classes to get his Public Service Certificate. Then he went on to obtain his certification as a Chartered Public Accountant. In those classes, he was once a student of Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, then working as Assistant Secretary of Finance at Treasury.
“Tuli’apupu was one of the pioneers in the establishment of the Society of Accountants under law,” said Tuilaepa in his eulogy.
“He was one of my students that did a special course in valuing company shares as companies always under value shares when it comes to paying the government stamp duty,” said Tuilaepa.
“He is a senior member of the Society of Accountants and one of the honoured Fellow Chartered Accountant of the Society.” The other Fellows being Tuilaepa, Member of the Council of Deputies Tuiloma Pule Lameko, Oloipola Terence Betham and Misa Telefoni.
“But his exemplary service went well into his 85th year, still working and his mind and memory still serving his well,” said Tuilaepa.
“I visited him in hospital (Middlemore, Auckland) and we shared stories of our young days. It was laughter and loud laughter. After an hour, I said to him. I better go, as the doctors and nurses are beginning to think that you are just pretending to be ill.” Tuli’apupu died the following Monday 13 March at 1000 in the morning.
As a father, son Reverend Ma’afala Lima said despite their numbers as a big family, they never went without due to their father’s care. A father who saw the value of education, “his pride is his two daughters who are Public Accountants themselves.”
As the longtime accountant for the Congregational Christian Church, Tuli’apupu pushed his children to serve the church. Reverend Ma’afala is a product of that and he paid tribute to their fathers’ hard work in making and bringing them to where they are today.
A great supporter of Manu Samoa came with son Brian Lima. “Perhaps one of the highlights for our father is when he and Brian went when Brian was inducted to the Rugby Hall of Fame,” said Reverend Ma’afala. “He talks often of the occasion and the famous rugby players he met there.”
He was also loyal to friends. “Perhaps the other highlight for our father was when he and longtime friend Wilhelm Keil went to see the tenor Pavarotti in concert in New Zealand,” explained Reverend Ma’afala.
“Perhaps it was at the time Wilhelm had lost his wife and he was spending a lot of time with our father at our faleo’o just talking. He wanted to go and see the concert and he took our father even though he had no knowledge of opera at all.”
As a high chief of the village, Tuli’aupupu is a man of few words. “But his wisdom and vision holds stability and harmony in the village,” said the village church minister.
He has always been in the forefront of the development of the church in the village as well.
Despite not having the opportunity to access higher education, Tuli’aupupu’s passion for continuing study speaks for his success. The clients he had served and gained their confidence in over forty years of service will be passed onto the new generation – his daughters who are university qualified in the field their father had started from very humble beginnings.
Tuli’aupupu started as a mechanic, packer, shipping agent, tax collector and road worker, then became a Certified Public Accountant, Auditor, Lecturer at the Western Samoa Society of Accountants and a Fellow Chartered Accountant.
Until his passing, he was a Director of the Apia Park Board, the Accident Compensation Board, Samoa Housing Corporation and the Unit Trust of Samoa.
Tuli’aupupu Fata Lupematasila Pala Limā is survived by 14 children, 62 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.
He rests at his home at Letogo.