Congressman Faleomavaega Eni today extended to Mrs. Tofiga Tufele, his personal condolences on the sudden passing of Paramount Chief Tufele Liamatua in Hawaii last week. Tufele’s body arrived in the territory Thursday night via Hawaiian Air, and the Congressman was on the flight accompanying Mrs. Tufele and family members including their son, the Honorable Representative Puleleiite Tufele Li’amatua, Jr.
Le Faletua/Tina ia Tofiga:
O ‘upu a le atunu’u: “Ua maui le ‘au peau i pupū, ma ua to'a le taufa'anu'u i tumutumu mauga…Tālofa e, ua motu le 'asoa, ua solo le falute, ua tāfea pulu i vai, ua matala le māfutaga fa’aleulugali’i, fa’amātua ma fanau, fa’auso ma fa’atuagane, ma o ai o le a tu atu e fa'alāvefau i le pule fai to'atasi a le Atua?”
O upu o le Tusi: “Ua fai atu le tupu i ana ‘au’auna: ‘Tou te lē iloa ‘ea ua maliu le ali’i tele lava i le asō i Isara’elu?...Auē ua māliliu Toa, ua maumau ai ‘au ’upega o le taua…Ua lagona le leo o le tagi auē i Rama, ona o le masūsū a le tinā, i lona valevale alofa…”
It is with grave sadness that, Hina and I and the family, express our deep condolences in the untimely passing of your husband and renowned traditional, political and church leader, Paramount Chief Tufele Li’amatua.
The suddenness of his death came as a shock, considering how strong he had always made himself to be. The humbleness and courage he had consistently shown, even though he had had a major health condition for years, made death the furthest from Tufele’s regular routine, which most of us had accepted as normal. We had taken that perhaps he had outlived death for now, and it would catch up with him at a different time later on in life.
Tufele, in the 72 years of his life, was successfully established and recognized in politics, Samoan traditions and with the Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa. He achieved countless endeavors, numerous undertakings and extraordinary accomplishments which I will leave to others to speak of. But if I were to ask him now what his success in life was, I’m sure he would say: “I had a good wife and a good family, and God was always good to us.”
As you may know, while you and Tufele were in Jerusalem, he contacted my office in Washington, D.C., requesting my advice and assistance to set up a meeting for him with the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, The Honorable Daniel Shapiro. The next day, while I was in the process of setting up Tufele’s request he informed me through his senior staff and special assistant, Muliagatele Sanele Tuiteleleapaga at the Office of Samoan Affairs, that he was no longer in need of the meeting. That Ambassador Shapiro was at the conference opening ceremony and he met him there along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other world dignitaries who were in attendance. In his usual fa’aaloalo and humble way, he expressed his sincere appreciation for my efforts to assist him.
I was in Samoa shortly before your trip, and Tufele and I talked over the telephone. He said something humorous like: “Eni, I have been all over the world before. This time, to be in the Holy Land, with Tofiga, would be the best trip of them all. I am happy and excited, and from a very Samoan perspective, what else is there beyond that?” We both chuckled, and I realized then how deep and ingrained his faith as a Christian was, in his family, his people and his God. Then he extended a personal invitation for me to attend the grand opening ceremony for the Fale Tele at Utulei Park which he was planning for sometime towards the end of the year.
It is sad this will not happen. I was really looking forward to celebrating with him, something essential and so vital to our culture in these changing times. This may be the only Fale Tele being constructed in our lifetime. I know he viewed its construction as his pet project, and perhaps the grand finale of all his work, and a personal tribute to the Samoan culture. It was the last of his works for his culture and people he treasured and loved so much.
I know Tufele realized how fortunate he was to have had a loving wife like you. You have proven to all of us, and beyond everything else, how important and valuable love is when it comes to taking care of those who are dear to us.
I thank you and may I say with sincerity: malo le tausi ali’i. Your care and love inspired Tufele in the last years of his life, to live and share with all of us what courage and dedication are all about.
‘Amu’ia Tufele ua nofo i le saofa’iga e ‘atoa iai li’o o le māsina. O le matou tatalo, ia līua e fa’amaisega a le Atua le vai o Sina i le fa’avauvau o lo’o ia te ‘oe le faletua, le nofo i alo, fa’apea le pa’ia o aiga.