Photo (Credit Sayonara Fa’amausili): So’oalo Setu Mua, Teleiai Edwin Puni, Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-I’iga, His Excellency Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan, High Commissioner for Samoa, His Excellency Lieutenant General the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General of New Zealand, Tupua Fred Wetzell, MP Su’atapulolo’o William Sio, Mrs. Esther Leasi Scanlan, Tuilagi Saipele Esera & Analosa Brown-Esera.
I had an interesting sharing with one of the descendants of the New Zealand soldiers that landed at Apia on 29 August 1914, the start of the New Zealand occupation till Samoa became independent in 1962.
First the gentleman said, “We’re celebrating on the wrong date. When the New Zealand forces landed it was the 28th August of the local time. Samoa was on the other side of the dateline, American time, but the New Zealanders documented the date according to the Asian time which is the 29th August in New Zealand.
Guess what, he is absolutely correct.
Today we have a similar situation where the majority of Seventh Day Adventists in Samoa are now worshiping on Sunday instead of the seventh-day Sabbath on Saturday due to failure of church administration to acknowledge that when the SDA church arrived during the German rule, Samoa was in the Asian time zone before Malietoa Laupepa in 1892 approved the adoption of the American time zone moving Samoa to the other side of the dateline.
Later, in 2011 Samoa PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi moved the dateline again, putting Samoa in its original time zone – same time as New Zealand and Australia. How’s that for a bit of history.
But here’s the interesting part of our conversation. He pointed to a photo of his grandfather on display at the Auckland museum and said, “Did you know that my father lost his virginity in Samoa. My father has a half brother in Samoa. Will you help me find my Samoan relatives?”
Salafai e, e le faigofie! The question is, just how many of the 1,400 New Zealand advance party lost their virginity in Samoa?
The Samoa New Zealand plot thickens, so stay tune as we will need your help in tracking down all those light skin with blues eyes who live in your village.
And yes, people tend to forget that New Zealand made the first move and came to Samoa. Not Samoa came to New Zealand.