Samoan ali'i offers prayers for deceased koroua Māori in Samoa

By Bronson Perich
High Chief Teleiai Edwin Puni with his to'oto'o (tokotoko), fue (fly whisk) and ula fala (ceremonial necklace), the hallmarks of an Ali'i Samoa - Photo / Supplied

A Samoan High Chief (Ali'i) wants to hold a karakia service for the 70-year-old koroua Māori who passed away in Apia, Samoa.  ASA Foundation leader, Teleiai Edwin Puni says, “ASA Foundation is his family away from home (Aotearoa); he must not be alone even in death.”

Teleiai is contacting the NZ High Commission in Samoa so that his community group may conduct prayers for the koroua while Police continue the search for his whānau.

The high chief hails from Savai'i villages of Samatau, Falelatai, Matatufu and Puapua but has resided in Aotearoa for many years and has great respect for tangata whenua.

“We’re Samoan Kiwis and our tuakana-teina relationship is of great significance.”

Being raised in Fa’asāmoa (Samoan customary practices), Teleiai understands the whakapapa links between Aotearoa and Samoa and has worked behind the scenes to forge greater links between Māori and Samoans.

Referring to the deceased koroua, Teleiai says, “Our tuakana must not be on his own on Samoan soil.”