6 Jul 2017

Samoa arts and culture advocate's death 'a huge loss'

7:45 am on 6 July 2017

Tributes are continuing to flow in for Seiuli Tuilagi Allan Alo Vaai who was known throughout the Pacific as an advocate for Samoan arts and culture.

Allan Alo

Seiuli Tuilagi Allan Alo Vaai Photo: Supplied/ Samoa Arts Council

Seiuli died last week.

Pacific Dance New Zealand director Sefa Enari said Seiuli opened many doors for Samoan artists working in choreography, and also worked closely with students at the USP's Oceanic Centre of Arts and Council in Fiji.

Allan Alo

Seiuli Tuilagi Allan Alo Vaai (centre) with a group of dancers Photo: Supplied/ Samoa Arts Council

He said Seiuli helped set up Samoa's first Arts Council and was it president.

"I think that the Pacific culture and Pacific modern arts is really in focus with his passing and I think that we have taken it for granted that people are going to be here forever to support the growth of the arts within the Pacific as well as New Zealand. I think he's done a tremendous job for the Samoan people and it is gonna be a huge loss for the Pacific people as well as the Samoan community."

Sefa Enari said he also worked hard to ensure there were opportunities for local Samoans to access dance schools outside of Samoa.

A memorial service was held on Wedensday for Seiuli in Auckland before his body was flown back to Samoa overnight.

Samoa Arts Council vice president, Saumaiafe Dr Vanya Taule'alo, said Seiuli was a great mentor for youth.

"We've been in close consultation with the family and with the deputy prime minister here and the University of the South Pacific because a number of us wanted to put on a tribute for him, and that is being led by the USP,but with approval from the family," Saumaiafe said.

She said Seiuli showcased Samoan culture, traditional and contemporary performance art forms.

Allan Alo

IOne Seiuli Tuilagi Allan Alo Vaai's pieces being performed Photo: Supplied/ Samoa Arts Council