Episode 3: Vaafusuaga Tupuola Masunu Tuisila - Sa'ili Mālō

From Sa’ili Mālō - Seeking a Better Life, 12:00 am on 26 May 2020
Masunu at Access Radio

Masunu at Access Radio Photo: Samoa Capital Radio

Samoan | English

“O taimi o Dawn Raids e lē o se vaega fiafia o lo’u soifuaga.”​

Na taunu’u mai Masunu Tuisila i Niu Sila a o faato’ā 17 tausaga lona talavou.  Ma malaga mai i luga o le ea ma le tinā o lona tinā ma lona tuafafine ma sa ui mai i Amerika Samoa, faato’ā taumnu’u ai lea i le aso Kerimasi i le 1972 Sa faatumulia Masunu i le fiafia ma na lē mafai ona faatali lona fia ‘ai sukalati ma ‘apu.

Sa a’oga Masunu i le Kolisi o Samoa ae le’i tu’ua Samoa, e faaauau ana a’oga i le Auckland Grammar i Aukilani.  Sau lau ia o le “coconut” i le a’oga ma na te le’i iloaina o se ‘upu faifai i lenā taimi.  Ina ua ma’ea ana a’oga i le Kolisi, sa manana’o lona āiga e alu e a’oga i le Iunivestē mo se tusi pasi faa-loia ae peita’i sa talia o ia e galue faaleleo i le Matāgaluega o Leleo i Niu Sila ma sa galue ai i le taimi o Dawn Raids.  O se vaega lea o lona soifuaga e le’i fiafia i ai.

Na toe fo’i i Samoa i le 1981 ma faaipoipo ai.  Ona malaga lea ma lona to’alua i Amerika ma nonofo ai mo le 10 tausaga ae le’i toe fo’i i Samoa.

Vaafusuaga T Masunu Tuisila hosting a radio programme at Samoa Capital Radio

Vaafusuaga T Masunu Tuisila hosting a radio programme at Samoa Capital Radio Photo: Supplied by Vaafusaga Tupuola Masunu Tuisila

Sa galue Masunu mo le Iuni Lakapi a Samoa.  Sa avea fo’i ma pule (team manager) o le ‘au lakapi a Samoa mo se vaitaimi ma sa filifilia fo’i e lafalī mo lakapi faavāomālō.

Na toe fo’i mai Masunu i Niu Sila i le 2005 ma o lo o galue i se kamupanī vaa.  O lo o ia fiafia e mafuta ma lona aiga i Ueligitone, le fanau ma fanau a lana fanau o loo nonofo latalata ane.

Na faae’e suafa matai o Vaafusu’aga ma Tupuola iā Masunu.

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English | Samoan

"The Dawn Raids was not an enjoyable part of my life."

Masunu Tuisila arrived in New Zealand as a youth, only 17 years of age.  He made the journey by air, flying with his grandmother and sister from Samoa to American Samoa, and then to Suva, Fiji, before arriving in Auckland, during Christmas of 1972.  He said he was excited to come to New Zealand, and couldn’t wait to eat chocolate, and also apples.

Masunu had studied at Samoa College before leaving the Islands and continued his studies at Auckland Grammar.  He said he was called a coconut at college and didn’t realise it was an insult at the time.  His family wanted him to go to university after college to be lawyer but instead he was accepted into the New Zealand Police.

He served as an officer during the difficult Dawn Raid period, which he described as “not an enjoyable part of my life.”

In 1981 he returned to Samoa and got married.  He then moved to the United States, where he stayed for 10 years, before returning to Samoa.  Masunu became involved with the Samoan Rugby Union and made a significant contribution to Samoan Rugby through his roles as an official, national team manager and an international referee.

Masunu returned to New Zealand in 2005, where he worked for a shipping company.  He enjoyed a full family life in Wellington, with his children and grandchildren all living nearby.

Later in his life he was conferred the matai titles Vaafusuaga and Tupuola.

Masunu in Police Uniform taking a man away during the Dawn raids

Masunu in Police Uniform taking a man away during the Dawn raids Photo: Supplied by Vaafusaga Tupuola Masunu Tuisila

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Samoa Capital Radio / Si'ufofoga o le Laumua Trust

Samoa Capital Radio / Si'ufofoga o le Laumua Trust Photo: Samoa Capital Radio

Sa’ili Mālō is a series of stories recorded by Samoa Capital Radio for RNZ in the Samoan language told by early settlers who came to Aoteaora to seek opportunities and a better life for their families.

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