The Life of Tanoa'i Fuifui
Fuifui's father was Tanoa'i Molia and her mother was Malia Tuala Talipope. They were both born in Lealatele, Savaii. On 4th August 1905, a volcanoe named Mount Matavanu erupted, forcing families of Lealatele to leave their homes. They took refuge in the villages of Afega and Malie while a new village - Leauva'a - was prepared for them.
Fuifui was born on 24 May,1918 in Leauva'a. She was Tanoa'i Molia and Malia's only daughter. She had three stepbrothers: Fulukalolo, Molia and Leu.
At a young age Fuifui was adopted by Tanoa'i Molia's sister,Tamala. She was raised in Leauva'a with three foster sisters - Faleloa, Toefiliga and Tusiga - and one foster brother - Tunoa.
Fuifui attended Papauta Christian Girls Boarding School in Vailima.She learnt Christian principles and values. She was particularly talented in embroidery and croche. However, Fuifui was not able to further her education because she had to care for her sick foster mother,Tamala.
Fuifui married Salaivao Misela.She stayed at home to care for all her seven children while Misela worked in Apia.
Fuifui was a very loving and hospitable person. She had a big heart for all her aiga. Their home in Fugalei, Apia, was often filled with extended aiga looking for better schooling and work opportunities. They were welcome to stay for as long as they wanted. She was a very kind person who loved looking after her many grandchildren too.
Fuifui was very good at sewing. She used to sew all her childrens' clothing, especially her daughters' White Sunday dresses!
Fuifui often travelled to New Zealand to visit her children and grandchildren, but she would only stay for short periods before wanting to return to Leauva'a.
"Tanoa'i" is an orator chief title that originally came from Lealatele. Fuifui's father Tanoa'i Molia held the title when he came to Leauva'a after the volcanic eruption of 1905. The title was eventually passed to Fuifui and she changed her name to Tanoa'i Fuifui. Tanoa'i Fuifui continued to serve her extended aiga in Leauva'a until she passed away on New Years Day, 1st January, 2005.
Fuifui is now resting in peace, buried with her husband Sala'ivao Misela on her father, Tanoa'i Molia's land - Lot 23 - in Leauva'a.
We will always honour and thank the Lord for the love and kindness Fuifui gave to all her children,grandchildren and extended aiga.