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"Be awesome" new Samoa alumni chapter board told 

Thursday 5 April 2018 2:34pm

“Be diligent, be courageous, be awesome” – this sage advice for the newly elected Samoa Otago Alumni Chapter board members from its patron the Honorable Tapusatele Le Mamea Ropati Mualia will help guide the diverse and widely-qualified group to great things in the region.

At an event in Apia on 5 April the long-serving Samoan politician and proud Otago alumnus encouraged inaugural executive members to be daring in leadership and planning decisions for the Chapter in future.

“My advice to you … think big and think beyond the ordinary. Otago is an illustrious institution. It is a pioneer and a leader. Such attributes are instilled in the students who become its graduates and are sent out to the far flung corners of the globe … such as here in our small island paradise home.”

More than 100 alumni and Otago supporters gathered at the Taumeasina Resort to celebrate the appointments.

The evening began with a blessing by the Reverend Dr Selota Maliko before Professor Helen Nicholson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement), welcomed guests and outlined how Otago’s mutually rewarding relationship with Samoa and the Pacific would be enhanced by the Chapter’s activities.

The following alumni were warmly welcomed to the Board of Le La o Samoa Otago Alumni Chapter:

  • President To’oto’ooleaava Dr Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa (BA (Hons) History, 2001 and PhD Law, 2009)
  • Vice-President Leituala Dr Ben Matalavea (MB ChB, 1989)
  • Secretary Tuifuisa'a Dr Patila Amosa (PhD Chemistry, 2015 and MSc, Environmental Science, 2007)
  • Vice-Secretary Mathew Amituanai (BPhty, 2012)
  • Treasurer Fuimaono Camillo Afele (BCom, 1995)
  • Vice-Treasurer Aysha Rimoni (BCom (Hons) Information Science, 2014)
  • Executive members Leota Ropati Mualia (BA, Political Studies, 2007)
  • Fiu Mataese Elisara (Surveying, 1974)
  • Dr Malama Tafuna’i (MB ChB, 1995)

Samoa 2018 group1
(Back row L to R) Executive of Le La o Samoa Alumni Chapter
Mathew Amituani (Vice-Secretary), Dr Leituala Ben Matalavea (Vice-President), To’oto’ooleaava Dr Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa (President), Dr Fuisaa Patila Amosa (Secretary), Fiu Elisara (Board member), Fuimaono Camillo Afele (Treasurer), Aysha Rimoni (Vice-Treasurer), Dr Malama Tafuna’I (Board Member), Leota Ropati Mualia (Board Member).

(Seated L to R)
Assistant Professor Luamanuvao Winnie Laban (Victoria University and Council Member NUS), Professor Helen Nicholson – Deputy Vice-Chancellor External Engagement University of Otago and Council Member NUS, Chair and Patron of Le La o Samoa Chapter, Hon Le Tapusatele Le Mamea Ropati Mualia (Honourable Member of Council of Deputies, Government of Samoa), His Excellency David Nicholson – New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, President & Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa, Professor Fui Leapai Lau Asofou So'o

Guests were reminded of the significance of Otago’s 150th anniversary celebrations, which will be held in 2019, and the 150th Anniversary Pacific Celebrations in March 2019.

For further information on these celebrations, contact Dr Tasileta Teevale, Director Pacific Island Development Office (email: or Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai, Manager Pacific Island Centre (email: