Marist Brothers Old Pupils Association
Tuātagaloa Aumua Ming Leung Wai
15 Sept 2018
Foreword at the first ever Marist Excellence Service Awards Ball, Multipurpose Gym 3, Tuanaimato, Apia, Samoa, Saturday 15th September 2018.
Greetings in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is indeed an honour and privilege to provide this foreword for the Recitation Booklet of our first ever Marist Excellence Service Awards.
The purpose of the Marist Excellence Service Awards is to recognise and acknowledge our old boys whose service to Sāmoa has been long, distinguished and outstanding. We also hope that recognising them will inspire the younger members of MBOPA to emulate such service.
The challenging task of identifying those deserving of receiving awards tonight was given to the Awards Committee (comprising of MBOPA’s senior members and executive committee). The task was difficult as so many old boys were deserving to receive awards. In the end, the decision was made to limit the number of awards to 15 and that the giving of awards will take place every 5 years to include later those who are also deserving of recognition. Who knows, perhaps some old girls will receive awards in 5 years time.
The Marist Brothers’ have taught many boys since 1888 (and girls from 1993) when they started Marist Brothers’ School, Mulivai, Apia, Sāmoa in 1888. The boys they taught became leaders in all aspects of life, eg Government, churches, villages and families. They contributed in shaping the nation of Sāmoa to what it is now.
They were at the forefront of Sāmoa’s struggle for independence as noted by the strong advocacy and sacrifice by Tā’isi O. F. Nelson who was educated at Marist Brothers’ School from 1889 to 1896. He was the richest man in Sāmoa in the early 1900s but had lost his wealth and was exiled twice for furthering Sāmoa’s cause.
Other old boys such as Tupua Tamasese Mea’ole and Malietoa Tanumafili II later followed who played pivotal roles in designing the type and form our Government was to adopt during preparations for Sāmoa to be independent. It is no surprise these two old boys later became joint Head of States when Sāmoa became an independent nation. The youngest member of the Constitutional Convention was an old boy ‘Ae’au Taulupo’o who was only 24 years old at the time. The first Prime Minister of Sāmoa was an old boy, Matā’afa Faumuinā Fiamē Mulinu’ū II. In fact, all Prime Ministers of Sāmoa to date were all old boys.
After independence, the old boys continue to play important roles in the development of Sāmoa. The longest serving Chief Justice is Hon. Pātū Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Maka Sapolu whose well researched and well written judgments have raised the quality of jurisprudence in Sāmoa and earned him the respect of his peers in the Pacific and beyond. Other well respected senior lawyers include Vui Clarence Nelson (now a Supreme Court Judge), Lefau Harry Schuster, Te’o Richard Tapeni, Patrick Fepuleai, Semi Leung Wai and those who have passed on such as Herbert Clarke and Tupai Se Apa.
Other professions, especially accounting, are also dominated by old boys such as ‘Oloipola Terrence Betham, Matatauali’itia ‘Afa Lesā and the late Salā ‘Isitolo Leota to name a few.
Aside from service to Government, many businesses are owned and managed by old boys. Despite their many successes they continue to give back to the community
financially and through various charitable activities. We recognise tonight but a handful of them in the likes of Leali’ie’e Rudy Ott, Hon. George Lober and Patrick Komisi Chan Mow.
Within MBOPA are so many old boys (and recently some old girls) who are dedicated and committed members such as Matai’a Vensel Margraff, Tuala Tamalelagi Tom Annandale and the late Lealaiauloto Aniseto Chan Ting. But tonight, we will give awards to the seniors, Sāpa’u Lolesio Vitale and past president, the late Fuimaono Tuputala.
The old boys also contributed tremendously to the development of sports in Sāmoa. In fact, it was the Marist Brothers who introduced rugby and boxing to Sāmoa. Boxing was dominated by Marist boxers as the school had a boxing ring and produced talented boxers in the likes of Hans Kruse, Magele Henry Penn & James Meredith. During the 1983 South Pacific Games and under the guidance of Oscar Meredith, Sāmoa won gold in all boxing divisions except for one – a feat that has never been repeated.
Marist Brothers’ schools have also produced so many rugby greats, some of whom ended up becoming All Blacks, eg Soifua John Schuster and Nepo Laulala. Notable captains of Manu Sāmoa were also old boys, eg Papali’itele Peter Fatialofa, Lemalu Semo Sititi, George Stowers, etc. Another famous old boy is Muli’agatele Brian Lima who played in 5 Rugby World Cups and was inducted into Rugby’s Hall of Fame. Other sports personalities included old boys such as Magele Henry Penn, Segi Bee Leung Wai, Su’a Peter Schuster. There are a lot more names that I wanted to mention but am constrained by space.
So many Marist Brothers are deserving of awards but for tonight, we recognise two whose service and sacrifice is unquestionable, namely the late Br. Casimir Foley and Br. Iulio Suaesi.
I take this opportunity to congratulate those who are receiving awards tonight and the families receiving the awards posthumously. I also want to thank all the members of MBOPA who have worked tirelessly in making this 130 Years Anniversary successful, including our families, friends and supporters.
To God be all the praise and may He be forever glorified.
Tuātagaloa Aumua Ming Leung Wai