By: Eirenei Ariu Toleafoa
Methodist Church Minister (Faifeau Malolo Manumalo) Rev. Tupu Folasa II is one of four recipients honoured with the Order of Merit from the Government of Samoa for his long-standing service to the country through his contribution to education and music.
The 80 -year-old from Tulaele taught from 1971 to 1975 at Ueseliana College in Satupaitea, Savaii and then at George Brown at Faleula from 1975 to 1976.
He was later appointed Principal in 1976 to Ueseliana.
While serving as a teacher at the Ueseliana College, Rev. Tupu also aided the Methodist church choir as well as offered his help to teach the youth music, especially piano.
Today, many of those youths are composers in many of the choirs in churches across the country as well as Satupaitea.
The Reverend was also head of the Komiti o le Tusi Pese and transcribed Methodist hymns to music notations and was behind various initiatives that led to the establishment of the Sagone Brass Band.
During this time in the Reverend’s service, he aided the youth of Sagone by gaining support from the Alii and Faipule by urging youths to engage more in working the plantations before committing to any sporting activities.
At the time the Reverend was appointed to serve as Minister for the church at Sagone, where he was secretary of Savaii West Synod spanning from Asau to Salailua.
He served in this capacity from the early 80’s until 1990.
At the time the cheapest band equipment needed for the group could only be purchased from Taiwan.
And, the King of Tonga was a shareholder of the Taiwan company, so Rev. Tupu travelled over especially for consultations in order for the youth to purchase the equipment.
Because of that initiative by the reverend, things started to fall into place for the youth and not long, the Sagone Brass Band was born.
The band has won several Independence competitions over the many years since its establishment and have toured the whole of Savaii.
The Sagone Brass Band however has done more than just bring enlightenment through entertainments to the people.
Thanks to their support towards long term developments for Sagone, the group helped fund the reconstruction of the Secondary school of Sagone, for a fence and for the construction of the Reverends’ house.
Following his final teaching year at George Brown, Rev. Tupu was appointed Principal of Uesiliana.
He continued to be called to be part of various developments in music over the years including in 1977 when he was called to join Ueta Solomona in participating at the Pacific Musical Practicum that also involved music teachers from America, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
In 1990 he was called again to look after the church at Satapuala, and it was during this period of his religious calling that the reverend due to the absence of church ministers serving the Congregational Christian church (CCCS), a Deacon for the Catholic Church, Rev. Tupu serviced all three churches.
It was this initiative by the reverend which aided tremendously in uniting the villagers.
Rev. Tupu was then appointed to oversee the Matafele Church in 1997 and at the time water issues had plagued the congregation.
That soon became resolved when a tank was established on the property of the church to ensure that water problems were no longer an affliction for the congregational members.
In 2004 the reverend’s religious counsel and service was required at Lufilufi. It was during this time that Rev. Tupu was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Methodist Church Samoa, and eventually to President of the Church, before his retirement in 2012.
He is married to Faletua Alaimalo and they have three children; one is currently serving as Church Minister at the Methodist Church of Salailua, while the other is teaching at Piula Theological college and the only daughter works for the Samoa National Provident Fund.
Reverend Tupu Folasa II entered Piula Theological College in 1960 and graduated in 1964.