“Faa-Samoa is being proud of who you are, what’s in your blood and your DNA, but it is also about GRIT and LEGACY”. That was the key message sent by Seiuli Dwayne Johnson to the Toa Samoa, “sent with boundless love, respect and pride”.
The five minute message posted on You Tube from Seiuli Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to Samoa’s rugby league world cup finalists, has flooded social media, being shared by millions of Samoans and Samoa supporters across the globe.
Having been bestowed the Seiuli matai title from Samoa’s late Head of State His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, Dwayne Johnson sends a message based on the Faa-Samoa – the Samoan way of cultural values based on deeply rooted traditional concepts of love, respect and honour, in the sacred space of relationships or va.
Seiuli reminds the Toa Samoa players that the Faa-Samoa is about grit and legacy.
The Rock recalls growing up with his late grandfather who is a legendary household name as Samoa’s first professional wrester, Pita Maivia. Maivia held two matai titles, Fanene and Leifi.
“When I was growing up, my grandfather High Chief Pita Maivia, my grandmother Lia Maivia even my mom, Ata.. we always talk about the Faa-Samoa..”
“My grandfather always taught me that the Faa-Samoa is being proud of who you are, where you come from, what’s in your blood, what’s in your DNA, the Mana… that’s the thing that separates us from everyone else..
“But is also means grit. And it’s the grit that drives that force,” said Seiuli.
“You operate as if your back is up against the wall and there is nowhere to go, but ahead, but forward!”
Seiuli says legacy is two-fold. On one side, he encourages the Toa Samoa that they have already established a legacy by being the first ever Samoan representative side to make a world final in any sport.
“You guys have already made history, you have arrived!”
“But the other side of legacy, and this is the special side,” says the Rock, “is when you take that field in Manchester and you leave it all out on the field.. and you win!”
Seiuli reminds the Toa Samoa that defining one’s legacy is a reflective process that makes you think about your forefathers and ancestors who are looking down upon us.
“When it comes to legacy, you guys are defining your legacy right here, right now..
“When I think legacy, I think about my grandfather, I think about my Dad, the soul man Rocky Johnson..
“I think about my grandparents, and all my ancestors.. all your ancestors, all our ancestors are watching..,” says Seiuli.
“So when you take that field this Saturday in Manchester, and you have that grit and your DNA is just full of our Samoan pride and culture, and you think about that legacy, and the legacy that you guys wanna define..”
Seiuli jokes that if he were there with the Toa Samoa on Saturday, he would put on a blue jersey and take the field with them.
“I’d probably get my ass kicked,” he laughs, “but that’s ok.”
Before signing off, Seiuli summarises his message to his Toa Samoa usos.
“Grit and Legacy my usos, I love you, I am so proud of you, We are all so proud of you..”
“Take that field, make history, and WIN”
Seiuli ends his message with a loud tiususu!
“I just scared the shit out of my neighbors by that’s ok, it’s good for them,” he laughs.
“WIN! Love you Usos!”
(note there’s no apostrophe before the U in uso 😀)
In the comments section of Seiuli’s post, Brian Too and Jerome Luai have left messages to say faafetai. True to form and showing their unique Pacific humour that we’ve enjoyed since their Panther’s win (and often misinterpreted by Australia and NZ media and fiapoko sports podcast commentators), the boys posted in response to the Rock:
“Thank you Daddy” and “Faafetai Papa” lol.
Stephen Crichton posts, “Thanks uncle.”
In an interview with media in the UK, Brian To’o jokes, “Yeah, it’s been a while since I heard from uncle..”
In a later interview with media Brian To’o, on a more serious note acknowledged and thanked Seiuli for the encouragement.
To’o says the message from The Rock means a lot to the Toa Samoa, but also to the tapuaiga of Samoan people all over the world.
Malo le loto nuu. Malo le tau. Faamanuia tele Le Atua i le alo atu i faagatama.