The Schuster family reunion in Samoa started with an environmental project to combat carbon emissions by planting 500 trees in the Mount Vaea reserve area.
Responding to questions from Samoa Global News former Member of Parliament and environmentalist Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster said family members who had already arrived from overseas as well as locals participated in the tree planting last Saturday.
“We planted 500 trees for an average of 6 trees per traveller.”
Toeolesulusulu said their Schuster family reunion was pushed back a day to await the official lifting of Samoa’s State of Emergency that imposed limited movement for children under 14.
“We thought we’d include tree planting for carbon offset as part of our reunion program. We have travellers from NZ, Australia, the US, Fiji and around the world. That’s our Rotorua whanau with their red uniform!,” he added.
The Schuster family have made a marked contribution to the development of Samoa through church, government, sports, culture and academia since the arrival of James Schuster in the mid 1850s.
Over 500 descendants of James Schuster are congregated at Leauvaa throughout this week to celebrate family and update their family tree records.
“We have elderly members from the third generation with us, all the way to the 8th generation,” said Toeolesulusulu.
“Coming for the first time are descandants of Thomas Schuster, son of James who had left with his wife and kids in the 1920s and settled in Fiji where some still live whilst others are in NZ and Australia;
“Also here are some of James Junior’s descandants whom make up a strong Schuster presence in Rotorua.”
The 8 generations of James Schuster descendants includes District Court Judge Leota Ray Schuster, 26-capped All Black Soifua “Johnny The Shoe” Schuster, Pacific Games Best Male Athlete Brandon Schuster and Wide Receiver for Pittsburg Steelers Juju Smith-Schuster.
The list is exhaustive with former Police Commissioner Saunoamaalii Sonny Schuster and former Cabinet Ministers Jack Netzler and Taua Latu Lome.
Lefau Harry Schuster and Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster were both Samoa Members of Parliament in the previous Parliamentary sitting.
The field of Sports is further marked with former Manu Samoa player and coach Su’a Peter Schuster, former Kiwi and Melbourne Storm Jeff Lima, former Wallabies Will Skelton and Jahlani Tavai who plays for the Detroit Lions in the NFL.
Reverand Peter Schuster also currently serves as the Sea for the Methodist church in Siumu and many will remember Mr. James Warehouse as the long serving Principal of Samoa College.
The Schuster family have also been key contributors to the development of the Private Sector as leaders in the business community. Steve Schuster’s Shoe Star Vidoes continues to run after 30 years, as a DVD rental in Apia while Jay Schuster continues to operate YNot Bar and the recently launched Eyespy Radio FM 87.5 station. Both businessmen are amongst a long list of Schuster entrepreneurs operating businesses in Samoa.
“We are doing the family tree tonight and collecting the information on several of our other relatives that we dont know of yet,” said Toeolesulusulu.