It was an historical day for the descendants of the Tuala Vaauli Family in Leauvaa, where after 15 years of no title bestowals, 102 men and women were conferred the Tuala chiefly title.
Held at Leauvaa on Saturday morning, the 102 new matai included former Wallaby and Super Rugby winger, Digby Ioane.
The blessing of the Tuala chiefly titles was conducted by Reverend Isaia Kalepo of the Congregational Christian Church Samoa in Leauvaa.
Reverend Kalepo told the new Tuala holders that being a matai means they have been chosen to servanthood.
“You have been called to lead your families, villages and church through your service,” said Reverend Kalepo.
“Being a leader is no easy task, you have to set a good example for your family and most especially; you have to lead your family with love.”
The cultural conferment of the titles was then held at the Maota o Tapusilia, which is the honored place to the Tuala Vaauli family.
The last time the family held matai bestowment was 15 years ago.
In an interview with a member of the Tuala Family, Tuiasau Uelese Petaia told Samoa Global News that the family has grown not only in Samoa but also overseas.
He says this is the first time their family have had this many title holders.
“This is history in the making for our family,” said Tuiasau.
“Our main focus is our family and it is important that when the elders are gone, we know that our children are there to lead this family and this is their time to step up as well.”
According to Tuiasau, Tuala Vaauli is the original and first holder of the Tuala title.
“Tuala Vaauli was among the men who founded the village of Leauvaa when they relocated to Upolu during the 1905 – 1911 eruption of Mt. Matavanu.”
Leauva’a was founded by people of Mauga and Samalaeulu who fled the great volcano eruption from 1905-1910
The ceremony concluded with cultural faaaloaloga.