The younger sister of Jeremiah Malaki Akeli Tauiliili has shared the deep emptiness she feels from missing her older brother, who was tragically killed following an alleged attack at the Marina Night Club in the Apia Harbour last month.
Speaking to Samoa Global news, Victorious Tauiliili has shared her close relationship with her brother to shed a different perspective on the sudden loss that opened up a floodgate of animosity and commentary through the social media.
“My brother is a very humble person. He’s the most caring person I know, he’s really funny and super fun,” she said.
“He really enjoyed getting involved with youth activities in the village and he would attend Village Council meetings with my father and serve with the village aualuma. He was also a member of the the church choir at the Catholic Church at Letogo.
“His whole heart was for his family. He loved and adored my parents and family with all his heart.
“He always encourages us his brothers and sisters to do our very best in school so that we can seek a bright future for our family, village, church and country.”
Jeremiah Malaki actioned his own advice and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering Technology majoring in Mechanical Engineering from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). When he graduated, AUT featured Malaki on promotional adverts to encourage other Pacific Island youth to study Engineering.
His testimony is inspirational, “It is exciting and overwhelming to be the first to graduate in my family, especially as I was raised in the small island of Samoa. Being from Samoa has helped me throughout my degree. It has inspired me to strive for success and I’ve always remembered my values.”
“I came here so I could make a difference in New Zealand and in Samoa. I want to serve the needs of my community. I want to be part of something great.”
The AUT promotion goes on to state that Jeremiah Tauiliili had presented a final-year project of a “biodegradable polymer that would degrade in landfills in a short period of time to mitigate pollution and global warming.”
Victorious said her brother was a role model and her inspiration and confirmed that he was the first in her family to graduate.
“He encourages us to uplift our family so that we can make our parents proud,” she said.
“He’s funny, just a fun brother, and he would always look out for us, especially his sisters.”
“I have a lot of memories with him and all I can say is that all those moments with Laki will always be cherished forever.”
Victorious shared and reflected on the many examples of her brother’s selfless acts in their family.
“However, one that stands out is no matter how old and bright Laki is, our mother still holds his bank card like a young kid who has just gotten a job,” she said.
“His heart and mind was always of the same as our father who is a Member of Parliament from the Vaimauga East Constituency.
“Our father was always about the love for God, family and country and my brother was exactly the same as our dad in that sense.
“He saw our father as his biggest role model hence why he was so willing to return home to serve his country and to give back to our parents.
“He was definitely mum and dads pride and joy.”
Moreover, Victorious said her brother was a diamond in the rough who always put himself up to a challenge.
“One example would be his interest in music which we highly thought to be absurd as we just never thought he would be someone to sing,” she said.
“He totally put us to shame when he joined a group called Strictly Business and released a song!
“He was always challenging himself and was filled with so many dreams as you can imagine.
“One of his dreams was to go back to study and gain a Masters in Engineering before writing his PhD combining the Samoan culture with engineering concepts.
“We didn’t see that eventuate, but if you could hear how he would explain it and how he planned to do it, you would know and see in his eyes that he was serious.”
Malaki was the third of eight children of Sulamanaia Fetaiai Tuivasa Tauiliili and Malia Nive Malaki Tauiliili.
“He was named Malaki Akeli after our mother’s father and Jeremiah was given to him by father, Sulamanaia Fetaiai Tuivasa Tauiliili,” she said.
“He went to Robert Louis Stevenson secondary school and was a recipient of an NZAid Scholarship as a result from UPY Foundation. He then graduated with Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and a Certificate in Business from AUT.
“He was an awardee to several internships including the Pacific Cooperation Foundation that saw him work for the Auckland City Council in the Water Care Division.
“After his graduation, Malaki was selected as not only the highest achieving NZAid student for that year but also awarded a highly competitive internship from Tuputoa.
“Unsurprisingly, Laki turned that down and could have stayed in NZ as he was a citizen after graduating but Samoa was home and Samoa is where his heart was with his family.
“He returned to serve his country and started as an Engineering Officer for Samoa Water Authority.
“Not long after he climbed almost 2 or 3 steps to become a Marine Offshore and Coastal Engineer Consultant, at only 24 years of age, for the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure.”